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Glen Feshie marathon

Glen Feshie marathon


Postby BlackPanther » Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:42 pm

Route description: Leathad an Taobhain and Carn Dearg Mor

Corbetts included on this walk: Carn Dearg Mor, Leathad an Taobhain

Date walked: 26/07/2014

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 33.5 km

Ascent: 1153m

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There are three fairly unpopular Corbetts in the vast area of rolling slopes and peat hags between Glen Feshie and Gaick Pass. Especially Leathad an Taobhain is infamous for being remote and not particularly interesting. I'm not certain if I ever complete the Corbetts, but I'd like to climb all these within 2 hrs driving range from Inverness. It's here that we face the most inaccessible and wild C's. The Gaick trio are hardly wild as they have a good web of tracks joining them, making the ascent easier. But without a doubt, they can be a pain in the neck.

In 2013 we climbed Meallach Mhor via Glen Tromie. A nice walk in itself and a perfect one for a semi-good day. The other two are best tackled from Glen Feshie and so we kept them for a long summer trudge. I hoped to do better than WH time: 9 to 10 hours, but failed. 10 hours it took. I guess at the end of the day, you can't cheat the distance. Especially if your other half has blistered feet :(

We followed the classic route for the two Corbetts, going to Leathad an Taobhain first, then to Carn Dearg Mor on the way back. We were actually chasing the last day of good weather and managed to get off the hills just as the cold front and rain arrived...

Track_GLENFESHIE CORBETS 26-07-14.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



The morning didn't look like a start to a scorchio - it was rather cloudy though warm. We arrived in Glen Feshie at half past eight and we were instantly attacked by hoards of midges. Let's celebrate National Hungry Midge Day!!!
We got ready quickly and set off for a long walk-in. better that than waiting for the wee beasties to suck us dry!
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Past the buildings in Achlean, we swapped tarmac for a path, we couldn't even see our target hills on the horizon - hey, that's what I call mountain marathon :lol:
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The first short break - Feshie Bridge:
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Forecast suggested blue sky until 4pm, but at the moment it all looked rather...grey:
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I have been to Glen Feshie before and climbed Feshie Munros, but only now I realized the glen is so long! :lol:
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Past the bridge and we were back on tarmac, which made for quick walking. Good views down to the meandering River Feshie...
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...and the Munro-side of the Glen. The track up Meall nan Sleac is the ascent/descent route to Mullach Clach a'Bhlair, but when we were descending via this route, we left the track by the summit of Meall nan Sleac and walked down its northern slope, straight to Allt Garbhlach. No path, but easy going on grass/heather. I'm not a great fan of yellow-brick -roads all the way to the summit though I don't mind a good path :D
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Back to our current route. The tarmac lasts as far as Glenfeshie Lodge but even further on the track is good. Could be cycled:
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I was beginning to feel the remoteness now. There were a few cars parked at Glenfeshie car park, but I guess all walkers headed for the Munros. We were alone in the heart of the glen...
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The steep slopes of Sron Direachain looked imposing - and a bit scary. No, we're not climbing that (and just as well!):
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The track splits at some point and we took the right branch heading for Slochd Mor. A few locals watched us with some interest:
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View back to Glen Feshie with the roof of the lodge peaking out of the trees on the left side:
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Up Slochd Mor the proper climbing began. Weather improved, the morning cloud dispersing. The air was humid though and we had to slow down. Luckily we had plenty of water with us - on this route once away from Feshie River, there is nowhere to refill bottles!
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View back down Slochd Mor:
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I'd prefer a narrow path to be honest. As I have already mentioned, I don't like A9-type tracks up on the hills. Follow the yellow brick road... The only thing missing was a tin man and cowardly lion :roll: As for the scarecrow, come the wind and I would soon resemble one :lol: :lol:
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So climbing was easy, more like uphill marching. Lochan an t-Sluic is an enchanting spot though, even with the track passing just next to it:
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On top of the pass, the track divides again. One branch goes up Carn Dearg Mor (our second Corbett), we turned left towards the more remote Leathad an Taobhain. GPS said, another 5 km to the summit :roll: Let's roll on, then!
Carn Dearg Mor from the track circling around the 739m top (not named on 1-25k map):
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The temperature was rising fast now and it was time for +50 factor and another break!
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Meall Chuaich and Bogha-cloiche to the west:
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Still good underfoot :D because the rain was forecast to come in the afternoon, we wanted to be quick. We set ourselves a time line - to get to the fist Corbett by 1pm and to the second one by 3pm.
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The day was hazy and because this is not an area of spectacular beauty, most photos look the same - just rollin' rollin' landscape, grass, heather, peat hags and track lines cutting across the hill slopes:
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The bets views were towards the Cairngorms, themselves also a bit hazy:
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The solid track goes all the way to the subsidiary top, Meall an Uilt Chreagaich, where it ends abruptly. A small cairn makes the start of a very vague path down into a small dip, before the final climb to the Corbett summit. On the horizon to the right - Beinn Dearg, to the right - Carn Ealar:
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Leathad an Taobhain from Meall an Uilt Chreagaich. it may look like a big descent/reascent, but the perspective is misleading. It's hardly over 100m of ascent to the top of the Corbett.
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We didn't bother with the path on the way down, just walked down the grassy slopes. I was surprised, when Kevin stopped half way down and... took his boots off!
"I think I have blisters..." he said. Poor old man :( He did have a few, indeed. They formed under his toes! He swapped socks and pulled his boots tighter - what else could he do? I felt for him. I used to suffer from nasty blisters with my previous pair of boots, but my new Berghauses seem to have been made for my feet - they didn't rub a single time. I talked Kevin into buying the same "model", but he must have different shape of feet, because Berghauses or not, they still give him blisters from time to time. Swollen feet on a hot day was probably the cause.
He was all right to finish the climb though, and still enjoyed the views, which were getting more interesting now, when we were near the summit:
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The final climb follows a faint path and soon we saw the lonely trigpoint. Well-deserved break time :D
It's a bit windy... But Corbett No. 73 ticked!
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Not a "mountain p*o*r*n" type of views, but a nice spot nevertheless. We sat by the trig point and enjoyed our lunch. Ahhh, and we reached Leathad an Taobhain before 1 pm!
View east:
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Meallach Mhor:
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Carn Dearg Mor and the edge of the Cairngorms:
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Zoom to Sgor Gaoith:
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A couple of wider panoramas:
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Cairn Toul - not the clearest of photos as the air was quite hazy:
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Ahmmm... And we have to walk all the way back now!
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Blisters or no blisters, he's still my hero :lol:
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Weather on the southern horizon was beginning to change, as we gathered up to start our walk back. We couldn't even see Schiehallion and Lawers, they were hiding behind the distant cloud. I knew this front was going to catch up with us sooner or later, better later though. We wanted to be on the way down from Carn Dearg Mor before the rain!
The return walk to the top of Slochd Mor came without any nasty surprises. We met a juvenile hare, who just pretended it didn't exist :lol:
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On the way up to Carn Dearg More we met the only other person that day - a single chap doing just CDM, descending to Slochd Mor pass. Generally, even with the presence of the tracks, the area feels deserted. I imagine it would be pretty busy in stalking times though...
Looking back at Meall an Uilt Chreagaich and Leathad an Taobhain behind it, from the slopes of Carn Dearg Mor:
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The track is obvious all the way to the summit:
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Bad weather front coming now:
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It's about 300m of additional ascent, but on a track it doesn't feel a lot really. I was happy to add another Corbett to my list. And hey! I hit my Corbett target for 2014! My quiet plan was to get to 1/3 of Corbett list - 74:
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A few photos from the summit - we didn't stay here for too long as time till the coming rain was short.
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Meallach Mhor and Meall Chuaich:
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The Cairngorms:
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Upper Glen Feshie and the two nightmare Munros: An Sgarsoch and Carn an Fhidhleir. Nightmare, because they are so far away from anywhere. On the way down, we discussed options for them and maybe approaching them from Glen Feshie wouldn't be a bad idea.
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View north to Speyside:
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We followed the ridge to Carn Dearg Beag and here we made a slight mistake. The WH description suggests following the ridge down due north, but I spotted A NEW TRACK bulldozed in the hillside - it starts at 841941. I thought it would be a nice shortcut and we descended straight to it. The track was built to gain access to the forest, which though still marked on the OS maps, no longer exists. To start with, it was easy descending on soft heather, but the last 100m were horribly wet and bumpy - it was the area where the trees used to be. We had to jump on tufts of grass, avoid tree stumps and tiny streams... Eventually we reached the track and followed it to 844949, where it joins the main one, descending to the road in Glen Feshie. We saved some distance but didn't save any time. Getting over the remains of the forest is not very pleasant :? so I wouldn't recommend this so-called shortcut, better to stick to the original route.
Our adventure was not over yet. We returned to the tarmac just as the rain started, so we stopped to put on waterproofs. But we had forgotten it was National Hungry Midge Day, and the wee suckers descended upon us in millions... :shock: :shock: :shock: They were everywhere! By the time I pulled on my goretex top, dozens of them somehow squeezed into my sleeves. Wow, I found a new meaning for "itchy armpits" :lol: :lol: :lol:
Funny, midges didn't mind rain at all and we had to walk the rest of our return route at a very brisk pace, just to avoid being eaten alive... I'm sure Kevin's blistered feet didn't appreciate it, but he didn't complain. Just said he hated anything black, small and flying :shock: :lol:

In the end, it was a grand day out. Midges, blisters, heat, humid air, but we enjoyed it to the full. Hope this summer is not over yet. Meow! 8)
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BlackPanther
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Re: Glen Feshie marathon

Postby Ian Johnston » Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:52 pm

Great stuff - I'm a bit of a Glen Feshie fan :wink:

Lochan an-tSluic is a really nice place to camp too!

Kind Regards

Ian
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Re: Glen Feshie marathon

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:01 pm

Nice one BP - have these hills on my radar, though stalking season may interrupt that. it's good to have your report and photos to assist planning. Can't decide whether to do them from Feshie, or whether to link them with the An Dun pair and go up from Drumochter way...watch this space.
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Re: Glen Feshie marathon

Postby AnnieMacD » Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:16 pm

Wow, that's a marathon indeed, BP. National Midge Day indeed - I vouch for that.

Great report and photos but I doubt I'll follow you to these two!
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Re: Glen Feshie marathon

Postby razzah » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:30 am

Nice report :)
This sounds weird but I think I saw you in the Auchlean carpark - you came in after us (we were in a small white campervan)? I am pretty sure it was you! We were doing Sgor Gaoith and Mullach CAB (and also got eaten by the pesky midgies :problem: )
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Re: Glen Feshie marathon

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:41 pm

Thanks everybody :D I didn't expect a lot of response to this TR, to be honest, the two Corbetts are considered as boring and uninspiring. But there is a certain charm to Glen Feshie (I'm not talking about midges :lol: ).

weaselmaster wrote:Can't decide whether to do them from Feshie, or whether to link them with the An Dun pair and go up from Drumochter way...watch this space.


We were actually considering An Dun and neighbour as an option on Saturday, but went for Feshie Corbetts in the end. I'm sure you'll find the Feshie trio easy: lots of rolling slopes, good tracks, quick going.
The summit of Leathad an Taobhain looks like a good place for wild camp...
I'll be waiting for your version of the Feshie Odyssey :wink:

razzah wrote:This sounds weird but I think I saw you in the Auchlean carpark - you came in after us (we were in a small white campervan)? I am pretty sure it was you! We were doing Sgor Gaoith and Mullach CAB (and also got eaten by the pesky midgies :problem: )


Yep, I remember you :D though I was busy waving midges away...
The two Munros on the northern side are also suffering from bad reputation, but I really liked them. I'd fancy revisiting SG in winter conditions.
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Re: Glen Feshie marathon

Postby rockhopper » Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:53 pm

very nice, BP, and very informative - must keep this in mind for the future but think I'd take a bike as it looks as though there's a track for much of the way from your narrative and photos - cheers :)
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Re: Glen Feshie marathon

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:32 pm

Cripes ..a long walk!! Did these 2 yesterday with my bike. Definitely worth the effort pushing to the end of the track. Was quick coming down!!! 5.5 hrs in total. :)
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Re: Glen Feshie marathon

Postby dogplodder » Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:04 pm

This walk has been on our radar for a while and perhaps your report will make us actually do it! :wink:

Like the shot of the bonny ponies. :D
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