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Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter


Postby sloosh » Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:56 pm

Route description: Beinn Udlamain and Sgairneach Mhor

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Udlamain, Sgairneach Mhor

Date walked: 04/12/2009

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 14 km

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Forecast was looking good so went for 2 of the Drumochter munros. It was freezing when I got there but was greeted by the sight of some picturesque mountains bathed in moonlight so in between teeth chatter I snapped some pics. Most of them were blurry but did get one or two that weren't.

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Sow of Atholl with Sgairneach Mhor in the background


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Train tracks


Set off at 8 and plodded up the landrover track, whinging silently to myself about the two inches of snow slowing me down -- ha!

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Path and hills in the moonlight


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Sunrise beginning to spill onto the hills


Saw some deer

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Some deer


Found a spot to cross the river and took a mad double-legged jump like a demented frog to get across.

Trudged my way upwards through ever-deepening snow, trying to stay on the bits where the heather was just poking through or that was wind-scoured so I didn't sink too deep. Managed to find my first burn of the day when my left leg suddenly sunk up to my derriere and I ended up face first in the snow. Ended up walking for a while with a big ice lump where my left boot should have been. :?

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Heather amid the drifting snow


Saw another nutcase, er, hillwalker out walking.

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Figure in the snow


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Sun beating down


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Footsteps


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Getting near the top


Made it to the top and admired the views. Had a nice wee chat with the other walker when he appeared a while later and he was kind enough to take a picture for me. :)

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Me doing a snow angel


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Views were stunning


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My new friend heading back


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Thing at the top


Headed off for the second munro of the day. I was a wee bit concerned I would run out of light if I went for it but hoped the going underfoot would be a bit better than Sgairneach Mhor. Turned out Sgairneach Mhor was the good one.

Found some nice, deep snowdrifts to 'enjoy' forcing my way through. One leg or another disappearing all the way up to my behind into the snow meant I had located my second burn of the day... then the third. Decided I didn't like falling face-first into the snow any more.

Eventually struggled my way to the line of fence posts that, covered with ice, were lit up like beacons in the bright sunlight.

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My footsteps through the snow from Sgairneach Mhor


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Iced up fence posts


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close up


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glimpse of Loch Ericht


Stopped at the top of Beinn Udlamain for a cuppy and burrowed my way into a big snowdrift in the shelter cairn to keep warm, acutely aware of the vanishing light and the need to get moving but too knackered to continue without a bite to eat. Texted home to aprise them I'd be a bit later than I thought and not to call any yellow 'taxis'.

Since I knew the descent was going to be steep if I went via the route from Walkhighlands I decided it wouldn't make much difference if I took a short cut off the hill and jumped off early down an equally steep bit to get to the landrover track before dark.

Found my fourth burn of the day when I dropped up to my chest in a huge snowdrift while crossing a deep cleft in the hillside. Having watched lots of Tarzan films as a kid I knew the best way out of quicksand (I was stuck) was to spread the weight, so I leaned backwards to lie on the snow and with some difficulty managed to free first one leg then the other. Once I'd done that I was able to roll until I was able to gain some purchase and drag myself onto more solid ground. Then it was waist deep snow most of the way down to the landrover track with lots of slipping and sliding.

Had to break out the headtorch about two kilometres from the car but after the hillside adventures it was a relatively uneventful walk back.
Last edited by sloosh on Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:42 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby davetherave » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:09 pm

Some cracking picks there sloosh, When did you walk this sloosh it says Dec 5th 2day ??

I did part of this round on Nov 28th was probably my best day in the hills 2 date. Check out my report. :)
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby kinley » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:15 pm

Gorgeous - although hard work. 8)

I may be wrong but it looks as though your fellow walker posted his trip report on another site earlier today :)
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby sloosh » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:16 pm

davetherave wrote:Some cracking picks there sloosh, When did you walk this sloosh it says Dec 5th 2day ??

I did part of this round on Nov 28th was probably my best day in the hills 2 date. Check out my report. :)

Thanks.

Fixed the date -- it was yesterday.

I've read your report. :) I believe I said I thought you were nuts for going for the last hill when you knew the light was failing, exactly what I did yesterday and a detail that my subconscious kept reminding of when I was watching the light fade.

How was the snow when you did them? Was it really tough going through knee-deep stuff most of the time?
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby sloosh » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:16 pm

kinley wrote:Gorgeous - although hard work. 8)

I may be wrong but it looks as though your fellow walker posted his trip report on another site earlier today :)

Thanks.

Yes! That's the chap I was chatting to. :)
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby davetherave » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:51 pm

sloosh wrote:How was the snow when you did them? Was it really tough going through knee-deep stuff most of the time?



Your right i was probably nuts trying to squeeze in the corbett as well. The snow was deep in parts, but not near the depth you encountered. :) was probably at its deepest coming off Sgairneach Mhor heading to the 758 spot height on the o/s map.
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby John Burgess » Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:09 pm

Lovely photos. Glad I wasn't the only one with the chance to get out yesterday. What a day - though I can imagine what the route between the two hills must have been like!

All the best,

John
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby Alan S » Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:43 pm

Great report and pics sloosh
I did think about doing these last month but im definetly heading there next year :thumbup:
Like the fence post shots 8)
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby sloosh » Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:10 pm

Thanks John and Alan. :thumbup:
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby stewbail » Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:29 pm

Brilliant pics sloosh. But "why does it always rain on me!!!" lol
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby sloosh » Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:44 pm

stewbail wrote:Brilliant pics sloosh. But "why does it always rain on me!!!" lol

lol. Cheers. You're just lucky I guess. :lol:
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby mountain coward » Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:41 am

Really enjoyed that report and meringue pics! :D One of my favourite areas... Did you know that Sgairneach Mor holds the snow in it's corrie longer than any other hill in the area? (That's what the folks at Balsporran tell me and, after gazing out of their kitchen window at it often enough, I'm sure they're right!)
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby sloosh » Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:20 pm

mountain coward wrote:Really enjoyed that report and meringue pics! :D One of my favourite areas... Did you know that Sgairneach Mor holds the snow in it's corrie longer than any other hill in the area? (That's what the folks at Balsporran tell me and, after gazing out of their kitchen window at it often enough, I'm sure they're right!)

Thanks. :)

I believe them as well. The corrie doesn't get any direct sun as far as I could see so it makes sense.
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby kinley » Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:48 pm

What particularly caught my eye in the 2 reports were these 2 pics - the 2nd has the spot the 1st photographer stopped :lol:

Image
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Re: Snowdrifts and burn-finding at Drumochter

Postby David.Ferguson » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:10 am

Lovely pictures sloosh.Did you need crampons at all.?

Cheers

David.
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