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Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the South.

Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the South.


Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:08 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Ben Armine, Creag Mhór (Sutherland)

Date walked: 09/11/2014

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 43.2 km

Ascent: 1532m

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According to Andrew Dempster who wrote 'The Grahams', these hills are two of the remotest in Scotland and are a major challenge for the fit walker who preferably has access to a bike. I note there have been two other reports on these hills by Malky_c and Tazman and neither have started in the South which as far as we were concerned would be the best starting point as we were coming from Inverness and as the number of daylight hours was somewhat curtailed would be the best option, and saving some fuel, in fact there looks like to be only 19 Walkhighlanders to have done these two hills. We arrived at Sciberscross before 0845hrs and was booted out and bikes ready to go by 0900hrs leaving the van just at the start of the private road to Ben Armine Lodge where there is a small parking area large enough to take about three cars. It is suggested by Andrew Dempster that this track is very undulating but the condition of the track more than makes up for the undulations as its a fine light gravel and would be fine even for a folding bike.
Cycle in 12.6k to Ben Armine Lodge with 276m ascent, time taken approx. one hour
Walk distance Two Grahams 18k with 980m ascent. time taken five hours.
Total distance 43.2k
Total ascent 1532m

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

1.JPG
Small car parking area off the private road to Ben Armine Lodge
2.JPG
Looking back down the first climb towards the car park
3.JPG
The long way ahead with the track dissapearing into the distance
4.JPG
Firts sign of our two hills to be climbed Creag Mhor on the left and Ben Armine
5.JPG
Being watched from on high
6.JPG
Ben Armine lodge in the distance down Strath Seilge
7.JPG
Approaching the lodge where just beyond in the trees where we would leave the bikes
8.JPG
When you arrive at the lodge go right and walk passing the dog enclosures and head on straight though the tree plantation on a rough and muddy track
9.JPG
Coming out of the trees turn right towards the East side of the burn and head North, this is shown a a path on the OS map and walk towards Bealach na Muic
10.JPG
Alongside the burn a rough and muddy track exists
11.JPG
As we head towards the Bealach we cut North off the track and walk over some very energy sapping wet boggy ground towards the South East shoulder of Creag Mhor
12.JPG
From the summit looking towards our next target Ben Armine. From the lodge this has taken 1 1/2hours and the time is 1130hrs The cairn is made up of Lewisian Gniess
13.JPG
Zoom of Ben Hope (I think)
14.JPG
Summit cairn (Lewisian Gniess) and trig point of Creag Mhor
15.JPG
another Zoomed photo of Ben Hope (I think)
16.JPG
Summit of Ben Armine, there are three piles of stones which are all about the same height so we went to all three with a walkabout over the rounded summit just to make sur we had hit the high spot. The area between the both hills is not as bad as first feared and is deffinately drier than the first climb up Creag Mhor which was pretty hard going up to about the 600m mark, from there on to the summit it became drier and shorter undergrowth
17.JPG
Returning to the first cairn with Ben Loyal in the distance
18.JPG
View from the summit looking South
19.JPG
Looking back towards Creag Mhor and the peat hags between the two hills. I will also add that as we were coming off Creag Mhor and had started the incline of Ben Armine we crossed over the old feint track running between both hills. This track would be what we would be aiming for futher to the East when we came off Ben Armine see map
20.JPG
On the track mentioned earlier, wet and boggy and quite feint in places this track would take us back along the East flank of Creag Mhor towards Gorm-loch Mor
21.JPG
Loch coming into view, this track is pretty uneven and is quite hard work after what has gone on before
22.JPG
On the path on the West side of Gorm-loch Mor
23.JPG
Nearly back to the van. No Electricity being made there then, nothing rotating, no wind. Final word of warning this is quite a demanding walk and cycle, ok we might have not been 100% hill fit as we have been off the hills for about a month, but with shortening days coming along better take a head torch just in case or better still leave for a Summer day after a dry spell. Something crosses my mind, I wonder when the new Graham book is published next year, what they will recommend as a starting point? I await with interest.
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby malky_c » Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:20 pm

Nice one Rod - good to see a different approach. I had looked at doing a traverse from Kinbrace to here on the bike (although a bit of carrying and pushing might have been required up the track between the two hills).

It didn't occur to me to do these as an out-and-back from this direction - it might have worked quite well from Rogart - would have given me a couple of hours more between trains :)

I wonder if the SMC guide will be original or just copy the Dempster routes? Mind you, many of the hills in it probably have a single more obvious approach, so some of the routes are bound to be the same.
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:33 pm

Wsa just looking at Malky's report this morning and now there's another option.
The bike in looks inviting - might make it my first ever cycle in hillwalk. Although there's a Marilyn that could be included more easily in a loop from the north...decisions, decisions!
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:39 pm

malky_c wrote:Nice one Rod - good to see a different approach. I had looked at doing a traverse from Kinbrace to here on the bike (although a bit of carrying and pushing might have been required up the track between the two hills).

It didn't occur to me to do these as an out-and-back from this direction - it might have worked quite well from Rogart - would have given me a couple of hours more between trains :)

I wonder if the SMC guide will be original or just copy the Dempster routes? Mind you, many of the hills in it probably have a single more obvious approach, so some of the routes are bound to be the same.

Hi malky, that was a big day from either direction :lol: bet you were glad with a bit of bone in the ground, wish we had had some on Sunday. Big question is which way will Johnny Corbett go now? :lol: :lol:
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:44 pm

weaselmaster wrote:Wsa just looking at Malky's report this morning and now there's another option.
The bike in looks inviting - might make it my first ever cycle in hillwalk. Although there's a Marilyn that could be included more easily in a loop from the north...decisions, decisions!

Hi Al, spooky or what! :lol: :lol: Decisions right enough. It would appear that there is more ascent from the South but the track is very good for cycling, a bike will save you at least two hours. I will await your report with interest :)
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:51 pm

The Rodmiester wrote:
weaselmaster wrote:Wsa just looking at Malky's report this morning and now there's another option.
The bike in looks inviting - might make it my first ever cycle in hillwalk. Although there's a Marilyn that could be included more easily in a loop from the north...decisions, decisions!

Hi Al, spooky or what! :lol: :lol: Decisions right enough. It would appear that there is more ascent from the South but the track is very good for cycling, a bike will save you at least two hours. I will await your report with interest :)


I'm heading up to my brother's in Thurso weekend after next and was looking to see what hills i could include.
These two and the combo of scaraben & morven are the obvious choices, but might need an extra day off work!
We'll see what the weather has in store by then
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby robertphillips » Tue Nov 11, 2014 4:34 pm

well done rod,good walk this, done from the north got ok from the esteate to drive as far as the start of the stalkers path.
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby Fife Flyer » Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:42 pm

Well done Rod, to do 43km at this time of year is amazing :clap: :clap:
I doubt if I could cycle up some of those inclines, even though I am getting better on my bike :lol: :lol:
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:48 pm

robertphillips wrote:well done rod,good walk this, done from the north got ok from the esteate to drive as far as the start of the stalkers path.

Hi Robert, how did you manage that? Nice one. :) wild wild country out there, we did not expect to see anybody on our journey, but bumped into the gamekeeper and his wife at the lodge and on our way back down the track met a guy setting up camp beside the river.
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:52 pm

Fife Flyer wrote:Well done Rod, to do 43km at this time of year is amazing :clap: :clap:
I doubt if I could cycle up some of those inclines, even though I am getting better on my bike :lol: :lol:

Hi Martin, hoping to make the meet in April but will have to check my diary, but will advise you later. It's a very good track, you would manage it fine! But after a long walk there were some times on our way back we just got off and walked, legs were knackered :lol: :lol:
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:55 pm

A bike Rod.................a bike - another one scored off the purists list :lol: :lol: :lol:

Looked like a good day and decent exercise after a month off.
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:01 pm

Gordie12 wrote:A bike Rod.................a bike - another one scored off the purists list :lol: :lol: :lol:

Looked like a good day and decent exercise after a month off.

Hi Gordie, borrowed my daughter'sbike, and just as well, would never have made it in time otherwise. The day before I went up Knockfarrel at Strathpeffer to see my daughter run in the North District Hill Running Championships, picked up a wee Sub2000, as well, Nice one! :D
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby Johnny Corbett » Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:24 pm

Good to see this report Rod. It's a bit shorter from the south i notice and both tracks look good for cycling. Just need to decide north or south :?
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:41 pm

Johnny Corbett wrote:Good to see this report Rod. It's a bit shorter from the south i notice and both tracks look good for cycling. Just need to decide north or south :?

Hi JC, I thought this would get you scratching your head, Decisions Decisions! :lol: :lol: look forward to seeing what you decide to do. :)
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Re: Remote Grahams requiring Bike and Gaitors, from the Sout

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:01 pm

Jeez, Rod, that's a helluva long approach! :clap:
I admit I had a look at possible routes for these two (got more into Grahams since buying Mr Dempster's guide) and decided it was too much hassle, too far and I couldn't be bothered :wink:

Knockfarrel Hill is my favourite sub2k, we often go for a stroll there when fresh snow arrives. It's a good place for mushroom picking, too. Shame that some of the old forest was cut down.
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