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Went for just one, but bagged three :)

Went for just one, but bagged three :)


Postby BlackPanther » Thu May 01, 2014 11:42 am

Route description: Beinn a'Chlachair, Geal Charn and Creag Pitridh

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chlachair, Creag Pitridh, Geal Charn

Date walked: 19/04/2014

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 28.5 km

Ascent: 1370m

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At last I can sit down to write my pending TR's from Easter holidays (should be HILLidays, as I call them, as we spent most of the week up there). I have no less than... 7 reports to write :roll: and with the May bank hols coming this number can increase... If weather gods are generous...
We travelled around quite a lot last week. Skye, Loch Quoich, Far North, Loch Glascarnoch... Took the maximum advantage of relatively good weather. A couple of climbs may have been in cloud but who would dare complain about such an insignificant inconvenience :lol: :lol: :lol: Final statistics (including Beinn Dearg trip):
Distance walked: 160km
Ascent total: 6700m
Munros 9
Corbetts 2
Grahams 3
...and believe me, I still WANT MORE!!!
Am I mad or just addicted?...
Whatever it is, I'm a hopeless case :wink:

I will stick to chronological order so the first story to come is the one with 3 Munros which were not supposed to be climbed in one trip. Let me explain. The day after Beinn Dearg we didn't feel too bad, but still we planned "an easier day". The initial idea was to climb only one of Loch Laggan Munros in a 20km circuit and enjoy the superb, clear weather high on the ridge (picnic by the summit cairn and so on...). Beinn a'Chlachair was the mountain of our choice: a quick circuit around Corie Mor a'Chlachair. But once we got up to the higher ground it felt so good we didn't want to get down :lol: :lol: Ended up bagging the two neighbours as well.
Our route. GPS was still playing games with us, so this one is drawn manually. Nothing too inventive though, the classic way to link the Laggan peaks:

Crag_Pirti.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


The usual starting point is a large layby by the bridge to Luiblea. From this point, our initial "target" could well be seen:
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River Spean and the snowy peaks to the west:
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The day was already looking great - blue sky, warm, but some nice breeze to take the edge of the sun-bite. For me, strong sun means pain and burns, so don't laugh if you see me on a hot day in long sleeves. Sometimes it's easier to cover your skin rather than smear lots of sticky +50 all over you...
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We walked past the first bridge to the second one, over Abhainn Ghuilbinn, but soon realised that we missed the turn for the Munros...
The bridge NOT to cross:
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Views NOT to see... :lol: :lol: :lol:
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The massive bulk of Creag Meagaidh group was just across the road - not much snow left on these... I have already ticked off all five Munros on this side of the glen, but would repeat them with pleasure, especially in winter conditions...
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We found the right track and headed for the Laggan Munros. The walk-in is very pleasant with lovely views even from low level. On that particular morning, the sun and the clouds behaved a bit strangely... We witnessed some interesting high-cloud shapes, seen in strong sunlight they really added a weird background to many of our photos... Just pay attention to the cloud shapes as the story develops :D
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Beinn a'Chlachair and the small reservoir:
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Reflections in water:
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Having reached Lochan na h-Earba, we stopped for a few minutes. The views were breathtaking, with the outlines of the surrounding mountains mirrored in still waters... Simply stunning.
To the east:
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Looking west:
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Just behind us as we crossed the narrow strip of land between the big loch and a smaller pond, the vertical rocks of Binnein Shuas. It is a Graham and it can be linked with its twin Binnein Shios - another duo of hills high on my to-do list. They are said to offer some good scrambling options! So maybe this year... :D
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Our hill... past the loch, the track becomes a path and it's wet for a short distance, but as soon as it starts climbing up Coire Pitridh, it becomes dry again - and it offered us easy going...
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We didn't even notice how we ascended 300m :lol: At some point we reached a small cairn marking the turnoff for the direct climb up the middle shoulder of Beinn a'Chlachair (the usual shortcut), but we only gave it a short look and said naaaah... We don't like these peat hags at all! it was much easier to carry on along the well trodden path to Bhealaich Leamhain!
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View west from the bealach:
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A short break on the bealach to share a pack of fruit & nut and we tackled the steep, rocky slopes leading to the main ridge. In summertime this is just boulder-hopping, but we had to go up the steepest section to avoid patches of slippy, melting snow.
All in alll, a good exercise, though wet in places :lol:
Looking down - hope our photos show how steep it is:
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Loch a'Bhealaich Leamhain below us:
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Sometimes a hand on the rock was needed, but no real challenge for a mountain cat :wink:
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Thankfully, the steep section is less than 100m of ascent, and as soon as we reached the more even ground, the rest of the walk to the mountain summit was pure pleasure :D with views to die for. Everything was shaping up as we had hoped for, even the weird cloud added to the picture:
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Loch Pattack and Drummochter Pass hills. They look so close!
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We got to the lower top (not named, 977m on 25k map) to finally see the summit - it was still some distance to walk, but nothing technically difficult, just a bouldery ridge...
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...but the best views were south, to the remote Alder group:
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To the north, the Meagaidh family and more distant Knoydart hills...
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The remaining two Munros of the full circuit looked pretty easy from this point and we began to think about actually adding them to our walk...
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Nevis Range with The Ben in the middle:
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Nearing the summit - the cornice in Corie Mor a'Chlachair was very impressive:
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Zoom to the cornice - wouldn't dare to step on that snow!
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Meowing on the summit :D Munro no. 122 - and there was more to come...
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Kevin fell into his picture-taking mood. He wandered around the summit area with his camera and clicked picture after picture. Panoramas, zooms, details... I decided to leave him to his fun and games and... somehow I drifted off for a few minutes... Zzzzz...
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As I'm taking my quick summit-nap, I'll leave you with what Kevin managed to snap - just a small choice. If I wanted to post all, it would be the longest TR ever written :lol: . So here is a small dose of mountain porn :angel:
Carn Dearg and Geal Charn:
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Looking south east, with Schiehallion on the far horizon to the right:
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Zoomed Schiehallion:
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Towards Aonach Beag:
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Beinn na Lap, Loch Ghuilbinn and, in the distance, Aonach Eagach :shock:
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Just to scare you a wee bit more...
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Zoom to Glen Coe hills:
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North to Glen Spean:
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Zoom to Loch Lochy Munros, our target for the following day:
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Full panorama from the summit of Beinn a'Chlachair:
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Lunch time for the busy photographer on his 156th Munro :D He's slowly getting closer to his 200th... But I think at this pace, I'll reach my halfway point first.
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We sat with the map and discussed our options. We both felt like climbing the other two M's so the logical way to go was to retrace our steps to the bealach and then tackle Geal Charn. A few other walkers arrived and the summit was too busy to nap anyway :lol:
We returned along the wide ridge, sinking in even more views and enjoying our freedom... until we reached the steep section. Here, it was either running down the slushy snow or scrambling carefully over the boulders to the left. Kevin tried the first option but changed his mind very quickly. The rocks, although wet, were much safer option:
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Doesn't look so bad...
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Here is a zoomed photo of this steep slope, taken later from Creag Pitridh. Without the snow, it would be no problem whatsoever:
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Having returned to Bhealaich Leamhain, we followed stalker's path up the slopes of the second Munro, Geal Charn, but left the path as soon as we realised it went to the col between GC and Creag Pitridh (which I call Crag Peaty, to simplify the pronunciation :lol: :lol: ). The slopes of Geal Charn are steep-ish but offer good going on short grass and moss. From higher ground, we admired the shape of Beinn a'Chlachair next to us:
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The summit cairn and trig point are placed on a small rocky bump. A raven was resting on top of the cairn, but it flew away as soon as it spotted us. For a few minutes, we had the summit to ourselves, before other walkers arrived :D
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Veni, vidi, vici, miaow! No. 123! Aaah the clock is ticking...
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The ridge continues further east, but for us this was as far as we were going. We are not top baggers. 282 Munros are enough to climb!
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View south, with Beinn a'Chlachair and more distant Nevis Range:
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The Meagaidh group again:
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From the summit of Geal Charn, Creag Pirtidh looked like a small, insignificant bump in the ground - how come this one is a Munro? If it was a few meters lower it would not be a Corbett (not enough drop between the two peaks) and probably next to no one would bother to climb it.
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Still, a Munro is a Munro and it improves statistics, so after a well-deserved rest on Geal Charn, we packed up and walked down to the col. We did our best to avoid the slushy snow, though there was one place where we had to descend carefully down the patch - Kevin zigzagged down, I skied in my boots :lol: :lol:
Can you spot our footprints?
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The climb to Creag Pitridh is steep but very short (just about 100m of ascent) with good views back to Geal Charn:
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From the col, an obvious path skirts all the rocks and leads safely to the summit:
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No. 124! A quick summit snap and I was looking for a shelter - this top was very windy, I almost lost my hat!
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Running away from the wind:
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Summit cairn and Beinn a'Chlachair:
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Looking down to Glen Spean... The high cloud was thickening and we lost the blue sky, but it was a great end to a magnificent day on the hills!
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Creag Pirtidh is the best vantage point for the two rocky Grahams I mentioned earlier. The more I looked at them, the more I wanted to return here to climb them. Ha!
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Binnein Shios, the easier one:
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The final descent back to lower Coire Pitridh was straightforward though a bit boggy here and there - most of the time we followed a sketchy path. There are some peat hags lower down, but we managed to avoid them by staying close to a little stream. Once back on the main path, the rest of the walk was a formality. We returned to Luiblea in about 10 hours - not the world record, but we never pushed it too fast. If you have a habit of napping on mountain tops, you will never be a speed-climber :lol: Some folks use bikes to cycle to Lochan na h-Earba and it does indeed save some time, but the distance can easily be walked as well.
Back on the Luiblea Bridge, we took the last set of pictures. The sun was close to setting and the steep slopes of Binnein Shuas reflected in the river...
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Another well spent day!
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We didn't end our Easter adventures there and on Sunday we set of to bag Loch Lochy Twins which proved tough yet very, very enjoyable. The story will soon be told in detail. For now - I hope you liked this one. Meow! :D
Last edited by BlackPanther on Thu May 01, 2014 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3044
Munros:248   Corbetts:154
Grahams:109   
Sub 2000:40   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Went for just one, but bagged three :)

Postby Fife Flyer » Thu May 01, 2014 11:54 am

Another great report BP with some stunning photo's :clap: :clap:

If the forecast holds I will be heading that way on Saturday to romp Creag Pitridh, did the other 2 a few years ago :wink:
Planning to take my bike so shouldn't take too long (in theory & no punctures) :lol:
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Fife Flyer
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2282
Munros:141   Corbetts:46
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Joined: May 15, 2013
Location: Guess?

Re: Went for just one, but bagged three :)

Postby AnnieMacD » Thu May 01, 2014 4:31 pm

Wondered where you were BP - thought you might have gone off for a beach holiday somewhere :roll:

This sounds like quite a trek but what astounding views. Glad you got the chance to have a nap at the top!

Keep 'em coming.....
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AnnieMacD
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Posts: 789
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Location: Applecross

Re: Went for just one, but bagged three :)

Postby Silverhill » Thu May 01, 2014 8:26 pm

Nice pictures! Have got my eyes on these for June. It’s always handy to get an idea of what the terrain is like. So thanks for posting. :D
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Re: Went for just one, but bagged three :)

Postby Lightfoot2017 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:06 am

Super report and some Fabulous pics. Well done on both counts! :clap:

I'm looking to do these three this weekend, so hopefully the weather holds and I'll be able to ejony the views as much as you did.
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Lightfoot2017
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