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Dawn to Dusk around Glen Loy
by malky_c » Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:51 pm
Corbetts included on this walk: Meall a'Phubuill
Grahams included on this walk: Aodann Chleireig, Druim Fada (Corpach), Meall Onfhaidh
Date walked: 30/11/2014
Time taken: 9 hours
Distance: 26 km
Ascent: 2175m2 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).
Grahams: Meall Onfhaidh, Aodann Chleirig, Druim Fada.
Time taken: 9 hours.
Weather: Sunny, calm, mild. Layers of drifting cloud.
I'd toyed with approaching Sgurr a' Choire Ghlas and co. from Glen Orrin this weekend, but the old bagging bug got the better of me and I decided to head down to Glen Loy instead. I had a summer version of this route planned which included Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean and Gulvain, but that would be a 13 hour plus leg-buster, so I scaled it back to the original plan that I almost did 4 years ago, before a poor weather forecast diverted me elsewhere.
Even so, I knew that there was only just enough daylight available for the 4 hill route, so I got up early and set off to arrive before daylight. I parked on a track junction just before the road end in Glen Loy and set off up the glen at 7:50 am, just as the first bits of colour were appearing in the sky to the east. You stroll through well kept grounds to the estate house at Achnanellan before hitting a rougher vehicle track in the glen.
Once clear of the woods on the north side of the glen, I looked for a nice line up onto Druim Gleann Laoigh. I was hurrying here, hoping to gain a reasonable amount of height before the best of the daybreak was over. I was reasonably successful, and was treated to some spectacular colours. I would like to have been a little higher to properly see Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg before the colours faded. Shoudln't have had that toilet stop on the way down the road!
Sunrise from Glen Loy and gaining the eastern end of Druim Gleann Laoigh:
The Ben makes an appearance:
I was also impressed by the alpenglow on Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach, which I hadn't expected.
Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach:
Garbh Cioch Mor and Sgorr Mor:
A fine ridge - there was the odd boggy pool, but it was mostly easy walking alongside the drystone dyke over the subsidary tops. After the initial oblique burst of warmth, it was colder and shadier for a while, before the sun rose above the clouds.
Ben again (features rather a lot today):
On the Druim Gleann Laoigh:
Ardgour and Moidart, with Aodann Cleirich and Meall Onfhaidh in front:
Meall a’ Phubuill and Gulvain:
The drop off the 747m top was slightly steeper than expected, but 2 hours after setting out, I was eating my second breakfast on the summit of Meall a' Phubuill. I suppose a little snow would have been the icing on the cake, but who's complaining about snow when the weather is this good?
Beinn an Tuim and Streap:
Sgurr Giubhsachain and Beinn Odhar Bheag:
Aonachs and the Ben from Meall a Phubuill:
Meall a’ Phubuill summit:
Zoom to Sgurr Giubhsachain and Beinn Odhar Bheag:
Meall Onfhaidh from Meall a’ Phubuill:
After 15 minutes of soaking in the views (Streap in particular looking good), I dropped down to the col in front of Meall Onfhiadh. This was much steeper than expected, and a little slppery in places.
Beinn Odhar Bheag:
Back to Meall a’ Phubuill:
The col was quite boggy, but nothing unusual for a couple of obscurish Grahams. The ascent on the far side was quite steep and rocky, ending abruptly just before a small summit plateau. Steep and rocky sums up this pair of Grahams quite well actually - I'd previously dismissed them as being grassy lumps of little character, but they aren't.
Druim Fada with the Ben behind:
Beinn an Tuim and Streap:
The Ben and the Mamores:
Cloud was rolling in from the west now, with some of the views being obscured. Aodann Chleirig wasn't escaping either, as it had picked up a thin cap of cloud. Another steep, slippy descent led me to an almost identical col and climb up onto Aodann Chleirig, with a couple of steep scrambly moves at the top. Although the views were diminished, there were some fine effects on Gulvain.
Braigh nan Uamhachan and Gulvain:
While the sun was always close, it couldn't shift the cloud cap on the summit, so I missed out on any real views here. I did see my first fogbow as compensation, although I didn't manage to capture it on camera. Normally I like sticking to the high ground as much as possible, but with the clag there was little point, so I dropped down to the Leth Allt. Not sure if this was the best route as it entailed climbing two deer fences and crashing across an area of recently planted woodand (which will probably look great in 30-40 years actually). However I had decided to aim for the bothy in order to have a nosy and keep some of my height.
Fort William and biomass plant at Corpach:
I picked up a wet ATV track on the far side of the Leth Allt, but I doubt I saved on any ascent as there were many small ups and downs. At the bothy, I met a work party who had just replaced some floorboards and the front door.
..with Meall Onfhiadh behind:
After a quick chat, I almost succumbed to the low level route back to the car through Gleann Suileag and Glen Loy, but I was able to push on up the west end of Druim Fada. After the initial tussocky grass, this ascent was much smoother than the last couple of hills.
Gulvain from the west end of Druim Fada:
Meall a’ Phibuill:
Meall Onfhaidh, Gulvain and Meall a’ Phubuill:
Before long, the hard work was done and I was on the ridge. It looked like an attractive walk, although not quite up to the standard of it's namesake along the north side of Loch Hourn.
Looking east along Druim Fada:
Sadly much of it was capped by cloud, although the sun was never far away. On the upside, lovely easy walking, mostly on short turf. I was stopped for a bite to eat by the trig point when I spotted the nearby 729m high point bathing in sunshine. I quickly packed up and legged over to it, and it more than made up for any of the tedious clag of the last 30 minutes.
Cloud spilling into Coire an Fada:
Ahead, it appeared that I would be back in the clag for a spell, but I didn't mind now. Although I didn't get the grandstand views of Ben Nevis I'd hoped for, they are regularly available. What I was seeing now was much rarer.
Cloud spilling into Coire an Fhuidhir:
Lots of these sorts of views between the sunny bits:
On the final ascent to the summit of Stob a' Grianan, I emerged periodically from the clag more great views and a little confusion as the misty bump ahead which I had assumed to be Beinn Bhan was actually much closer, and was the top of my hill! There was a great inversion to the north, although I could have done with about 200m more height to enjoy it fully.
Sgorr Mor and others – inversion a little too high to appreciate properly:
Cloud spilling into Coire Dubh:
I was losing the light now, so I quickly started descending the northern ridge. This was steep higher up, with occasional fields of grassy scree which were a little slippy. I was glad to get down to shallower gradients as it got darker.
Descent down the N ridge of Stob an Grianan:
Sadly there was another deer-fenced enclosure to cross. I found a gate to climb on the uphill fence, but I couldn't see another one when exiting at the bottom. Never mind - another fence to climb.
I'd heard lots of things in the past about the people living at Puiteachan not being too happy with walkers traipsing through their garden, and the detour provided not being very pleasant, so I aimed directly for the River Loy and the path I'd started out on. A quick splash through the river took me to the Glen Loy footpath without any of the hassle of passing Puiteachan.
Last light on the way to the floor of the glen:
...and then back to the car after a second spectacular day out this week. Rummaging through the CD case for something to listen to on the drive home, I stumbled across the 'Dawn to Dusk' disc of the Smashing Pumpkins 'Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness' album - seemed pretty apt!
by The Rodmiester » Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:07 pm
by weaselmaster » Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:12 pm
I remember looking over at Druim Fada when doing beinn Bhan/Meall a phubuill earlier in the year and thinking it looked a nice loop to do. Some lovely skies you had
by Collaciotach » Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:23 pm
Was on Sgurr an Utha on Saturday and saw precisely hee haw .... Sunday was spent mostly hung over from a 50th party night before. The weather here in Sunart was nothing like what u appear to have got 20 miles further North
by scottishkennyg » Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:14 pm
by electricfly » Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:04 pm
Here's how your peaks looked from where we were...
Oh, and a fogbow. (sorry it's not yours, but it was pretty close by)
by Huff_n_Puff » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:08 pm