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Gairlochy Corbetts

Gairlochy Corbetts

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:22 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Bhan (Great Glen), Geal Charn (Arkaig), Meall a' Phùbuill, Meall na h-Eilde

Grahams included on this walk: Glas Bheinn (Loch Arkaig)

Date walked: 10/08/2014

Time taken: 15 hours

Distance: 45 km

Ascent: 2960m

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Another weekend of unsettled weather forecasts had me searching around for which hills to aim for. Desperate to get back to Skye or Torridon, but not wanting to head up in less than fine weather it was back to the drawing board that is the West Highlands for inspiration. I'd decided that Beinn Bhan would be reasonably easy to join with Meall a'Phubuill, giving a good day out, then there was the obvious pairing of Meall an h-Eilde and Geal Charn quite close for the Sunday. Decided to try out Gairlochy Holiday Park, situated just before the bridge over the Caledonian Canal as our base for the weekend. This is a small site with a couple of areas for tents, adequate showering (though the showers were cold on sunday morning :( ) so did the job.

Busy Campsite
ImageP1030111 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030112 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We drove the short distance along Glen Loy - a new location for me - and parked up in an open area near Achadh na h-Eirghe. Plan was to head up towards Am Mam, swing round the top of the corrie and aim for Beinn Bhan first, which would leave the lengthy walk back from Meall a'Phubuill along the pony track as an easy way of ending the day. I was feeling unwell with a migraine as we set off, so for the first few hours had to grit my teeth and try not to throw up. Fortunately was feeling restored by the time lunchtime came. Managed to find an LRT to follow round to Am Comhnard - terrain moist under foot but a steady, gentle ascent. Swathes of cloud draped themselves across the hills, but it looked quite likely that it would burn off later in the day. We made for the small cairn at 770m then turned north along a tongue of ground sandwiched between Coires Bhotrais & Mhuillin. I realised I'd taken the 771m spot height for the hill top when planning my map, as I could see the hillside ahead of us was definately higher than we were - oops! Just as well it wasn't in clag or I might have turned around thinking we'd summited :roll: We did make it up to the top, from where good views to Loch Arkaig & Loch Lochy were revealed. Unfortunately cloud was still sitting on the hills north of L Arkaig that we intended for the morrow. A gusty wind blew up, sending clouds scudding across the sky and whipping Allison's pigtail into her lip with force enough to leave a bruise.

Druim Glenn Laoigh from start of walk
ImageP1030062 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn Bhan
ImageP1030064 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Nice easy going
ImageP1030065 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View from the first cairn
ImageP1030066 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Towards summit
ImageP1030068 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Loch Arkaig
ImageP1030070 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit, Loch Lochy behind
ImageP1030072 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030073 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We began to walk back along our upward route, stopping for lunch. There was enough breeze to keep the flies and midges away while we were eating this week, which was a relief. We made for the head of the tree line/deer fence after passing Am Mam and followed the fence line up onto Druim Gleann Laoigh. Splendid views smote us on all sides. The going was boggy in places. After a time the fenceline gives way to a drystane wall, which provided a drier route over some of the worst boggy parts. We walked along the top of the wall for a while, pretending it was a fine narrow arete over dizzying drops - being careful not to impale ourselves on the rusty fence uprights. It's a fair distance out to Meall a'Phubuill, with a couple of small drop down/re-ascents before reaching there. The weather took a turn for the worse as we approached the final stretch, with a strong wind and rain shower blasting us for a quarter hour and leaving a rainbow as it continued down along the glen. Finally made the short climb to the top of Ma'P, looking across to the curve between ther two tops of Gulvain that we vividly remembered traversing when corniced earlier in the year. Looked positively benign today. :lol:

Heavy skies over Ft William
ImageP1030078 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The route ahead
ImageP1030080 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Druim Gleann Laoigh
ImageP1030082 by 23weasels, on Flickr

A wee bit boggy
ImageP1030084 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back to Beinn Bhan
ImageP1030086 by 23weasels, on Flickr

top Druim Gleann Laoigh to Meall a'Phubuill
ImageP1030088 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030092 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Rain coming in over Ma'P
ImageP1030093 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Looking west
ImageP1030094 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Meall a'Phubuill
ImageP1030096 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030097 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Druim Fhada
ImageP1030100 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Top MaP
ImageP1030101 by 23weasels, on Flickr

With Gulvain behind
ImageP1030102 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Loch Arkaig Hills
ImageP1030103 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Descended quite steeply at first into Coire nan Laogh, following the Allt for a wee while then heading off SE across the hillside. Although there were ferns, these were baby creatures, merely up to the knee rather than the monstrous six foot specimens we'd encountered last week, so Allison's nightmares were not re-enacted. Passed a number of beligerent sheep who grudgingly made way then headed down to the pony track - used for the charcoal industry when the Caledonian Forest was destroyed. A pleasant walk along this part of the glen, the river cascading over rocks, sunshine on our backs. Reached the estate at Achnanellan, rather disconcerted by the path continuing on through the beautifully tended gardens. As we paused to head through the exit gate we made the acquaintance of a Collie bringing its ball to be thrown, and subsequently met her owner, Jimmy. We stood and talked for a bit then were unexpectedly intived in for a cup of tea. Jimmy had until very recently been a hill runner and had authored a book on fellow hill runner Eddie Campbell, a well kent face on the Ben that Allison had encountered more than 20 years ago nipping up the hill in luminous shorts whilst she battled up in jeans and biker jacket. Anyway, jimmy proved very hospitable - Tunnock Teacakes and a hot cuppa are definately welcome after a long trek. We were even given a lift back to the car. Can't say nicer than that!

Descent route
ImageP1030105 by 23weasels, on Flickr

"What ewe lookin'at?"
ImageP1030106 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lovely Glen Loy
ImageP1030108 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Jimmy & Izzy
ImageP1030109 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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

ImageP1030110 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Back at the tent it was chili for tea and what promised to be a quiet night in the campsite - that is until a party from Yarm School arrived at midnight, shattering the peace and quiet. Sleep was hard to come by thereafter and I was rather grumpy on the Sunday morning, not helped by the high likelyhood of rain & clag by the look of the weather. It was still dry as we took the tent down and headed up the twisty road up Loch Arkaig - another new territory for us. Passed a number of big houses and the Cameron Museum. Found a parking space beside a couple of rubbish bins, just outside the settlement of Achnasaul, though it would have been possible to park nearer the start. There's a faint track down beside the river (not the good path that actually leads up to someone's house :roll: ) and we set off across muddy fields, passing the telecoms mast and joining a more robust trail. We'd decided that we would head up the Graham, Ghlas Beinn - well - otherwise we would be walking along the side of it - so headed off up the heathery hillside, picking an easy route of ascent. The rain started at this point and remained a constant companion for the rest of the day :( . We reached the top without incident, the views back over Loch Arkaig being steadily swallowed by the lowering clouds. Up ahead we surprised a small herd of deer, dining on cloudberries, and set off north for Gleann Tarsuinn. Although the hillside curves gracefully east around Coirre na Cosaig, we tramped straight down the north side of the hill, reaching the 440m spot and starting the ascent up Meall an h-Eilde. There's a bulbous spur, looking a bit like a legless octopus that's climbed initially and we found some shelter at the top of this to eat lunch in the rain. The next section, across Bealach Choir' a'Ghuirein, is fortified with a selection of peat hags that wouldn't have looked out of place as a trench system at Thiepval. Over the top we went, then up to the top of Meall an h-Eilde, where we were joined by a line of old fenceposts that kept us company all the way to Geal Charn.

Comms mast
ImageP1030116 by 23weasels, on Flickr

S to Loch Arkaig
ImageP1030117 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ghlas Bheinn
ImageP1030118 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit cairn, Ghlas Bheinn
ImageP1030121 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030122 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to Meall na h-Eilde
ImageP1030124 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Octopus shaped knobbly hill
ImageP1030126 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ghlas Bheinn from Meall na h-Eilde
ImageP1030128 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Trench like bog defences
ImageP1030129 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Top - Hill of the Hind
ImageP1030132 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Still smiling...
ImageP1030134 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The NW slopes from M an h-E are much rockier than the ascent slope. We had a small dip before heading up to the intermediate hill of Meall Coire nan Saobhaidh. No foxes were in evidence, in fact there was little wildlife today apart from the odd grouse and a few deer. Allison was surprised by the relative ease of ascent and that it was "all over now" -I had to remind her this wasn't the second Corbett, merely a passing summit and that it was about 2km to the final hill. Shoulders slumped in the rain she set off at half pace. We continued along the fence line, which was helpful in the clag, dropping to around 650m before the short steep ascent of Geal Charn. Views, there were none, and we lost no time in setting off back down towards the valley. Another bit of sogginess, nipping over the Allt Dubh then onto the "track" that passes along the side of Ghlas Beinn. In places this was definately more of a swamp than a path and we were both wearing shoes rather than boots today, which didn't make for the driest of feet. Anyway, we got back to the car, rather sodden, for a rainy journey back down the road. Busy traffic in both directions - we passed a convoy of more than a dozen Italian campervans heading up Glen Orchy - wouldn't have fancied being stuck behind that lot.

Fencepost line to Meall Coire na Soabhaidh
ImageP1030137 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Allison learning this isn't the final summit :lol:
ImageP1030138 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The only view we got of Geal Charn
ImageP1030139 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Delighted to be finished :wink:
ImageP1030141 by 23weasels, on Flickr

descent to valley, Ghlas Beinn behind
ImageP1030142 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The quagmir...sorry - track
ImageP1030143 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030144 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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

Last edited by weaselmaster on Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Munros:231   Corbetts:53
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Re: Gairlochy Corbetts

Postby rockhopper » Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:02 am

Good to see the two of you getting out on the hills at long last......... :shock: :eh: :problem: :silent: :wink: :wink:

But seriously, looks like you got the best of the weekend again - making it easy for the rest of us for when we do get round to the corbetts/grahams and can use your reports for reference - cheers :)
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Posts: 6695
Munros:282   Corbetts:218
Grahams:65   Donalds:89
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Location: Glasgow

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