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Twilight zone and torn trousers on Beinn Mholach

Twilight zone and torn trousers on Beinn Mholach


Postby BlackPanther » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:52 pm

Route description: Beinn Mholach, from Dalnaspidal

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Mholach

Date walked: 04/03/2013

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 23.5 km

Ascent: 571m

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I had this particular Corbett high on my to-do list since the WH route appeared on the page. It may be a long distance to cover to reach the summit, but I was tempted by the location of Beinn Mholach, right in the middle of the wilderness between Drumochter hills and Loch Rannoch. The access is made easier by the good track running along the northern shore of Loch Garry.
Last December, when we climbed The Sow and Meall na Leitreach, I kept glancing SW along Loch Garry, thinking about the route to Beinn Mholach and how much time it would take to get there. Of course it was a walk to be kept for a longer day, possibly late spring or even summer, but my patience has worn thin and at the first good opportunity I dragged Kevin down the A9 :lol: :lol:
It was Monday the 4th of March and the day before we had enjoyed a long, but entertaining outing to Loch ma Stac, climbing Meall a'Chrathaich en route. Weather was said to be relatively good, with high cloud and only freshening winds, so the decision was made quickly and we drove to Drumochter Pass. Only as we were on our way, we noticed the haze in the air. OK, the cloud was much higher than the summits, but the mist spoiled distant views completely!
Well, Kevin said, one can't have it all, haze or no haze, we'll still do it! :D
We arrived at the small car park by Dalnaspidal Lodge still bearing in mind, that the previous time we parked there, we struggled to drive back out on the icy track. This time though, all the ice was gone and we had no problems of such kind. Also, we were the only walkers on this route :D which was understandable as it was Monday, and out of season.
Our route:

Track_04-MAR-13 BEINN MHOLACH.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


The Sow from Dalnaspidal:
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The haze was unbelievably thick, restricting views to only the nearby mountains - we could hardly see the hills at the other end of Loch Garry!
We started by walking along the canal and past the weirs:
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View back to Dalnaspidal:
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So that's how hazy it was. I must say, I've been walking the hills for 5 years and I have never seen the air so dirty. The wind was blowing from the south so I guess it was the warm, hazy air from over the main continent moving on to Scotland. Still, unusual.
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The track along Loch Garry allows quick progress, it could be cycled for about 5 km from Dalnaspidal.
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We calculated, we had more than enough time to climb the Corbett and get back before the nightfall. Strangely, the misty conditions made it feel like the whole day was one long twilight :shock:
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We amused ourselves by spotting wildlife. No gorillas in the mist, but some white hoppers...
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...and red-hatted grrrrrouse:
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The track passes a pumping station:
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...and then climbs a bit, to reveal better views. If only it wasn't so hazy!
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Beinn Mholach is hidden from view at this stage:
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The good track ends abruptly about 1 mile after passing the pumping station. Now, it's a trudge across the wet moorland...
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It turned out, the wettest part of the route wasn't as bad as we had expected. Most of the time we followed a faint track. the best way to cross this is to keep just below the line of small lumps and bumps - there's no point in climbing higher along the slopes, as one would have to descend to cross the bridge later on, anyway.
We reached the river (Allt Shallainn) and turned due west, along its banks:
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Now we could see our target hill, its shapely dome just in front of us. But the bridge was nowhere to be seen. I wondered, maybe it's no longer there, in such case we have a problem. The river was very much in spate!
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The day looks much gloomier in the pictures than it really was, it might have been hazy but generally very pleasant, not too cold and almost no wind:
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Five minutes later, we found the bridge - looks like it was still where it should be :lol: :lol: :lol:
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River in spate!
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The gate to Beinn Mholach officially open:
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The track past the bridge meanders through the heather:
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... and it leads to Duinish bothy.
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We left the visit to the bothy for later, and rushed off to climb the mountain first. There is a sketchy path:
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...but it was hard to find once we entered the snow zone. The impression may be, easy slopes, but the snow was rather soft and quite deep in places, so soon we were sweating! More like two steps up, one step down.
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Views back to Loch Garry, can you believe this photo was taken at almost exactly midday??? Looks more like just after sunset!
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A long and winding road... Somebody must have driven up the hill on a quad:
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We aimed for the first craggy outcrop (580m on 1-25k map) and soon climbed past. Looking back, one would expect to see the panorama to the south, with Schiehallion dominating the view. In our case, we had to imagine, it was there...
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I wouldn't be a Panther if I didn't jump over a few rocks...
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View west to the "backside" of Drumochter Munros:
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We reached Creag nan Gabhar, the lower top, and finally saw the summit. It didn't look far:
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There are no technical difficulties on the ridge, it's wide and heathery, and all rocky bits can easily be avoided. Even in snowy conditions, we didn't even need crampons. The snow was too soft for them anyway. Snow shoes would have been more appropriate :lol: :lol:
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Who nicked the views????
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The final push:
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The summit cairn and the trigpoint peeking out from behind:
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The sun was trying to deliver some better light through the high cloud, but had no chance to succeed...
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Looking back to Creag nan Gabhar:
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So here we are...
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Kevin run to the summit cairn first, I stayed behind to do some videos... Not that it would record much of the view anyway. Just for fun.
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Looking SW past the trigpoint:
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We could just about see Loch Rannoch:
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Kevin by the cairn:
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I posed for my summit photo...
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...and only seconds after this shot was taken, I took off my rucksack and bent down to open it... Then suddenly I heard a loud sound of tearing material. Bang! My old walking trousers tore right across my bum. WHAT A HUMILIATION!!! :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:
The hole was big and sadly, well beyond any repair. Luckily, I was wearing warm leggings underneath so I was still well protected from the cold. One more luck, there was nobody else about to see my embarrassment, nobody to witness Panther walking down the mountain in torn trousers :shock: :shock:
We spent some time on the summit of Beinn Mholach, hoping for maybe more sunshine, but the twilight zone wasn't going anywhere...
Loch Errochty in the mist:
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Descending the hill didn't take us much time, the half-soft snow proved ideal for quick running down the slope. So whatever time we lost on the ascent, was gained back on the way down.
We visited the Duinish Bothy. It was empty, but at least we could sit down and have something to eat in dry conditions:
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All that was left now was the long trudge back along Loch Garry, for which we had more than enough time.
Summing up, it was a good outing, even with the views obstructed and my trousers torn :wink: Meow!
On Tuesday we tackled a couple of easy Munros, the haze still stay put, we had a lot of fun climbing in crampons and spent I don't want to know how much on petrol. The story will follow soon.
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BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3099
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Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Twilight zone and torn trousers on Beinn Mholach

Postby ChrisW » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:06 pm

Another fine report BP, had me laughing at the torn trousers....so draughty when they tear like that :lol: I remember these strange hazy days from my time in Scotland, it all just kind of hangs there doing nothing except ruining the views :roll: Looking forward to more of your stay-cation stories :D
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ChrisW
Scrambler
 
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Re: Twilight zone and torn trousers on Beinn Mholach

Postby Lenore » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:24 pm

A grouse, cool! I've never seen them and I've only recently found out they are native to the Netherlands as well, though they can only be found in one tiny area in the east. I was there last week but spotted none. I was told your best shot at spotting them is dawn, but perhaps your long twilight fooled them?

I like the fluffy white bunny :D
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Lenore
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Re: Twilight zone and torn trousers on Beinn Mholach

Postby ballarat » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:19 pm

a great report,shame aboot the breeks :(

the quad would have been taken up by one of our modern day fat gamekeepers i would guess,or perhaps an equally plump shepherd/hill ranger/warden type :)
ballarat
Wanderer
 
Posts: 127
Joined: Feb 26, 2013
Location: city of sunderland

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