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Around Lochay

Around Lochay


Postby whiteburn » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:27 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Heasgarnich, Ben Challum, Creag Mhor (Glen Lochay), Meall Glas, Sgiath Chuil

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn nan Imirean, Cam Chreag (Glen Lyon)

Date walked: 24/07/2012

Time taken: 31 hours

Distance: 37 km

Ascent: 3045m

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The plan was to complete a loop around the head of Glen Lochay with an overnight camp somewhere around Bienn Challum, while the hills don’t really form a natural chain I figured tackling them this way provided some added interest.

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Set off from the car park at around 10:45 with low cloud stubbornly hugging the summits around glen Lochay.

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At Kenknock headed north up the road over to Glen Lyon and at the bealach around +500m (NN 447392) I left the road and headed west towards Point 949m to the north east of Beinn Heasgarnich’s summit. It took 1 ½ hrs of bog trotting and zig zagging peat hags to reach the ridge where a short stop for a late lunch was called for. The summit was easily reached after a short 40 mins climb; the cloud had lifted giving good views of the way ahead.

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A good path led over Stob an Fhir-Bhogha before disappearing during the descent towards Creag Mhor. The direct ascent from the bealach to Creag Mhor is blocked by some quite steep crags so I bypassed these by swinging around to the north (right on ascent) to join the ridge from Meall Toinail, still a tough ~350m climb to get up to the ridge but once there easier slopes led to the summit.

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Headed west above Coire-cheathaich and around to Stob non Clach before descending south-west to more bog trotting across the bealach and another steep 150m ascent leading up to the ridge of Cam Chreag. I dropped the rucksack and a short trog of 5-600m led to the summit; I returned and set off south – east; the descend to the bealach following the old fence line looked ridiculously steep so I bypassed the worst by swinging off to the north (right on descent).
Found good water but no good campsite at Bealach Ghlas Leathaid (+575m) so loaded up with water and headed off for the summit of Ben Challum; by now the legs were feeling quite weary after around 17km and 1500m ascent. As luck would have it found a nice camp site around 100m higher so elected to stop for the night at 18:30 with a strong westerly whistling past and the cloud sinking quickly.

07:30 everything packed, except the tent, and the morning sun seemed to be in with a fighting chance of clearing the clouds above the summits.

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07:45 and I made tracks towards the summit of Ben Challum by its north-west ridge, in between the banks of cloud I could see steep craggy bits on the ridge above, I’d seen them the day before from across the bealach and they either looked to be by-passable or simple scrambles but time would tell.
While steep the ridge proved relatively straight forward, a grade 5 sheep track (quadruped tactics required) on the left bypassed all the bad bits. Once above the crags a straight forward yomp led up to the top which was now just at the base of the clouds and South Top was intermittently in view through gaps in the cloud.

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From South Top I descended to the south west following the normal ascent route before swinging off south east at around +700m, spooked a fox laying up in the grass (5m away) which took off like a rocket and seemed to clear 500m in 30 secs!
The crossing of the Lairig an Lochain (+400m) proved another great place for the bog trotting enthusiast and I was glad to finally reach the south west ridge of Beinn nan Imirean. Easy going up fairly gentle grass slopes led to the summit with a small cairn perched upon the summit rocks, time for an early lunch.

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The sun’s shining, a light breeze, 200m down, some more bog trotting, 300m up and it’s Meall Glas! The route ahead across Beinn Cheathaich and onwards to towards Sgiath Chuil clearly visible.

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Commenced the descent from Beinn Cheathaich by heading north down the ridge 2-300m before swinging east and dropping to more bog! Had look for an ‘easy’ line or track ascending Sgiath Chuil from the bealach but couldn’t see anything so I just headed straight up; by the top of the 300m climb the legs were burning! Dropped the sack and skipped along the undulating ridge to the summit and a great panorama.

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Descended back to the valley along the north ridge of Meall a’Churain follow a reasonable path to around NN 461342 where it disappeared in amongst the peat hags and bog. Finally just made a bee line across the bogs for the end of the zig zag track though the woods (NN 466 355) and got back the car park at 16:50.

The round trip took 31 hrs (16:45 walking, including lunch stops).
whiteburn
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Posts: 306
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Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Around Lochay

Postby mike hunter » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:49 am

read your report and loved it as i'm planning the same trip myself.but will camp 2 nights on route because of 300mile each way drive so won't get walking till lunchtime. cheers.
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mike hunter
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Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Location: teesside north east

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