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A Streap way off Gulvain

A Streap way off Gulvain


Postby ketzster » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:16 pm

Route description: Gulvain, near Kinlocheil

Munros included on this walk: Gulvain

Corbetts included on this walk: Braigh nan Uamhachan, Streap

Date walked: 26/05/2013

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 28.8 km

Ascent: 2368m

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Since I climbed it a few years ago, Gulvain has been one of my favourite hills in Scotland. Not normally one for sitting around or even eating that much when I’m moving in the hills, on the day I climbed it previously I had spent half an hour on the top eating my lunch and admiring the views over to Knoydart.

My original plan for the bank holiday Sunday had been to get the train to Glenfinnan and do Streap and Braigh nan Uamhachan. Having climbed all of the hills down the Glenfinnan road, this was a walk that had interested me for a long time and some mopping up needed to be done. Having checked the weather forecast my plan was set but on the Saturday evening my parents decided that it would be a good day for them to bag Gulvain. They are approaching the end of their munro round and I thought this was a good idea, especially as it meant that I could get a lift to where I needed to be for Braigh nan Uamhachan.

On the Sunday morning I had a change of plan. Having completed my own munro round except for three hills and having nearly racked up 100 repeats over the years walking with friends, I decided that it would be nice if I went to the top of Gulvain with them and left my Streap adventure for another day. I had attempted Gulvain with a friend in dreadful conditions in February and had to turn back because of the ferocious winds at about 750m so it meant I hadn’t yet repeated it.

We parked the car near to Drumsallie at the junction on the A830. The weather wasn’t too bad despite the weather forecast saying that it would be showery for most of the day. We made good progress along the track through Gleann Fionnlighe which I would say is one of my favourite track walks in Scotland. I couldn’t work out why. I love the area but there is nothing hugely spectacular about it. Maybe previous experiences of walking down there either soaked or rushing back to get to the train having had heat exhaustion for two days the previous time I climbed Gulvain make the memories more special. Eventually we reached the foot of Gulvain, a steep long grass slope that seemed like it was going to rise in to the cloud for a long time. Before we could continue upwards the Jetboil had to come out to make my mom one of her beloved cups of tea. It’s almost certain that without one these days she will virtually refuse to go to the top. More psychological than anything else.

Having had the tea we made good progress up the path to the 961m first top of Gulvain. Just before we had reached the top the weather had cleared and I was able to see Braigh nan Uamhachan and Streap. We had been trying how to work out how to pronounce Braigh nan Uamhachan. Eventually we decided Brian Ooma-can would do and then set about working out which sport and international team such a person would play for. New Zealand rugby was the eventual pick.

It was only about 1.30pm by the time we were half way along the ridge to the main top and I decided I was going to take Braigh nan Uamhachan on my way back to the car. I was also considering taking Streap too but knew there was a long drop between the two Corbetts and decided against it. We reached the large summit cairn at 1.45pm and the views were excellent despite it being cloudy overhead. Whilst my mom was having yet another cup of tea I was trying to figure out a way down the west side of Gulvain. Normally these things don’t bother me and I enjoy steep grassy/rocky things, but this time it didn’t look so easy to get down. I considered going back to the South top and then going down the arm but that looked steep and my only other alternative was to drop down from the gap. Leaving my parents on the top we decided the plan was I would go over Braigh nan Uamhachan and meet them back at the car. If I didn’t see them on the track going back I had gone to Streap and would meet them in the Glenfinnan House Hotel at about 7pm. My dad informed me that he knew this would be what I did as he said I wouldn’t be able to resist. He knows what I'm like. As it turns out he was right.

Gulvain South Top.jpg


I set off back towards the South top and decided to drop down from just below the North top. The ground was extremely steep and slightly loose but I made fairly good progress and by 2.30pm I was nearly at the gap and looking at the view of Sgurr Mor on the right and Sgurr na Ciche.

Sgurr Mor.jpg


Behind me I looked up at where I had just come down

Gulvain way down.jpg


Braigh nan Uamhchan didn’t pose any real problems and I made quick progress up the grass slope to the top of the long ridge. On top of Gulvain I had decided that I would only go to Streap if I was on the top by 3pm. I reached the top at 3.03pm and without thinking about it immediately turned back on myself and went down the grass gully that I thought looked liked a nice easy way down towards Streap. The views to Knoydart were still quite good

Knoydart from Braigh nan Uamhachan.jpg


Looking at Streap from where I was coming down off Braigh nan Uamhchan it looked very imposing and I couldn’t decide on the best way up.

Streap.jpg


I was considering going up from Lochain a’Chomhlain and then on to the north ridge of Streap Comhlaidh but that looked very steep and narrow on the map (as it turns out it wasn’t). My preferred route was to go up next to the stream that runs east from next to the Streap Comhlaidh top. The only thing putting me off was a cornice like looking but of snow that I would need to get round with large rocks on either side. Once I got down to the bottom of the valley at 300m I began the march back up to 911m which was not very steep at all. I decided to head for the stream and for the first 400m of ascent I was moving really well. Recently I have been suffering from back spasms from a running injury so my usual level of activity had been slightly hampered. This hit me with about 200m left to go of the ascent so I stopped to look back to where I had come from.

Gulvain and BnU.jpg


After the final little slog to the top of Streap Comhlaidh I got great views across to Ardgour and the south ridge of Streap.

Streap and Ardgour.jpg


Walking across to the main Streap summit was easy going after the slightly rocky drop off Streap Comhaidh. I was delighted to reach the top of Streap at just before 5pm and looked back to Gulvain across Streap Comhlaidh which seemed like quite a long way away from here.

Streap Comhlaidh, Gulvain.jpg


I had a good view of Sgurr Thuilm and Sgurr nan Coireachan

Sgurr Thuilm.jpg


and good views of the Loch Shiel hills

Loch Shiel hills.jpg


I had actually run out of water just before the top of Streap and was feeling slightly light headed. Following a few Haribo Tangfastics which went down very nicely I headed towards the ‘knife-edge’ south ridge of Streap. As I was in desperate need of water I didn’t want to stay on the ridge for too long so after crossing a few of the narrow sections of the ridge I dropped down west to the stream below. This was incredibly steep and the most uncomfortable I had felt for a long time on a hill.

Steep Streap.jpg


Eventually after a lot of care I reached the stream and joined the track running down to Corryhully.

Sgurr Thuilm and Streap.jpg


From here on it was very straightforward and I bombed down the track back to Glenfinnan. At the end I had a great view of Sgurr Ghiubhsachain, in my opinion one of the best hills in Scotland.

Glenfinnan viaduct.jpg


Tired, I reached the hotel at 6.45pm ending a great day. One day I must go and do Streap and do the complete ridge but doing Gulvain to Streap was something I had never considered doing. One of those amazing days.


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ketzster
 
Posts: 35
Munros:279   Corbetts:16
Grahams:3   
Joined: Aug 26, 2008

Re: A Streap way off Gulvain

Postby Yeltz Bagger » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:45 pm

That is an astonishing walk Ketzster. It is rough terrain; an epic walk.
Yeltz Bagger
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1
Munros:282   Corbetts:53
Grahams:16   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:7
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Joined: Sep 7, 2013

Re: A Streap way off Gulvain

Postby Collaciotach » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:01 am

Aye that is fair going I live in this area and the terrain is rough ..well done :clap:
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Collaciotach
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Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Gaidhealtachd an Iar

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