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Triathlon - sort of

Triathlon - sort of

Postby Fife Flyer » Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:58 am

Route description: Aonach Beag: Four Munros from Culra

Munros included on this walk: Aonach Beag (Alder), Beinn Èibhinn, Càrn Dearg (Loch Pattack), Geal-chàrn (Alder)

Date walked: 20/04/2014

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 50 km

Ascent: 1653m

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OK so it wasn't strictly a triathlon, but it was the version I prefer, especially as I am not that good at swimming :lol:
Day started very early, left Fife at 6.20am 80 or so miles to Dalwhinnie and the car was parked near the level crossing where there are about 8 spaces set aside for us walkers/campers/cyclists etc.
Next part of the triathlon was the 10 mile cycle from Dalwhinnie to Culra Bothy, the first part of the cycle is excellent, it is only when you approach Loch Pattack that the surface becomes a bit more uneven, loose rocks, stones etc. I made the mistake of taking the cut off across the grass track which was damp with drainage channels cut out to release the water. Misjudged one of the channels attempted to jump across but my left foot ended up in the mud which went up to my shins, not a good start, especially as I had been trying to conserve some energy for the long day ahead.
The bike was duly abandoned at the bothy having been secured, not that anyone in the middle of nowhere is going to pinch it :lol:

The view as you leave Dalwhinnie, if that doesn't motivate you nothing will

Culra Bothy

Ben Alder

I had a brief look around for a path up the side of Carn Dearg but nothing was obvious so I just went straight up the grassy heathery slopes, fairly steep but nothing difficult.

Looking up towards the summit area of Carn Dearg and the scree

The impressive looking Lancet Edge

Ben Alder zoomed, still a fair amount of snow

Carn Dearg summit cairn

Looking across to Geal Charn

I was following the Walk Highlands route almost to the letter, one problem was the path along the route is obviously not a well trodden one and at times is non existent. Whilst on the summit of Carn Dearg I was looking round to try and work out where the next three summits are, bearing in mind the sun was shining and visibility was very good, I was slightly concerned that I could only see my next destination. So I headed down the scree and then grassy slopes of Carn Dearg towards the huge mass of Geal Charn.

Another look down at the bothy

Looking back towards Loch Pattack

Loch an Sgoir and plenty of snow patches

Grassy slopes off Carn Dearg

The ridge across to Geal Charn

The way up Geal Charn, probably the most difficult part of the walk, the photo doesn't show how steep the climb up the snow was!

Loch an Sgoir shimmering in the sunshine with the Lancet Edge featuring again

Fascinated with some of the snow formations, this cornice had split

The way to the summit of Geal Charn, follow the foot prints

The cairn on the huge plateau of Geal Charn

It was only when on the summit of Geal Charn that the other 2 munro's became visible and a bit of a relief, not that I doubted the WH route :lol: The next 2 munro's of Aonach Beag and Beinn Eibhinn were very straight forward and it is probably just as well.

Aonach Beag & Beinn Eibhinn

The path to Aonach Beag

It was whilst descending that I saw 3 fellow walkers in the distance on the summit of Aonach Beag. This area is so remote that it is hardly surprising that human beings are a rare sight :lol:

The bealach between AB and BE was also making a mental note and looking for the escape path.

Aonach Beag summit cairn

Looking across the the final destination of Beinn Eibhinn

Finally met up with the other walkers on the summit of Beinn Eibhinn, they were planning to be wild camping once back down a bit lower :wink:
The descent from the bealach was really good fun as the first 1000' or so was snow covered and I was following in the footsteps of earlier walkers. I was concious and looking out for snow holes however in my enthusiasm managed to find one and ended up thigh deep. Not deterred I carried on my merry way.

The descent from the bealach

The next obstacle was the stream that runs down to the west of Sron Ruadh, the route description advised staying to the left of it, that turned out to be easier said than done, especially as it was getting faster & wider as I descended. I picked my crossing spot & used my poles to assist with the balancing act & made it no problem. On reaching flatter ground the next obstacle was another stream Uisge Labhair (that is what the map calls it), once again finding a crossing point was challenging. After crossing the stream I was spotted by a herd of deer.

Deer, deer

Was expecting them to gallop off into the distance but they must of noticed I was hardly fit to chase anything, so managed to get a few photo's.
Unfortunately I have reached my photo limit so that's your lot, photo wise :(
The trudge up to the stalkers path was a real struggle, through peat hags, heather & boggy ground, but once on the path progress back to the bothy was a breeze. There is an incline up to the Bealach Dubb of about 200-300ft, but nothing too difficult, but after a long day it was something one could do without :lol: :lol:
The stalkers path takes you almost to the bothy front door. It was then the part of the day I had been dreading - the cycle back to Dalwhinnie :)
I decided to follow the path that takes you along the shores of Loch Pattack, it is further but the path is better than the short cut that I used on the way in. The 2 horses that I saw last summer are still grazing happily near Loch Pattack and barely gave me a glance :( The cycle back took me about 90 mins & involved one or two dismounts up the inclines as my legs were just about shot :lol:
I met/passed a fellow walker just at the end of Loch Ericht he was walking back to his car having done the 6 summits over 2 days :clap: :clap:

The car was a welcome sight and after last seeing it at 7.40am, the time was now 6.30pm it had been a very long day, but thoroughly enjoyable :wink: For anyone who has not ventured out this way, if you like remoteness, peace and quiet then these hills are for you.
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Re: Triathlon - sort of

Postby malky_c » Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:11 pm

Nice photos, particularly that close-up of the Long and Short Leachas on Ben Alder 8) . Great day to be out, well worth making the most of :D
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Re: Triathlon - sort of

Postby The Rodmiester » Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:27 pm

Good effort Martin! From Loch Ossian it was a long long walk in to the first, buts we managed the three, which was our initial target, too much gear in the bags, but a brilliant days for both of us, I think on the summits Saturday was a slightly stronger wind, but fabulous views 360degrees. Great photographs by the way, don,think mine will Match yours :(
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Re: Triathlon - sort of

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:59 pm

Another great day to be out in the hills and you definitely made the most of it.

I've taken the bike up to Loch Pattack a few times but never done any of the Munros, think I need to change that this year!!

One of your photos "another look down at the bothy" - any idea what the other building is??
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Re: Triathlon - sort of

Postby jepsonscotland » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:01 pm

Great job mate. A real marathon of a day. Well done. :clap: :clap:
I'm glad the weather held for you.
I really wanted to join you, but I didn't get back from Glencoe until 9pm after my drive shaft broke! :roll:
Great pics too, what a difference sunny skies make to a day on the hill.
Hope to catch you on another soon.................
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Re: Triathlon - sort of

Postby PeteR » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:25 pm

Nice one Martin :D

Excellent photos of these four. Brings back great memories. I did these four in a massive round trip from Glen Spean on a blistering day a couple of years back. Definitely hills I'd return to one day :D
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Re: Triathlon - sort of

Postby Fife Flyer » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:47 pm

Thanks for the nice comments guys, thought I would be suffering today but am fine :lol:

Gordie - sorry no idea what the other building is, I daresay someone will assist. It does appear to have a small wind turbine supplying power :o
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