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Creag Dhubh - A Graham with a view

Creag Dhubh - A Graham with a view


Postby GillC » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:36 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Creag Dhubh (Glen Spean)

Date walked: 16/02/2014

Time taken: 4.3 hours

Distance: 7 km

Ascent: 533m

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After yesterdays day of winter skills work on Aonach Mor, John and I had booked into the Tulloch bunkhouse for the night. Our target for the sunny, blue sky morning, was the Graham, Creag Dhubh, a couple of kilometres back up Glen Spean. Chatting to the bunkhouse owner in the car park, we could see the fully snow covered hill above us. (pity I didn’t think to take a picture at this point, was a lovely view of it)

Heading down the road in two cars, we passed the entrance to the old church we could see up on the hill, a quick stop and a turnaround to head up the church track to find some parking. A little way up, beside some cairns with crosses on top, a small space is available for 2 cars. Booting up here, the cloud closed in and the snow started falling.

Walking up the steep track, we soon cleared the trees and reached the church, with its car-park, could have saved us a wee half mile uphill slog. The church seems to have several names and is also known as being the church that appeared in Monarch of the Glen, which was filmed around this area. Fascinating hillocky graveyard, which we spent more time in on our way down.

Passing the church, there's a small area covered in white gravel, for “the innocents”, not sure if its a communal grave for children but no individual markers. Can’t find anything on the internet re this either. Through a gate on the left and then follow the path up over boggy ground and round a small hill. No snow at this point but very wet and boggy underfoot.

1 Starting to climb above the wee church.JPG
Starting to climb above the wee church

2 Old cemetery.JPG
Old cemetery


The route we had was straight up the front, very steep but an alternative involved driving up Glen Roy, so we settled on something in between, heading off to the left, away from the steep section, towards a series of hillocks then up to the shoulder. There were plenty of deer roaming around above us. A check of the map shows no great drop between any of these hillocks so we meandered up . My winter boots have caused various issues since I got them in December, today I had new Sorbothon insoles but now my heels were rubbing. Stopped to put a compeed on my left heel, didn’t really ease the pain, but at least no more damage would be inflicted (ended up with a burst blister on my right heel!!!) :( Think next winter may see a new pair of boots, a size bigger.

3 Deer up on the hill.JPG
Deer up on the hill

4 Rugged man o the mountains or what.JPG
Rugged man o the mountains or what


The boggy ground soon became more heathery with the snow becoming more prevalent. Small bursts of steepness, followed by easier stretches. These were handy for breaking up the climb. I then adopted a ten pace strategy, count each 10 steps, if I started the next set of 10, had to finish it, no stopping. My hill fitness has suffered from the lack of hills in the past 2-3 mths, need to push it a bit now, get back up to speed.



One or two of the nice flat sections of snow were knee deep and deeper still in places. At one point, I saw John, a bit ahead (no change there) disappear about hip deep before turning back and skirting round. I managed to steer left of this section and avoid the deepest part. It was quite hard to see the contrast of the snow drift against the ground ahead.

6 Nevis range coming out of the cloud.JPG
Nevis range coming out of the cloud

5 Watery sun.JPG
Watery sun


Pretty soon, the ground levelled a fair bit with more rock and grass under the snow, ice became an issue, but it wasn’t so hard that we needed crampons or axe, we could still dig it with our boots and came up at the cylindrical trig point with its coating of windblown rime ice.

7 Cylindrical trig point near the cairn.JPG
Cylindrical trig point near the cairn


The cairn is a little way past here at 658mtrs and as the visibility had gone and the wind was up, we sheltered behind this to have a cuppa and some food.

9 Nice spot for a cuppa.JPG
Nice spot for a cuppa

8 Lunar landscape.JPG
Lunar landscape

10 Cairney at the cairn.JPG
Cairney at the cairn


Thankfully, after only 5 minutes or so, the sun broke through and the views started to appear around us. We took some pictures then packed up to head off.

At 12:30pm, we headed off, West, towards the Nevis Range, with extensive views opening up. For the early part, we simply followed our own footprints back down. Reaching the deep section we nearly lost John in earlier, it was now much sunnier and we could see the drifts of snow in the wee gully. Think Johns suggestion of 'why don't you go jump in there' came from a good place,,,but no,,I wasn't going to jump :shock: I did however, go for a wade towards the deep section, pretty sure it would have been waist deep had we dropped just a couple of feet down. A few opportunities for bum slides but not really steep enough, so ended up more like a bum bump, :shock: :lol: :shock: Fun!

12 Playing around in the snow.JPG
Playing around in the snow

11 On the descent, views opening up of Nevis range again.JPG
On the descent, views opening up of Nevis range again


Slightly lower and with the views constantly giving, I got the best view ever from a loo stop!

13  Best view from a toilet stop prize goes to...............................jpg
Best view from a toilet stop prize goes to..............................


A little further down, we decided to head more directly for the road rather than up the shoulder we used for our ascent. This was easy going and again, as the snow became less, the bog became more. We could see the small hill we climbed above the church ahead and decided to aim for the back of this and come round under the Church this time.

14 John finally found out what the straps on his gloves were for.JPG
John finally found out what the straps on his gloves were for


The last section of hill was very wet and a bit slippy as we negotiated round some trees/roots, before arriving in the field next to the bottom half of the old cemetery. John commented on this being a great wee camping spot, and indeed it would be, tucked out of the way, and no issue with the neighbours making any noise.
Passing through the same gate we started from, we had a wander round the graves. Lots of McDonalds, Camerons and McKenzies. There were a few war graves, local boys, aged 18-21, various regiments and all killed in WW1. Some lovely celtic crosses scattered around too. There are no signs etc on the church but I believe its a Catholic church. Lovely carving of a celtic design, possibly a sword outside and visible from the road below.

15 Celtic slab down at the church yard.JPG
Celtic slab down at the church yard

17 Down through the old graves to the church.JPG
Down through the old graves to the church

16 Celtic crosses under and old yew tree.JPG
Celtic crosses under and old yew tree


Off down the track to the cars by 1:45pm on a lovely sunny afternoon.

Smashing day to end a great weekend. (cafe at Dalwhinnie would have been nice for a burger on the way home, but its shut and up for sale, shame, but coffee and leftover sandwiches in the next layby down the road was fine)
John off up the A9 and home via Tomintoul and the Lecht. Me, south, with stunning snow covered hills and a journey completed in daylight, what a treat.
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Last edited by GillC on Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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GillC
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Re: Creag Dhubh

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:30 pm

looks a great wee outing ....another good looking Graham :) Will have to investigate this one :D ..shame about the cafe :? ...you cannae beat a good bit of coffee n cake post walk!
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Re: Creag Dhubh

Postby mgmt! » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:18 pm

nice one gillc,
i will see you regards your toilet view and raise you with
P9290128 (640x480).jpg
fionaven and loch dionard


this is the famous westminter II portable toilet seat, seldom seen to the non angling fraternity.
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Re: Creag Dhubh

Postby GillC » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:20 pm

mgmt! wrote:nice one gillc,
i will see you regards your toilet view and raise you with
P9290128 (640x480).jpg


this is the famous westminter II portable toilet seat, seldom seen to the non angling fraternity.



That's one heck of a shovel to be carting around the hills,,,still think my view wins lol
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Re: Creag Dhubh

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:34 pm

That brings back scary memories of nearly getting blown off the summit! :crazy: Fine wee hill and ideal for the weather we have at present! Get's you out that is the main thing! :D
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Re: Creag Dhubh

Postby Tomsie » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:02 am

The Rodmiester wrote:That brings back scary memories of nearly getting blown off the summit! :crazy: Fine wee hill and ideal for the weather we have at present! Get's you out that is the main thing! :D


It was your route I had downloaded on GPS no need to take it out though, vis wasn't to bad. Only went to your start point, then realised you walked from the bunkhouse :lol: :lol:

Great hill to finish off the weekend, some superb views, especially to the Easians 8)

Like that 10 step system. I still use the baby step system :)

Wont be long till your flying again

:clap: :clap:
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Re: Creag Dhubh

Postby AnnieMacD » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:46 pm

Great report, Gill. You have to get top marks for perseverance with these boots!

I think you should start a new thread for the best loo views (from, not of!).
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Re: Creag Dhubh

Postby GillC » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:15 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:Great report, Gill. You have to get top marks for perseverance with these boots!

I think you should start a new thread for the best loo views (from, not of!).



Im hoping that someone is suffering with a new pair of size 6,,then i can scoop them up off ebay lol :clap:
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