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by Mountainlove » Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:32 pm
Route description: Beinn Mhanach
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Mhanach
Date walked: 28/12/2014
Time taken: 6.5 hours
Distance: 21.6 km
Ascent: 918m18 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).
Stepping out of my front door during early Sunday morning, a wall of freezing air hit me. OMG it was cold! Doing a 180 C turn I was back in my house to retrieve my gloves…scraping ice from my car without gloves would have been no fun. 10 min later the car was ice free and I was on my way.
Driving on up north, I was a bag of nerves. Solo winter walking? No bother! Driving in icy conditions and I am a nervous wreck. I was relieved when I finally arrived and promptly drove past the parking spot.
The morning was glorious. A thick layer of frost covered the ground and Ben Dorain which never fails to impress me, was standing proud and snow capped in the rising sun. On the walk towards the farm I could not help, but to admire Beinn a Chaisteil. What a beautiful mountain!
Beinn a Chaisteil towards the left
The path and Auch Farm behind the trees
Continuing along the path I walked past some buildings when the path split. Too lazy to dig my GPS out, I decided to take a left, crossed a bridge and was soon on a faint frozen boggy path. Walking along with the burn on my right side, the Viaduct came into view and I remembered the day I had taken the train from Crianlarich to Corrour station and had driven over it. It somehow made the experience walking underneath it more special.
I can’t say I was impressed with the path I had chosen. It was luckily frozen solid, but I still managed to step into occasional unfrozen bog puddles. Continuing along the path, I finally saw the proper path…on the other side of the river.
Knowing that I had to cross the river quite a few times I was not too bothered and continued alongside a deer fence. Another couple who was on proper path, soon disappeared into the distance and left me annoyed with my slow process. After a few kilometers my path joined the main one and just at the right time…as it had saved me a major river crossing.
Walking along the deer fence , looking back
The mental crossings. The path stops (bottom right) crosses the river and continues on the other side...whats wrong with keeping the path to one site I asked myself!
Lovely views towards the left
Continuing the path I noticed that the couple I had seen, seemed to have troubles crossing the river. Shouting over if they needed any help, they assured me that they would be fine. Walking on I was now faster on the path and managed to walk through the shallow river quite a few times, that was until I reached a wide and deep crossing.
One of the easier crossings
The crossing I did not fancy with my boots on
I did not dare to cross with my boots on, so the easiest solution was going barefoot! With my boots, socks and gaiters off, I made the crossing. The first part was frozen slush like water – cold but ok, but when I had to break the ice of the frozen surface of the river with my bare feet, I decided that this was nuts!
That was freeeezing
Mountain reflection on the frozen river
Frozen water droplets
I arrived on the other site with shouts of “Argh”, “Freezing”, and a few more which are too rude to write down. Walking through the snow, I reached a place where I could sit down and put my shoes back on. Needless to say it took good ten minutes until any kind of feeling returned to my feet…maybe I should keep bare footed rivers crossings for the summer!
Moving along I ditched the path and stayed on the hill site. It was hard going, but at least I started to gain some height. I had decided to take the approach from the left, as it seemed less steep and more graduate – a good decision at the end.
The walk up
Below Beinn a Chuirn was the first time I checked the map and realized that I was close to a path. I continued on the path until it frazzled out and I saw the fence line which I used as a guidance for my walk up. Thick snow covered the ground and drove me insane as…
1. It was either soft yet deep snow lying on soft grassy ground – hard work
2. It was deep snow laying on hard rock- not too bad, until you step a hole…
3. Or I stepped on small hard frozen patches, which you only discover when you start sliding sideways down the hill, making you look like a complete idiot (and too lazy to get your crampons out , as 95% of the snow is still too soft for them)
Panoramic views looking back
The top of Beinn Mhanach
The bealach looking north
The bealach looking up towards Beinn a Chuirn
By the time I had reached the high bealach between Beinn a Chuirn and Beinn Mhanach, the ground improved greatly (frozen rock solid) and the last hundred metres height gain were easy going. While walking to the top the wind picked up and was absolutely icy. My head was hurting from the cold and by the time I reached the cairn, I had to put on my full winter gear. The thermometer read -5C, but the wind the wind chill factor must have been at least -15C if not colder.
But what a view!
View towards Loch Lyon
Zoom in towards the Dam and Lubreoch Power Station
Panoramic views towards the north/east
Panoramic views towards the south and the full length of Loch Lyon
I stayed as long as I could, ignoring my hurting ice cold fingers in my gloves, taking picture and enjoying a cup of lovely hot coffee next to the cairn which gave only a little bit of protection. The cold finally drove me off the summit and I briefly considered taking the other side down, but decided against it, when the couple who had appeared as well, told me it was relentlessly steep.
Down the mountain and with darkness approaching, the sun light up the mountains in an orange glow. It was lovely.
On the way down
The path back
Alpenglow on top of Ben Mhanach
The last bit
With the help of my GPS and previous knowledge about the river crossings (and not caring about wet boots) I managed to cross everything with boots on and was glad when I got back to my car…which I had to defrost yet again before heading back home.
by MunroMadMen » Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:47 pm
Looks like you had an awesome day
by weaselmaster » Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:05 pm
The barefoot river crossing however is mental Invest in a pair of sealskinz socks before your toes drop off
by jepsonscotland » Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:12 pm
Stunning photos, as always.
The early morning ones are huge, really imposing hills. Magic.
After a less brave, barefoot crossing earlier this month, I decided on knee length Sealskinz!
(you heard it hear first! Lol)
Not quite as 'hardcore' as your valiant endeavour, but a lot less hopping and swearing!
Weather was beautiful on Sunday, we were just along the road at Ben Challum. Cracking day, but hellishly chilly in the wind!!
by scottishkennyg » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:43 pm
by rockhopper » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:39 am
by mgmt! » Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:12 pm
oh mountainlove, i used to think you were mad, but now i know your nuts
- Posts: 540
- Joined: Oct 18, 2010
by wilkiemurray » Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:37 pm
On the bike we headed full pelt across the river not realising how deep it was in places - oops- water in over the boots etc etc
However that wasn't on a freezing day like Sunday -
great piccies and report
- Posts: 1331
- Joined: Jan 26, 2012
- Location: Perthshire
by sneaks » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:48 pm
by litljortindan » Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:47 am
by Mountainlove » Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:07 pm
@ Chris...haha knee lengh Sealskinz...when will you share a picture with us..?
@scottishkennyg - thank you
@ rockhopper...it took longer than I thought to be honest. Imaged they would be like cold fingers when they warm up...luckily not as this process can be pretty painful
@mgmt!...haha the ideas which seem ok at the start
@ Murray...thanks. Was actually thinking that the path could be quite tricky on bikes depending on the conditions...water in over boots...lol had that pleasure once
@ litljortindan ...that sounds aweful!Hopefully you were ok...thats one of my nightmares!
by chrisprovan » Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:10 pm
by thescottfamilycurrie » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:01 pm
by bar72 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:24 pm