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A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping


Postby mrssanta » Sun Mar 31, 2013 6:20 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Achaladair

Date walked: 28/03/2013

Distance: 21.8 km

Ascent: 1329m

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We planned this trip months ago when we discovered that our daughter's school had a teacher training day on Thursday 28th March. Having a plan A B C etc is always a good idea. The original plan had been to walk up from Achallater farm in the morning, set up camp in Coire Daingean, pop up Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Dorain before bed, and next day climb Beinn Achaladair, Beinn a'Chreachain and possibly Mhanach, camp a second night and then home in time for Easter. So far so good. Nothing wrong with thinking big!
So there was much anxious watching of snow and weather forecasts in the last few weeks as the winter seemed to go on and on forever. We also found some quizzes on avalanche awareness and theoretically did quite well, although without any decent snow to go and practise on. We've had the ice axes and crampons for a few years now, but it's usually been a case of searching out a patch of leftover snow to use them on!
Anyhow a wee post on here at the beginning of the week and nobody said "don't go you fools!!" The weather forecast improving every day, so here we are on Thursday morning setting off from my brother's house in Milngavie, me, Rudolph and Coldwetandhungry off on a winter adventure!
As we drove up the A82 it was overcast with snow flurries so a late second breakfast in the Green Welly was in order, and it was nearly noon by the time we set off from the car park at Achallater farm, still a little overcast but not snowing any more.
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Looking over Loch Tulla just after setting off

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looking West from the railway bridge

By the time we reached the railway crossing the sun was beginning to come out, and we stopped and removed fleeces. Not long after crossing the railway we reached the snowline and found out how much hard work we had let ourselves in for! But as we trudged upwards the day got better and better with fantastic views opening up behind us.
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beinn an Dothaidh

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amazing icicles and the snow-covered burn

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Horizontal lines on lower slopes of Beinn Achaladair. Does anyone know what these are?

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P3280414.jpg
Rudolph and Coldwetandhungry having fun

Bit of a scary moment at about the 500 metre mark where we made a poor route choice and found ourselves on a steep slippy bit, which necessitated a stop for refreshments and putting fleeces back on, but after that we were on our way. The footering about on the gpx track shows where we dumped the bags at a potential camp spot and went looking for a better one.
P3280420.jpg
view from first potential campspot

Rudolph found a great spot which he described as "perfectly flat" and I reckon in summer it would be a horrendous bog. Immediately on arriving at the spot I put my foot right through the snow into running water, so we avoided that bit, opening up the wee burn with ice axes and poles, and poking around the snow to find a flat bit that was definitely grass all over!
P3280429.jpg
small burn visible to the left of the picture. we never expected a campspot with running water - perfect!

We reached our camp a little after four o'clock and by the time we had pitched the tent it was obvious that we had done enough for one day. It was certainly interesting putting the tent pegs into the frozen ground. But what a spot, what a view!
P3280424.jpg
using ice axe to tap in the tent pegs. the best ones are the three-sided ones which don't bend and can be shoved in with a boot, but the wires needed a bit of tapping

P3280425.jpg
pretty good view eh!

We had our rather uninspiring rehydrated tea and played about in the snow a bit with a bit of sliding about, then went to bed pretty early as soon as it was dark.
P3280434.jpg
oooh lovely

It was a very clear, cold night, we were told later it was minus 8 in the glen, so must have been pretty cold where we were, but fully clothed and wrapped up in down I was fine. Rudolph took his fleece off and was not quite warm enought but cw&h was neither cold, wet nor hungry!
I was up in the night, as one does, and felt I might just die of indecent exposure, but it was worth it to see the fantastic stars in the clear sky with the moon just hiding behind a mountain.
The morning revealed a sunny, sparkly, freezing cold day. Perfect for tackling a few munros, we decided to go north with the aim of climbing Beinn Achaladair, Beinn a' Chreachain and possibly Mhanach if we were up to it.
P3290442.jpg
the Happy Cups in the morning waiting for the water to boil

Nice early 8am start which we would never have acheived from a house as we are all too fond of our beds, but with an early tent night it is a good way to get an early start.
P3290446.jpg
Ben Nevis with her hat off

As we climbed up the ridge the views just got better and better, and we were fascinated by the amazing hoar and ice formations on the rocks and snow surface. Unfortunately the pics don't come out well, but they reminded me of the pinnacly bits on York Minster all intricately carved and lying on the ground.
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we think this must be Cruachan and surrounding hills

We made good progress and reached the top of Beinn Achaladair a little before ten o'clock, just at the same time as a wee cloud! Oh well, never mind.
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r and cwh on the top

Next job, to descend to the bealach an Aoghlain and up to Beinn a' Chreachain. Now this is where it got interesting. It was a wee bit steeper than we were comfortable with coming down here, and it got us thinking about our route home to the tent. We decided that the safest way would be to retrace our steps and that Bheinn Mhanach would probably be beyond us. CW&H was nursing a cold and it was all just getting a little too exciting. We took our time descending, doing a bit of bum sliding and ice axe arrest practice as we went, which was fun. We decided to head up the next hill and see how it went, but it wasn't long before we made the decision to quit while we were ahead and come back for the other hills another day. So back up Beinn Achaladair we trogged, within about 30 metres of the top, and back the way we came. One night of camping was enough adventure for now!
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looking down Glen Lyon

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cliffs at the back of Beinn Achaladair from near the point where we turned back

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the Bold Mountaineer ?

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looking south along the ridge on the way back

Another problem we had on our walk was water. CW&H had hers filled with hot, so it was fine, but mine and Rudolph's platypuses (platypi?) were filled direct from the burn. Even with blowing back up the pipe, the water froze in the bladder and blocked everything up. So by the time we got back to the tent we were really grateful for a hot cup of tea.

We timed it about perfectly to strike camp, stuff everything in rucksacks and back down to the car by quarter to six. Off to the real food cafe for a good nosh up, and a quick phone call to my brother, yes of course we can come and stay the night again! He's a good lad, he even went out in the morning and bought lorne sausage and black pudding for our breakfast.

Track_28-MAR-13 180041.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Track_ACHALADAIR074936.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

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mrssanta
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby morag1 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 6:31 pm

Looks like a great trip, well done the Santa family :clap:

Lovely camping spot, i would love to be up there in the middle of the night looking at the stars 8)

Great photos, you need to get one of these in the photo comp :D
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby Graeme D » Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:16 pm

Yes, a stunning photo montage there Mrs Santa! :clap:
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby pollyh33 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:15 pm

Absolutely wonderful Kate :clap:

Lots of cracking photos there, with my favourite being the smiley mugs :lol: :lol:
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby GillC » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:23 pm

What a fab adventure. Looks amazing.

The horizontal lines,, I have been told before that seeing these across a hill like that are signs of glacial ice scoring its way across,,but they look too big and too uniform for that,,strange indeed,,,snow loving aliens???? :shock:

Great report,,,wish it was me!
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby CelticSmurf » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:24 pm

Fab :clap: Last photo my favourite
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby Tomsie » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:11 pm

Brilliant views from that camping spot
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby joekell » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:12 pm

great report and great pics glad you made the journey and had a great time
certainly a trip to try thanx
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby mrssanta » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:31 pm

morag1 wrote:Looks like a great trip, well done the Santa family :clap:

Lovely camping spot, i would love to be up there in the middle of the night looking at the stars 8)

Great photos, you need to get one of these in the photo comp :D

Thanks Morag, the photos really don't do it justice, in fact it was so bright most of the time I couldn't see what I was taking!
Graeme D wrote:Yes, a stunning photo montage there Mrs Santa! :clap:

Thanks Graeme,we were just so blessed with the weather it was all so clear.
pollyh33 wrote:Absolutely wonderful Kate :clap:

Lots of cracking photos there, with my favourite being the smiley mugs :lol: :lol:

I love those mugs, I have an album of them in funny places, they have even been to a wedding which happened quite randomly on a beach we were on last summer. 99p in Yorkshire Trading cheap shop!
GillC wrote:What a fab adventure. Looks amazing.

The horizontal lines,, I have been told before that seeing these across a hill like that are signs of glacial ice scoring its way across,,but they look too big and too uniform for that,,strange indeed,,,snow loving aliens???? :shock:

Great report,,,wish it was me!

Thanks Gill, usually it's me sitting at home being jealous, nice to have my go!
CelticSmurf wrote:Fab :clap: Last photo my favourite

We got totally bamboozled trying to work out all the hills on that view.
Thanks too to Tomsie and Joe, such a fab place to be.
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:45 pm

Great report and stunning pics - well done for getting out there and up!!
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby shish » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:21 pm

That was so good I could imagine I was there myself. Maybe next time. :-D
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby brpro26 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:34 am

Looks like a classic couple of days in the hills, not as much snow as I'd expected to see...guess a bit more down your way? Probably best to have bailed out than push on...too many statistics so far this year. :) mugs

Can't beat the view of the stars and a "full-moon" in the middle of the night. :wtf:
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby mrssanta » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:48 pm

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Great report and stunning pics - well done for getting out there and up!!

thanks. it's been such a good weekend for pictures!
shish wrote:That was so good I could imagine I was there myself. Maybe next time. :-D

we missed you. Next time it probably won't be as snowy. We've got late may BH weekend pencilled in.
brpro26 wrote:Can't beat the view of the stars and a "full-moon" in the middle of the night. :wtf:

I'm sure I don't know what you mean :wink:
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby heatheronthehills » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:05 pm

Wow - stunning! I've never been camping in the hills in winter but this makes it look really tempting :) Looks like you had an amazing couple of days.
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Re: A Good Friday Adventure with Freezing Camping

Postby Silverhill » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:30 pm

Owww, this is fantastic! You and your family are hardy types! :clap:
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