walkhighlands

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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Hard going up beinn eunaich

Hard going up beinn eunaich


Postby weaselmaster » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:00 pm

Route description: Beinn a'Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chochuill, Beinn Eunaich

Date walked: 24/11/2012

Time taken: 5.04 hours

Distance: 14.85 km

Ascent: 1198m

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Couldn't wait for the weekend to come round again - this is getting to be a bit obsessional! Had seen the forecast was reasonably good for the weekend, but was on my own and knew there was going to be snow about, so chose a couple of hills that didn't have demanding bits and would be ok for the dog too.

Set off from home at just after 6.30. Nice drive up, light by time got stopped at about 8.15. Parked in a wee layby just past the grey house at Castles estates - maybe 0.5km past the start.

Image
P1000362 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Anyway the car seemed safe there & I got ready & set off. Dry morning with some glimmers of sunshine,

Image
P1000341 by 23weasels, on Flickr

but the tops of the hills - from about 600m looked to be in cloud. Image
P1000338 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Walked up the farm track, with Finn Bboy on the lead as requested, having to divert a little up the hillside to get by some interested looking longhorns (dog's afraid of cows). Had decided that I was going to try and do a bit of map navigation today, rather than just relying on the satmap, so had the map out with me and made regular use of it, was quite helpful to use both the electronics and the paper map.Also decided to pay more attention to the land features, like the position of cairns - like the one marking the descent path.
Image
P1000340 by 23weasels, on Flickr

After a fairly easy amble up the track, the going got significantly steeper when I followed the trail up the side of the hill. It was very faint to begin with, and needed a keen eye to keep on track. Snow was lying by this time (about 650m elevation) - but it was patchy wet snow that was quite slippy. Swapped my walking pole for my axe and continued up - decided I didn't need to use crampons today. By now the clag had come down and visibility wasn't very good.

Image
P1000342 by 23weasels, on Flickr

A few hill sheep were dotted about and I tried to find landmarks to sight against, which was relatively successful. By the time I got to the bealach the wind had picked up considerably and was howling across me. The path (or imaginary one under the snow) took you quite near to the north edge, which had a pretty steep drop and there was a little bit of cornicing, which made me keep the dog away to the south side.

Image
P1000343 by 23weasels, on Flickr

I also decided to put on my goggles at this point, as I was getting the usual problems with glasses steaming up. I've never used these before, feeling a bit self conscious of looking like some kind of human fly, but they were great! No (or very occasionally, a little) steaming up, and my face was much warmer against the biting wind. being able to see where you are going in snow is definately an improvement from stumbling around and having to stop every few minutes to wipe your glasses. I'll be taking them again!

Image
P1000344 by 23weasels, on Flickr


From the bealach it's a fairly short and mostly flat walk along to the summit of Beinn a'Chochuill although there is a little bit of climb at the finish to reach the cairn. That's taken 2.5 hours from the car. Didn't stay for any longer than it took to take a few pics and followed my footsteps back along the ridge, though in places the traces had been whipped away already by the wind.

Image
P1000346 by 23weasels, on Flickr


Headed back to the bealach, the dog racing about enjoying the wind and probably the thought of going back downhill away from these awful places I take him.

Image
P1000347 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Past the junction of the path up to the bealach and carry straight on towards Beinn Eunaich - of which there's no sign whatsoever. Meet another couple of walkers with a black lab who've come up the steep way to do Eunaich first - that leaves me a good footprint path up to the summit, which helps. The snow's deep in places and having their footprints to follow gives some warning. But boy, it's a steep ascent - maybe cos I'm already a bit tired. Have to stop a few times for a puff of breath. It takes me one hour to go from summit to summit and I stop at the top of Eunaich for a quick bit of lunch, it being almost 1pm. Dog's a bit cross cos there's nothing for him :shock:

Image
P1000351 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Thought the sun was going to come out at one point, but the mist is still swirling around, giving only occasional views to the hills up to the north Pretty impressive ice crystals on the cairn...

Image
P1000353 by 23weasels, on Flickr


The first part of the descent is easy, although I quickly realise that the footprints of the couple of guys that I'd met earlier were on some different path to the one on my satmap - thankfully I've remembered to keep checking it and pick this up before I've gone too much off course. The terrain is white and featureless with the occasional boulder. In places the snow is waist deep, in others barely a covering. There's fantastic ice patterns on the grasses. Eventually I find what must be the path under the snow with what appear to be fox prints heading down. What nonsense was that about it being a steep descent, I'm thinking? At about 650m the snow clears and there's some nice views down to Kilchurn Castle and Loch Awe, glowing with golden light ahead. However, then I come to the turn down the side of the hill into the valley with the farm track at the bottom.

Image
P1000355 by 23weasels, on Flickr

This is indeed steep, slippy scree and wet grass, with the odd clump of sheep looking irate. It takes quite a time to get down safely, by this time I'm boiling hot! When back on the track i ditch my soft-shell, gloves, hat and walk back to the car in my base layer which is enough.

Image
P1000359 by 23weasels, on Flickr

What about the curly horns on this fella!

Image
P1000363 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Been using a couple of bits of new kit today, bought in preparation for going off on the winter skills course at Aviemore in a fortnight. Firstly - new sac - Osprey Mutant 38 instead of my well loved Talon 33 - bit more room and definately a warmer back with the new sac. Doesn't have a pocket on the waist strap for my camera though, which is irritating. Other new thing is a pair of Rab Guide Gloves which perform pretty well - I'm using Lidl liner gloves which I quite like, but was finding my hands getting cold with the various other gloves I have in the lst few weeks, especially the right hand holding the axe. These seemed pretty good, comfortable and reasonably able to open things with them on, but it did take about 10 mins for my fingers to heat up again after I'd taken them off for any reason.

Quite pleased with the time today, though legs are feeling it at the moment and I'm hoping to be able to do another pair of hills over at Glen Dochart tomorrow - we'll see :crazy:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29312277@N08/sets/72157632090335320
Last edited by weaselmaster on Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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weaselmaster
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Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Hard going up beinn eunaich

Postby McLEOD » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:54 pm

Enjoyable report bud, certainly looked cold higher up,
cheers :thumbup:
McLEOD
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Posts: 87
Joined: Oct 14, 2012

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