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Beinn Dearg & Cona' Meall at their best

Beinn Dearg & Cona' Meall at their best


Postby Alastair S » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:09 pm

Route description: Beinn Dearg - the Four Munros circuit

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dearg (Ullapool), Cona' Mheall

Date walked: 17/04/2010

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 23 km

Ascent: 1304m

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Beinn Dearg & Cona Meall (actual route).gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



After the previous days wash out (see here) the Sunday of my first Granite City Hillwalkers meet brought blue skies and high fluffy clouds. There had also been quite a bit of fresh snow overnight. The view of Ben Wyvis from the Aultguish Inn is excellent and it was clear that the snow line was now a good 400m lower.

After much discussion & um’ing & ah’ing another Alistair & I settled on Beinn Dearg (the Ullapool one). Didn’t get under way till 10’ish in near ideal conditions. Cool, sunny and hardly any wind. It’s a long gentle walk in, gaining height all the time. There were lots of deer on the lower part who didn’t seen unduly bothered by our presence.

I’ll let the pictures & map do the talking for the most part. The reason this report is nearly 2 weeks after the event is that I’ve been playing around with Photoshop and Photomatrix for a good part of the time. Looking back on the set I can see that I’ve gone a bit over the top at times, but hey, it’s all good experience. For those not in the know Photomatrix produces HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos by merging exposures taken at different levels. What I now know is that you really need a tripod to get it to work properly.

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Meall nan Ceapraichean on left, Beinn Dearg on right (top hidden) while the cliffs of Doillaid a' Mhill Bhric dominate.

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[the other] Alistair struggles up to the bealach to the with Lochan Lathail & Diollaid a' Meall Breac behind

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Beinn Dearg & its crazy wall

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Beinn Dearg summit (+ me)

The ascent up by the wall to Beinn Dearg was mildly icy – just a thin crust that you could easily kick through. Unfortunately just caught a bit of clag when we summated so no good photos from this peak. We also cut south of the little 886m mound in the bealach heading to Cona’ Mheall. The intention was to shave a bit of distance off the route but this backfired as we got caught up in deep drifts. The route over the mound on the way back was much easier.

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Loch a' Choire Ghranda

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On the way up Cona' Mheall (Beinn Dearg behind)

The views from Cona’ Meall were brilliant: you could see all the Assynt hills, most of the Fannichs and even Ben Klibreck (maybe). I also loved the views down to Loch a' Choire Ghranda from the bealach. Next time I'm this way will do the route up from there.

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Cona' Mheall view looking SW with Beinn Dearg on the right with several Fannichs in the distance

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Bealach between Beinn Dearg & Meall nan Ceapraichean

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Back down past one of the several lochans

We also saved ourselves perhaps an hour off our time thanks to a very nice climber who had a Forestry Commission permit. On the way back the other Alistair noticed tracks leading off the path and to a narrow gully in the Doillaid a' Mhill Bhric cliff-face. Then a few metres on we spot a solitary figure negotiating his way down one of the nearby scree outflows. He catches up with us when we stop for a drink and it transpires he is a local and in short order offers us a lift from where the forest starts. He then sets off at such a cracking fast pace that I start to think he’s had second thoughts about the lift and wants to burn us off. I was just about running to keep up at times – after turning down Prince Charles I wasn’t about to let this one go (+ I had a long drive back to Aberdeenshire). I didn’t really clock him at first but trailing after him I had dark thoughts about young whipper-snapper climbers – but no, turns out he was 12 years older than me :lol: A very fit 62 year old who just happens to know the path like the back of his hand. Not only did he save us 3k of walking he probably cut down the time for the 5k we did walk with him by half!

Anyway many thanks to whoever you are :D

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Got nice view of Sgurr Mor from Strath More on the way back - then went and messed it up with software :lol:

All in all a most enjoyable weekend - only 250 to go now :D

Full flickr set over here
Last edited by Alastair S on Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Alastair S
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Re: Beinn Dearg & Cona’ Meall at their best

Postby mountain coward » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:35 am

I wish I was that fit at 52 even!

Coire a' Ghranda is spectacular isn't it! Cracking shot of Sgurr Mor at the end...
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Re: Beinn Dearg & Cona’ Meall at their best

Postby kevsbald » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:50 am

Wow Alastair, you have got some cracking photos there. You may have altered them but I look the like of those - quite something. :)
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Re: Beinn Dearg & Cona’ Meall at their best

Postby soulminer » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:46 pm

Some terrific photos of some hill We will be visiting in the next week or so.Gives us a good idea of the conditions up there, cheers
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Re: Beinn Dearg & Cona’ Meall at their best

Postby Paul Webster » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:03 pm

Fine report Alasdair. The last pic was the only one I could tell you'd done anything too, so the rest must be pretty subtle. :D
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Re: Beinn Dearg & Cona’ Meall at their best

Postby Alastair S » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:21 pm

Thanks guys & gurls :D
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Re: Beinn Dearg & Cona’ Meall at their best

Postby kinley » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:01 pm

Lovely stuff - I might try downloading that program and giving it a whirl 8)
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Re: Beinn Dearg & Cona’ Meall at their best

Postby davidmhodgey » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:26 pm

Nice photies! "Sgurr Mor from Strath More" is now the desktop on my office PC :D
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Re: Beinn Dearg & Cona’ Meall at their best

Postby kinley » Sat May 01, 2010 6:21 pm

Cheers Alastair - had a look at photomatix and downloaded a copy - looks very interesting - time to switch on the bracketing function I think :D
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Re: Beinn Dearg & Cona’ Meall at their best

Postby Alastair S » Sat May 01, 2010 9:14 pm

kinley wrote:Cheers Alastair - had a look at photomatix and downloaded a copy - looks very interesting - time to switch on the bracketing function I think :D

To get the best out of it you really need a tripod, even with auto-bracketing. I don't yet carry a tripod to the hills so resort to bracing against big rocks & trees. As you know these are in short supply on mountains so most of my shots are hand held & as a consequence photomatix doesn't do such a good job (as Photoshop) at aligning so you get fuzziness. Only 2 of the shots I posted here are photomatixed even though I auto-bracketing nearly everything I take now (but few more on flickr). Also photomatix recommends +/- 2 stops. My (non-SLR) camera only does +/- 1 stop auto-bracketing. But when it does work its particularly good at angrying up the clouds.

Compare this one with the version I posted above:
Image
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Re: Beinn Dearg & Cona’ Meall at their best

Postby kinley » Sun May 02, 2010 8:46 pm

On a run round Arthur's Seat - the hand-held hdr seemed reasonable - you can see the shifts if you zoom in only

Image
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Re: Beinn Dearg & Cona’ Meall at their best

Postby LeithySuburbs » Mon May 03, 2010 12:57 am

This programme gives HDR-like results - http://zynaddsubfx.sourceforge.net/other/tonemapping/ - Wikipedia call is "pseudo-HDR". It's not the friendliest interface but play around with it and you can get some decent results from just 1 image.
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