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Cleaning up the Wall of Rannoch - first solo trip this year

Cleaning up the Wall of Rannoch - first solo trip this year

Postby GillC » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:40 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a' Chreachain, Beinn Achaladair

Date walked: 01/06/2014

Time taken: 7.2 hours

Distance: 19 km

Ascent: 1451m

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With the tough day of Ben More and Stob Binnein yesterday, today was a 'wait and see how the legs feel' Early bed last night and woke at 5:15am (without an alarm) quick flex of the calf muscles and no adverse effects so up sorted, out the house, tank filled and on the road around 6:20am. Loch Tulla, here I come.

Margaret and I started on the WH route, clockwise, one day in last summers heat wave but turned back on clearing the forest as the buzzards were eyeing us from above the heat haze, would have been sun burn or heatstroke, if not both.

Today was my first solo Munro trip this year and having checked out various reports and routes, I opted to attack this anti-clockwise this time then dropping down under Meall Buidhe as Tomsie did on his (drew his route on my map)

I was booted up and good to go by 8:15am, no other cars in the car park but a couple of camper vans looked like they had been there all night.

1 Achaladair under cloud.JPG
Achaladair under cloud

The farmer goes to some lengths to ensure minimal impact on his farm, a small sign indicates "Footpath to Hill" much earlier than the WH route which goes up behind the farm and it looks like its been flattened or travelled on to establish the path a bit better. Still, it gets you there. Undulating land, a wee bit of bog or two but brings you out on the same track as the WH route and up to the small railway bridge in the trees. As I approached, the beat of machinery could be heard, looked like 2 men jetwashing the railway sidings with a generator humming away.

2 Up to the Coire.JPG
Up to the Coire

On over the bridge and followed a fence line off to the right, this doesn't go too far and at the end, follow it round and you are more or less in line with the target, Coire Achaladair, following the ever growing Allt Coire Achaladiar. The burn gets wider, some nice lazy waterfalls and the path rises higher above it. Its a nice easy climb here, gaining gradual height and weaving in and out of hillocks and over a few small tributaries to the main burn.

3 Allt Coire Achaladair gaining strength.JPG
Allt Coire Achaladair gaining strength

4 Back down to Tulla.JPG
Back down to Tulla

Climbing under the crags of Dothaidh to the right, still holding a lot of snow in this North face, the clouds swirled around the top of the Coire and above on the ridge to Achaladair. I was keeping everything crossed for minimal clag and rain. All my previous solo outings were in fabulously clear weather (would today be a day for using my navigation training?)

4 Snow on Dothaidh.JPG
Snow on Dothaidh

The path comes and goes a bit, disappearing into some bogs which were easily crossed, it actually doesn't look like there's been much rain here for a while, lots of dried up puddles with the choco textured peaty mud beginning to crack in places. New waterproof socks on today, so ready for whatever. :wink:

I did lose the path on a couple of occasions but you cant go far wrong, just keep climbing. At one stage you are right on the edge of a stream leading in to Allt C A, foot size ledges above the water. A bit tricky in places but the water was very low anyway, so no risk. Stopped to have a snack about an hour and a half up and returned a call to John, now heading home after a long walk and camp, getting 6 Munros done in Fisherfields. Sore feet job me thinks. Started to get chilly, so headed onward, another 15-20 mins and reach the top of Coire Daingean.

The cloud was still swirling around and there had been literally a couple of spits of rain, but no need for waterproofs, body heat and a stiff breeze dried anything as soon as it hit me.

I had picked the path up again just before the top here and followed as it hairpinned round and on to the rising ridge to Achaladair. Thankfully, John had mentioned the false summits on the phone call, so I was ready! HA! yep,,took pictures at the first cairn I came across,,chuffed with my good time...then the second one.... and finally the real one lol. The climb up the ridge was hampered a bit by the low cloud coming and going but visibility was still several hundred yards. I actually took a bearing from the first cairn,,thinking it was the top. Soon realised that was wrong when it pointed back down the hill lol. :roll:

6  False peak #1.JPG
False peak #1

7 ....and #2.JPG
....and #2

Still, I made it to the top, 1036 mtrs in around 2hrs 45, pics taken, soft shell on as the wind was whipping a bit here, no hanging around. This time, visibility to Meall Buidhe and beyond was gone, couldn't see a thing, so, map and compass out, bearing taken, red in the bed and all that, looked up to where I was now pointing, and yep, totally clear, the cloud had lifted in seconds, still, I used the bearing , just to prove I could. :wink: :wink: :wink:


As I moved off the hill, it was pretty steep on the downward section to Bealach an Aoghlain, bum to rock for a few bits. Dropping over 200 mtrs before ascending to Meall Buidhe at 978 mtrs. I took the high path here to get to the cairn rather than the bypass crossing round the side. Worth doing, even with the low cloud and haze, got some atmospheric views across Rannoch Moor to Glencoe, with Stob Dearg looking all misty. The confluence of the Water of Tulla below also making sandy coloured sweeps in the foreground.

9 Snow filled corries.JPG
Snow filled corries

10 Over to Meall Buidhe.JPG
Over to Meall Buidhe

Leaving Meall Buidhe, I used my nav again, and also used my pacing, to cover the 800mtrs I reckoned it was to the point above the crags at 972 mtrs where a large cairn marks the change in direction to dog leg around the corries which still had large sagging snow cornices for their entire width.

Dropping down to the top of Coire a Mhath-ghamhna off to the South, you get a clear view of Beinn a'Chreachain and the cairn up to the right. Using yesterdays pull up Stob Binnein as a guide, I reckoned on 40 minutes for this.

11 Back to Achaladair.JPG
Back to Achaladair

The path up goes through some very rocky ground cover and is easily lost but nothing to worry about, just climb up and you pick it up again. This then meets the path coming up from the lower ridges of B a'C and heads South for a short distance to the large cairn. Smashing, 2nd Munro of the day, 4th of the weekend, and 87th on the list. Check!

12 Summit of Beinn a'Chreachain.JPG
Summit of Beinn a'Chreachain

13 The Eastern ridge walk up to B a'C.JPG
The Eastern ridge walk up to B a'C

14 Been there,,done that.JPG
Been there,,done that

Had another fuel stop here, checking the map, eyeing the ridges off the hill as an alternative descent, still wary of the lack of bridge at the far end of the track. The burns so far. had been low and easy to cross but I wasn't taking any chances. Decided to stick to my original plan. Coming off the hill, I spied two walkers coming my way from Meall Buidhe and we met up just above the snow filled crags. We had a brief chat and I mentioned my alternative descent but they were doing the WH route in anti clockwise direction, never saw them follow me so assume they also stuck to their plan.

The crags had worried me slightly, John is happy going off piste as it were, so I was a bit wary of his route down, but on checking his route against the map, I confirmed the launching point was around about where Meall Buidhe hits the 973 mtrs on the OS map. Uniformly down, not too steep and easy enough underfoot.

My knee played up a bit here, couple of ouches, so stopped to do some stretches, yoga on the hillside on a fine day is to be recommended lol :lol: Zig zagged my way down, freestyling as I went, knowing I was heading for the corner of the old forest. The difference between the colours in the trees being very obvious, grey trunks and bright green leaves a contrast to the old black pines beyond.

15 Deer above the trees on my descent from Meall Buidhe.JPG
Deer above the trees on my descent from Meall Buidhe

16 Hazy views north to Glencoe,  Stob Dearg on the left.JPG
Hazy views north to Glencoe, Stob Dearg on the left

This route might save some distance but it takes some time to pick your way down. Lots of little 'shoulders' to descend, cross over, descend the next, but pretty quickly I was down amongst the green trees. I had seen the railway bridge from above and generally headed that way. There is a 2 wheeled track you can follow but above the bridge, it seems to head away, so I cut across the open ground and it does eventually come back round to the same point anyway. Another burn to cross, some more trees, sprucey pine types now, and I was there.

17 Achaladair now hiding under heavier cloud.JPG
Achaladair now hiding under heavier cloud

18 Contrasting forestry below.JPG
Contrasting forestry below

Over the bridge, (which has a "bridge closed, please use one half a mile in other direction" sign, but only on the north side,,,which you don't see until you've crossed it!!!!) following the 2 wheel track in the grass still, rising and falling between small grassy hilloocks, it took about 10 minutes to reach the main track, this side of the Water of Tulla and the bridge over to Tom nan Grodh.

Turning left, strode out down towards the farm, checking over my shoulder every now and then for the two guys I met earlier, didn't like to think they would take the long way and beat me! :shock:

No worries though, about 30-35 min march down the track, picking out targets to reach. Past the old farm wall, the dilapidated tower then the last section to the car, feet were a bit burny by now.

Back to the car 7hrs 20mins after leaving. Warm, dry, happy, fresh shoes and more banana milk. The car park was pretty busy so there must have been a good few others still out there but I'd only seen the two.

Fab day out, two hills I'd been eyeing up since missing them last summer and the last 2 on the Wall of Rannoch for me.

Fabby do, now, lets see how the old pins feel tomorrow morning :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Last edited by GillC on Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Finishing the Wall of Rannoch - first solo trip this yea

Postby quoman » Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:47 pm

Well done again Gill thats a good weekend 4hills done.
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Re: Finishing the Wall of Rannoch - first solo trip this yea

Postby GillC » Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:53 pm

quoman wrote:Well done again Gill thats a good weekend 4hills done.

I thank you! :D
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Re: Finishing the Wall of Rannoch - first solo trip this yea

Postby Mountainlove » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:37 pm

Well done on your first solo outing! Those days are best when you can do yoga :lol: without getting any strange looks :shock: Enjoyed that read :D
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Re: Finishing the Wall of Rannoch - first solo trip this yea

Postby AnnieMacD » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:05 pm

Another great day out, Gill. Good to use your navigation skill while they are still fresh. I have the most difficulty with pacing - you really need to concentrate and not let the mind wander. Hard for me :lol:
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Re: Finishing the Wall of Rannoch - first solo trip this yea

Postby Munchie » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:12 pm

Well done doll .... I take off my proverbial hat to ya.
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Re: Cleaning up the Wall of Rannoch - first solo trip this y

Postby Tomsie » Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:01 pm

Well done, good to keep the nav course fresh in the mind.

Only 5 munros in Fisherfield.
Don't remember any crags.
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