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Whiteout in Drumochter

Whiteout in Drumochter


Postby tomyboy73 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:23 pm

Route description: A' Mharconaich and Geal Charn, Drumochter

Munros included on this walk: A' Mharconaich, Geal-charn (Drumochter)

Date walked: 12/01/2014

Time taken: 5.25 hours

Distance: 11.5 km

Ascent: 731m

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I was thinking, the more you get into hillwalking the more you get into other related stuff ,like the environment, history of the areas you walk, the wildlife and the weather and the weather and the weather. Whenever we think of doing a walk, we pick a hill or hills, check the weather for that particular area. Usually start with the BBC for the 5 day weather and then check it every day until 2 days before the walk. Then it gets serious. Met Office. With detailed weather forecasts for every Munro in Scotland. Brilliant. Although, as the day get closer it can change. Everything can be checked , temperature, wind speed , cloud cover, rain/snow, wind chill. Brilliant. Then every now and again I have a nosey at the MWIS forecasts. B, no not brilliant, just basic. Until I read Cairngorms area surrounding Loch Ericht hills, 90% chance of cloud free Munros ! Brilliant ! I was charmed, convincing myself all the other basic stuff made perfect sense, the other reports elaborate too much i told myself, all you need to know is the very worst it will be.....
So another Jipto adventure was on, but we would be prepared , oh yes, we would. Jim downloaded a gpx file for the walk from WH to his garmin which he usually only uses to track our walks. As we didn`t have the map for this area i logged into the OS website and downloaded a map for 1.99, a useful resource. It was only to 1.50 scale but it would suffice as they looked basic big round hills.
As we drove towards Dumochter and as the light began to show, the area wasn`t as white with snow as i thought it would be, but once we parked at the Ballsporron Cottages there was plenty of snow on the ground and on the hills in front of us.
DSC_0167wh.jpg
The start of our walk

We walked past the B&B and across the railway line, and it was freezing. The path was caked in snow and quite steep going so we heated up in no time. After about 600m , which was really only 200m walking Jim realised he hadn`t set the GPS. Now this would usually result in him running back to the start point to start again, not today Jim. The clouds were looming ahead of us and we switched on the GPX file and double checked with the map & compass. As I said , the cloud loomed ahead of us but behind us it was clear , typical.
DSC_0185wh.jpg
Carn na Caim and A'Bhuidheanach Bheag

It was to be a straight walk up the hill in the cloud, and being whipped by the wind all the way to the summit which we reached in about an hour and a half.
The cloud only cleared for a minute or so and this was to be our last views of anything but white until we were on our way down from the 2nd Munro.
DSC_0178wh.jpg
View from Geal charn

DSC_0179wh.jpg
Jim on 1st summit

We left here pretty sharply as the wind was blowing the surface snow pretty hard and the old hands were getting cold fast if you took them out of your gloves, which i did to put my waterproof trousers on, as the half of me facing the wind was turning into a snowman. We followed the GPX route, again double checking with the compass, Jim`s new Silva one at that. Both added up to the same direction and we followed them blindly into the white abyss in front of us. Visibility was down to mere feet. We crossed what we (correctly) thought was the connecting bealach, crunching through the snow and were relieved when we started gaining height again. At this point i was starting to tire and Jim was about twenty feet in front of me as we climbed up the steep snowy slope. I stopped to grab a mars bar and when i got going again , Jim`s footsteps, which i was following were already being filled by the wind driven snow. I could still see him ahead of me and was grateful when he stopped to wait for me. He was sure we were near the summit plateau and we stuck together and carried on. As we steadily walked across , we heard some shouts and then a dog came running at us out of the nothingness, i think he was happy to see us. We then followed him over to his group who were all on skis hoping to enjoy the snow, i don`t know how that worked out. We left them and followed our trail till we reached the summit cairn. We were still covered in cloud. We joked about that 90 per cent. We must be in the feckin 10 per cent. Maybe they meant 90 per cent of any given Munro will be cloud free and the other 10; i.e the feckin summits, would be covered in cloud , spot on MWIS, at least they got the wind and temperature right.
6923521-P1210426-1.jpg
me on second summit

As like the first, we didn`t hang about. This time it was a bit more difficult, well in the head it was. I was all too aware of the corrie near the summit and we became extra vigilant with our steps. We started to descend into deeper snow and i started to doubt the technology we had. What if it`s wrong, what if we`re not reading the compass right ? We stopped and put on our crampons and took out our ice axes. It was blind faith now. We slowly inched ourselves down about 15 feet before we realised , with a bit more visibility that we were now on a broad slope. Panic over, soon we were descending out of the clouds and another mission was nearly completed, we could see the car park and the walk from here was easy going.
6923526-P1210431-1.jpg
phew, we can see agin

6923550-P1210457-11.jpg
Jim catches a Hare

Jim just managed to get a photo of a Hare as it ran away from us. We had saw their prints all over the place and wondered when we would see one.
So we had a challenging day on the hills but we put our blind faith in old and new technology combined and we came through the other side unharmed.
The End.

Everytrail link and more photos
http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2570006
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tomyboy73
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Re: Whiteout in Drumochter

Postby jogilv16 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:39 pm

well done tommy,yeah wonder how they skiers got on with the dog.they grouse give you a heart attack jumping out the heather to.
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Re: Whiteout in Drumochter

Postby tomyboy73 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:44 pm

aye i forgot about the grouse, cheers Jim , another great day out, well an experience anyway ! :lol:
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tomyboy73
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Re: Whiteout in Drumochter

Postby lomondwalkers » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:14 pm

Nice one Tommy, cannae whack getting out in the snaw 8) Glad it's not just me that starts fearing the worst in whiteout :crazy: :lol:
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lomondwalkers
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Re: Whiteout in Drumochter

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:35 pm

Great effort from both of you in that weather.

Hope both of you had all the wright gear on you don't want the tut tut brigade onto you. :wink: :lol:
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gammy leg walker
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Re: Whiteout in Drumochter

Postby jonny616 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:05 pm

gammy leg walker wrote:Great effort from both of you in that weather.

Hope both of you had all the wright gear on you don't want the tut tut brigade onto you. :wink: :lol:


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :clap:
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jonny616
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Re: Whiteout in Drumochter

Postby jonny616 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:06 pm

Nice one TB. Great winter hills these.
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Re: Whiteout in Drumochter

Postby jogilv16 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:16 pm

gammy leg walker wrote:Great effort from both of you in that weather.

Hope both of you had all the wright gear on you don't want the tut tut brigade onto you. :wink: :lol:

well i was testing my new trainers,,,,,,,they were great....
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Re: Whiteout in Drumochter

Postby pollyh33 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:15 am

Ooooft now that I've read your report and seen the extent of your less than perfect conditions for walking, I forgive you for not doing the 5 munro plan I kindly suggested!!!

Hope you had on your extra warm jogging bottoms and quilted flip flops for this one!!!
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Re: Whiteout in Drumochter

Postby mrssanta » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:27 pm

jogilv16 wrote:Well i was testing my new trainers,,,,,,,they were great....

hee hee that had me laughing out loud as they say :lol:
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Re: Whiteout in Drumochter

Postby Graeme D » Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:01 pm

tomyboy73 wrote:We joked about that 90 per cent. We must be in the feckin 10 per cent. Maybe they meant 90 per cent of any given Munro will be cloud free and the other 10; i.e the feckin summits, would be covered in cloud


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

A Drumochter whiteout - been there! Not the most comfortable of experiences! Well done on coming through it with flying colours! And I love that second photo - class. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Whiteout in Drumochter

Postby tomyboy73 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:57 am

thanks folks :D
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