walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Thirst for Three Northern Corbetts

Thirst for Three Northern Corbetts


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:26 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a' Chaisteil (Strath Vaich), Carn Ban, Carn Chuinneag

Date walked: 20/11/2014

Time taken: 11.37 hours

Distance: 51 km

Ascent: 2518m

7 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).

A trip to my brother's in Thurso on Friday combined with an unexpected opportunity for a day off work on the Thursday got me thinking about what could be accomplished on the way. I'd initially set my sights on Morven & Scaraben, or possibly the remoteness of ben Armine. However the lure of getting some Corbetts instead proved too strong. I'm not really meant to be doing Corbetts on my own, but having set myself the goal of finishing them by the end of 2015 I decided I needed to be cut some slack. The group of 3 hills - Carn Chuinneag, Beinn a'Chaisteil and Carn Ban looked do-able in one long loop. But maybe not for the end of November :lol: I planned out a route leaving from Glencalvine and hoped that I'd be able to make it in the short daylight hours of this time of year - well aware that my summer fitness had been eroded by too much food and drink over recent months. I hadn't even backpacked since September and had some concerns about my abilities.


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



Left the house just after 5am on Thursday and had a pleasant drive up to Ardgay. Then onto single track road for about 10 miles to the parking area near Glencalvine Lodge. Off at the respectable time of 10.20 with the knowledge that I'd have about 6 hours of usable light today. I knew the first section would be fair enough on good track, but I was expecting bog and wetness in the section between Carn Chuinneag & Bein a'Chaisteil and had little idea how far through it I'd get. I walked along toward the lodge, past the fantastic tree house and in through the gates...wasn't entirely sure if this was allowed until I saw a sign pointing to "Footpath". Various estate workers were out tending to the well kept gardens - looks a lovely place. The next section took me along a good stony track running alongside the Water of Glencalvie. Grouse announced their presence as I walked by. I was disappointed to note a blanket of cloud lying over the hilltops, but hoped that it would clear as the day went on. Progress was brisk and I was soon down at Diebidale. Ahead, just visible in the mist, were the twin tops of Chuinneag. A faint path leads from the track - so faint in fact I missed it - but the path becomes drier and clearer as height is gained. As I climbed I rose above the cloud-line and had some great views of the surrounding tops peaking through the mist.

Parking spot
ImageP1040672 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040673 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Tree house
ImageP1040674 by 23weasels, on Flickr

It's off into the mist
ImageP1040676 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Twin tops of Chuinneag pushing through the mist
ImageP1040678 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The going is steady and heads round to the west of the subsidiary top before heading across the northern flank of the mountain. Saw my first clutch of seasonal ptarmigan clag in their new whites. At an appropriate point I left the track and headed up over a rocky terrace to reach the summit. Views were superb - all the way over to the Assynt hills with Cul Mor, Suilven, Ben Hope glowing in the distance. It was much colder up here in the wind and another layer was needed whilst I grabbed a quick lunch.

Above the clouds
ImageP1040683 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ben Hope (zoomed)
ImageP1040684 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Looking northeast
ImageP1040688 by 23weasels, on Flickr

And west
ImageP1040689 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Klibreck (?) popping thru the cloud
ImageP1040690 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Leaving the track for the summit
ImageP1040692 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040695 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040696 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Over to Cul Mor etc
ImageP1040698 by 23weasels, on Flickr


Headed over to the subsidiary summit then took a line down to the south-west over rocks initially then boggy heather. Made for the obvious line of Leaba Bhaltair then continued to head west towards Creag Ruadh. This was in the main a trudge over undulating peat bogs that sapped the energy. I pressed on hard, wanting to get as close to Beinn a'Chaisteil before darkness fell as I could. it was hot work - down to base-layer but having to wear my cap as the low sun was shining directly into my eyes. Over to my right rose the Graham Beinn Tharsuinn - with more daylight hours I'd have thought of adding it in. The terrain was cast in an ochre light from the sinking sun. I made it onto the lower slopes of Creag Dubh Mhor, Beinn a'Chaisteil somewhere up ahead obscured by cloud. A steady climb over stony hillside brought me within sight of the flank of Beinn a'Chaisteil curving to the south. I was really feeling the pace now, stumbling about. I crossed a small river and thought about filling up my bladder, but I was too fatigued to bother - something I'd regret later. Anyway I made the summit of Chaisteil just as the sun was setting over the western hills, the ruby glow illuminating the clouds. Fitting I thought for my 100th Corbett of the year.

Subsidiary summit of Chuinneag
ImageP1040703 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The way ahead
ImageP1040704 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Suilven
ImageP1040705 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back to Chuinneag
ImageP1040708 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Dazzled
ImageP1040709 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn Tharsuinn
ImageP1040711 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up ahead onto this hill
ImageP1040712 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Another look back at Chuinneag
ImageP1040713 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn a'Chaisteil up ahead
ImageP1040714 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040715 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Flat summit of Ba'C
ImageP1040717 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Chuinneag with a scarf of cloud
ImageP1040719 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Ba'C looking west
ImageP1040721 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Pink glow over Carn Ban
ImageP1040722 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040723 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040725 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040726 by 23weasels, on Flickr


What to do now? My options were to camp up near the summit or head down over what looked to be quite steep western flanks to the track in Strath Vaich. I wasn't sure if I'd have the time to get fully down before the light failed so decided to sleep up high. I knew that there would be no long sunset or glimmering dawn light from a high camp at this time of year and I worried a little about how cold it would become overnight, but hey - I should be alright. Found a flatter, if somewhat moist - grassy area after dropping 100 or so metres from the top and pitched up in the last of the light. Quite pleased with the day's efforts - almost half the distance covered. Made a quick meal which I ate from the comfort of my sleeping bag and settled down for what would be a long night - it was only 5pm and I knew I couldn't get going again before about 7.30. Snuggled in my bag was warm enough, but after a hot and hard day I was a bit thirsty - and found my bladder empty. I had a small bottle of water for breakfast needs but that was it. drat - should have filled up when I had a chance - nothing for it but to dehydrate through the night. That added to the sense of longness of the dark hours - especially when I would flit in and out of sleep and dream about streams of clear water :lol:

Day 1 stats
ImageP1040727 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Tent
ImageP1040728 by 23weasels, on Flickr


Morning came - I could feel my head thumping with the mix of dehydration, yesterday's low sunlight and no coffee. made breakfast and put the coffee situation right then bundled up my belongings and set off at a stagger down the hillside towards the first stream I could find. Ahhh - cool water. I drank my fill and restocked my bladder before setting off along the excellent track along Strath Vaich. It looked another fine day with fluffy pink clouds hovering atop the hills. Over to my right was the beautifully isolated Deanich Lodge. I had originally intended to head up over Meall a'Chaorain - a graham - but the way I was feeling today I thought I'd better give that a miss - it looked a steep fellow and I didn't have it in me to take on an extra 350m straight up in my current condition. So I stuck to the track, winding round that hill and making for the bridge. The track continues on up the first part of the hillside to a small dammed installation - oops - no way up here. I backtracked a little and found a stalker's path zigzagging its way up Cail Mhor. As I gained altitude the clag came down - disappointing as I'd really wanted another glimps of my favourite hills in the West. A long boggy trudge took me over featureless hillside to the southern cairn of Carn Ban. it was cold again up here - out of the sun and with a cutting wind blowing in my face. I felt pretty wretched, a bit sick, most likely the ongoing effects of being dehydrated yesterday. Keeping going I walked along the fairly flat hilltop towards the summit cairn, which finally rose out of the mist. Yeah - all three in the bag.

Morning glow over Meall a'Chaorain
ImageP1040729 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Descent towards the path
ImageP1040730 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ah - water!!
ImageP1040731 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Good track up Strath Vaich
ImageP1040734 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Deanich Lodge
ImageP1040737 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Heading up here, to the left of the stream
ImageP1040739 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Crossing the bridge
ImageP1040740 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn Dearg group over to the west
ImageP1040742 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Dam - damn - can't go up here
ImageP1040743 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Exciting way up
ImageP1040745 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Cairn Carn Ban
ImageP1040748 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Crazy man at the top
ImageP1040749 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040750 by 23weasels, on Flickr

I would have quite liked to be teleported or helicoptered off the hills at this point with the objectives completed, but knew I had a trek still to go. Firstly over to the summit of Bodach Beag - a re-ascent of 150 painful metres. At some points it looked like the clouds might actually lift, giving a view of Carn Ban - but any temporary gaps were quickly filled by more clag. Skirting SE from the summit I had to trudge over bogs and peat hags in mist - one of my least favourite aspects of hillwalking. Came to a drop before Lochan nan Leac, which I could just make out in the mist, then - oh no - not up again :roll: Another 130m or so up the side of An Socach was just about enough to finish me off. It was about midday by this time but I didn't feel much like food. Set off along the back of the ridge towards Sron Gun Aran, chilled and knackered. Found a deep gouge that looked as if it would provide reasonable shelter for a spot of lunch but couldn't be bothered getting my stove out to brew up and instead choked down half a sandwich. Looking around when the clag momentarily lifted I was heartened to see the end of an ATV track not far ahead. Salvation at hand - much easier to follow a track through mist than stumble about in it. The track turned out to be boggy for the most part, but it was headed where I wanted to go. Disturbing a medium sized herd of deer as I walked along - their forms looming out of the mist as they'd run off a few hundred yards, then wait to see if I was following. A marshy descent past Sron Gun Aran then up to a gate in a deer fence. As I descended I came out of the fog and could look back up Glen Allandale. The track heads down into an area planted with new native trees. Ahead of me I could make out the track going towards Allandale Lodge - good walking terrain at last! Exiting the gate at the bottom returned me to the track and from then it was a mere matter of 5km back to the car. Over to my right the jagged form of Carn na Speireig rose upwards - an impressive sub500. Across the bridge before Allandale Lodge, through the gates with giant boulders perched and a flat walk along the Allandale River as it cuts and chunders through the dark rocks. Arrived back at the car just gone 2pm to find a small Army encampment surrounding it. The squaddies all seemed to be asleep as I got out of my boots and prepared for the drive up north.

This was the going from here on in
ImageP1040751 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View towards Bodach Beag
ImageP1040753 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View west
ImageP1040754 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lochan
ImageP1040758 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Unflattering slopes of An Socach
ImageP1040759 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The track is finally spied
ImageP1040762 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The deer
ImageP1040763 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Still boggy miles to go
ImageP1040764 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View up Glen Allandale
ImageP1040766 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Carn na Speiraig
ImageP1040768 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Path past Allandale Lodge
ImageP1040770 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bouldergate
ImageP1040771 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Stats
ImageP1040774 by 23weasels, on Flickr

A good walk this, but reminded me of the need to get a bit leaner and fitter before heading out again :lol:
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1791
Munros:206   Corbetts:33
Grahams:69   Donalds:85
Sub 2000:178   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Thirst for Three Northern Corbetts

Postby rockhopper » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:06 pm

Magic ! Great photos esp inversion and suset pics. If that's being unfit...just wish I was as unfit :lol: - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6401
Munros:282   Corbetts:207
Grahams:60   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: May 31, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Thirst for Three Northern Corbetts

Postby Sgurr » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:16 am

:shock: :shock: :shock:

For one horrible moment I thought you had done them all in a day....but two is punishing enough.
We met the guy who did the Cicerone Corbett Guide in that car park. We did Carn Chuinneag and he did Carn Ban.
User avatar
Sgurr
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3711
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:569   Hewitts:139
Wainwrights:160   Islands:58
Joined: Nov 15, 2010
Location: Fife

Re: Thirst for Three Northern Corbetts

Postby kev_russ » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:56 am

Another cracker again. You are a machine like :wink:
User avatar
kev_russ
Walker
 
Posts: 388
Munros:152   Corbetts:50
Grahams:24   Donalds:26
Sub 2000:13   Hewitts:8
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Mar 17, 2009
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Thirst for Three Northern Corbetts

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:47 am

Sgurr wrote::shock: :shock: :shock:

For one horrible moment I thought you had done them all in a day....but two is punishing enough.
We met the guy who did the Cicerone Corbett Guide in that car park. We did Carn Chuinneag and he did Carn Ban.


As I was going round I was wondering if I could have done the three in a long summer day - think so if the ground weren't too wet but it would have been fairly tough. And the added problem of midges to cope with then (((shudder)))
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1791
Munros:206   Corbetts:33
Grahams:69   Donalds:85
Sub 2000:178   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Thirst for Three Northern Corbetts

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:48 pm

Ah, another cracker and that involving my "local" hills. I never considered a round like yours, especially in one day :lol: no matter how fit I am, certain routes seem beyond me.

We climbed Beinn a Chaisteil from the south, including the lower top, Meall a Ghrainain, a good walk in itself.

Still to do Carn Ban, a bit of a pain in *** this one, maybe a bike trip could be an answer.
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3245
Munros:260   Corbetts:163
Grahams:112   
Sub 2000:40   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Thirst for Three Northern Corbetts

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:09 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Ah, another cracker and that involving my "local" hills. I never considered a round like yours, especially in one day :lol: no matter how fit I am, certain routes seem beyond me.

We climbed Beinn a Chaisteil from the south, including the lower top, Meall a Ghrainain, a good walk in itself.

Still to do Carn Ban, a bit of a pain in *** this one, maybe a bike trip could be an answer.


Yeah, guess that a bike trip up Strath Vaich from your neck of the woods would make shortish work of it - also would be a nice ride from Glencalvidale. Mind you what do I know - have yet to get the bike out for any route - keep threatening to but never quite get round to it.
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1791
Munros:206   Corbetts:33
Grahams:69   Donalds:85
Sub 2000:178   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Thirst for Three Northern Corbetts

Postby Beaner001 » Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:59 pm

Cripes that's some trip and that's you not entirely fit! You'd make mincemeat of me on a trip like that. Well done :clap: :clap:
User avatar
Beaner001
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 743
Munros:234   Corbetts:26
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:5   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Sep 17, 2013
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Thirst for Three Northern Corbetts

Postby malky_c » Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:34 pm

Looks like a fine round - Alladale is an attractive spot and despite the miles of peat hags around here, there are also some great summits and corries (the granite on Carn Chuinneag being a particular favourite of mine). Like Blackpanther, the fact that these hills are fairly local means that I haven't done any long routes like this on them. One day...
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5862
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:254   Hewitts:256
Wainwrights:102   Islands:33
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Inverness

7 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).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 36 guests