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Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weekend

Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weekend


Postby jupe1407 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:49 am

Munros included on this walk: Aonach Beag (Nevis Range), Aonach Mor, Ben Lawers, Ben Macdui, Ben Nevis, Braeriach, Cairn Gorm, Cairn Toul, Carn Mor Dearg, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, The Devil's Point

Date walked: 13/06/2014

Time taken: 32 hours

Distance: 71 km

Ascent: 5801m

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Most years I try to do some sort of charity type of event, usually something like a 10K, on one occasion a Marathon (never again) and in 2012 I did a group charity climb of Ben Nevis, my first munro, and the reason I got into this hill-walking malarkey.

A few months ago, I concocted a plan to climb the ten highest munros in a weekend, made very possible by the fact that 9 of them are nicely divided into two ranges, with one annoying outlier. I changed my tactics a few times, at one point considering the ridiculous notion of climbing Lawers with a headtorch at midnight, then heading up to do the Braeriach-Devil's Point route with camping gear and therefore splitting the Lairig Ghru. Thankfully I quickly dismissed this idea and decided that I could do Lawers after work on Friday, all the high 'Gorms on Saturday, finishing with the Nevis Range on Sunday. Well, it looked do-able on paper anyway. :lol: Scottish Association for Mental Health was my chosen charity.

http://www.justgiving.com/toptenmountains

I waited for a weekend with a halfway acceptable forecast, so on Friday 13th :shock: of June, I finished work a wee bit early and headed to Ben Lawers.

Day 1
Ben Lawers
4:45pm to 8:15pm
7.08 miles
910m Ascent



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



There's a nice high start here from the the Ben Lawers Nature Reserve Car Park (£2.00 charge), so I parked up and was quickly on my way. It was a bit claggy and damp, but thankfully enough breeze to keep the dreaded midge at bay.

TopTen-1.jpg
Home for the Next Two Nights


I took the track up through the nice wee reserve area, and once at the other end decided to take the low path to Lawers and hope the sun would break through so I could come back over Beinn Ghlas. I wasn't long in reaching the bealach between the two (still surprised that Ghlas is a seperate munro) and headed up the path to the summit. The mountain was deserted and claggy, giving it a quite eerie and atmospheric feel. It was an enjoyable stretch though and the summit was soon reached.

TopTen-2.jpg
Lawers Trig and Cairn


The trip back was fairly uneventful, other than a brief stop to get a chocolate bar out of my rucksack. I turned round to be confronted by this rather freaky sight:

TopTen-1-2.jpg
Sheep in attack formation


A strange sight in the mist below a mountain summit... Anyway, I carried on down with no problems. Photo opportunities were somewhat limited. Most of the drama occurred in the car park. Shortly after being informed that Spain were being hammered by the Netherlands, I fired up my stove to have a quick coffee before heading up the A9. "Fired" being the operative work. My stove turned into an almighty fireball which consumed my Gas Canister in about 30 seconds. Disappointed in the lack of coffee, but please at the lack of explosion, I packed up and headed up to the Sugar Bowl Car Park, a few miles along the road from Aviemore, parked up and settled down for a fairly uncomfortable 5 hour sleep. I had a hell of a day ahead.

Day 2
Braeriach, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, Cairn Toul, Devil's Point, Ben Macdui, Cairn Gorm
5:45am to 10:15pm
24 Miles
2658m Ascent



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



I'd known from the day I'd thought this trip up that Saturday would be the make or break. Braeriach to Devil's Point is a tough traverse on it's own, but to add in the ascent to Ben Macdui and the longish walk to Cairn Gorm was going to be pretty brutal. I'd originally planned to cut the Cairngorms walk in half and camp at the bothy, however the thought of lugging camping gear all that way was just dreadful, so i opted for the single day slog.

I woke to a still, damp and dank morning. Needless to say, the second i got out of the car to sort my gear out I was covered in midges. I also forgot to take chocolate. A truly dreadful error. It was eerily quiet when i set off on the trail right across from the car park.

TopTen-2-2.jpg
Spooky...


After two or three miles I arrived at the Chalamain Gap, a fun-packed traverse of damp and often mossy boulders with plenty of slip/leg break opportunities. I took my time and carefully negotiated these and emerged on a stretch of boggy path, which eventually took me down to a wee burn crossing then up the other side. I missed the first turn off towards Braeriach trying to fight off midges, but took the second one. What then followed was a game of cat and mouse with frequent rain showers versus my waterproofs. It was really close, there was no breeze, so I was absolutely cooking with them on. After several annoying delays, I eventually got up to Sron na Lairige, and shortly afterwards, 6.5 miles in to the summit of Braeriach. After a fairly miserable and uninspiring 4 hours beforehand, the initial munro always gives a wee boost.

TopTen-4-2.jpg
Scary Summit Selfie


A quick intake of cheese roll here, then I followed the corrie rim round to the Angel's Peak, or Sgor an Lochain Uaine to give it it's proper (and harder to type) name. I hoped for some views but these were extremely fleeting and clag continued to dominate. Eventually I made the short pull up to it's summit. Two down, four to go.

The descent to bealach and re-ascent to Cairn Toul must be the shortest in the area. However, the pull up to Cairn Toul is pretty pathless and littered with large boulders. It was becoming a wee bit of a slog by now, but i eventually made the top.

I sat here for a bit and enjoyed the fact that it had stopped raining, before setting off. There's a second cairn up here, touched it to be on the safe side, although it was clearly lower than the the other one. In between Cairn Toul and Devil's Point there's an intervening top. By the time I got to this, the views had started to open out.

TopTen-4.jpg
The previous three (almost)


I took a couple of photos, enjoyed the views and headed down to the bealach. A bit of decision making to do here, do i add Devil's Point and a small, un-necessary ascent, or leave it for another time. It seemed a bit daft not to and looked quick enough to get up to. Sure enough, after about 15 minutes I reached it's top, and the views from here were indeed lovely.

TopTen-8.jpg
Glen Dee & Beinn Bhrotain


I headed quickly back to the bealach and took a quick snap of my next target, which by now was weighing heavily on my mind. I knew the ascent up from the Lairig Ghru was going to be rough, long and pretty unpleasant, and with my feet already tiring, It wasn't going to be fun.

TopTen-6.jpg
Ben Macdui


I quickly descent the good path down to Corrour Bothy, which was pretty busy with students/DOE-ers. "Lucky sods" I thought as i saw them setting up camp and firing up a disposable BBQ. On i went, crossing the footbridge then heading back along the path. After what seemed an eternity, I met with the turn off to the very rough path up to the Alt Clach nan Taillear. This was steep and unpleasant at this point in the day, and the next section was by far the toughest. I clambered out of the area of the Allt up slippy and steep grassy slopes eventually making the rocky ascent route. This took an age. I was absolutely shattered, unsure whether i needed to eat something, or be sick and stopped for a breather god knows how many times. Eventually, the 720m ascent levelled off a bit and I was unbelievably relieved to make the summit, and demolish a cheese roll.

TopTen-6-2.jpg
Another selfie. *shudder*


I was now faced with an approximate 4 mile slog to Cairn Gorm, the sixth and final peak of an epic day. As soon as i got up from Macdui's cairn, the rain came on. It didn't stop until i summited Cairn Gorm. I walked four sodden, miserable, soul-destroying miles in less than brilliant light, with absolutely no views and no one else around for miles. As i got to Coire an t'Sneachda fantastic crags loomed through the mist. It was quite beautiful. And had my feet not been blistered to hell since halfway up Macdui, i'd have enjoyed it more. :lol: Anyway, a final painful trudge up Cairn Gorm came and went quicker than expected.

TopTen-8-2.jpg
Cairn Gorm Summit


All that remained now was an agonising walk out, down past Ptarmigan Restaurant and the Ski/Railway apparatus. It was a pretty surreal experience, deserted and in clag. This, combined with my mental and physical state led me to miss the shortcut path to the sugar bowl and i ended up following the main road instead. I finally arrived back at the car tired, wet and dreading tomorrow. I knew my feet were wrecked without taking the boots off. I'd have to hope they'd be OK in the morning.

A couple of phone calls and a stop in Aviemore for some supplies, and i was off to Fort William. An utterly awful drive at night and a real struggle to stay awake. I eventually arrived in Glen Nevis at 1am, met up with Mat, and crashed out for the night. Four to go.

Day Three
Aonach Beag, Aonach Mor, Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis
8:15am to 8:00pm
13.2 miles
2175m Ascent



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



I woke from my uncomfortable car-based slumber not long before 7am. We'd supposed to have met Gill and Tomsie but had slept in. After much self-persuasion to get sorted and going i got dressed and checked my feet. They were blistered quite badly. I applied numerous blister plasters and thick sock coverage and hoped for the best.

The morning didn't get off to the best of starts, my water bladder fell over in the boot of my car while i was adding tablets to it, and after eventually getting going, having dumped a car at the Visitor Centre, I discovered i'd left my keys in Mat's glovebox. Luckily we were only a mile in. He was happy (thankfully) to nip back for them. Eventually we got going properly.

The walk starts from the head of Glen Nevis through the gorge, passing Steall Falls. We passed Steall Ruins, then headed up the rough, steep path towards Sgurr a'Bhuic. The path is grassy, wet and constantly disappears. This was by far the worst part of the walk for me. There was no cooling breeze and i was absolutely shattered. I'd have taken an eternity on my own, luckily it's a bit easier to keep going when you have a friend with you. Eventually we emerged on a flat mini-plateau before the ascent to Sgurr a'Bhuic.

TopTen-11.jpg
Sgurr a'Bhuic


It was some relief. We'd got the worst part of the day out of the way in reasonable time. Rather than ascend this top, we cut across it's slopes and met the path, which took us past Stob Coire Bhealaich, then steeply up to Aonach Beag, the day's first munro.

TopTen-12.jpg
Aonach Beag's bleak summit plateau


A quick bite to eat then off down to the bealach before ascending Aonach Mor. It was on this rocky descent i knew how bad my feet were going to be. All day my feet would be in absolute agony on descents, and not much better on the flat. Anyway, I slogged on and we made the summit of Munro number 2, Aonach Mor fairly quickly.

TopTen-13.jpg
Aonach Mor summit


We soon picked up the faint path towards the marker cairn for the descent into the bealach above Coire Giubhsachan. Just as we headed to the descent point, the clag lifted, giving a view of what lay ahead.

TopTen-14.jpg
Views from the Aonachs


TopTen-16.jpg
Carn Mor Dearg's East Ridge


Spoke a couple who'd just come up the path and they reassuringly told us it was steep but clear all the way. I'd been worried about this part of the walk more than any other, having read a few reports of it being pretty dangerous when wet. It was far better than I'd anticipated, and we made a very quick descent.

TopTen-15.jpg
Descent Path


A quick break at the bealach, and we started another brutal ascent, this time up CMD's East Ridge. It seemed to take ages, though the views helped.

TopTen-18.jpg
Carn Dearg Mheadonach NE Ridge


After a relentless ascent, with a very steep last 50 metres, I made the summit of Carn Mor Dearg, munro number three. And what a view!

TopTen-19.jpg
CMD & Ben Nevis


A quick stop, followed by a hugely enjoyable traverse of the arete, although with knackered legs and fading balance, probably not the best of ideas. :lol: Still, it was good fun and it wasn't long until we arrived at the cairn below the steep looking ascent to Ben Nevis.

TopTen-20.jpg
Sgurr a'Mhaim


TopTen-21.jpg
Oh god.


I eventually summoned the motivation to get going (helped by Mat :lol: ) and took on the bouldery ascent. I avoid the path as clambering up the rocks was far easier on the feet. It's about 200m up from the cairn, and i felt every centimetre of it. Finally the ground levelled off to the summit plateau and there it was. Summit #10. I staggered up the last bit of rock and touched the trig. I couldn't believe i'd done it. Even one summit had felt beyond me at the start, but i'd done all four, my feet were in tatters and every single part of my body ached, but i'd done it.

TopTen-22.jpg
Done!!!!


We started heading back down. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten how miserable the descent was. We shortcutted out some of the zig zags, but we still took 2.5 hours to get down, mainly due to my plodding. Every step was now awful. The end never seemed to get any closer. After a pain-filled eternity, we arrived back at my car. I took off my boots and inspected the damage. No details, but they won't be winning any beauty contests.

I dropped Mat off at his car in Glen Nevis and we headed off. It was all over, an epic weekend ranging from fantastic to utterly brutal and everything in between, but an experience i'll never forget. Thanks to Mat for his vital support on day three and everyone else for their encouragement and donations :)
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jupe1407
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby kmai1961 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:02 am

Wow. That's about all I can manage; I'm thoroughly shattered just reading your report. Well done, JP!

Karen
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:33 am

Well done, JP - hope the feet heal up soon :clap:
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby Fife Flyer » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:16 am

Well done John, I knew you could & would do it :clap: :clap: :clap:
Great descriptive report, we have all had blisters & know how much fun they aren't :wink:

Just the wee hills to tackle now :lol:
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby jupe1407 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:57 pm

kmai1961 wrote:Wow. That's about all I can manage; I'm thoroughly shattered just reading your report. Well done, JP!

Karen


Thanks Karen. I was knackered even typing it :lol:

weaselmaster wrote:Well done, JP - hope the feet heal up soon :clap:


Thanks Al, they're healing up fine, ready for another trip to the hills at the end of the month! Good luck with your compleation. :clap:

Fife Flyer wrote:Well done John, I knew you could & would do it :clap: :clap: :clap:
Great descriptive report, we have all had blisters & know how much fun they aren't :wink:

Just the wee hills to tackle now :lol:


Cheers Martin. I was struggling on the ascent to the Aonach's on Sunday, but once I'd got those done, I knew I'd be OK. And also in significant pain :lol:
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby jenniferc6 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:09 pm

Well done, fantastic achievement :clap:
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby Mantog » Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:57 pm

Well done, good report too. I feel your pain, literally - I've had some terrible do's with blisters and know how utterly awful they can be! Don't you just hate those people who are like "I never ever get any blisters" I feel like saying "oh good for you, what about the black eyes..?
"What black eyes...?"
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby jupe1407 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:01 pm

Mantog wrote:Well done, good report too. I feel your pain, literally - I've had some terrible do's with blisters and know how utterly awful they can be! Don't you just hate those people who are like "I never ever get any blisters" I feel like saying "oh good for you, what about the black eyes..?
"What black eyes...?"



:lol:

Thanks

To be honest, that's the first time in ages, and purely because water got in over the top of my boots, making my socks a spectacularly effective abrasive, combined with the distance.
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:28 pm

crumbs! thats some weekend! well done :clap: :clap: ..your poor feet :(
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby RiverSong » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:49 pm

Fantastic, well done :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby scoob999 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:05 pm

Brilliant effort :clap: :clap:
one never to be forgotten :D
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby GillC » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:05 pm

Fab effort young man. Sorry we missed you, couldn't have been far behind us. Well done on your fund raising too. :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby jupe1407 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:17 pm

GillC wrote:Fab effort young man. Sorry we missed you, couldn't have been far behind us. Well done on your fund raising too. :clap: :clap: :clap:


Thanks Gill :D

We took a while to get sorted then had a car keys faux-pas. Didn't get onto the ascent to Sgurr a'Bhuic until 9am. Which way did you descend the Aonachs?
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby jupe1407 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:19 pm

scoob999 wrote:Brilliant effort :clap: :clap:
one never to be forgotten :D


Definitely not. I'm almost tempted to re-do Sunday's walk on a really nice day without pre-battered feet. I also loved the 'Gorms. Might split them next time though :lol:
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Re: Top Ten Charity Challenge - 10 Highest Munros in a Weeke

Postby GillC » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:23 pm

We dropped down to the beallach under C M D then off downhill from there. WH route.
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