West Mounth Wanderings
by Silverhill » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:42 pm
Route description: Beinn Dearg from near Blair Atholl
Munros included on this walk: An Sgarsoch, Beinn Dearg (Blair Atholl), Carn a'Chlamain, Carn an Fhidhleir (Carn Ealar)
Date walked: 12/06/2014
Time taken: 17.45 hours
Distance: 54.5 km
Ascent: 2506m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Wednesday 12 June
Walk in to Allt Sheicheachan bothy
9.5km, 2h 15min
After doing Beinn a’ Ghlo in the afternoon I drove to the car park at Old Bridge of Tilt and packed the big rucksack for a double overnighter. It was after 6pm when I set off for Allt Sheicheachan bothy with that familiar feeling of unease, which was telling me to head home instead of into the wild.
As usual I ignored it. Tomorrow would be a long enough day with Beinn Dearg, Carn an Fhidleir and An Sgarsoch. If I wanted to stay at the Tarf Hotel tomorrow, I’d better do part of the walk in to Beinn Dearg today.
It was a lovely evening, quite warm and hardly any wind. There were still walkers about but they were all heading for the car park. Leaving Old Blair behind it got quiet. The woods were very still, even a bit eerie. A whizzing noise behind me. Ah, it’s only a mountain biker on an evening ride. Once he’d disappeared into Glen Banvie, the hills were empty again. The going along the track was good. Interestingly, my previously tired legs coped very well with the walk in and the extra weight of the big rucksack. It’s all in the mind.
The track slowly winds its way up hill and there was enough to see: the Allt na Moine Baine appearing to emerge from underground; a well built cairn; Beinn Dearg in the distance, Glen Bruar.
I got to the bothy at 8.30pm and was in the sleeping bag by 9.30pm. I nodded off quickly, despite an intermittent crackling noise nearby, which I managed to sublimate into being the creaking of the sleeping platform, in an effort to push away associations of mice nibbling on …. Well I didn’t really want to think about what they could be nibbling on.
Thursday 12 June 2014
Beinn Dearg, Carn an Fhidleir, An Sgarsoch
A squeaky noise and then some rustling woke me up. There was enough light for my sleepy eyes to see a rat (or a large mouse with a long tail) jump from the firewood basket onto the ledge on the other side of the room. Looking for breakfast eh? My food was safely packed away in the rucksack, so no need to worry. Before dozing off again, I made a mental note to give the room a good sweep upon departure, to remove any crumbs of my breakfast and last night’s dinner.
I set off from Allt Sheicheachan bothy at 8.45am, after having thoroughly swept the room and taken away rubbish that might have prompted the early morning visit. My long tailed friend had already scarpered long before that.
Glen Bruar was already full of activity for the hydro pipe installation. Apparently the works would finish this September. The weather was looking a bit dull, but at least visibility was good. I crossed the stream and followed the good path along it.
Where it moves away from the stream it all got a bit steeper, but the path stayed in good condition and progress was good too. At the junction I took the right fork, which soon led to the broad ridge. And from there it was all easy slopes to Beinn Dearg.
The views were far and wide. I managed to identify Carn an Fhidhleir and An Sgarsoch, purely because they were the highest hills on north Tarf side. Drizzle was coming in from the north east and I hoped it wouldn’t linger. I could do without mist in this rather undefined collection of hills.
When I planned the onward route from Beinn Dearg, it was with two things in mind. Firstly, it should be easy to navigate, in case the mist was down. So I plotted a route which would be following streams and ridges, aiming for bealachs, instead of going straight cross country. Secondly, because I would be lugging a heavy rucksack, it should be a route of little resistance, avoiding any steep slopes. As a result it wasn’t going to be the shortest of itineraries. And now I was about to test it out.
So, after a sandwich I continued to the north top, from there descended towards Elrig ‘ic an Toisich and then descended in a north east line towards Tarf water.
The drizzle had stopped, thank heavens. There were a lot of peat hags to be negotiated, but they were all firm and dry, so didn’t cause any problems or delays. Even crossing Tarf water was straightforward. Admittedly, it wasn’t very wide here.
This tactic of following streams worked well. It was never steep and there were paths/ deer tracks alongside so the going was pretty good as well. There were a lot of snowy bealachs and peat hags to be dealt with, but that made the walk interesting.
I got to Carn an Fhidhleir without too much toil.
From here the walk became much easier from a route finding perspective: a proper path! My delight soon vanished when I saw the steep descent from the 906m south top and the peat bog it was guiding me towards. I skirted the steepest sections, but consequently the bog traverse would be longer. OK, just get stuck in. Amazingly it wasn’t too bad and I managed to find a quick way across it. Then a sustained pull up An Sgarsoch.
From An Sgarsoch it was down south, past the 967m top and then SSW following the steam crossing it several times.
Again this was easy going. When crossing the stream once more, one boot got a dunking when I slipped off a wet rock and then had to step into the river. On the upside, the other boot was still dry. After emptying the boot and wringing out the sock it was onwards towards Tarf water. On the way I met the first walker of the day. He’d just come from Carn a’ Chlamain and was heading for An Sgarsoch. He was going to camp in the hills and do Carn an Fhidhleir and Beinn Dearg tomorrow.
I followed Tarf Water up stream, looking for a suitable place to cross. A bit past the bothy I found a spot. It is ‘marked’ by a prominent rock, which looked like a cairn from a distance. The crossing was a bit zig-zaggy, but most importantly it was a dry one!
The bothy looked in great shape. I dropped the rucksack outside and went for an exploration.
Three rooms, fireplaces, porch at the main entrance to keep the weather out. Very cosy. I made myself comfortable in one of the rooms. It was still relatively early, just before 7.00pm. So there was plenty of time for installing myself, hanging wet kit out to dry, stuffing boots with newspaper, fetching water, cooking, washing etc. I even went for a short evening stroll. There was a chilly wind blowing and the cloud had come down. The weather was going to change for tomorrow....
Friday 13 June 2014
Carn a’ Chlamain and walk out to Old Bridge of Tilt
5 hrs 30 min
I woke up to the sound of rain. So no sunshine and views then for my last day. On the upside, if I were to get soaked there would be dry kit waiting for me in the car. Also, this was the best weather to put my easy-to-navigate-in-mist route to the test.
Today’s route was to follow the stream from the bothy southwards, skirt Meall Tionail, aim for the bealach in between Conlach Mhor and Conlach Bheag, and then skirt Conlach Bheag heading south. Even if I was to stray off course a bit, I would hit the Carn a’ Chlamain path at some point.
I left the bothy at 8.00am. The boot that had got the dunking yesterday hadn’t dried out, but with fresh socks it wasn’t too bad. Luckily the stream next to the bothy was easily crossed, so the boot didn’t get any wetter. Like yesterday following the stream made for a gentle ascent. Typically, where the stream petered out visibility was reduced to very little. So from here it was a matter of relying on the compass, with the GPS as a backup. Progress was slow. Every ten meters or so I had to take a compass bearing, as visibility didn’t stretch further than that. And then there were the peat hags and bog, which meant that straying off course was inevitable.
Nonetheless, an hour later I arrived at the stony summit of Carn a’ Chlamain, 2 hours after setting off. Munro 39 of the holiday, and 126 in total. Not bad at all.
With no reason to hang about, I started the descent down the ridge. At the small cairn where the path forks I turned right. After a very stony section the path swung SW and the going got a bit easier.
There was still not much to see, but the rain had stopped and the air was nice and fresh. But it was good to get below the clouds. There was Carn Liath, peeping out above the steep slopes of Glen Tilt.
The descent was rather uneventful. Lower down I had the choice of following a steep path straight down the ridge or taking a gentler course towards Clachghlas. Although adding mileage it was the more attractive option for tired feet and legs.
Down in Glen Tilt two horses provided a bit of distraction.
Some years ago I’d had a lovely walk down Glen Tilt, but today’s grey weather had taken away most of its vivid colours. Still, the air was fresh and the slight breeze was carrying a lovely smell of spring flowers and blossoms.
So far I hadn’t seen any other walkers but now multiple groups of DoE students were coming up the glen. All were wet but some were more cheerful than others.
At Gilberts Bridge I stopped for a few sandwiches and then continued on the east side of the glen. I crossed to the west side at the next bridge. There is this saying among runners ‘you can only run as far as the finish’. The walking version of this certainly applied to me when I arrived at the car. I had reached my finish line, feeling every foot of ascent/ descent and every mile I had walked in the past 15 days.
It had been a great holiday. Goodbye hills, till next year!
by Gordie12 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:45 pm
Great effort in mixed weather - never done an overnighter myself, looked like good fun.
by celt54321 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:45 pm
by Silverhill » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:41 pm
Gordie12 wrote:I was pleased to do 30 Munros this year, you do 39 on one holiday
Great effort in mixed weather - never done an overnighter myself, looked like good fun.
Thanks Gordie12! Yes, but you did lots of other walks and had 59 trips out , whereas I only did a meager 12 trips…. Bothies are great for overnighters, it saves you carrying a tent! I’ve got a heavy one and really need to invest in something lighter!
celt54321 wrote:thanx for posting this silverhill,really enjoyed reading it,and it sounded like an epic walk.
Thanks celt54321, you’re too kind, it’s just a long walk!
by Ian Johnston » Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:45 pm
by Beaner001 » Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:45 pm
by rockhopper » Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:57 pm
by Silverhill » Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:27 pm
Ian Johnston wrote:This is a great report Silverhill - a proper wild walk; thank you for posting!
Thanks Ian! It didn’t feel very wild, maybe because of the lack of imposing hills, but definitely remote and worth doing.
Beaner001 wrote:Well done that's some trek, your obviously an extremely fit lassie. Enjoyed that TR
Thanks Beaner! I feel flattered!
rockhopper wrote:Haven't yet stayed in a bothy - good route, one I'd like to try some time You certainly had a productive holiday back in June - cheers
Thanks rockhopper! Am quite chuffed with the tally, but it’s also the enjoyment of being out in the hills that counts. Bothies are great, as long as you are happy to potentially share with 4 or more legged creatures.
by Johnny Corbett » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:08 pm
by Silverhill » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:21 pm
by Huff_n_Puff » Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:01 pm
by Silverhill » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:28 pm