One v's The Bridge of Orchy Two - Munros 24 & 25
by GillC » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:33 am
Route description: Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh, Bridge of Orchy
Munros included on this walk: Beinn an Dothaidh, Beinn Dorain
Date walked: 20/04/2013
Time taken: 7.5 hours
Distance: 14 km
Ascent: 1228m2 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).
Friday night was spent hatching Plans A, B & C, of varying difficulties, distance from home and terrain etc. The Bridge of Orchy Two being Plan A. Saturday morning, decision made, left home around 06:45 to head up to B of O. One of the joys of travelling alone,,you can sing very loudly!
Lovely morning (although not as nice as yesterday) rain not forecast until much later in the day so the low cloud didn't worry me too much.
Nice quiet roads so arrived at my destination before 08:30, time to boot up, banana and flapjacks for a wee boost, then headed off up the lane towards the station underpass and the gateway to the hills.
A party of 2 had parked up at the station and were about 75 yards ahead of me as I passed through the gate on the other side of the underpass. I was secretly quite grateful as I was walking on my own and they gave a level of security,,basically, I thought I would keep them in sight and follow them (didn't last too long)
The path up beside the burn is unmissible but pretty tricky underfoot, its mainly made up of that rubble stuff thats too small to get a good footing, but too big to pass over easily, lots of picking your way through. Fair bit of erosion too,,possibly caused by snow and ice melting, so large areas of peaty grass just breaking away from the shelves overhanging sections of the path. Progress up the path was good though, a constant climb and I was up at the lower snow patches in about 40 minutes.
Some great views around the surrounding hills and the valley floor and of the crags above and burns below...
Not sure what time it was when I reached the cairn in the corry and I had already decided to take on Dorain first.
I was armed with my OS map, my WH print out, which,,thanks to the paths, wasn't really out of my pocket much. The path up onto Dorain is pretty easy to see, but the higher you get, the larger snow fields totally obscured it so I had to rely on the footprints of previous walkers.
The snow had frozen into ice and only in some places, did I sink into soft snow instead of having to kick in with heels and toes to get a decent hold. My poles were invaluable in these areas, especially on the descents. As the hillside got steeper and was north facing, there were some longer uphill stretches of this frozen stuff, head down, dig in and follow the footprints. It was slightly disconcerting that you could see small springs disappearing under these patches, at some point, this would melt or give way with the undercurrent of water, get off quick,,thats my motto! The cloud came and went but the views were fantastic, lots of variety.
As you reach a flat area, its very easy in the snow to lose the path and I had to back track about 50 yards to retrace the route. Cloud was still high but I'd lost my 2 walkers from the bottom, but luckily they appeared from behind a mound, slightly further North than I was, so I scooted across and rediscovered the path. (I have a very bad habit of seeing my goal,,and making a bee line for it,,,instead of the tried and tested and oh so often, best route )
Its a fairly easy incline from here up to Carn Sassunaich, thankfully still clear and easy to see the top in the near distance. I felt great, thoroughly enjoyed the climb up and I was nearly at the top. Lots of sheltered spots on the way, it's quiet eerie being so high and yet totally devoid of wind in some places.
Reached the top, and Munro 24, at 11:20. Glad I was alone at this point as I was congratulating myself out loud lol
Got the windproof jacket and hat on, had a wee 10 min break for coffee and a sarny as the clouds blew in and blew off again. Views appeared and disappeared before the camera was ready so I headed off down to the corry to then head up Beinn an Dothaidh.
Passed a few groups of 2 on their way up, visibility returned completely only 50 mtrs or so from the top, and continued to clear as the day progressed. The descent down to the corry meant re-negotiating the icy snow, again relying on previous walkers footprints and much concentration. but got down in good time.
Was going to take a short break here but no real need, so got straight on to the again, obvious path. It cuts north east around the side of the hill and after a short time, reaches a cairn. The WH guide to this route doesn't mention this cairn but this is the marker to then head due North. As per an earlier paragraph, I, as had previous walkers, took the direct route, continuing north east straight to the true summit,,missing out the 2 lower ones on the shoulder. This did however, involve a bit of a deviation from the track as there was a gully of snow, with depressions, indicating a drop in ground level or possibly another burn, so not wanting to risk disappearing through the snow, a slightly boggy detour to the left to skirt round the straight up the hill to the summit. Munro 25, check! There was a slight hail storm here, hardly worth mentioning but coupled with the gale force wind, was pretty painful on the face when I had to turn into it. OUCH!
The wind at the top of Dothaidh was INCREDIBLE! I let my poles swing by the wrist strap and they were blown horizontally, very hard to walk, and as the summit cairn is right on the edge of the crags, I didnt risk setting up the camera, it's likely someone would have found it, and see a picture of my feet disappearing off the top. I did manage to hunker down in the back of the cairn for 5 mins, coffee and to take in the amazing 360 degree views of snowy mountains.
I checked the map and opted to take the high route for my return, nice easy to follow shoulder,,remembering to keep a distance from the edge of the crags as the wind really WAS blowing me off my feet, and that aint easy!
Again, cracking views north to Nevis and CMD. I realised this morning that the total ascent on these 2 today is only about 110-120 mtrs short of Nevis itself. Quite chuffed at that.
Coming back down towards the cairn,,I could see various walkers, groups of 2 all taking different routes up to the summit of Dothaidh, good visibility meant this was no problem but I could see how this could be very different in mist or heavy cloud/rain. Again, note to self,,get your navigation skills sorted Gill!!! The snow areas, although smaller than on Dorain, seemed much less secure, slushy on the edges and showing glimpses of deep gaps etc underneath. With the sun now out and temperatures rising, I dont think they will hold someones weight much after today, so again, get over quickly. I arrived back down to the corry just before 14:30 and headed on down. The path was even trickier on the descent, underfoot it was very unstable, boggy in parts but by now, my feet were already wet and I just didn't care. It reminded me of coming off Bidean last year,,you can see the hotel, your destination, but it never gets any closer. So I played little distance games to break up the descent, only aim for "the grassy hillock on the left" or "the big white rock on the right" etc, this keeps my focus on my footfall and its amazing how it helps eat up the distance. Finally on the lower stretches and down to the railway line.
Back to the car in 7hrs 25 mins, more than happy with my day out. 2 great hills and weather was good to me. Took some time out to take on some fuel,,hadn't eaten much today as I think I was running on adrenalin, my appetite only kicked in on the way down.
Stopped for a brief look back at todays achievement .............. ..................before playing leap-bus all the way down to Glasgow, home, and wine,,becoming a habit
by arabgarry » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:14 am
Great day but appreciate your comments about the wind!!!
by GillC » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:48 am
by Ibex » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:18 am
Some lovely atmospheric pictures there. The mountians really seem to have a haunting beauty about them.
by ChrisA » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:27 pm
by scooby0511 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:39 pm
by Bod » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:56 pm
by tomyboy73 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:10 pm
by GillC » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:34 am
Now,,need to get my tally up to 30 before the end of the summer....suggestions welcome lol