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Bogs? where!! Creag Mhor & Heasgarnish

Bogs? where!! Creag Mhor & Heasgarnish


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:44 pm

Route description: Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Heasgarnich, Creag Mhor (Glen Lochay)

Date walked: 09/02/2013

Time taken: 7.36 hours

Distance: 26.3 km

Ascent: 1517m

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These two had been on my mind for some months - "tough", "bogfest", "navigation difficult" were some of the mental tags I had put on them. Not to mention driving along the wee single track road in winter conditions.So I wasn't looking forward to having to go and do them and was mumping and moaning at work about what a slog it was going to be. Really, you'd think I was being forced to do this hillwalking malarky as an ordeal. Plus my foot was still sore with metatarsal pain after last weekend's hills and my knee was giving a bit of gyp after trying out a new running treadmill at work. Plus I was going to be another year older on Saturday. And my regular walking partner was out of action. Moan, moan, moan :roll: :roll: But the time comes for all things, and this weekend I'd decided they were going to be done.

How long - well, lots of the winter reports posted times of over 9 hours. That's not good. Specially when I wanted to be back in time for getting a bite to eat for my birthday meal at night. So I get away from the house just after 6, with a mild and windless morning on the cards and the roads fortunately clear of ice. Turned along the little single track road from Killin and found the car park with one other car there - couple of guys with a wee white scotty dog getting ready for the off. Never saw them again, though did think I heard them a couple of times, but maybe that was just the voices :crazy: .

Set off along the road to the farm, passing a few curious cows before turning L along the track for Creag Mhor. As I walked up the track it seemed apparent that this was going to be one of these days where you are drizzled apon and see nothing.
Image
Dismal morning start by 23weasels, on Flickr
The hills were cloaked in layers of mist and there was a fine smirr in the air - bad for glasses wearers - had to keep stopping to clear my line of sight :roll: So my moany expectations were being met so far.
Image
Track to CM by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Hydrowerks by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Road erosion by 23weasels, on Flickr

Otherwise, easy walking for the next 6km or so which is always a bit of a tonic for me, then turned up after the bridge at Batavaime. Needed to check the GPS as I knew you turned up after the second footbridge but had no memory of crossing one earlier. Old age clearly does not arrive unaccompanied :shock:

Image
Into the mist by 23weasels, on Flickr

Had to switch the track shoes for boots then as it was already onto snow. After some trackless wanderings came to Sron nan eun which was pretty steep - not sure I took the correct path as I headed straight up but it was a bit of fun and some much needed exercise after a week of lazing about.
Image
Steep up Sron nan eun by 23weasels, on Flickr

More mooching about trying to see where I was going in the clag - got to bealach slaidearan and saw CM looming ahead out of the mist. looked pretty serious, if truth be told.
Image
First glimpse CM by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Sky gradually clearing by 23weasels, on Flickr

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That's better! by 23weasels, on Flickr

But wonder of wonders, the mist seemed to be lifting, a golden disc of sun was pressing through the clag and there was a possibility of getting *a view* of sorts :clap: Looking at the steep rise ahead I reckoned that I'd put my crampons on now rather than having to do a balancing act on a steep incline. Managed to leave my axe on the rocks where I was doing this and had to track back a couple of hundred yards to retrieve it - second time in a week I've managed to leave it behind - more evidence of incipient dementia, I fear! Anyway, the climb up was accompanied by tantalising views over to Heasgarnish and beyond - just little tips of hills making me think how wonderful the views might be if you were to come up here on a clear day. In any case it was much better than I'd dared to hope for when I was walking up thru the clag and didn't think I'd see anything at all. I started to remember just why I go and do this hillwalking thing after all :wink:

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P1000889_Panorama by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Heasgarnish by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Ooh the view!! by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Heasgarnish from CM by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1000892 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1000894 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1000896 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1000899 by 23weasels, on Flickr


Stopped for a coffee and flapjack to try and bring some energy back to my feeble limbs at the summit - had taken 3.25 hours to get here and amazingly not a breath of wind and pleasantly warm in the sunshine.
Image
Summit Creag Mhor by 23weasels, on Flickr
Dog was mooching for something to eat too - having failed to replenish my supply of Jumbones he seemed happy enough with a couple of digestive biscuits.
Image
Do I have to do this every weekend? by 23weasels, on Flickr
I'd pulled on my warm jacket during the stop and- to tell the truth - felt so comfortable that I could have sat there just drinking in the skyline for ages, but I knew that hours of misery on the bogs awaited, so decided to press on, taking care to go round to the W so as to miss the craggy bits of Creag Mhor.
Image
Looking back at crags on CM by 23weasels, on Flickr
Then began a long traipse over to Heasgarnish over flattish plains of thick mostly soft snow. Sometimes I'd meet an unexpected and almost unseen drop in the snow and tumble down a few feet, at others there was always the "thrill" of plunging into the bed of a stream that had been covered by snow drifts.
Image
Towards BH by 23weasels, on Flickr
However, it was reasonably easy going apart from that until I got to the first uppy bit of Heasgarnish - Sron Tairbh. From that point on it was a fairly constant pull upwards, sometimes finding an icy track that snaked in and out of the snow, at other times just having to pick the best looking route up the steeper sections. Fortunately there were none of the frozen sheets of snow on the steep parts that had discomfited the dog last week on Achaladair, it was soft enough for him not to slip and struggle on. As a precaution - to stop me choking him half to death by grabbing him by the collar - I'd put on his car harness, but didn't actually have to use it. In fact the only time he seemed less than happy was coming down the steep slopes from Heasgarnish where he was doing a bit of glissading with front paws out straight.

Having reached to top of Stob an fhir bhogha at 1029m I knew most of the hard work was over and trotted quite merrily over the plateau
Image
Clag returns by 23weasels, on Flickr
towards to top of Heasgarnish, being relieved to see the cairn finally come into sight.
Image
Almost there! by 23weasels, on Flickr

Had taken just under 5 hours to this point. Another stop for a roll & coffee, a little disappointed that the cloud hadn't cleared as much as on CM, but still enjoying a thin stripe of blue sky over to the East.
Image
Summit BH by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1000910 by 23weasels, on Flickr
Descended by the east slope from Heasgarnish - plenty of spots for a glissade if you fancied it, but still cramponed up I decided to forego that pleasure. Nice views of the peak I'd just climbed when I turned around.
Image
BH by 23weasels, on Flickr

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BH plateau by 23weasels, on Flickr
Now came the bit I wasn't looking forward to, the BOGS :( It looks like a fairly bleak terrain of heather and bogs at the best of times, but under snow and with clag limiting the visibility I did worry a little about gettting marooned in freezing swamp. The snow was softer down here and the land not as frozen as I would have liked. Off in the distance a herd of deer startled by my approach melted into the mist, without the dog even registering their presence. There were sweeps of level snow with the disconcerting tuneful tinkle of water running in places beneath it. Sometimes you could see a faint blue line that traced the course of the stream, but other times there was nothing to give the position away until you stepped right through the covering snow and plunged :oops: This happened more than once and did make me uneasy walking over the snowfields, although I did try and keep to places that had bits of vegetation poking out of the snow crust.

The final KM or so towards the Hydro track seemed to be the boggiest, but fortunately there was sufficient ice topping the bogs for me to - albeit rather gingerly - walk over without experiencing the real character of a trip to Heasgarnish - bogs up to the waist :) A few times I did think I was going to break through, but made it. Followed some ski tracks back toward the road and - for all my love of unspoiled wilderness - I was relieved to get my feet back onto tarmac. Changed back into my trail shoes, bringing instant relief and met a group of skiers from Edinburgh Uni passing by on the road - dog was delighted to see people again if a bit bemused by their mode of locomotion, and howled in a friendly collie manner in their genreal direction.
Image
Back on the track - with skiiers! by 23weasels, on Flickr
The road had a lot more snow and ice up here than I had been expecting, but a brisk pace was set anyway and before too long I'd met the junction with this morning's track and was heading down into the valley with Kenknock Farm ahead - mist was clear at ground level.
Image
Valley by 23weasels, on Flickr
Saw the big hydro pipe heading over the hill facing and looking distinctly unnatural and out of place. Back down through the farm without any cattle encounters and back to the car park. Done and dusted in seven and a half hours, which meant that I'd not only get my dinner on time but would be able to drive back home in the light - result!

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Kenknock farm by 23weasels, on Flickr

So after all my moans before the walk, it had been a fine day out - if a little bit tiring on the legs. I'll remind myself that even the most un-looked-forward-to hill walk can bring something great in future.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Bogs? where!! Creag Mhor & Heasgarnish

Postby rockhopper » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:18 am

Can remember walking this route but the opposite way to you, Beinn Heasgarnich first then Creag Mhor - sounds like you found Sron nan Eun just as tricky but in reverse though. Bit of a mixed bag weatherwise but at least it cleared up a bit in the middle to give you some nice atmospheric shots - cheers :)
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Re: Bogs? where!! Creag Mhor & Heasgarnish

Postby PeteR » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:21 pm

That's a tough one WM, even without the snow. Bring back memories though, mostly shocking one :lol: I recall the climb up Sron nan Eun was tough and the bog btween the two hills even tougher :shock: Still good hills all the same. A shame you didn't quite get the views, but some nice photos all the same from the top of CM :D
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Re: Bogs? where!! Creag Mhor & Heasgarnish

Postby HOODY BOY » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:24 pm

Excellent report!

I was one of the two guys with the dog you met at the start. We had a great day as well, in total it took us 8hrs and 10mins. We followed your footsteps nearly all the way, it was a bonus although we also had our own means of navigation.

Must say we were impressed with the pace you set, especially in those conditions!

Jim
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Re: Bogs? where!! Creag Mhor & Heasgarnish

Postby simon-b » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:25 pm

Interesting pictures, WM, well done for managing these two in the snow. I agree with you all about Sron nan Eun, I did it in thick mist and rain. Not being able to locate the easy gully described in the WH route description, a desperate scramble up slippery rocks and vegetation was involved to get onto the ridge. WM, I can understand you wanting to be careful when crossing snow covered peat hags. Actually, those around BH weren't as bad as you might imagine when I encountered them in wet conditions.
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Re: Bogs? where!! Creag Mhor & Heasgarnish

Postby Silverhill » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:02 pm

An entertaining report WM! They are ticked off now, so two less things to moan about :lol:
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Re: Bogs? where!! Creag Mhor & Heasgarnish

Postby weaselmaster » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:59 pm

Silverhill wrote:An entertaining report WM! They are ticked off now, so two less things to moan about :lol:


I'm sure I'll find other things to moan about, don't worry!
Currently contemplating some overnight camping this weekend (if the avalanche forecast doesn't completely wreck my plans) so given the forecast of rain drizzle etc I'm sure I can be miserable about that.
:lol: Love it really!!
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