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Rainy weekend in Kinlochleven

Rainy weekend in Kinlochleven

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:42 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a' Chrùlaiste, Glas Bheinn (Kinlochleven)

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn na Cloiche

Date walked: 19/10/2014

Time taken: 10.1 hours

Distance: 34.5 km

Ascent: 2041m

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With a dodgy weather forecast promising heavy rain on Friday night and Sunday, and with heavy showers and thunderstorms for the Saturday - seemly for the whole country - we decided to brave Kinlochleven again and polish off Ghlas Bheinn, leaving the decision of Sunday's hill for the day. Arrived at Blackwater Hostel at tea time on Friday night with just enough daylight left to have our tea on the picnic benches - midges banished by the breeze. As soon as we'd finished however, the rain started and kept an incessant beat on the tent all night. Morning was miost, shall we say - with the River Leven swollen as we crossed the bridge to our starting position at the Church. Up the Aluminium Company track by An Cumhann which we remembered well from last year's Kinlochleven WH - almost exactly a year ago. A glance back down the Loch showed a mistier scene than last week's sparkling sunshine. As we walked along I saw an eagle circling effortlessly above Leachd na h-Aire. One of my disappointments over the last couple of years of walking has been the scarcity of eagle sightings, so it's always good to see one of these majestic birds. The track levels off at around 350m as it approaches Loch Eilde Mor, giving good view to the right of Sgurr Eilde Mor & Beag. Well do I remember kicking steps from the path up the steep side of Sgurr Eilde Beag last year in that huge November snowfall. We crossed over a dam then continued on a soggy track along the south side of the loch before heading gently uphill to Meall na Cruaidhe. From here, a faint path continues on wending over short grass to the top of Ghlas Bheinn. Looking behind was the mass of Garbh Bheinn with the Aonach ridge, ahead to our left the Grey Corries.

River Leven, at the start of the walk.
ImageP1040203 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back down Loch Leven
ImageP1040205 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Loch Eilde Mor
ImageP1040208 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040209 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sgurr Eilde Beag & Mor
ImageP1040210 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up to Meall na Cruaidhe
ImageP1040213 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to the South
ImageP1040215 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040217 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Approaching summit Glas Bheinn
ImageP1040218 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We reached the summit of Glas Bheinn and stared northwards to the twin peaks of the Easains, the rocky form of Sgurr Innse appearing diminutive in their presence. I'd originally thought of including Creag Ghuanach in this walk, and it did look fairly close - but having to cross the Abhain Rath had put me off- and with last night's rain I'm sure that was the right idea. Over to our right was our Graham - Beinn na Cloiche - from this angle it hardly looked like a hill at all, just raied ground. Oh well - that would be easy enough! Took some time to enjoy the views while we had out lunch - truly surrounded by mountains - even the Ben put in an appearance when the clouds lifted.

ImageP1040219 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040220 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn na Cloiche
ImageP1040222 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Looking south from Glas Bheinn
ImageP1040223 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We walked north along the top of the grassy ridge for a bit, a rainbow appearing in front of the Easians- then headed down into Gleann na Ghuibsachan, making our way steadily up Beinn na Cloiche. Over to the south lay Blackwater Reservoir, to the north, the cluster of the Easains continued to dominate. As we gained height we could see the brooding hulk of the big and wee Bookils crouched behind the Reservoir. The top of Beinn na Cloiche is lined with grey stone and we added to the small summit cairn before turning southwest and making for the reservoir. Just aim for the pointy top of the wee bookil was the easiest direction to follow. There were a couple of small river crossings, but nothing too awkward. The going was quite tough however, undulating landscape with bog and tussocks combining to be rather tiring. Eventually we made it to the track that runs along the side of the reservoir and passed by the dam itself, picking our way along the back of the concrete pipeline that sits half buried in the earth like the vertebrae of some sinuous monster, stretching for miles.

View north along the back of glas bheinn
ImageP1040225 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Easians with rainbow
ImageP1040226 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Easians again
ImageP1040230 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ben, Aonach Beag & Grey Corries
ImageP1040233 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Blackwater reservoir with the Bookils behind
ImageP1040234 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Top Beinn na Cloiche
ImageP1040235 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040236 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040237 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040238 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040240 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Glas Bheinn from Cloiche
ImageP1040241 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040242 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lone, windswept tree
ImageP1040243 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040245 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Rainbow on Beinn na Cloiche
ImageP1040247 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Blackwater dam
ImageP1040248 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040250 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The next section of the walk was just lovely in soft mellow autumnal colours. Along by the Dubh Lochan which sat heartshaped, with Garbh Bheinn curled up behind it then following a woodland trail through birch forests and lined on the left by the roaring River Leven, with tributaries gushing down the hillside all around. In some places the path was quite badly eroded and some scaffolding had been erected over a particularly perilous looking section. In other places the path had become a stream bed and our shoes were well washed by the end of the day! One river crossing which necessitated balancing on some tree branches that had been dragged across. A raven croaked disconsolately, and I looked up to see another two eagles - looked like an adult and juvenile - circling high overhead, whilst the raven flapped below. Stood and watched them circle for a while, craning the neck a bit in the process. Meanwhile the sky had begun to darken ominously and the rain, which had been absent for some time, was clearly about to return. There followed that artificially bright sunshine that often precedes a thunderstorm then the heavens opened, thunder rumbled gloriously around. Back on with the waterproofs and along the final section of the riverside walk, passing further waterfalls and returning to the Hostel via the powerstation.

Garbh Bheinn/Lochan Dubh
ImageP1040251 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040252 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040254 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040255 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040258 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040259 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040260 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bonny autumn colours
ImageP1040261 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040263 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040265 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040266 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Garbh Bheinn
ImageP1040267 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Power Station
ImageP1040268 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040270 by 23weasels, on Flickr

It was about 5.30 and just the right time to nip along to the Bothan Bar in the Ice Factory for a couple of pints of Kinlochleven Pilsner. As we were drinking up the rain started again, drumming down in torrents on the roof. Having left our waterproofs back at the tent this was not dreat news, and we jogged - quite quickly - back to the tent. Making the tea was enlightened by the frequent flashes of lightening outside - fantastic! A meal of very spicy pasta seemed suitable for the weather. The rain did not stop during the night, and the wind fairly got up too. Sunday was going to be fun!

I'd thought about maybe climbing Fraochaidh from Glen Duror today, but I didn't fancy anything that had river crossings given the heavy rain. The conditions were also pretty grim, so we settled for Beinn a'Chrulaiste instead - I'd been saving this to be a winter hill, but it would be quick and easy enough today. Blackwater Hostel was serving as the starting point for some trail bike goings on and we noticed Stu Thomson, director of the Danny Macaskil Cuillin-ridge-on-a-bike film driving one of the bikes. We set off for Altnafeadh which was much less busy than it had been last weekend when the sun was shining :D Into waterproofs and off along the roadside for a wee bit before turning up the hillside and climbing up Stob Beinn a'Chrulaiste. Misty views of the Big Bookil were all we got as we trudged up, rain fortunately behind us as the strong wind gusted against our backs. There wasn't a great deal to see as we got higher and enveloped by the mist, but it was invigorating to be blasted and pummelled by the weather - at least it wasn't cold. Reaching the summit we found the cairn surrounded by its own personal sea and hunkered down by the cairn to have something to eat out of the full force of the winds. I decided we'd just return by our ascent route as it wasn't a day for a wee saunter down towards Kings House, so we pressed on, wind throwing gallons of rainwater into our faces this time. Coming out of the mist the stark form of Stob Dearg suddenly appeared, rivers of molten silver appearing to flow down its sides. Unfortunately my pictures don't do it any justice. We waded and slid back down the hillside, getting to the car just after 2pm - the shortest day's walking I can remember doing for ages. We were both soaked through and took advantage of heated car seats to dry out :lol:

ImageP1040271 by 23weasels, on Flickr

A misty Bookil
ImageP1040275 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040276 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040278 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040280 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bookil again
ImageP1040283 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View along Glencoe
ImageP1040284 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040285 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040286 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040287 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040289 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040290 by 23weasels, on Flickr
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Re: Rainy weekend in Kinlochleven

Postby malky_c » Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:05 pm

Almost skipped over this due to the uninspiring title, but I'm glad I didn't - some fine autumn colours on Saturday :D .

As for Sunday, it looked worth the effort just to see the ridiculous amount of water pouring off the Buachaille :shock:
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Re: Rainy weekend in Kinlochleven

Postby robertphillips » Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:23 pm

well done wm, good walk this more or less done same route from kinlochleven.windy day on saturday even down in the lower hills in galloway.
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Re: Rainy weekend in Kinlochleven

Postby AnnieMacD » Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:55 pm

It's just amazing how quickly the burns fill up and the whole world becomes bog! Really enjoyed your report - as always.

I see Allison is wearing trail shoes. Wondering how they compare with boots for the long hikes? Do her feet get wet? I just got some for trail running (Goretex ones) and did wonder about wearing them up the hills too.
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Re: Rainy weekend in Kinlochleven

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:31 pm

With the right photographer even a wet day on the hills looks beautiful :clap: :clap: Some wonderful atmospheric shot there, and good reading to go with them.
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Re: Rainy weekend in Kinlochleven

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:11 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:It's just amazing how quickly the burns fill up and the whole world becomes bog! Really enjoyed your report - as always.

I see Allison is wearing trail shoes. Wondering how they compare with boots for the long hikes? Do her feet get wet? I just got some for trail running (Goretex ones) and did wonder about wearing them up the hills too.

We've both got trail shoes on - salomon XA PRO. worn with sealskinz they keep the feet pretty dry even going thru very wet terrain and have the advantage of not filling up with water like boots do. I find them hugely comfy for walking in and being lighter on the feet helps with fatigue on a longer outing too. However they are not great on wet rock or anything scrambly. I have occasionally taken a pair of boots along with me to change into for the tougher stuff.
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Re: Rainy weekend in Kinlochleven

Postby dooterbang » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:19 pm


That's been my choice of footwear and socks for a few years now. I like the fact you can move swiftly and feel more agile.
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Re: Rainy weekend in Kinlochleven

Postby rockhopper » Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:51 pm

reminds me if an abba song............on and on and on :wink: - well done both, interesting photo of BEM with the water flowing down it - cheers :)
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