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Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach


Postby Gordie12 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:15 am

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

Date walked: 13/09/2013

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 26.7 km

Ascent: 1223m

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These three Munros have been in my head for some time now, often described as boring I wanted to see them for myself as I rarely find any walk in the hills boring or uninteresting.

Driving through Newtonmore I couldn't see a sign for Glen Banchor but on my second attempt I saw a road called Glen Road so just took this and luckily this was the road I needed so it was just a case of following it to the parking area at the end of the public road.

I was ready to go for 9am so with the midgies making an appearance I didn't hang around.

1.jpg
Parking area


The walk along Glen Banchor makes for a pleasant start and it doesn't take long to reach Glenballoch. Just before the bridge over the Allt Fionndrighon I turned right on to a grassy track running up the side of the field on the East side of the river.

2.jpg
Glenballoch


3.jpg
Grassy track at Glenballoch


Crossing the field and passing through a gate it was back on to a good track which initially had quite a steep climb. Following the track through the narrow glen I reached the end of the track exactly an hour after leaving the car.

4.jpg


At the end of the track there is an obvious rough path which continues on down to the Allt Fionndrigh which can be crossed courtesy of a rickety old wooden bridge. On the West side of the river there is an obvious path heading South West through a narrow ravine which climbs up on to a boggy wide open beallach. At this point I made a mistake and took a feint track on my right which took me out of the boggy flat beallach and was heading North West which was basically what I was after. The track lead to an area of peat hags and bogs and I quickly lost it as I zigzagged and meandered onwards with Carn Macoul/Carn Dearg to my left and Meall na Ceardaich much closer to my right with an obvious target of the bowl at the far end of the glen in the distance. This is by no means the worst peat hags I've ever had to pass through but they were close to beating me as I was getting really fed up and thinking about chucking it.

7.jpg
Looking back at the peat hags with Creag Liath in the background


After the peat hags I continued the gradual climb through heather and some minor boggy stuff and a quick glance to my left and there was a feint grassy track running up the glen (the one I should have been on but missed back at the beallach).

Now on the track the going was easier and I followed this until it was time to head through the heather to the bowl at the top of the glen which would then give me access to a grassy South West climb up to Carn Dearg. The top of the glen below Carn Dearg is fairly wet but not as bad as I was expecting and the climb up Carn Dearg was fairly steep but didn't take too long.

8.jpg
Summit of Carn Dearg


By the time I was at the top of the grassy climb and fairly close to the summit of my 1st Munro of the day I was completely fed up with my day - I really wasn't enjoying this and it took me 3 hours from the car to the summit which seemed like a long long time.

11.jpg
Carn Dearg


12.jpg
Looking down on the glen of despondency


13.jpg
Summit


34.jpg


After 5 minutes on the summit I was off back to the beallach and onwards towards Carn Sgulain. By the time I reached Carn Ban the sun had come out and for the first time in this walk I was starting to enjoy myself. The ground was now firmer and it was just a case of following the track which was running parallel with a line of disused fence posts.

33.jpg
Carn Dearg from summit of Carn Ban


17.jpg
Lochan Uisge


The walk from Carn Dearg to Carn Sgulain was really enjoyable . Carn Ban, Carn Ballach & Meall a' Bhothain tops were passed, the sun was out and all was well with the world again. It took me a couple of hours to get from Munro 1 to Munro 2 with a bit of bog hopping closer to Carn Sgulain but nothing that diffuicult.

18.jpg
Looking back to Carn Dearg


19.jpg
Carn Sgulain


22.jpg
Summit of Carn Sgulain looking towards A'Chailleach


There were two cairns on Carn Sgulain so went to both just to be sure then back tracked for a few hundred yards before heading South West to find the easiest route up on to A'Chailleach without losing too much height. More peat hags but it's possible to skirt most of them and the ones I had to cross were fairly firm so no real problem. Once on to A'Chealleach it was just a case of plodding up the grassy slope to the summit. A bit uninspiring but the 3rd Munro of the day bagged.

23.jpg
Summit of A'Chailleach


I enjoyed the views over Newtonmore down to the Cairngorms from this summit. The sun was still shining and the weather seemed to be improving as the day went on.

24.jpg
The view on leaving the summit


On the track down there seemed to be a lot of different choices but without really knowing what track I should be on I finished up in the right place to cross the Allt a' Chaorainn (to pick up a track on the East side of the river).

25.jpg
Bit of a gap at the bottom of the door


I knew there was a bridge crossing but the river was low and it was easy to cross on stepping stones.

26.jpg


Initially the path on the East of the river was a bit boggy but after about half a mile there was a good track all the way down the glen to near the car park. Looking back at A'Chailleach the hill looks much more impressive from the South.

27.jpg


28.jpg
Looking down the track


30.jpg
Looking up Glan Banchor from close to the car park


After passing through a gate there is a little grassy track leading off to the right which heads for the mound by the parking area.

31.jpg
Looking back to A'Chailleach


32.jpg
And again (I liked this view)


A strange day really. It's very unusual for me not to enjoy my walking but there was a 2 hour stretch heading for Carn Dearg which I really didn't enjoy but from then on the day improved and by the end I was having a great time.
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby The Rodmiester » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:06 pm

Easily forgettable, I think the expression I would use. Maybe leave for a hard frosty day for my re-visit :lol: Three Blue Balloons though :D
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby BoyVertiginous » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:03 pm

No-one ever said it was going to be easy, eh?!

If it was all high starts and short walk-in's, everyone would be doing it!

All the better for being hard-earned.
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:48 pm

The Rodmiester wrote:Easily forgettable, I think the expression I would use. Maybe leave for a hard frosty day for my re-visit :lol: Three Blue Balloons though :D


I'll settle for remembering the last part of the day coming off A'Chailleach back to the car, as you say, 3 blue balloons!
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:53 pm

BoyVertiginous wrote:No-one ever said it was going to be easy, eh?!

If it was all high starts and short walk-in's, everyone would be doing it!

All the better for being hard-earned.


Hi Boy Vertiginous

Your right but I actually enjoy long walk ins - this one just seemed to drag.

Peat Hags 1 Gordie12 0
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby Bod » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:36 pm

Well done....good going :D
I walked the pair in summer conditions and enjoyed Carn Dearg on a fine winter day using crampons etc. Good to keep nice single munro days for winter :D
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby brpro26 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:36 am

aaaha so that's what they look like at the top. Done the same route last Monday and walked into clag at about 700m had been scorcheo until then. Proceeded to follow the fence line for 2 hrs and eventually walked off No.3 into the sunshine again. Like you the peat hags were fortunatly dry but still a hassle. The Walkhighlands GPS route doesn't seem to follow much of a path but there are paths there somewhere.

Better left for a crisp winters walk. Still nice to actually see where I'd been.
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:09 am

Hi, if I may say something, I disagree that Carn Dearg is "easy forgettable". I will never forget these peat hags!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

To be serious, maybe not the most exciting of hills, but they can be a good adventure. I had to divide them between two walks... The first time we started anti-clockwise, climbed Carn Sgulain and A'Chailleach, walked through some really boggy, mushy, yucky ground, and saw zilch due to cloud. Near the summit of the second Munro we were caught by heavy rain and decided we were fed up with lovely Scottish weather :lol: It actually worked to our advantage, we returned to climb Carn Dearg in early spring. After fighting our way through the ocean of peat hags, we were rewarded with some fantastic views of snow-covered Cairngorms.

Speaking of snow, I can't wait for winter to come :D
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby Lightfoot2017 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:55 am

I walked these three solo back in July in glorious sunny weather. I know these types of hills aren’t to everyone’s taste, but (I appreciate I’m in the minority here) I have to confess, I prefer these walks.

As a walk, they’re usually a doddle; But I think the lack of ridges, arêtes, corries, sgurrs and stobs means these hills have character and stark beauty all of their own. The sense of openness and sheer scale - making you feel utterly insignificant – is hard to beat in these kind of hills.

Agree with you about the pain in the @rse peat hags in the walk-in to Carn Dearg though…. I can imagine in Winter this would be a decent, more enjoyable walk for some.
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:37 pm

Bod wrote:Well done....good going :D
I walked the pair in summer conditions and enjoyed Carn Dearg on a fine winter day using crampons etc. Good to keep nice single munro days for winter :D


Hi Bod

Frozen peat hags on the way to Carn Dearg.............that sounds better!!
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:40 pm

brpro26 wrote:aaaha so that's what they look like at the top. Done the same route last Monday and walked into clag at about 700m had been scorcheo until then. Proceeded to follow the fence line for 2 hrs and eventually walked off No.3 into the sunshine again. Like you the peat hags were fortunatly dry but still a hassle. The Walkhighlands GPS route doesn't seem to follow much of a path but there are paths there somewhere.

Better left for a crisp winters walk. Still nice to actually see where I'd been.


Hi brpro26

Before I realised the fence posts went the whole way from Carn Dearg to Carn Sgulain it crossed my mind I wouldn't fancy the crossing in clag - at least you got some sunshine.
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:44 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Hi, if I may say something, I disagree that Carn Dearg is "easy forgettable". I will never forget these peat hags!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

To be serious, maybe not the most exciting of hills, but they can be a good adventure. I had to divide them between two walks... The first time we started anti-clockwise, climbed Carn Sgulain and A'Chailleach, walked through some really boggy, mushy, yucky ground, and saw zilch due to cloud. Near the summit of the second Munro we were caught by heavy rain and decided we were fed up with lovely Scottish weather :lol: It actually worked to our advantage, we returned to climb Carn Dearg in early spring. After fighting our way through the ocean of peat hags, we were rewarded with some fantastic views of snow-covered Cairngorms.

Speaking of snow, I can't wait for winter to come :D


Hi BP

There seemed to be a lot of "yucky ground" between Carn Sgulain and A'Chailleach but it seemed a bit easier than heading for Carn Dearg. At least the weather has been decent over the summer so the ground was firmer than it would probably normally be.

Hope you get your snow soon............
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:49 pm

Lightfoot2017 wrote:I walked these three solo back in July in glorious sunny weather. I know these types of hills aren’t to everyone’s taste, but (I appreciate I’m in the minority here) I have to confess, I prefer these walks.

As a walk, they’re usually a doddle; But I think the lack of ridges, arêtes, corries, sgurrs and stobs means these hills have character and stark beauty all of their own. The sense of openness and sheer scale - making you feel utterly insignificant – is hard to beat in these kind of hills.

Agree with you about the pain in the @rse peat hags in the walk-in to Carn Dearg though…. I can imagine in Winter this would be a decent, more enjoyable walk for some.


Hi Lightfoot2017

I felt pretty insignificant below Carn Dearg I know that much. In fairness to this hill, I loved the summit looking from the beallach between CD and Carn Ban, the drop down into the glen I had walked through was pretty impressive.

Maybe I was just a bit grumpy on Friday, probably the drive up the A9!
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby brpro26 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:39 pm

If I was to do this again....I'm undecided...I think...then again maybe???
I'd definitely start with a Bacon/Egg double and coffee at the N/More truck stop for starters..it's a must!!!!
Would probably go the CCW route up A'Chailleach and directly up from the "garden shed" drop off steep to the East
and stay tight up until you reach Carn Sgulain to miss the Hag-Bog-Fest. which must be ridiculous in wet conditions.
Chest waders advised :crazy:
Fence hop round to Carn Dearg and keep going off the ridge and down to the River Calder and back to the start.
Thank F for them fence posts or else I'd you'd be F'd :clap:
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Re: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain & A'Chailleach

Postby Craiging619 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:14 pm

Haha agree with you about the Glen of Despondency. I did this walk the other way round on a great day in June, and think of it as arguably my favourite of the year - a long way up/down but with quick walking between the Munros and great views across the Great Glen. That glen between Carn Dearg and Creag Liath is no picnic, though.
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