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Blown away by An Teallach

Blown away by An Teallach


Postby jmcsporran » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:22 am

Munros included on this walk: Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill (An Teallach)

Date walked: 01/10/2014

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 1062m

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Two weeks off work. Decided to climb An Teallach, Scotland’s best mountain? Checked the weather forecast and Wed 1 and Thus 2 October seemed best – forecast was nice weather, 25 mph winds, and clear views. Perfect weather for photography, I wanted a shot of the sun striking the An Teallach ridge at dawn. I don’t climb hills to tick off Munro’s, Corbett’s etc., I climb for photography. Some of the best views are not necessarily on the highest hills, Ben A’an in the Trossachs being the classic case.

Arrived at Dundonnell at 2 pm and parked in the lay-by. Maybe my first clue should have been that there were no other cars in the car park. Started up. I was carrying a rucksack with my camping gear, food, clothing, my cameras, lenses, tripod, etc. – altogether 50+ lbs. Following the track up the side of Meall Garbh I added my own stones to the small cairns that mark the route, usefully left by previous walkers. After about 3 hours reached Sron a’ Choire. Winds beginning to pick up, now about 40mph.

Began the climb up the side of Bidein a’ Ghlas Thuill reaching the top at about 6 pm, winds now at 60mph. Then was hit with a hail storm. Hail is OK but not when it’s hitting you at those speeds. Hunkered down behind some rocks and after 15 minutes the hail storm passed. Wind picking up even more, things are beginning to look a wee bit dodgy. My intention had been to camp out on the top of Bidein a’ Ghlas Thuill but the wind made this too hazardous. Indeed as the wind continued to rise I suddenly realised that I better get off of there and quickly while there is still some daylight. Forget taking photos.

Scrambling down into the bealach between Bidein a’ Ghlas Thuill and and Sron a’ Choire, I found a relatively flat piece of ground to pitch my tent. Wind still picking up. Took me 15 mins to pitch the tent due to the fact everything was blowing all over the place. Had to weight the tent corners down with large rocks, the force of the wind was ripping the tent pegs out of the sandy soil. Got inside just as it got dark. Got a mobile phone signal and checked the weather forecast – it was now saying winds on mountain tops 60 to 70 mph gusting to 90mph, temperatures in minus figures! What happened to clear blue skies and 25 mph winds? Scottish weather – don’t you just love it???

I got into my thermals, lined trousers, down fleece, hat and wrapped myself in my sleeping bag. Typically after an hour had to get unwrapped for the call of nature before wrapping up again. It was a most uncomfortable night. Sleeping was initially out the question, the tent was flapping so badly and I was really worried bits would come loose. Eventually I think I fell asleep about 4am out of sheer exhaustion.

Woke about 7am, still a howling gale outside. Cooked some beans and sausages on the camping stove (inside the tent – not the cleverest idea but even in the tent awning the camping stove despite being shielded was blowing out) but it certainly warmed me up. I had wanted photos of the dawn sun on An Teallach ridge – no chance – it was shrouded in cloud. Took some photos looking northward of a spectacular sunrise over the Torridon mountains with the sun shielded behind clouds but shining through the mountain tops and the glens, packed up and started down.

The track which seems so apparent on the way up is a lot harder to see on the way down. I really should invest in a GPS device but every time I consider buying one I always find a reason to spend the money on another bit of camera kit, lens, etc. As a consequence I lost the track on the way down and ended up on the wrong side of the Allt a’Mhuilinn burn but enjoyed photographing some of the waterfalls. Crossing onto the ‘correct’ side about 1500 feet I was still well below the track and (wrongly) decided not to climb back up onto the rockier and drier path but ended up slaistering (is this a word) through peat bogs on the lower section twisting both knees in the process. Arrived back at the road about a mile from the car park and got back to the car about 1pm.

Was it worth it – maybe, for the spectacular sunrise – at times during the night I admit to being a tiny bit fearful but my kit held up and although I didn’t get the photograph I wanted I consider I did the right thing getting off the top while I could. Will I be back? Definitely! I still need that shot. I must find a way to reduce the weight of my pack – maybe I could give up on food, water, clothes, etc. never camera kit – only joking. Images on my Flickr webpage.
Attachments
Sunrise over Torridon 1.jpg
Sunrise over Torridon 2.jpg
Sunrise over Torridon 3.jpg
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jmcsporran
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Location: Aberfoyle, Scotland

Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby neilist » Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:14 pm

Some adventure!! Love the Photos.
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Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby mikewest » Sun Oct 05, 2014 5:15 pm

neilist wrote:Some adventure!! Love the Photos.

You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.
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Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby inca » Sun Oct 05, 2014 5:34 pm

That sounds like quite a night! Tell you what though, fantastic pictures :clap: May have been worth it just for those.
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Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby chickadee » Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:45 pm

Beautiful photos. The sky in the third one looks bruised. Brilliant.
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Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby jmcsporran » Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:59 pm

chickadee wrote:Beautiful photos. The sky in the third one looks bruised. Brilliant.


I used a graduated neutral density filter to try to balance an overly bright sky. Comments much appreciated.
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Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby dawnfoth » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:22 pm

Good on you for making the effort and staying up there overnight despite the thought of disappearing into the night like Aladdin on his magic carpet..... :roll:

Does a photographer ever get 'the perfect shot'...? The photos you have there are gorgeous! Glad you managed to get down safely. :D I hate the wind!
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Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby jepsonscotland » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:55 pm

Spectacular photos!!!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby spiderwebb » Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:05 pm

Stunning, simply stunning. Plan to camp up there for sunrise and sunset....one day
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Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby dt27348 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:37 am

Great set of photographs. :clap:
Beans for breakfast - no wonder it was so windy.
Dave
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Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby larry groo » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:49 pm

Yep, those pics are amazing...

:clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby Silverhill » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:31 pm

Stunning! Can’t wait till you get back! 8)
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Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby AnnieMacD » Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:44 pm

Fabulous photos. Can you provide a link to your Flickr photostream please? :clap: for carrying that weight up there!
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Re: Blown away by An Teallach

Postby jmcsporran » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:44 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:Fabulous photos. Can you provide a link to your Flickr photostream please? :clap: for carrying that weight up there!

Annie

Since this was my first post on Walkhighlands they place restrictions on embedded web links to prevent spam. If you google 'Flickr john McSporran' or I run an amateur website 'mcsporranphotography' which has a link to my Flickr web page.

Regards

John
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