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Hermit Corbetts in the Rannoch-Ericht-Drumochter Triangle

Hermit Corbetts in the Rannoch-Ericht-Drumochter Triangle

Postby sheasgaich » Thu May 02, 2013 5:05 pm

Route description: Stob an Aonaich Mhoir, from Loch Rannoch

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Mholach, Stob an Aonaich Mhoir

Date walked: 30/04/2013

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 40 km

Ascent: 1325m

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Start of the cycle/walk from Bridge of Ericht

Carn Dearg, Stob Ghaibhre and the Loch Ericht dam
Ben Alder and Beinn Beoil over Loch Ericht
Looking south over Loch Ericht from Stob a Aonach Mhoir

Looking north over Loch Ericht to The Fara
Magnificent Beinn Mholach cairn, Schiehallion and an OS tribute cairn

The stuff we don't write about but saps our spirits
Allt Ghlas - bubbling burn and cycle shed
Toblerone over Loch Rannoch

c Stob an Aonach Mhoir 855m 2hr 2mins includes cycle of Ihr 4mins
u Glas Mheal Mor 830m 3hrs 15mins
c Beinn Mholach 841m 4hrs 25mins Total Time: 6hrs 35mins

These two corbetts have been niggling me for the past year, could they be done together and if so from where? It is probably quicker to drive up the A9 and start from Dalnaspidal Lodge but Loch Rannoch is a much more scenic approach and avoids the dreaded A9. The forecasts were showing a brief respite from the showers and wind that have been battering us for the last few days. I was up at 6:30am and away by 7:30am after loading the bike for the two hour drive to Bridge of Ericht at the western end of Loch Rannoch. It was cool but the wind had abated and the blue skies had a whiteness to them which suggested some fickle weather later in the day. I arrived at the Bridge of Ericht surprised to see the gate missing on the private road to Corrievarkie. The man in the adjacent cottage told me there was no problem in parking or cycling up the road which was metalled and provided a better surface than many local roads.

The gradient was steady although it rises from 200 metres to 600 metres over the 11 kilometres to the start of the walk. The views were ever changing with the white capped hills from Carn Dearg to Ben Alder providing a panorama of many previous adventures. After leaving the forest a giant steel hydro pipe crosses the river below, there is another gate and then the Loch Ericht dam hoves into view. At the turn off to the dam the road curves to the right and steepens again but it was all perfectly rideable. I was a bit surprised to find a vehicle parked a couple of kilometres further along. Judging by the outdoor gear on the seats, a walker had obviously taken advantage of the open gate and saved themselves a few hours. I abandoned the bike at about 560 metres and started the walk at a point just south of Stob an Aonach Mhoir where the road begins its final ascent before dropping to Corrievarkie House.

I figured that I would climb Stob an Aonach Mhoir first whilst the blue skies prevailed and then cut across to Glas Mheal Mor en route for Beinn Mholach. It meant walking another 400 metres or so up the road but then I headed onto the hillside climbing almost due north for the first hill. The ground was boggy and flutes of snow slowed progress as each step involved sinking into the wet snow. My goretex running shoes were not much of a defence in these conditions. I watched in awe as a couple of mountain hares, still in their winter whites, accelerated up the hill as I approached. I was thinking that this is good eagle territory. I made for a rock scarp just below the summit and on scrambling over it came face to face with an eagle no more than 30 metres away. It took off with huge flaps of its 2 metre wingspan and was several hundred metres away before I retrieved and fired the camera at a fast moving fleck in the sky.

The ascent may be a bit of a plod up undistinguished slopes but like all corbetts there is always something good. Here it was the view, one of the very best. Loch Ericht was a rich cobalt blue and across were Beinn Beoil with its splendid corrie and yoked together as one with Ben Alder, both hills resplendent in their dazzling white caps. The views up and down Loch Ericht were equally stunning, I loitered for a while, eating an early lunch and rotating my head mesmerised by the views and watching to see if the eagle had landed.

The descent was quick and easy. I crossed the road about 800 metres north of where I had left the bike. It was tricky going over peat hags and burns swollen with snowmelt that made for difficult walking. I headed roughly for the shoulder of Glas Mheal Mor and as I started to climb a herd of 50 or 60 deer scarpered southwards. There was a large snowfield which I tramped through and then, still feeling frisky, I decided to climb the extra 50 metres or so to Glas Mheal Mor. It is the dominant hill from the north west but unclassified in the annals of Scottish hills which are based upon the minimum drop of 150 metre rule rather than any sense of relative importance. Maybe one day it will be classified as a Dawson and strictly for anoraks!

The route across to Beinn Mholach was tedious with lots of peat hags as I traversed under the steep north face of Beinn Bhoidheach. The burns were all covered in snow and crossing them was a game of chance. Finally 200 metres of climbing eastwards to the summit of Beinn Mholach and there seemed no redeeming features. Until reaching the summit, what a magnificent cairn! It is superbly constructed and set next to a forlorn looking trig point with the daddy of all cairns, Schiehallion, looking on from the south east.

If the walk up Beinn Mholach was tedious the descent was equally so, I went to the south of Beinn Bhoidheach to save some height. It was a mistake as I then had to cross 3 kilometres of peat bogs and snow fields to get back to the bike, it seemed interminable. The day had been clouding over and a wind had sprung up from the south west but it was still dry and once again no one had stolen the bike, the only other walker today had already cheated by driving his/her car up the private road.

The cycle out was mainly downhill but against the wind and with several sections of uphill cycling as well. On the descents my eyes were watering with the speed and the wind. I tried to avoid using the brakes until the bend where the road to the dam joins when I had to decide between a ditch and the brakes and the brakes won. The last few kilometres flew by helped by some lapwings practising their manoeuvres and peewitting to each other. I hurtled down the final section and, despite stops for photos, the ride out had taken only 35minutes. On the journey home I was mesmerised by the views of Loch Rannoch, watched over by the magnificent Schiehallion. It looked like a giant toblerone but maybe I had not taken enough food for the day. It started to rain as I drove back through Fortingal and along Loch Tay, I had judged the day perfectly.
Last edited by sheasgaich on Sat May 04, 2013 7:11 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Hermit Corbetts in the Rannoch-Ericht-Drumochter Triangl

Postby Johnny Corbett » Fri May 03, 2013 12:38 pm

Good stuff, hope to do these two soon. :D
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Re: Hermit Corbetts in the Rannoch-Ericht-Drumochter Triangl

Postby robertphillips » Fri May 03, 2013 1:37 pm

well done :clap: still to do these 2.
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Re: Hermit Corbetts in the Rannoch-Ericht-Drumochter Triangl

Postby Collaciotach » Fri May 03, 2013 9:54 pm

Wheres yon stick :D

Sorry wrong fella :lol:
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Re: Hermit Corbetts in the Rannoch-Ericht-Drumochter Triangl

Postby Graeme D » Fri May 03, 2013 10:34 pm

Isn't that summit of Mholach something to behold????

A fine, fine part of the country. Have yet to do SaAM but hope I get those views when I do! :D
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