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Beinn a'Ghlo Blow

Beinn a'Ghlo Blow

Postby kmai1961 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:32 am

Route description: Beinn a'Ghlo

Munros included on this walk: Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, Carn Liath (Beinn a'Ghlo)

Date walked: 18/07/2014

Time taken: 6.5 hours

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On my way up to Nethy Bridge for the WH meet, my original plan for Friday was Carn a’Chlamain. A long walk, yes, but straightforward enough to be done mostly on autopilot. Just what the doctor ordered after a rough week at work, and dealing with a wasp infestation at home. But as I drove toward, and then past Pitlochry, and saw all of Ben Vrackie awash in the bright sunshine, I made a deal with myself that if I could also clearly see the eroded path up Carn Liath, I’d make a last-minute change and tackle Beinn a’Ghlo instead. Yep, there’s the path, Beinn a’Ghlo it is, then.

I was a bit worried about finding the start point, given that google map showed a rather complicated route over various unnumbered small roads; however, Monzie is well sign-posted once you turn off the B8079 toward Bridge of Tilt.

Loch Moraig.jpg
Isn't Loch Moraig lovely in the early-morning sun? Not to last...

The trudge up to the summit of Carn Liath wasn’t too bad, although it was a bit “fresh,” and I stopped to pull my long trousers over my shorts. I quite enjoyed following the ridge down to the bealach, and then back up to the second summit, Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain. But by this time, all had changed.

You know how the high-powered hand dryers in some facilities blow so hard that they wrinkle the skin on your hands? That’s what the wind, coming from the side, was doing to my face. My poles were flying all over the place, and every step was a struggle. The path had disappeared, and I couldn’t see, well, much of anything. I sat for a few minutes, thinking that perhaps the wind would blow the cloud right on through. It didn’t happen, and didn’t look like it was going to happen any time soon. I clearly remembered having read “Finding the route to the next bealach requires more careful navigation if visibility is poor” in the walk description. I definitely wasn’t born with a compass in my hand, and navigation in mist isn’t a skill that yet comes easily or naturally. Between my lack of confidence in navigating, low visibility, and relentless wind, I wasn’t having much fun. So I made the executive decision to abort the mission.

I returned to the bealach between the first two summits, and followed a stalkers’ path, very clear in some places; non-existent in others – which contoured around Carn Liath (between Carn Liath and Beinn Bheag), and eventually – it’s still a long way – returned me to the track that leads back to the parking spot and Loch Moraig. It was a good escape route.

Carn nan Gabhar.jpg
Looking back up to Carn nan Gabhar, still in the cloud, from the stalkers' path

By the time I got back to the car, the top of Carn Liath was, typically, back out of the cloud. I’m sure that the top of Carn nan Gabhar likely was as well. Ah, well, <sigh>, it was the right decision at the time, on the day, and all that. A repeat visit to Beinn a’Ghlo, to capture that third summit, to look forward to.

It was then up the road to Aviemore to buy new trainers, have some food and do some story-swapping with the Sgor Gaoith/Mullach Clach a’ Blair boys, then off to find the Nethy Bridge bunkhouse and whatever adventures awaited the rest of the weekend.

kmai “it’s probably going to take me 7 separate trips to do the South Glen Shiel ridge” 1961
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Re: Beinn a'Ghlo Blow

Postby jepsonscotland » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:22 pm

I think you did great just doing the two in that weather. :clap:
We could see you (not literally) from Sgor Gaoith and it looked very stormy.
We were all thinking of you while you were battling the elements. :wink:
CNG is well worth a single day for the future. :D
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Re: Beinn a'Ghlo Blow

Postby Fife Flyer » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:34 pm

Nice one Karen :clap:
As the song goes "two out of three ain't bad" :lol: :lol:
Just had a look at your walk blog, have you been updating it with the unpublished walks?
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Re: Beinn a'Ghlo Blow

Postby cmarcol » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:44 pm

Sounds a bit like my experience of Ben a'Ghlo with the wind! Thankfully when I did it the cloud eventually lifted and as a result it's one of my favourite walks :) I hope you get a good day when you return!

The stalkers path that takes you from the bealach between the second and third isn't much better than the one you described! :lol:
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