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A three card trick to my ton on Creag Pitridh
by old danensian » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:08 pm
Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chlachair, Creag Pitridh, Geal Charn
Date walked: 19/07/2012
Time taken: 7.5 hours
Distance: 27 km
Ascent: 1319m5 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Do I do a Geoff Boycott and grind it out one by one, ticking off the singles here and there on those unvisited Munros closer to home? Or should I do a Kevin Pietersen and go for glory on the south Glen Shiel ridge and smash through the target. Alternatively, I could clinically select a trio that will put me on my ton while reaching the last peak of the day: enjoy a more elegant and controlled finish.
So, after a three hour drive I was at the end of Loch Laggan with the three Ardverikie Forest Munros in my sights.
It was with gratitude that I knew I was not to be faced with an immediate steepening hillside to force the legs into action. I felt distincltly fresher than the dozen or so Outward Bound teenagers who were being collected at the same layby; a four-day expedition meant that I would not have wanted to be sharing space in the minibus that was there to scoop their tired limbs into the back. However, my legs and lungs were ready for something a bit more strenuous well within the five kilometres to the Lochan na Hearba.
On arrival at its shore the obligatory beach shot was deferred in the hope of better lighting on the return and something a little more photogenic. Without dwelling there for long I pressed on and soon came to the path rising by the side of the Allt Coire Pitridh. It had been visible during the latter stages of the walk to loch, and I was still curious to see how clear any traverses to the eastern wing of the Coire Mor a Chlachair might be.
The path, well made and rising at a comfortable gradient, quickly reached the point where the descent path from Creag Pitridh joined. I crossed the stream to the obvious continuation of the path, but followed it for just a few hundred metres. Just over an hour out from the car I decided to cut across and make for a point on the skyline: not too high to make it too brutal and not too low to be forced into enduring some of the steeper stretches of the rising corrie rim.
Thankfully, and more by luck than good judgement, I pitched it just right. The view of the scooped out corrie appeared as I arrived just below the so-called “wart.” It’s a good job physical features are unable to take legal action for defamation of character. What did it do wrong to warrant such an unkind description?
After the “crenellation” which stands proudly guarding access to the plateau beyond (sounds much better than a wart!) the gently rising gradient took me round the top of the corrie. Then the first arrival of Mr Sod announced itself. Having been clear, if a little dull, all morning, within moments of getting to the top of Beinn a Chlachair it was lost in mist and the gathering clouds were threatening rain.
Not to be outdone, lunch was devoured as I hung around and waited optimistically for conditions to improve: I was as confident as you can be that it was just a squall blowing through. Fortunately, I left the summit as it cleared, benefitting from a view of the next section of the route as it snaked along the plateau. I was grateful for the glimpse and opportunity to plan ahead as, within no time at all, another bank of cloud rolled in and obscured the view.
At this stage I joined up with “one man and his dog” who reached the top just ahead of me. Having ensured that he avoided heading off down the east spur of the corrie rather than finding the line across the plateau we enjoyed the company and conversation for the next half hour.
We went our separate ways as we started the descent prior to climbing Geal Charn. A helpfully clear view of the next few tracks and paths leading round to the upper slopes of Geal Charn was noted. Then I followed path towards the bealach at Cuil Mhaigh for a while before striking up and to the right to trace a more direct line to the top.
Cloud, Mr Sod and another shower visited again, and with each skyline that emerged from the mist there came another disappointment. It seemed an interminably long way along to the top with one shoulder after another appearing until the spiky cairn stood unmistakably on the skyline and a trig point peeped round from behind.
I’d made really good time up Beinn a Chlachair, but this one had taken far longer than I expected. And I was sadly greeted with no views. Instead, I sat huddled in the lee of the cairn with my jacket on and hoping to avoid having to don over trousers as well. The prevailing wind had soaked one side of my trousers on the way up; now it was time to turn round and get the other side done as well as I retraced my steps.
Just a couple of hundred feet down from the top the clouds blew through and clear views again gave me the opportunity to confirm the final bit of the day.
I scanned the horizon looking for the next lurking shower, hoping that this would be third time lucky. The first two tops of the day had been accompanied by the arrival of clouds. This next one was going to be special. I wanted the mountain gods to look down favourably on me: or at least give me the chance to time it right.
The pull up from the bealach to Creag Pitridh was the shortest and easiest of the day. I was, therefore, able to enjoy the moment (4.08pm on 19.07.12 – not that I’m a stickler for detail you understand) and the achievement. I didn’t need to collapse in a heap and waiting for recovery before being able to appreciate the surroundings and my one hundredth Munro.
Creag Pitridh is not a stunningly spectacular top. It’s neither massive nor imposing, but it is of no lesser quality for all that. It does fall away immediately on all sides, and you do get a sense of being on a proper summit rather than just a cairn deposited at some indeterminate location on the expanse of a plateau. But most importantly, it’s special for me now.
After the posing and the self-timed photographs, that took at least four attempts, it was back to the business of finishing the day safely. The grassy slopes down to the south west proved simple enough. Some patches were boggier than others, but nothing that warranted being called a “bog-fest” as elsewhere further south at the moment.
The upward track was soon reached and, as I headed back down towards the Lochan na Hearba, it became evident that neither the lighting nor the conditions had improved the view. The beach towels, shoreline bars and scantily clad sunbathers under their brightly coloured sun brollies were still missing: or was that just the wishful thinking of a tired mind?
So, with disappointment left on the beach but a sense of achievement left on the last top of the day I still felt a spring in my step as I walked out and back down to the car.
What’s next? Number 142 I suppose.
by Mountainlove » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:45 pm
Love the beach picture!!!!
by Stuart Angus » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:18 pm
by Graeme D » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:23 pm
by laconic surf » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:53 pm
Unfortunately for me Creag Pitridh managed to defeat me, after suffering a reoccurance of knee tendonitis on the descent of Beinn a'Chlachair, I managed to limp up Geal Charn but retired injured before the acsent of CP. It's one I shall have to return to and conquer another time, but not such a hardship as I get to visit that beautiful lochan once again
by gammy leg walker » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:10 pm
by Collaciotach » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:51 am
by Johnny Corbett » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:58 am
by jonny616 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:35 pm
by jenniferc6 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:11 pm
by scoob999 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:58 pm
Funny, there was a nudist convention on the beach when i past!
Great report, you have a way with words
by Huff_n_Puff » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:14 pm
The volleyball team were in the pavilion at tea when you went past!
by nathan79 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:19 pm
I had very similar conditions yesterday, though it was both sides of my trousers that got soaked, and my top.
I think i'm going to have to pen these Laggan hills in for some time this year, Having done the two Grahams there in March i should really do their big neighbours too.
Now get going on the next 100!