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Gleouarich & Spidean Mialach deserve my first walk report.

Gleouarich & Spidean Mialach deserve my first walk report.


Postby cmarcol » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:57 pm

Route description: Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach

Munros included on this walk: Gleouraich, Spidean Mialach

Date walked: 31/05/2014

Distance: 12 km

Ascent: 1130m

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I’ve been a member of this site for a while but haven’t posted very often until recently. This is my first walk report because it’s the first time I’ve been so overwhelmed by a hill that I’ve just HAD to share my experience with people who understand. My friends look at me as though I might be mad when I relate hill stories to them so here it is – for people who understand the love of the outdoors – my first walk report: Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach.

After spending the long bank holiday weekend camping in the Cairngorms I must admit I was NOT looking forward to a second consecutive weekend in the tent – especially when the news that my friend’s car was gubbed arrived, meaning that I had to drive after working an incredibly early morning shift! This mood lifted the moment we left the central belt and was completely gone when I handed over my £7.50 for a fish supper at Sammy’s in Caol! :lol:

We arrived at the dam at Loch Quoich at 8.30pm and decided to try and find a camping spot closer to the start of the route. We found what appeared to be the perfect spot with its own little beach and stunning views across to Knoydart.

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The site turned out to be a boggy mess and the only part which would have served a decent spot to pitch was littered with half empty wine bottles, plastic packets and tins of beer and cider. Usually I would gather the rubbish up myself but there was just so much of it and the thought out having the rubbish in the car all weekend made me decide to hush the environmentalist inside me. I continued to wander around the area until deciding that the dam was a much better camp spot. On arriving back at the car I had the panic I have every day of my life when I try to find my car keys…. It took me about 5minutes to realise I didn’t have my handbag or any silly pockets for them to be hiding it. I had dropped them in the boggy mess between the road and the loch somewhere. The chances of me being able to retrace my steps well enough to find the car keys? Close to nil. The chances of them being visible even if I did manage to retrace my steps well enough in the long grass and bog? Probably closer to nil! After a good twenty minutes of searching the area we decided our trip was ruined. Both phones were in the car and for some daft reason I had locked it. Just as we were debating which way to walk to find somewhere to use a phone something shiny caught my eye. Hanging on the top of a long piece of tough grass were my car keys. I actually cried real tears when I picked them up. I was in complete disbelief that I had actually found them!

Still shaking with relief and disbelief, and with the light beginning to fade, we arrived back at the dam and started to pitch up. The ground here is quite rocky and I had to ask our neighbours for the night to get a shot of a mallet. If they hadn’t been there it would have been a sleep in the car kind of trip! Once the tents were up I opened a well deserved can of cider – BUT NOT BEFORE SECURING MY CAR KEYS IN THE ZIPPY POCKET OF MY SLEEPING BAG.

The morning was glorious and we set off early to make the most of our day and avoid the swarms of midges at our camp spot. It’s been a lot of years since I’ve seen clouds of them quite so thick. Nearly a week on I still look like I’ve been ill. There were three other cars already at the starting point. Knowing we had all day and the weather was fantastic we doddled up the path to Gleouraich. The views across Loch Quoich were phenomenal and well worth the doddle. Thanks to the fantastic stalkers’ path the ascent doesn’t seem very steep until you look backwards and see how high you actually are. I’ll let the photos do the talking here!

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Before we knew it the path levelled out and the views began to really open up. What views they were!

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The stalkers’ path ends at a little shooting gallery (technical term?) but a well trodden path is intermittent for the rent of the way. I’m not overly fond of exposure but there is thankfully only a drop on one side of the route meaning that if at any stage I did give myself a fright I could just move off the path a bit. I only had to do this once and it wasn’t because the drop scared me as such but it came as a bit of a surprise.

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We sat on the summit of Gleouraich for a good 20-30mins before a group of three guys joined us. We decided to move on to let them have a shot of the summit cairn but they soon tore past us and explained they were on their way to a second round compleation on Sgurr a’Mhaoraich!

The view across to Spidean Mialach
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The view north to the S.G.S Ridge
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Not entirely sure what this hill is but it really is beautiful. Sgurr nan Conbhairean maybe?
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The drop between the two hills was a lot more than I have expected but given the pace we had adopted was a very easy walk. I saw the summit cairn of Spidean Mialach come into view and was really looking forward to my mars bar when I saw the actual summit further along the ridge.

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The scariest part of the whole walk exposure wise is definitely climbing into that summit shelter on Spidean Mialach! It caught me a little bit off guard. Again we sat for ages at the summit before heading back down. The views were simply breathtaking.

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The way down gets a bit tedious trying to decide where to put your feet to avoid the bog best but it eventually meets a path which seems never ending until suddenly you enter a rhododendron forest and there’s the road! For anyone interested in botany the walk down would be quite interesting. Butterwort and various types of orchids were among some of the flowers I could identify but someone more interested would be in their element!

Gairich on the route down
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View back to the ridge
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Orchid of some sort
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Thankfully when I reached the car I knew EXACTLY where my car keys were. The boots came straight off and the jeans, flip flops and aviators were on! We headed back for a summery BBQ style feast before realising we weren’t the only ones looking for a feast. Sat on the grass I noticed something crawling across my flip-flopped foot. A tick! On closer inspection there were 8 of the little b****rs crawling across my foot and one had actually attached. Later on I found another two attached so the £3.50 tick tweezers served their purpose!
We had considered doing Gairich on the Sunday but the weather forecast wasn’t great and the locked gate on the dam which we encountered on the Saturday evening (which some of you may have read about already) was almost a convenient excuse to go for a scenic drive home instead!

Although not as hard going as the weekend before (Cairngorms) it was definitely one of the best weekends I’ve ever had on a hill. The views were tremendous and it’s made me hungry for more of the West Coast!
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cmarcol
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Re: Gleouarich & Spidean Mialach deserve my first walk repor

Postby rockhopper » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:41 pm

Great first report and what a cracking day for these hills :thumbup: Definitely an area where you want good weather to be able see the views - cheers :)
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rockhopper
 
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Re: Gleouarich & Spidean Mialach deserve my first walk repor

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Jun 07, 2014 12:08 pm

Well worth the effort of reporting. I really enjoyed this, especially the great pics (I'm a sucker for "mountain porn", living so far South as I do).

Sad that people go to places like this and then dump their litter. Very hard to fathom a mind that would do this.

Good end to your key story - I had a similar experience with my glasses (taking them off for lunch....). Less happy ending: the new pup crunched them a few weeks later!
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Alteknacker
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Re: Gleouarich & Spidean Mialach deserve my first walk repor

Postby cmarcol » Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:24 pm

Thank- you both! :D

The littering shocked me. You always expect it somewhere like Schiehallion but this wasn't even close to a path or road. It was a lovely 5mins trudge through pretty unpleasant vegetation to get to it and Loch Quoich I wouldn't exactly class as touristy. Rubbish in the countryside really upsets me and the one that gets me most is fag ends on hills! That's a different conversation altogether though!

Re the keys: I don't think I've ever been quite so stressed in my life. The tougher tall grass must have hooked them out of my back pocket. Lesson well and truly learned!

Cat
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cmarcol
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 284
Munros:192   Corbetts:8
Grahams:4   
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Jun 4, 2012
Location: Fife

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