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Ben Alder the easy way, by train - non-stop

Ben Alder the easy way, by train - non-stop

Postby guyhansfordmbcs » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:52 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Bheoil, Ben Alder, Carn Dearg (Corrour), Sgor Gaibhre

Date walked: 15/06/2003

Time taken: 22 hours

Distance: 43 km

Ascent: 2030m

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You've got dozens of reports on walks over Ben Alder and its neighbours but everyone seems to have done it the hard way, lugging stoves and sleeping bags and groceries. I can't be bothered carrying all that stuff, all I want to do with a mountain is look at it and walk on it. Has nobody else done it the easy way?
I went at (approx.) midsummer, left Dalwhinnie station at 15:45 on 15th June 2003 and arrived at Corrour station at 13:57 on the 16th, after a midnight lunch on Ben Alder.
Ben Alder was the only summit where I stopped for refreshment. The rest of the lunch breaks were just before each steep ascent, boosted each time by 12-15 minutes' complete rest on a convenient slab.
I never used a torch, except a tiny keyfob torch to get my bearing to leave Ben Alder's summit. I'd actually taken a red light so I could read without spoiling my night vision but of course it bleached out all the contour lines so it was no use. The fob light showed me (10 minutes before midnight GMT) that I could walk 1100m aiming at a point on the slope of Beinn na Lap. That led to a deep descent to cross over to Beinn a'Chumhainn. It really was dark there and I went down singing and clapping because the col was full of deer all grunting and snuffling. Maybe they were the hundreds who had fled from the summit of Beinn Bheoil.
At the top of Beinn a'Chumhainn I had 360 degrees clear view, naming every hill all around except one big clear cone away to the SE that had me puzzled for several minutes. Schiehallion! My only excuse is that it was 03:50. On the way up Sgor Choinnich a ptarmigan gave a classic decoy display to lure me away from the chicks that were almost under my feet. She kept stopping to look back, like a comic pausing for applause. Those two tops were more interesting than Sgor Gaibhre but Carn Dearg was the only poor bit of the crossing: the wind dropped from light to zero so all the midges came roaring up and I fled. The descent from there to Corrour was the only poor terrain of the whole trip.
I had a pint of milk, a 1 litre Platypus and a 2 litre hydration. The last glugs from the hydration came just as I got down onto the main track. It would have lasted to the station but I stopped to take a layer off on the Pattack road and, when I picked the sack up, I found I'd been standing on the mouthpiece and the water was running out.
My usual diet of Geobars served me well but I'd taken bars of chocolate for quicker energy and I found that milk chocolate becomes very unappetising after a long night: it needs to be dark with orange or ginger.
I've had midsummer midnight lunches since then on Beinn Eibhinn, Braeriach and Beinn a'Bhuird. The worst was one year when the weather was poor so I just went to the Cobbler. I couldn't stay upright in the wind at the top so I spent midnight being dripped on under a Narnain Boulder then dossed down in the waiting room at the station. The longest walk was in May 2008, soloing the route of June's Caledonian Challenge with no backup, 80km in 25hours 24 minutes, but that didn't include any hills.
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Re: Ben Alder the easy way, by train - non-stop

Postby mrssanta » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:23 pm

great idea I'd love to do something like that. how many geobars do you eat in 24 hours?
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Re: Ben Alder the easy way, by train - non-stop

Postby basscadet » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:16 pm

Oh nice idea to do these like that. A good way to miss all the other folk if you want to get away as well :)
I only do an annual summer solstace walk overnight really.. but have done many a walk in on a Friday night in the winter.. The dark hardly ever gets too dark :D
I like carrying my pack now - feel odd if I dont have at least 7kg strapped on.. I can remember when it was a struggle though, it does take a while to get used to it. Just think of all the other hills you could of done in the area if you were there for a couple of days :thumbup:

Incidentally, if you have to use a white light in the dark to read your map, shut one eye while the white light is on, and you will find that your night vision is maintained ;)
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