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First snowy walk - Carn Chuinneag
by BlackPanther » Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:25 pm
Route description: Carn Chuinneag, Strath Carron, Ardgay
Corbetts included on this walk: Carn Chuinneag
Date walked: 03/11/2012
Time taken: 5 hours
Distance: 18.5 km
Ascent: 800m10 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).
Carn Chuinneag stroke me as a perfect choice. The whole walk is on good paths/tracks and with the culling season over we didn't have to worry about disturbing stalkers.
It turned out simply a superb day - though cold. I must say, Carn Chuinneag is one of easier Corbetts, even regarding the distance (9 km from the starting point to the summit) and a perfect one to tackle in winter conditions. Stalker's paths are well marked and the final pathless 100m of ascent is a straightforward jaunt up the heathery slope (snowy slope in our case). So a huge recommendation for this one for anybody, even for beginners! As the big cold time is coming, Carn Chuinneag may see more visitors
The starting point with a good parking area is at the end of the public road leading towards Glen Calvie.
We walked towards Glencalvie Lodge. Here WH description proved very useful - we were not sure if the private road was accessible for public use.
Crossing Glencalvie Bridge:
River Calvie from the bridge:
The tree house:
We followed the track past Glencalvie Lodge (there are "public path" indicators). The day was shaping up nicely and the surrounding lower hills brightened up with autumn colours:
The track is excellent all the way to the bottom of the hill. It can be cycled to save time, but honestly, a fit person can walk the distance in less than 2 hours.
The track follows the lovely, quiet Glen Calvie, with our target hill in sight all the time:
We stopped for a short time by this footbridge - it leads to Diebidale Lodge:
All cloud burned off and the sky was now blue, our hopes for excellent views from higher ground rising...
Diebidale Lodge and the neighbouring lower hill Cnoc na Tuirbhe:
At the bottom of our Corbett we left the track and picked up a good stalkers path, zig-zagging up the northern shoulder, A'Chioch. Going was generally easy but after the first 100m ice appeared on the path - we slowed down and made sure we didn't experience any somersaulting on slippery ground
It was getting even colder and as soon as we emerged on the top of the shoulder, we stopped to dress up. Here, the first good views showed up. Oooh, I loved this, even with the frost pinching my nose!
The climb would continue in a minute...
...but at the moment let's see what's in store Conival-Ben More Assynt and Braebag:
Carn a' Choin Deirg:
We moved on after 10 minutes, our limbs were freezing. Brrrr! It was well below zero already and with fresh wind picking up, I was worried that the summit will give us a very frosty welcome!
The path continued in S direction up the slope, not too steep and the annoying ice was now replaced with snow. The higher we climbed the more fluffy stuff It was beginning to look like real winter!
The path turned sharply NE and we followed this branch as it was the shortest way to the summit:
The best views were still west and north, especially towards the massive bulk of Beinn Dearg and surrounding Munros:
Even wrapped in multiple layers, windproof jacket, hat and gloves,I still felt pretty coooold but at the same time, we walked through the true winter wonderland:
Looking back to Carn Ban and Carn a' Choin Deirg, with Cul Mor and Cul Beag in the distance:
Glen Calvie from above:
For the final 100m of ascent we left the path (it doesn't reach the summit) and cut straight up the slope to the top of the Corbett. Here the winter wonderland experience was even better!
We reached the summit area with big smiles but they soon faded as our bodies weren't very happy with the Arctic temperature... Our initial plan was of course a hot cuppa & freshly baked cake picnic by the trig point but sadly, we had to give up the idea. It was simply too cold
Still, we spent enough time on the summit to take lots of photos and admire the beautiful landscape around us. I must say, Carn Chuinneag in an UNUSUAL viewpoint, most of the surrounding mountains seen from an odd angle. We promised ourselves, we will re-do this hill some time in the future, in higher temperatures, and have our planned picnic on the summit!
So here they are, the weird angles
View east, maybe not the most interesting side of the hill, but notice Dornoch Firth to the left and Cromarty Firth to the right!
Suilven peeking out from behind Carn a' Choin Deirg:
Ben Dearg group again:
I guess these steep, rocky cliffs must be the eastern face of Seana Braigh:
Looking north from the summit, into the vast emptiness of Sutherland:
Only Ben Wyvis looks identical from every angle. Always the same long-ish, bulky shape, reminding me of an upturned coffin
Cul Beag (left) and Ben Mor Coigach (right):
The summit cairn looking very moody:
My summit photo - the big smile says it all. My Corbett no. 45 and officially 20% of the Corbett list ticked off Am I 1/5 of a Corbeteer now?
One last glimpse west towards the great views and it was time to go back...
On a warmer day we would probably fancy returning over the lower top (829m) but with our limbs freezing we decided to retrace our steps back to the stalkers path. We walked half way down the mountain and eventually found a relatively sheltered spot, with a flat rock to sit on. Hot tea and a piece of cake were now a nice treat!
We returned to the car after 5 hours, would have been faster but for the ice on the path, but I must say this is another modest hill with grand panoramas, so if you decide to follow our footsteps, take your time to climb it and enjoy every moment! Meow!
Sunday looked good as well so on the next day we woke up ready for more - and we headed for Glen Shiel If Carn Chuinneag was a winter treat, our Sunday walk has to be called a winter adventure, with lots of snow trudging involved! TR to follow
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