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Ben Vurich by Snowshoe

Ben Vurich by Snowshoe

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:41 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Vuirich, Monamenach

Date walked: 23/01/2015

Time taken: 10.3 hours

Distance: 28 km

Ascent: 1523m

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Our first proper outing together for 3 weeks. After all the snow there has been midweek it wasn't entirely sure where the best place to head would be. East looked better than west, but the forecast had us believing there would be 70mph winds by the sunday. Ben Vurich has been on the radar for a while, so I settled on that for Saturday and left the option of a short walk (Monamenach) or a long one (Stob an Aonich Mhoir) for the Sunday. We drove up to Old Bridge of Tilt car park on Friday night and had a frosty overnighter amidst the trees. Saturday morning dawned cold, a light covering of snow on the tent and guy ropes frozen solid. Drove along the single track road to Loch Moraig which was snow covered and came up to the first problem - where to park? The usual place for the Beinn a'Ghlo hills was inaccessible due to piled up snow from the snowplough and another car was already occupying the small space beside the gate at the start of the route. Drove back along the road a wee bit and drove off the roadway onto what I hoped would be solid ground. Decided to take our snowshoes with us for the walk, which I thought was going to be a lot of flat trekking over deep snow.

ImageP1050556 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Carn Liath
ImageP1050557 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Chatted to the 3 guys who'd parked by the gate and set off along the frozen tyre tracks. When we turned off the Beinn a'Ghlo route towards Shinagig the snowshoes went on - and stayed on the rest of the day. Wintry sheep eyed us with hostility as they moved away from their cartons of high energy feed to let us pass. Up ahead I could see Beinn Bheag and Airgiod Bheinn - a top I had originally planned to add onto today's route, but conditions dictated otherwise. To our right the long bulk of Ben Vrackie caught the eye.

Ben Vrackie
ImageP1050558 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050560 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050561 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn Bhreac & Airgiod Bheinn
ImageP1050562 by 23weasels, on Flickr

and in Pano mode
ImageP1050564 by 23weasels, on Flickr

It was slow plodding progress once we came off the recognisable track. Sometimes the snow was firm enough to avoid the shoes sinking in, at others every step sank deep. It was still better than walking in boots alone. We passed along the south side of Meall Breac's summit and over the wind blasted expanse of Coire Biudhe Mor finding a small gully to shelter from the wind and spindrift while we had our lunch. Unfortunately for Allison she discovered the gully was hiding a wee river, into which her foot plunged :lol: We set about the slopes up Creag nan Ghobar then Carn Dubh where the wind started whislting across us. Over to our left the complexities of the trio of Beinn a'Ghlo were revealed. Eventually we surmounted the summit of Vurich - the trig point in the middle of the cairn completely filled around with wind-driven snow. Allison's 100th Corbett - however she was so knackered with the effort of getting here that she didn't remember her landmark til we were on the way down. Five hours it had taken to this pont - if it took the same on the return leg we'd be finding our way back by torchlight. :?

It's a long way to the top when you're on snowshoes
ImageP1050568 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ben vrackie again
ImageP1050573 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up Carn Dubh, Vurich to the left
ImageP1050571 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050572 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bheinn a'Ghlo Hills
ImageP1050579 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Final section to Vurich
ImageP1050577 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Looking back to the West
ImageP1050578 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Made it
ImageP1050580 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050581 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050582 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We headed west off the summit of Vurich and took a route south of the WH route to keep height, coming round the southern rather than the northern side of Stac nam Bodach. This would probably be boggy without the snow, but we were spared the bogs, not that this was much comfort to Allison who was seriously lagging behind and looking somewhat grey of face. She's a determined creature however, so I wasn't unduly worried. I did pass on the opportunity to bag some smaller tops along the way, setting my sights grimly on the western crags of Sron na h-Innerach. Several deer watched us from up on high as we meandered towards the Allt Coire Lagain - fortunately it was shallow and easy to cross even with snowshoes on :lol:

heading down, Beinn a'Ghlo ahead
ImageP1050583 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Someone's having fun...
ImageP1050585 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050587 by 23weasels, on Flickr

No, snowshoes don't allow you to walk on water
ImageP1050590 by 23weasels, on Flickr

From there we were back on a "track" although still mostly buried by snow. We met a couple of guys who were camping out - they'd tried to do Vurich too but turned back. Also saw a couple of guys who#d been skiing up on Carn Liath. Back to the car without further incident before the daylight completely faded. Was a gruelling day - I felt the strain of the different walking style on my Sartorius muscles which were not used to such toil :shock: Decided to head back to Bridge of Tilt car park and spend another night there.

ImageP1050592 by 23weasels, on Flickr

After a long day out there was no question of trying to do another 28km walk through snow to reach Stob an Aonich Mhoir, so the quick option of Monamenach was chosen. It was a milder morning, with a little rain and much snow melt. I was worried about the state of the little single track roads up into Glen Isla, but I found all the roads well cleared and gritted. Parked up by the bridge near Auchavan and walked back towards the houses, passing through the field on the track which was somewhere under the snow. Some footprints made post-holing the way to go until the snow firmed up, and it was a steady pull up the eastern aspect of the hill til the flatter area at around 600m was reached. Clag was down which meant no visibility and it was simply a matter of point upwards and stop every 100 paces to check the direction. The summit section has deep grooves of footfalls or tracks and the cairn was reached. Hoping for substantial edifice to shelter from the wind and drizzle we were disappointed by a carin that was about 3 feet high. Oh well. Ate our lunch and turned around, following our footprints in the snow. I was dismayed to find there were hardly any places that had enough incline to bum slide down :( Didn't take long before we were back at the car, dried off and heading back down the road for an early tea.

ImageP1050593 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050594 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050595 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The mighty cairn
ImageP1050597 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050598 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050599 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050600 by 23weasels, on Flickr
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Re: Ben Vurich by Snowshoe

Postby PeteR » Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:55 pm

A couple of good hills, if quite different from each other. Really enjoyed Vuirch when I did it recently. Looks stunning in the snow though 8)
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Re: Ben Vurich by Snowshoe

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:36 pm

Your graham count is very low !

You need to get out more :wink:
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Re: Ben Vurich by Snowshoe

Postby gammy leg walker » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:35 pm

Entertaining as always WA.

PS Sick Kid looks burst on Monameach.
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Re: Ben Vurich by Snowshoe

Postby Beaner001 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:55 pm

We'll done Alison on reaching the hunner mark :clap: I could have done with snowshoes in Glenshiel on Saturday, took 10 hours for around 11km :shock: :shock: or maybe I'm just a bit out of shape :lol:
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Re: Ben Vurich by Snowshoe

Postby mountain thyme » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:41 pm

Looks good . Quite fancy BV in the snow. Well done Allison on reaching 100
Do the snow shoes make a difference ?
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Re: Ben Vurich by Snowshoe

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:12 pm

mountain thyme wrote:Do the snow shoes make a difference ?

Yes, definately helped avoid that sinking feeling in soft snow, but using different muscles to walk in them hurt a lot.
They seem well suited for that sort of steady gradient hill, less good for steep rocky ones
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