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No bad Auchnafree press

No bad Auchnafree press


Postby BoyVertiginous » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:43 pm

Route description: Auchnafree Hill from Loch Turret

Corbetts included on this walk: Auchnafree Hill

Date walked: 31/08/2013

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 800m

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Having enjoyed a fairly decent year so far on the hills, I couldn't really worm my way out of a bit of decorating at home. However, no sooner had the room been started, the project grew arms and legs to the point the entire downstairs was to be done!

In a mini-revolt (albeit a silent one...as the missus and kids were out for the day), having already been stuck indoors one weekend and a week of evenings (and more in prospect), I decided to escape for some therapy. I had a 5-hour window (including travel time) and slipped out mid-morning with the bold intention of doing Auchnafree Hill & Ben Chonzie. I raced up to Loch Turrett, where I was parked-up and ready for the off at 12.15pm. I wasn't alone, there was a Parks of Hamilton coach in the car park :shock:

I like a good "horseshoe" route but, often horribly underestimate the time it takes to complete them. I'd looked at doing this one a few times already this year but ended up doing other hills instead. I wondered if, at the back of my mind, this was partly due to some/many having a bit of a downer on Ben Chonzie, a hill I believe I walked a long time ago (from Glen Lednock) but have no recollection of the summit so, I don't have it down as one I've done.

*Apologies in advance for the poor picture quality, in my haste to get away, I forgot to take a camera and all shots are from my phone.

I'd read the WH routes for these hills and consulted members' TRs for alternatives (special mentions to fipriestley & a.n.other whose username escapes me right now) and headed up with no firm view upon which side of the loch to start from. On arrival, the West side of the loch looked the most inviting but, as time was important today I opted to head first for Choinneachain and Auchnafree Hills. I walked the track around the East side of the dam wall, as far as the first burn (Allt Choinneachain) and then started up the hill, a steep pull but height is gained quickly. The cairn at Creag Dhearg is reached in no time and, from here, I could see the coach party over on the 551m top above the Dam wall (this was to be the first and last I saw of them).

Carn Chois (viewed from the lower reaches of Choinneachan Hill)
Image

Another wee down and up brings you to another cairn just beneath the summit of Choinneachain Hill. It had taken less than an hour to reach this point and, while I stopped to don waterproofs in preparation for some incoming rain, reasoned that if I was on Auchnafree Hill before 2pm, I'd continue on to Ben Chonzie.

Image

Choinneachain's summit heralds the start of the unpleasant boggy, peat hagged area of the summit plateau so I followed the track around the hillside, occasionally straying off this to save time. There are a couple of ups and downs involved in this part of the walk (over Ton Eich) and once the ATV track ends, it's a mere stroll over to the cairns marking Auchnafree's summit.

Image

It was now 1.45pm, the sun was out again, waterproofs removed and, eating on the move, continued towards Ben Chonzie.

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A fair amount of height is lost following the fence line down to the col above A' Chairidh and once back up on to the 730m mark above Moine Bheag, looking across to Biorach a' Mheannain and Ben Chonzie itself, I realised (for once) the sensible thing to do was to leave it for another day. It had been a really enjoyable walk up to this point and it'd probably take another hour to drop down to the track and walk out so, it was for the best that this was done leisurely. Ben Chonzie looks very inviting and looks an interesting hike from here so, I'm happy to return another day to tackle it, with Carn Chois and Creag na Eun factored-in.

This little guy was spotted backing into his hole in the ground...
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Mind made up, I took the quickest route down (short of throwing myself off the crags) and startled a mountain hare on the way (very rough pic below...the hare is very slightly NW of centre :wink: ).
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It was a swift exit and once track side, the sun was out so, off with the jacket, a quick refuel and then onwards with the walk out. I caught up with a nice chap who'd passed earlier when I was sorting myself out and we walked back to the car park together. He'd been up paying his respects to an Uncle from Comrie, whose ashes had been scattered beneath a single Rowan Tree beneath the crags, on the slopes of Ben Chonzie and above Lochan Uaine, some 12 years before. A good blether helps take the sting out of a long walk out.

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So, a cracking little unexpected walk but, the decision to bail-out when I did was the right one, no rush on the drive home and Chonzie saved for another day (the view above reinstated my belief that I've been up there before but it definitely looks worth doing again). Dunno why people don’t rate Ben Chonzie, it looks great and I hope to be back before long.

Image

*Difficulty uploading route gpx?!
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BoyVertiginous
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Re: No bad Auchnafree press

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:31 pm

You had a 5 hour window (including travel) and you went from California to Loch Turret, climbed Auchnafree Hill and back to California to finish the painting :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

No bad press here for Auchnafree Hill, nice wee climb with decent views.
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Gordie12
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Re: No bad Auchnafree press

Postby dogplodder » Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:40 pm

Glad you got a break from the decorating - along with some Brownie points for leaving Chonzie to another day! :lol:
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Re: No bad Auchnafree press

Postby BoyVertiginous » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:23 am

Gordie12 wrote:You had a 5 hour window (including travel) and you went from California to Loch Turret, climbed Auchnafree Hill and back to California to finish the painting :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

No bad press here for Auchnafree Hill, nice wee climb with decent views.

Aye, no' bad going, eh?! Sadly, home is California, FK....rather than LA :wink:
dogplodder wrote:Glad you got a break from the decorating - along with some Brownie points for leaving Chonzie to another day! :lol:

You and me both, dogplodder! Still only two-thirds of the way through the job but, plotting for a wee return visit this Saturday to complete the loop...and give me the impetus to complete the job of course :roll:
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BoyVertiginous
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Re: No bad Auchnafree press

Postby Gordie12 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:05 pm

That definitely makes a difference...............why did it take you so long??? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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