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Feeling 'Old' on the Old lady

Feeling 'Old' on the Old lady


Postby CurlyWurly » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:35 pm

Route description: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain and A'Chailleach

Munros included on this walk: A' Chailleach (Monadhliath), Carn Dearg (Monadhliath), Carn Sgulain

Date walked: 30/01/2010

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 25 km

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Following on from the excellent reports by Kev and Graeme, here is my version of events.

Last time I arranged to meet Graeme for a trip in the hills I ended up arriving late because due to frozen snow, it took me 15 minutes to get the car off the drive. There was going to be no repeat performance this time so with military precision, sandwiches where made, my bag packed and the car removed from the drive onto the road the night before. 'Just-in-case'

So at 7am I was venturing up the M90 admiring the star-lit sky and brightly lit moon when I suddenly realised that the 5 custard doughnuts I had especially bought from Tesco the night before where still in their bag on the kitchen work-surface. No wonder Milo, our new Giant Schnauzer puppy was keen to see me leave this morning! Oh well - nothing I could do now, chocolate would have to suffice.

By 8am we where all in Graeme's car hurtling up the A9 and soon passing the 'infamous' lay-by 79 at Drumochter summit, where the car nearly got 'snowed in' just before Christmas. No chance of that this time; the sky was blue and the air crisp. We arrived at Newtownmore and headed up towards Glen Banchor. Most people, in fact everyone else seemed to have taken the sensible option and left their cars in the village and hiked up the snowy road. Undeterred, Graham just 'dropped a cog' and booted the accelerator to the floor. By using the grass verge for additional traction we only got stuck once and this was soon resolved by some manual pushing from Kev and me.

Parking up, we where soon kitted up and ready for 'the off'. With blue skies and a swift breeze, the views where amazing!

Looking down Glen Banchor.jpg


The first part of our walk would follow the path that ran parallel to the Allt a' Chaorainn. There seemed to be a little confusion over a bridge that was or was not there and we did seem to have overshot the line where a trail of people could be seen snaking up the hill. To settle matters I rummaged in my pocket and pulled out my iPhone. When it comes to navigation, I am a strictly 'meat and two veg man'! In other words I would always favour a map and compass over other means of navigating; using a GPS, the stars, wet finger etc... But whilst browsing the Apple app-store a few weeks back I had come across an application that promised 1:50K OS mapping for all the national parks in the UK for only £12.99. Eager to test my newly acquired purchase, I turned it on and tapped the icon that displayed our current location. Sure enough, we had travelled a little bit to far up and we would have to find a suitable spot to traverse the river.

Discussing the  river crossing.jpg


Although the river was flowing pretty fast and looked a little cold, it was not that wide and within seconds Graeme had successfully braced the gap, followed closely by Lucy. Kev was next and with a short run up, he was swiftly across. So swiftly in fact, I thought I saw double? Was there two Kev's crossing the river? Was it Kev's twin or just lightening fast speed? The photograph reveals all!!

[
Kev and his twin cross the river.jpg


With the river-crossing successfully accomplished we headed up towards the old hut, and after stopping for a swift brew and a photo stop we pushed on up towards the bealach between Geal Charn and A' Chailleach. The wind was picking up now but fortunately the ground was firm so our feet where not sinking much in the snow.

View from the hut .jpg


The wind was 'full on' on top and we did not hang around at the summit. Normally summits are a place to sit for a while and reflect on your ascent but everyone was keen to keep moving so we headed north towards our second Munro of the day, Carn Sgulain. Once we had dropped a little height the wind calmed down and it was great to reflect on our surroundings and take the magnificent views in.

Kev, Graeme and Lucy.jpg


Graham.jpg


The snow was pretty deep between A’ Chailleach and Carn Sgulain and took a bit of effort to wade through but once this was out of the way we made good progress to the summit. The wind was less severe here and we where able to sit down and grab some food and drink. Now anyone who has been hiking with me will know that I always carry a can of 'Red Bull'. With my custard doughnuts still sat on the kitchen work surface (or in Milo's tummy) I decided that to nail the Red Bull instead. I pulled the ring pull and waited for the familar hissing noise as the carbon dioxide escapes.. Nothing!! Looking inside the contents had frozen into a mush. Damm..

Summit of Carn Sgulain.jpg


At this point the decision was made to push on for the final summit, Carn Dearg. With the vigour of a Norwegian antartic team striding on to the South Pole, Graeme and Kev set towards our final destination. With minimal effort the boys gliding across the snow whilst I struggled along at the rear. Every few hundred metres they would wait and I would catch up and we would start again. Feeling like the useless kid at school who is always the 'last pick' on the football team and gets put in goal only to let an easy shot in through his legs I plodded on. Feeling knackered and miserable with my mind wandering towards food and the forgotten custard doughnuts I occasionally checked my position on the iPhone. First Meall a'Bhothain fell, then Meall na Creughaich, Carn Ballach and Carn Ban where ticked off as well.


Slogging across the tops.jpg


With what seemed a totally eternity we eventually reached Carn Dearg, not to far to go now but I was so hungry I even contemplated eating my emergency Curly Wurly. Resisting the temptation I pushed on and as we hit the summit the clouds that had been building steadily, parted slightly to give us a reasonable view. Phew... We had made it.

Summit of Carn Dearg .jpg


The descent back to the car did not seem that bad, a big chunk of this would be on a Land Rover track and hopefully we would be able to make decent progress although there was no doubt this was going to be a 'head torch job' towards the end. Munching my last sandwich , I half walked, half glissaded down the hill into the Gleann Ballach and whilst Kev and Graham decided to cut the corner off and head across the shoulder of Creag Liath I just did not have the energy for anything uphill at all so I skirted round the side and headed onto the Land Rover track. Head Torches beaming, we pushed on down the track. With the end in sight and thoughts of an amazing meal waiting for me at home I actually enjoyed the final hour back.

Happy Days!
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CurlyWurly
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 137
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Grahams:17   Donalds:33
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Joined: Aug 5, 2009
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Re: Feeling 'Old' on the Old lady

Postby kevsbald » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:52 pm

Excellent stuff, Darren.
I am totally bemused by the photo of two of me jumping the river - anyone that knows me, would know that is an abhorrent idea for planet Earth.
I think it's fasinating how you get an idea of others's psyche on the same trip.
Poor Lucy really looked as if she'd had enough at the top of Carn Dearg. Great stuff.
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kevsbald
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Posts: 2146
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Location: Glasgow

Re: Feeling 'Old' on the Old lady

Postby Graeme D » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:59 pm

Brilliant stuff Darren - the trilogy is complete!

CurlyWurly wrote:Last time I arranged to meet Graeme for a trip in the hills I ended up arriving late because due to frozen snow, it took me 15 minutes to get the car off the drive. There was going to be no repeat performance this time so with military precision, sandwiches where made, my bag packed and the car removed from the drive onto the road the night before. 'Just-in-case'


That's what you call thorough preparation! Shame about the custard donuts though :( . That clearly explains why your legs started going on the long traverse over to Carn Dearg :lol: . I love that second last shot - it really looks like two intrepid exlorers setting out for the Pole! :lol:
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Graeme D
 
Posts: 3430
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Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

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