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Tarf and Tilt backpacking adventure

Tarf and Tilt backpacking adventure


Postby pvanlieshout » Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:43 pm

Munros included on this walk: An Sgarsoch, Beinn Dearg (Blair Atholl), Carn a'Chlamain, Carn an Fhidhleir (Carn Ealar), Carn nan Gabhar

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Bhreac

Date walked: 19/06/2014

Time taken: 76 hours

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First report so here it goes.
To be totally honest it was my better half who lead me to this one. Having read Weaselmaster's report 'Bothy adventures and the Tarf 6' and being eager to try out some of the remoter Munros, she had the rucksacks packed and ready, and eagerly waited for me to get a couple of days off work. We decided to have 3 nights out (4 days walking) so we could take it easy :lol: ,and enjoy the experience. We had backpacked to Ben Alder a few weeks ago but had never taken the heavy packs to the summits so we knew this was going to be a new experience and a challenge for us.
We set off early and after a problem free 3 1/2 hour drive we arrived at the car park at Glen Tilt. As per Weaselmaster's route we headed north west through forest by the Allt na Moine Baine and quickly emerged into open country. Already we felt we had left civilisation behind as the remoteness of the place hit us. This was going to be a good one! :D
001 walk in to Beinn Dearg 19th June 2014 c.jpg

As we approached the bothy at Allt Scheicheachan we passed the only people we were to see that day: a group of about 6 young lads who didn't seem too enthusiastic about their walk and about 200m further on, their minder who I think mentioned they were doing Duke of Edinburgh stuff. We wished him well and continued on our way. Despite their apparent reluctance we remarked it was good to see young'uns outside 'enjoying' the outdoors instead of slumped behind their computers (we should know, we have 5 of those :crazy: ) We saw the mess of the Hydro construction and thought it a shame they were digging up the hillside but hey, we all want our electricity don't we and being pretty much into renewables ourselves, we didn't complain too much. After all , lots of jobs, clean energy and I'm sure after the construction it won't look too bad.
Onward to the bothy at Allt Scheicheachan where we made use of the table outside for a spot of lunch. Had a quick peek inside and thought it would be very cozy on a cold bleak night, Not sure about the upstairs accommodation mind you. :?
004 Allt Scheicheachan Bothy c.jpg
A spot of lunch

Just after we had finished our lunch, the group of lads we had met earlier emerged around the corner. Time for us to leave. They quickly took our still warm seats at the table. They were obviously ready for another rest! :)
It was pretty sunny at this point and we enjoyed the steady climb by the Allt Scheicheachan before zig-zagging up the hillside and crossing over dried up boggy ground to the summit of Beinn Dearg.
005 indicating Beinn Dearg summit 19th June 2014 c.jpg
On our way to here.

'Dried up boggy ground' was a theme that followed us for much of our trip thanks to the recent dry weather. We felt very grateful for this throughout, especially when it came to crossing the rivers, but more of that later!
We saw plenty of wildlife along the way including lots of hares.
006 hares on Beinn Dearg c.jpg
Hares on Beinn Dearg
.
Soon we reached the summit and enjoyed the extensive views. It had taken 2 hours to get to the bothy and a further 2 hours to reach the summit. We weren't in any hurry thanks to our decision to make this a backpacking trip so we talked at length about where to camp that night and with clear views of our proposed descent route and of our next goal Beinn Bhreac we descended to the upper part of the river Tarf , S SE of the summit where we could see a nice grassy looking ascent route for the next day.
009 descending Beinn Dearg to camping spot by the river 19th June 2014 c.jpg

We pitched the tent on a nice soft bit of partly dried up mossy stuff. It was an amazing place; we didn't see a soul and felt overawed by the peace and tranquility. :)
011 upper river Tarf 19th June 2014c.jpg

Thankfully due to a little breeze and the temperature staying a little on the chilly side we had no problem with midges. Early to bed and a reasonable night's sleep thanks to the lovely soft mossy stuff under the tent. We were up early and watched the deer watching us on the horizon. Still not a soul in sight, we packed up and were up on top of a windy Beinn Bhreac by about 9.30.
015 Beinn Bhreac 20th June 2014c.jpg
Summit of Beinn Bhreac

Onward without too many problems: very little boggy ground and clear views of our route made for quick progress. We descended the NE slopes of Beinn Bhreac ,over the Bealach a' Choire Chreagaich and up Meall Tionail before descending to a very dried up lochan and finally climbing east to the summit of Carn Ealar..
016 Summit of Carn an Fhidhleir (Carn Ealar) 20th June 2014 c.jpg
.
Still feeling elated at the extensive views around us we headed off to our next goal, An Sgarsoch. Suddenly we realised what we now had to do, as the steep slopes we had to climb came into view. :shock: We took advantage of the clear views to recce a route up through the heather and chose what turned out to be the bed of a not too wet stream which made for not too bad going. We did pick up a bit of a path as we got up the slope and this made for easier going to the summit.
017 summit of an Sgarsoch 20th June 2014 c.jpg
.
We then followed an almost due south route to the Tarf Hotel (Feith Uaine bothy) through a mainly pleasant mixture of grass, heather and stream beds. We took the opportunity to enjoy the views and have a rest as we were making reasonable time and weren't in a rush.
019 looking down at the Tarf Hotel 20th June 2014 c.jpg
Cheesy boot photo. Spot the Tarf Hotel!
018 looking down at the Tarf hotel 20th June 2014 c.jpg
Tarf Hotel using the zoom on my little camera

Well rested we descended to the Tarf Hotel and endured the inevitable river crossings.
021 The Tarf Hotel c.jpg
The Tarf Hotel from before the big river crossing
Lucky for us the water wasn't high and going a few yards up stream meant we had no major problems although neither of us enjoy these moments with a heavy pack on our backs. Arriving at the bothy we were amazed to find it totally unoccupied.( We had been prepared to camp if it was busy). We chose one of the 4 rooms and made ourselves comfortable as the first shower of our trip started outside. Half an hour later we were joined by another very tired walker who was laden with bog wood. He explained he always left something useful at a bothy even if he was just passing. He decided to stay as he said he was too tired to go further (not surprised carrying all that wood). We had no need to light fires; it was warm and we weren't wet and being mindful of Weaselmaster's predicament a couple of months ago with cold wet socks and no means of getting a fire going I left some fire lighters I had brought along with me. This was our first bothy experience and having looked in a few but never slept in them, we were pleased this was the one we had chosen for our first sleeping experience. It certainly deserves a couple of stars.
021 The Tarf Hotel c.jpg
The Tarf Hotel from before the big river crossing

023 plaque at The Tarf Hotel c.jpg

The next morning we awoke to some very ominous looking clouds. Was this the end of the good weather? We set off for Carn a' Chlamain going SW alongside the Feith Uaine Mhor to Toman a' Bhalgair and up to the summit. Waterproofs had to be donned half way up and there was a mean breeze that had a bit of a chill to it. The mist covered the summit on and off and yes it was covering it when we reached the summit. :( Still just the one in mist isn't bad going. :) As we began to descend the mist cleared on and off to reveal the path we were to follow into Glen Tilt.
027 looking down from Carn a' Chlamain c.jpg
The path down just visible through the mist.

The plan was to go down into the glen, set up camp at the bottom of Carn nan Gabhar and do a quick up and down before bed :lol: ( We did the other 2 Beinn a' Ghlo summits last November in the middle of a blizzard but had to use the escape route as the weather worsened and we were running out of light. This seemed a great opportunity to catch the 3rd one) The descent of Carn a' Chlamain was problem free and we had a real sense of being nearer civilisation as we met quite a few walkers on their way up, including someone who mentioned Weaselmaster 'completing' that day. :thumbup: We were totally in awe realising that he hadn't started that long ago and the better half remarked she would remember to thank him for the inspiration we had got from his reports on our return. (and that we should perhaps make the effort to write a report too :roll:).
So down into the beautiful Glen Tilt
029 descent of Carn a' Chlamain 21st June 2014 c.jpg
the way down to Forest Lodge, Glen Tilt

From Forest lodge it was the case of 1 mile stroll up the glen and we were near the bottom of Carn Nan Gabhar where a footbridge thankfully crosses the River Tilt. We found a good spot and put up the tent. Then came the tricky bit :think: How to get up Carn Nan Gabhar. We had looked at this before we left and found a description of how you can descend at this point via Meall a' Mhuirich, a steep heathery slope by the Allt Coire Mhuirich. So if you can come down, you must be able to go up? :lol: Well this proved more difficult than I had imagined. Devoid of our heavy packs (carrying a very small rucksack between us) we set off and felt like we were flying until we saw the heathery slope we would have to climb :shock: It was very steep and there didn't appear to be any path except the usual deer tracks going across the slope. The better half was not amused to say the least. :-x
What followed is censored. We climbed the steep slope, found no path, the sun came out and it was .....hot! The better half cursed a lot and I just kept quiet which I find is the best policy in these situations. :silent: It took a while but finally we reached Meall a' Mhuirich and then followed a fairly straightforward route to the summit of Carn Nan Gabhar.
031 Ascending Carn nan Gabhar 21st June 2014 c.jpg

We were rewarded with amazing views although it was very blowy and a bit on the cool side so we didn't linger.
033 looking East from near Carn nan Gabhar summit c.jpg

034 Loch Loch from Carn nan Gabhar summit 21st June 2014 c.jpg

Neither of us fancied the steep heathery slope decent via Meall a' Mhuirich so we went down to the Bealach an Fhiodha back up the other side turned NNE and had a gentle pleasant stroll down a gentle ridge with views of Carn Nan Gabhar to our right. We were both wishing we had come up this way but variety is the spice of life as I say to the Mrs. :lol:
036 looking back at Carn nan Gabhar summit from Bealach an Fhiodha 21st June 2014 c.jpg
Looking back at Carn Nan Gabhar summit from Bealach an Fhiodha

037 descending back into Glen Tilt on Luib Mhor 21st June 2014 c.jpg
descending back into Glen Tilt on Luib Mhor

The following day we were up early and after a wash in the river Tilt we had a leisurely stroll back to the car.
045 Bridge over the river Tilt 22nd June 2014 c.jpg
Bridge over the river Tilt -the start of the long walk back.

We were chuffed with ourselves for managing our first proper back packing adventure. We enjoyed the long walk back despite aching soles of feet ( not helped by the hard track) and one dodgy shin (mine). We met and were passed by many cyclists some of whom stopped to chat. We saw lots of interesting wildlife and generally had that 'glad to be alive feeling' until we heard the 'dulcet' tones of the shooting range up ahead. We don't know what sort of shooting range it is but the sound of the shoots reminded us of more unpleasant things that are going on in the world and heralded our return to reality. :( We walked in silence deep in thought and were reminded of how lucky we were to be where we were and able to appreciate the fantastic peace and serenity of the Scottish Highlands and that we should never take that for granted.
To end on a cheerful note here are some pics of some of the nature stuff we saw.
048 Beech nuts  Glen Tilt 22nd June 2014 c.jpg

053 red squirrel Glen Tilt 22nd June 2014 c.jpg
Red Squirrel -Glen Tilt


Does anyone know what those caterpillars are? They were decimating a lot of trees which looked pretty weird covered in those white web like things.
051 more weird caterpillars Glen Tilt 22nd June 2014 c.jpg
weird caterpillars Glen Tilt

050 cocoons of weird caterpillars Glen Tilt 22nd June 2014 c.jpg
cocoons of weird caterpillars Glen Tilt


So the end of our first report. It has taken me an age to write. Hope I can manage the next one more quickly! All in all we enjoyed a great few days, were very lucky with the weather and can't wait for the next trip! :D

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pvanlieshout
 
Posts: 4
Munros:122   Corbetts:2
Donalds:1
Hewitts:21
Wainwrights:16   
Joined: Jul 15, 2012

Re: Tarf and Tilt backpacking adventure

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:02 pm

First of many multiday trips, I'm sure - you've got the bug :lol:
Good report, glad to have been of assistance in the planning
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weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1578
Munros:119   Corbetts:56
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:149   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Tarf and Tilt backpacking adventure

Postby pvanlieshout » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:35 am

weaselmaster wrote:First of many multiday trips, I'm sure - you've got the bug :lol:
Good report, glad to have been of assistance in the planning


Thanks again for the inspiration. Planning the next one. Have a way to go to catch your tally! :) Amazing that we bumped into someone you knew considering the few people we saw. Looking at Skye for next year's hols. Never been there. It looks amazing but pretty scary at the same time :think: Definitely need a guide. :) Can I ask what the scrambling course was that you did?
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pvanlieshout
 
Posts: 4
Munros:122   Corbetts:2
Donalds:1
Hewitts:21
Wainwrights:16   
Joined: Jul 15, 2012

Re: Tarf and Tilt backpacking adventure

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:36 am

pvanlieshout wrote:
weaselmaster wrote:First of many multiday trips, I'm sure - you've got the bug :lol:
Good report, glad to have been of assistance in the planning


Can I ask what the scrambling course was that you did?


We did the 2 day MCofS one - details on their website - very good value
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weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1578
Munros:119   Corbetts:56
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:149   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Tarf and Tilt backpacking adventure

Postby nigheandonn » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:16 am

Ermine moth caterpillars, apparently. We found a tree covered with them just off the A697 coming back north on Sunday.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... -park.html
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nigheandonn
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