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Not quite the Braigh Riabhach traverse I had planned

Not quite the Braigh Riabhach traverse I had planned

Postby PeteR » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:34 pm

Route description: An Sgarsoch and Càrn an Fhidhleir

Munros included on this walk: An Sgarsoch, Càrn an Fhìdhleir (Càrn Ealar)

Date walked: 22/09/2013

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Plans, eh? I often wonder why I bother, as something always seems to come along and scupper them :roll:

And this weekend was a perfect case in point. I’d been able to negotiate two days walking and had great plans for what I wanted to do. If all went to plan it would be the Carn Toul/Braigh Riabhach traverse on the Friday, with perhaps something long in the Northwest on the Saturday.

Then the weather happened, as it all too often can in Scotland. First the Northwest looked pants, so that plan was getting shelved :( Then the forecast for the Monadh Ruadh suggested much mist and fog covering my intended destinations. I want to enjoy the long traverse of Braigh Riabhach, not spend many hours wandering in clag and seeing hee-haw, so bang went that plan :(

I still had the chance of a short walk on the Saturday, and had my eye on the Dumfries and Galloway Corbett of Hart Fell on the Saturday :D The weather wasn’t looking great, but it would get me out of the house :lol: Sadly the car's engine management system warning light had other ideas :( I suspected the fuel inlet valve to be the culprit, and a 15 minute inspection by my friendly emergency recovery operative confirmed my initial diagnosis. A bit of a clean and a squish of the mechanical equivalent of washing up liquid and the car was purring nicely. Too late in the day to get out though, so Hart Fell will have to wait for another day.

Two days walking? I’d be lucking to get a walk to the shops the way things were going :(

But the call of a long walk was strong :D A peruse of my Munro map identified a couple of possibilities. A couple of troublesome red balloons that needed to be turned blue :D Carn an Fhidleir and An Sgarsoch :D I have to admit that these two had concerned me. I didn’t get any sense they were great hills. Given the long walk in they were also not foul weather day hills either :shock: But then again, if the sun was shining I was thinking I’d probably want to spend it somewhere a bit more appealing than these two. No, these looked to me like hills for those days when the weather doesn’t look to offer much, but you can stay mostly dry and you’d feel lucky if the sun did make an appearance at any point in the day. A check of the Met Office suggested Sunday might be such a day :wink: :D So with the long walk box ticked things were looking good all of a sudden :D
On the overnight drive to Linn of Dee I'd enjoyed some wonderful moonscapes as our nearest neighbour flitted in and out from behind the clouds

I have to say, I think I got these two hills very wrong. For sure they won’t win any beauty contests. But, given their position separated from surrounding hills they do give superb views 8) More than enough reward for the effort required in reaching their summits :D and enduring such sore feet by the end of the day :shock:
Heading off on my way with the Dee as company. At times this can fell an intimidating area as you go deeper and deeper into the wild country

So, how would I describe the walk in?

It’s long.......it’s very long......very, very long.......very, very, very long...... :lol: :lol:

In my head I had it broken into three sections. Linn of Dee to White Bridge, White Bridge to Red Hut and Red Hut to Geldie Lodge. And that’s not even including the hills I was there to climb :roll:
Are we there yet?...........Are we there yet?..........Are we there yet?

No, we're not there yet!!

Despite its length the walking to Geldie Lodge is all excellent :D Land rover tracks all the way :thumbup: So progress can be made reasonably quickly. To my right the hills of the main Caringorm massif were covered in dark brooding clouds that appeared to be giving a fair dump of rain in places, whereas to my left the area south toward the Tilt was looking altogether brighter. As the day progressed the weather all round improved, as the low cloud eventually lifted and broke, giving plenty of full sun moments :D

That said things did not look promising as I arrived at Geldie Lodge. My two intended targets appeared to be bathed in rain :( And with the wind fairly keen already I wasn’t bursting with glee as I headed off on the stalkers path toward Carn an Fhidleir :lol:
Approaching Geldie Lodge and the fording of the Geldie Burn. Today's targets shrouded in cloud and within 5 minutes they'd be enjoying a shower

Geldie Lodge

Thankfully the rain cleared up as I plodded along and was pretty much done by the time I came to the end of the official path at the Allt a’Chaorainn. By then the sun was breaking through and giving good views back toward An Sgarsoch :D
View back to An Sgarsoch as I started the climb (let's call it a slog) up on to Can an Fhidleir

Now the fun began as I began the (apparently) pathless climb on to the ridge of Carn an Fhidhleir :shock: Given that I’d already walked for more miles than many a day’s hill walk, trudging through the peat hags and heather on to the ridge was slow progress. Once there there is a good path (which came from somewhere, so I was guessing there may have been a path on to the ridge, but that I had just missed it :roll: ) that took me up to the summit. The wind wasn’t anywhere near as strong as I had imagined it would be, which was a relief. There were some nice views from here, but cloud was still hugging the tops of many of the surrounding hills.
Monadh Mor cloud free and Beinn Bhrotain almost cloud free

The mighty Beinn a'Bhuird

Cloud lifting off other parts of the Monadh Ruadh plateau

Beinn a'Ghlo a hiding

A wisp of clag around the next target; An Sgarsoch

Luckily there was phone reception on the summit and I was able to relay to MrsR that I still lived :lol: Then it was off on the excellent path toward An Sgarsoch. This skirted round the 906 point and then appeared to join a path travelling horizontally in front of me. Rightly or wrongly I took this as a deer track and simply ignored it and headed down toward the peat hag infested beallach before the climb up on to An Sgarsoch.
An Sgarsoch and the less than appealing peat hags

I may have made more work for myself here than I needed to :roll: I perhaps should have taken a bearing to my right, where I’m thinking there was probably a path :lol: But no, I trended to my left and enjoyed a slow slog up passed a small section of scree before then veering to the right......where I picked up a path......which in turn picked up another path all the way to the summit :roll: :lol:

Just short of the summit there is an interesting looking howff that perhaps could provide a bit of shelter were matters to go belly up. As for the summit itself, well the views were just bang on 8) 8) 8) Reception also meant I could text MrsR again to confirm there'd be no insurance payment just yet :lol: :lol:

The Monadh Ruadh was now enjoying a good bit of cloud free.........including Braigh Riabhach :roll: Maybe not what the Met Office had suggested, but I couldn’t complain as I was enjoying the substitute route I had chosen for myself :D

All round the views were great, and even Beinn a’Ghlo gave an almost cloud free appearance :D
Sgor Gaoith clinging to a last bit of cloud

An impressing looking Lochnagar

Monadh Ruadh plateau; Braigh Riabhach on the left to Beinn Macduibh on the right

Zooming in on Beinn Macduibh

Carn and Righ on the right and Beinn Iutharn Mhor on the left

Beinn a'Ghlo making an almost cloud free appearance

I met the only other walker that day on the summit. Had a bit of a chat before I headed off. He finally caught me up again at Geldie Lodge where we had another chat and then eventually passed me a short while later as he cycled out. A fellow walkhighlander, but embarrassingly I completely forgot to ask his name :oops:

I discovered it was another pathless descent of An Sgarsoch, although at the base of Scarsoch Beag I did manage to pick up the path that contours round the hill before eventually fading away. From the comfort of my armchair I had considered heading up and over Scarsoch Beag :lol: :lol: Even though it is only a very minor hump the reality on the day was that it was a minor hum too far and I was glad to avail myself of the bypass path. Once that path had fizzled out it more pathless heather back to the stalkers path and the walk back to the lodge.
View across to the Monadh Ruadh plateau in descent off An Sgarsoch

Zooming in to Sgor Gaoith and the river Eidart

Zooming in a bit closer still

Back at Geldie Lodge I took a few minutes rest to refuel before the walk back out.
The welcome sight of Geldie Lodge

So, how would I describe the walk out?

It’s long.......it’s very long......very, very long.......very, very, very long...... :lol: :lol:

I was pleasantly surprised my knees were holding up and not giving me any problems. The soles of my feet though were another matter. They were fu....fu....fu.................shot to bits :lol: Not to mention the chaffing I was suffering in my nether regions too :wtf: :oops: OUCH :lol: :lol: I can walk through the pain of sore feet, but chaffing of the nether regions can really slow me down.
The long walk back to the car

Arriving back at the Red Hut and I knew I was passed the worst of it, even though there was still a way to go. White Bridge was next, and a welcome sight for sure. And then it was the home run. Not that I was capable of running anywhere by that point :lol:
Still walking, still chaffing and most definitely hurting

The view to the Beinn Bhrotain massif as I was nearing White Bridge

Eventually though, a very sore me arrived back at the motor in the Linn of Dee parking area :D Carn an Fhidleir and An Sgarsoch had certainly delivered the long walk I was looking for. But more than that, they had delivered a quite superb day with extensive views that far exceeded my expectations :D :D :D
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Re: Not quite the Braigh Riabhach traverse I had planned

Postby Johnny Corbett » Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:24 pm

It's a long walk in eh, not that i'd know mind you as i biked it :lol: You got a cracker of a day for it though and the moon shots a beauty. We were on Dornoch beach on the Friday night looking at that exact moon from the north side of it. :crazy:
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Re: Not quite the Braigh Riabhach traverse I had planned

Postby pigeon » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:28 pm

Vaseline is the answer Pete :wink: :lol:
Walked this route a couple of weeks ago and always had these down as hills to get over and done with and ended up really enjoying the day,it's a lonely,quiet place ,perfect for a longer back packing trip(another plan on the future list :crazy: )
Great report again and smashing pics,well done :thumbup:
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Re: Not quite the Braigh Riabhach traverse I had planned

Postby Sabbathstevie » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:26 pm

Yet another superb report Pete - thoroughly enjoyed that. I thought these two looked like a couple of nondescript humps when viewed from Carn A'Chlamain but your pics paint a different picture and, despite the length, this looks like another of those walks where the solitude and atmosphere of the walk-in is as enjoyable if not more so than the summits themselves.
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Re: Not quite the Braigh Riabhach traverse I had planned

Postby inca » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:14 pm

Quick turnaround from a long day for a great report Pete. Turned out a fine day to tackle these two.

'I met the only other walker that day on the summit. Had a bit of a chat before I headed off. He finally caught me up again at Geldie Lodge where we had another chat and then eventually passed me a short while later as he cycled out. A fellow walkhighlander, but embarrassingly I completely forgot to ask his name.'

Er, that would have been me then. Fret not about any embarrassment factor. I could have asked the same thing. In fact, I was wondering afterward why I didn't. Suppose, having established a common interest in the site, it just seemed a bit inquisitive somehow. Besides which, I hadn't met a walkhighlander previously and shyness and sociopathy on my part have their constraints :lol:

In any event it was a pleasure to meet you, however briefly. Was just looking through my picture roll and thinking I seem to have taken many from exactly the same points you did. Couldn't agree more about the long walk back to LoD; didn't envy you that. The return trip on the bike was certainly easier - about 40 mins tops. Not being a cyclist, the outward trip still managed to leave my backside with PTSD though.
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Re: Not quite the Braigh Riabhach traverse I had planned

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:32 pm

Hi there Pete, that brought back memories, I walked in on a Water Aid sponsor walk way back in 1994, and I can still remember the PAIN, how the thought of a pint with the rest of the team at the Invercauld Arms kept me going the last section from White Bridge to the start, I seem to remember it was a case of standing in the water to cool the feet down :lol: :lol: Great photographs though, there were no digital cameras then, so thank's for posting, you will remember that walk for a very very long time :lol:
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