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Strontian Headaches

Strontian Headaches


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:56 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Carn na Nathrach

Date walked: 17/08/2014

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 18 km

Ascent: 1074m

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With a forecast promising weekend rain everywhere in the country it didn't seem to matter where we headed for. Rain was going to be on the menu as starter, main course and pudding. I decided we'd head back to Strontian and tidy up some of the remaining Ardnamurchan Corbetts. So we headed up to Sunart Campsite on Friday evening and managed to get pitched before the rain came. Plan had been to combine Sgurr Dhomhnuill and Beinn an h-Uamha on the Saturday from Ariundle Oakwoods then head off to Glen Hurich for Carn na Nathrach on Sunday. Seemed straightforward, what could go wrong...?

Planned route

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



Saturday morning came with intermittent heavy showers and we chose our moment to leave and set off for Ariundle Oakwoods. Although it was steady drizzle the woods were lovely - trees emerging from soft mossy cushions, streams plashing alongside the path. We made gentle progress up through the woods, gaining little height as we progressed - when we emerged from the trees after an hour or so of walking we were still at less than 100m elevation. Over to our right where I expected to see the hills was nothing but mist. But we knew they were there. Somewhere.

ImageP1030146 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030147 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Yeah - there's meant to be hills out there!
ImageP1030149 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We reached the old lead mine workings. These were the reason for Strontian being built, as homes for the lead mine workers, beavering away to provide lead for - amongst other things - the Napoleonic wars. Some black cows provided a bovine security force around the mines and took a keen interest when we stopped to huddle under some shelter and have some lunch. Next there was a river to cross - usually not much of a problem, but today the heavy overnight rain had turned the Allt Feith Dhomhnuill into a white water experience. "It's a bit like flumes" says Allison, and indeed it was. We clearly weren't going to get over in order to head up onto Druim Leac a Sgithain so the only option I could think of was to follow the river upstream and wait til it became narrower higher up into the corrie. We found a faint path leading alongside the river and headed up this, keeping roughly parallel with the path we'd have taken up on the ridge. Through an electric fence and keeping on, the river still too fast flowing to allow a comfortable crossing. We got to the fork in bealach clachaig which finally allowed us over. My plan was to make for the bealach between Sgurr na h-Ighinn and Dhomhnuill but I couldn't see just how craggy this would be due to low cloud. Allison has other plans however - she woke with a headache which improved a bit, but worsened after lunch and now is having double vision and extreme pain. This isn't good. She looks a bad colour too. Hmmm - light hurts, neck's sore, she feels like throwing up and my migraine pills are back in the tent...I suggest she lie down for a bit which she does - after 20 minutes or so she can stand and it's clear we are going no further today. So we turn around and head back along the way we've come. As we do this, the rain stops, then the mist clears and we finally get to see the hills that we should have climbed. Damn! It's still been a nice walk and it's taken almost 7 hours by the time we get back to the campsite.

Lead mines
ImageP1030150 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The ridge up to Druim Leac a Sgithian
ImageP1030151 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The obstacle
ImageP1030152 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030153 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Maybe not here...
ImageP1030154 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Still a bit fast
ImageP1030155 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030156 by 23weasels, on Flickr

yay!
ImageP1030157 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Donald's Peak finally comes into view
ImageP1030160 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Oh yeah - blue sky now!
ImageP1030163 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bovine guardians of the lead mine
ImageP1030164 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Mine
ImageP1030167 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Strontian river
ImageP1030169 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sgurr a buic (r), Sgurr a Chaorainn (middle) Sgurr na h-Ighinn (l)
ImageP1030170 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sundew - not sure which variety
ImageP1030174 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Heather clumps
ImageP1030176 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Campsite
ImageP1030178 by 23weasels, on Flickr

As we get back to the tent the rain starts heavy again and keeps up through the night, with bursts of really strong wind shaking the tent. Oh it's going to be lovely tomorrow!

Sunday arrives after a long night and the rain is there to stay today. We manage to get the tent successfully down in high winds and I check the map to see there's no river crossings on today's route. Allison's feeling a bit more normal - at least well enough to get out there, but it's me that's got the headache today. We drive off along the twisty road to Loch Doilean, past more lead mines. As we gain height I rejoice that it's not going to be a 10m starting elevation today - we're up to about 350m by the time we pass Coire Chaillich - but that's not where we start the walk from - oh it's away down the hill again so that by the time we find the parking area it's back to 30m elevation :( Oh well. We skin up in waterproofs and set off along past Stagg cottage on very good track - in fact it becomes metalled road to reach GlenHurich cottage. Probably could have driven a lot closer to the start- I couldn't see signs saying private road. Anyway we cross the bridge over the fast flowing river Hurich and set off up a forestry track into the trees. After a zed bend there's a wee cairn marking the turn-off up into the trees and we ascend steeply for 100m or so through the muddy forest track, being jabbed and poked by branches all the way. Emerging from the treeline, the wind hits us - ferocious blasts enough to almost knock you over. The rain pelts into the side of my face and my head is still pounding, although I've taken some painkillers and after another half-hour or so of walking I'm feeling much better.

Top quality track into Glen Hurich
ImageP1030180 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn Mheadhoin
ImageP1030181 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Glad we're not fording this
ImageP1030183 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back to Loch Doilean
ImageP1030185 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The route is over a succession of rocky knobbles with some areas of simple scrambling - which the bursts of wind make entertaining. Over to our left is the steep, tree clad valley that I looked down from the northern side when on Bealach nan Sgriodan earlier in the year, wondering if I could access Nathrach from there - it would be a brave soul who did so given the steepness of the descent/ascent I think. Reaching Beinn Mheadhoin there's a new deer fence to cross, which needs to be climbed as there's no stile, though someone has stuck a couple of bars of wood through the wire to make rudimentary steps. On, ever onwards - Allison says "this hill goes on forever". Eventually we make out the steep rise that marks the last 30m or so to the summit of Nathrach - the hill of the adders. No danger of seeing any adders today - they've got more sense than being out in this :lol: We get to the cairn then head round to the lee side trying to find a sheltered spot to have some lunch. We manage to get out of the wind, but the rain hoses down on us. Wet Pringles do not have the same appeal, I can tell you :shock:

The first of many knobbles
ImageP1030186 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030189 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030191 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The final knobble - Nathrach
ImageP1030192 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030193 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sopping wet, we stumble back to our feet and begin to retrace our steps. Although there's been a reasonably good path to follow it is easy to lose sight of it on the rocky bits and head offbeam in the mist, which is hazardous in some of the steeper craggy areas. We make it back over the fence then along the crest of the hill with Loch Doilean appearing from the clouds. Despite the weather it's been a good walk this one - a fine hill with much to admire. Back on the track we hear an eagle call although the bird we spy looks too small to be an eagle. Maybe a special dwarf variant native to Strontian :wink: The rain comes on heavy again as we near the car - no chance of us getting off easily today.

Glen Hurich
ImageP1030195 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Deer fence
ImageP1030196 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1030197 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Stats
ImageP1030198 by 23weasels, on Flickr

So it's going to be another weekend in Strontian on unfinished business. I can think of worse places to return to.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Strontian Headaches

Postby rockhopper » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:25 pm

Tough weekend for the hills, WM - I was on caddying duties for my better half and it was very windy on the golf course so must've been a lot worse higher up !
Hope Allison has recovered now and you get better weather for your return - cheers :)
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Re: Strontian Headaches

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:01 pm

Well if it makes you feel any better I took two friends not quite onto Sgurr Dhomhnuill on Saturday from the Druim Garbh side. Wanted to avoid the river but managed to forget to drop down to the final bealach before ascent to Dhomhnuilland ended up wandering along on Druim Garbh wondering where I went wrong before retreating SW out of the cloud :shock: ....A mossach (Horrible) day indeed.

You walked past my house on the way up Ariundle btw :D

Hard won Corbetts around here a bhalaich :D
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Re: Strontian Headaches

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:34 pm

Collaciotach wrote:You walked past my house on the way up Ariundle btw :D

Hard won Corbetts around here a bhalaich :D


What a nice place to stay.
Suspect we might be up again this coming weekend to make amends for drawing a blank this saturday.
Planning to do Beinn Resipol from Ariundle side too
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weaselmaster
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Re: Strontian Headaches

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:10 am

weaselmaster wrote:
Collaciotach wrote:You walked past my house on the way up Ariundle btw :D

Hard won Corbetts around here a bhalaich :D


What a nice place to stay.
Suspect we might be up again this coming weekend to make amends for drawing a blank this saturday.
Planning to do Beinn Resipol from Ariundle side too


Best way to do Resipol is from the old mine path (directly above Ariundle at Scotstown) and the summit is also a great place to take in a sunset if you get the weather ,good camp spots and water near the carn :D
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Collaciotach
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Re: Strontian Headaches

Postby AnnieMacD » Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:15 pm

Well done for getting any hills done with the weather and headaches. Your photos really give a feeling of the conditions.
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Re: Strontian Headaches

Postby mountain thyme » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:35 pm

You both look soaked at the summit :( A lot of corbetts ive been on recently seem 'to go on forever' too. Planning on going back over there again soon.
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