Caught in thunder and lightning on Carn a' Mhaim
by dogplodder » Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:16 pm
Route description: Carn a'Mhaim from the Linn of Dee
Munros included on this walk: Carn a'Mhaim
Date walked: 10/05/20081 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
First nudge was scheming a return trip to climb Devil's Point and the second was reading Beaner's report about climbing Carn a' Mhaim with his two springer spaniels and remembering the effect the hill had on one of my dogs.
Caledonian pines on the way to Derry Lodge
Carn a' Mhaim
Carn a' Mhaim (top out of sight) from Glen Luibeg
As we neared the Luibeg Burn we took the right fork as with all the snow melt we expected it to be in spate. We crossed the footbridge and continued on the path towards Corrour until picking up the path which climbs easily up the south ridge of Carn a' Mhaim. I don't remember anything much about this apart from reaching a summit before the true summit from where the views of the Lairig Ghru made it all worth it. But the atmosphere was tense and heavy, with dark cloud gathering, and folk more perceptive than us might have seen what was brewing.
Beinn Bhrotain, Monadh Mor and Devil's Point from Carn a' Mhaim
Cairn Toul and Braeriach
Lairig Ghru and whaleback of Carn a' Mhaim from Braeriach (on a different day later in the year)
Back to Jack and Tess posing at summit
There was an eerie stillness and we didn't immediately notice ominous dark cloud closing in
Dogs always sense things before we do. In this short video clip (from many I took by mistake that day ) there's a twitchiness about Tess (the black one) and that's because she could hear something Moira and I weren't yet aware of. You'll hear me calling them 'boys' when one of them is a girl - but she's used to that and that's not what's making her nervous! Even Jack the unflappable one is looking round like something's bothering him.
Then we heard the thunder too and it wasn't all that far off so we knew we had to get down out of there as the top of an exposed whaleback of a mountain is not a place to be in a thunder storm. We were sitting ducks! We went as fast as we could, and when the heavens opened we didn't stop to pull on waterproof trousers and were soaked in minutes. Tess (a failed gun dog because she's terrified of loud bangs) was so freaked out by the thunder she walked almost under my feet. After about 20 minutes of deluge the rain stopped as suddenly as it started and by the time we got to Derry Lodge we had completely dried out. But there were still rumbles of distant thunder making Tess shake, poor thing.
I don't know if thunder was forecast that day and if we'd known I doubt we'd have gone - but we didn't check the weather as thoroughly back then as we do now. We knew we had to get to lower ground but we didn't know the correct safety procedure if caught in a thunder storm is to find a low spot and make yourself as small as possible in it. Not that I remember any low spots at the top of Carn a' Mhaim.
It makes me wonder if anyone else has been caught in a storm in a similar situation and what they did about it?
Credits to gizmogirl for all but one of the photos in this report.
by Beaner001 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:26 pm
by Huff_n_Puff » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:54 pm
by dogplodder » Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:35 pm
Beaner001 wrote:Luckily never been on the Hill with the dogs when this has happened, dogs are amazing creatures, when you get to know a dog well enough you notice these little things, in fact they are probably trying to tell us a lot more than we actually notice
Yep, there are times we could do worse than trust our dogs' instincts. Like dogs trained to warn diabetics they're about to have a hypo. My dogs know I'm about to go out before I know it myself.
by dogplodder » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:25 am
Huff_n_Puff wrote: I've never had the dogs out in thunder either, but I'm not surprised that they are so much more sensitive to an impending storm than we are, having said that I love thunder storms (from a safe place )
So do I - from indoors!
by dogplodder » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:32 am
"There are two sources of info on this that I like: one is from "Mountaincraft and Leadership" by Eric Langmuir - pp 182-185 in chapter Mountain Weather, sub heading 'Lightning'. The other is the Spurr book of Hillwalking. Basically, many of the things you would tend to think of as good ideas, are not! Eg. Sheltering by or under a rock, putting aside your walking poles, etc. Langmuir gives illustrated descriptions of 'safe' areas. Getting down lower is a good idea, and the best position, believe it or not, is to sit on your (dry) rucksack in the open with your hands wrapped round your knees or in your lap! Langmuir gives you the technical explanation, but I reckon in the situation I just need to know what to do or not to do, and leave the physics for another time!"
by Caberfeidh » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:47 am
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by Sarah86 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:56 pm
by dogplodder » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:27 am
Caberfeidh wrote:We've had a few posts regarding this hazard, take a peek at our previous perambulations....
Hadn't seen these so thanks for the links. Some of the tales make your hair stand on end, right enough!
by dogplodder » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:29 am
Sarah86 wrote:Beautiful set of photos. There is something very inviting about the first photo.
I'll pass that comment on to gizmogirl.
by basscadet » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:40 am
Then a couple of years ago, I was up Benachie with a crowd of friends on a glorious day, when a storm came out of nowhere, although thankfully we were on our way down by then.. A strike hit about 10 yards away, and you could actually feel the electric in the air, I'll never forget that feeling We had a jack russel with us who seemed completely unphased by the whole thing, so maybe not all dogs have 'the sense' . The memory that is strongest though is how my sandal strap broke making a hasty retreat difficult and stripping off to wring out our dripping clothes when we got back to the car park