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Cairngorm Corbetts

Cairngorm Corbetts

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:55 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Carn an Fhreiceadain, Carn Dearg Mor, Corryhabbie Hill, Leathad an Taobhain, Meallach Mhor

Date walked: 08/03/2015

Time taken: 19 hours

Distance: 69.3 km

Ascent: 3263m

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A three day weekend! And a crap weather forecast :( Damn - had been keen to get back up to the pointy mountains of the North West, but given the forecast that was not going to be sensible. So it would be more rounded hills with tracks going up them... Ach well. I'd been looking at the 3 Glen Feshie Corbetts for a while and now that the nights are starting to lengthen again this seemed a possibility. I also had a few other outliers in the Cairngorms to finish off, so I reckoned we could get something useful - if not particularly exciting- done in the time we had. Decided to head for Rothiemurchas Campsite - one of my favourites, and reached Inverdruie just about 7pm on Thursday. We'd looked from the road - in the dark, admittedly- as we passed by the western Cairngorms driving up and there didn't seem to be a lot of snow left. No snow in the campsite either - we found a nice pitch on the upper section having been warned to avoid the lower part by the river as the amount of snow melt was considerable. We were able to enjoy our pasta arrabiata sitting outside in the light of headtorches - really felt springlike and mild.

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Made a point of getting up early the next day, knowing it was going to be a long one. I'd reckoned our route would be just short of 40km and it involved some gambles. I knew that walking that distance in winter boots would kill my feet, so I needed to be able to manage in trainers. That meant the snow had to be maneageable. The distance also needed the snow not to be deep and tiresome in the middle section of the walk where we'd be off tracks, and the river crossings all had to be negotiable or we were jinxed. And there really wasn't a way to being sure of any of this until we were well into the walk and committed. The drive to Auchlean was pleasant. There were no other cars in the parking spot as we geared up and set off. The first wee stream crossing past the house was easier than I've seen it at times and we meandered over to the bridge crossing the Feshie, glad we didn't have to wade here. Onto marshy ground beside the river then up onto the tarmac. We could see the Tilt hills off in the distance, still snow capped and nearer, at the curve of the River Feshie, the deep bowl of Carn an Fhidlear Lorgaidh. Past Glenfeshie Lodge, where much work was being carried out and onto rougher track past Sron na h-iolaire. To our right the track zigzagged up Carn Dearg Mor, ahead it was deep in snow drift. Visibility lessened, snow covering became more consistent, but crusted enough to interfere little with walking. We gained height slowly, coming to the top of Meallan Uillt Chreagaich (847m) without having much sense of hillwalking at all. There came a dip into the valley before Leathad an Taobhain then a climb of 150m on snow that did feel like we were actually climbing hills! The trig point came into view with some relief, having taken just under 4 hours so far. Decision time - we could either retrace our steps back to Carn Dearg Mor and just do 2 hills, leaving a long walk along Glen Tromie to do the singleton of Meallach Mor, or we could go for the three. i wasn't brooking much disagreement- we had another 6 hours of light and conditions seemed reasonable.

Near the start
ImageP1060074 by 23weasels, on Flickr

River Feshie
ImageP1060076 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Carn an Fhidlear Lorgaidh
ImageP1060077 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Zigzags up Carn dearg Mor
ImageP1060080 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060081 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Leathad an Taobhain
ImageP1060083 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Heading over to the 902m West top in poor visibility, we descended quite steeply on heather and rocks. A bit marshier here. We were to follow the Allt Coire Bhran down towards Meallach Mor, which became clearer in the distance to our left as the clag diminished. Stopped for some lunch in what shelter we could find and considered our position. Trainers had worked well so far, meaning happier (if colder) feet and the snow was alright. We pressed on, deciding to leave the track and cross the Allt Coire Bhran and make for the western edge of the tree plantation on Cnapan na Cuilce then up the side of Leac an Dubh-Chadha. The final section up Meallach Mor was 150m on firm snow against a howling wind. At the summit I was buffeted all over the place, losing my footing a few times as I tried to steady myself and enjoy the view down the Gaick Pass. Allison caught me up after a few minutes and didn't look to be having the best time of it. Half past two - doing OK for time, now onwards to our third of the day!

Meallach Mor
ImageP1060087 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060090 by 23weasels, on Flickr

It wasn't deep...
ImageP1060091 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Towards top MM
ImageP1060093 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Looking west to Gaick pass
ImageP1060095 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Back towards Leathad an Taobhain
ImageP1060096 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Meallach Mor
ImageP1060098 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Windy weasel
ImageP1060099 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060101 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We semi-traced our steps over the top of Meall an Dubh-Chadha then decended to the stream at the bottom and headed back up to the plantation. The track would have us go round Carn dearg and up the SE side of Carn dearg Mor - I decided it would be easier to go straight over Carn Dearg, which we did. A final easy trot up to Carn Dearg Mor and it was all plain sailing - apart from the 10k still to go home that is! A good path led us over Carn Dearg Beag, with view of a stacked cloud over Mullach clach a'Bhlair, then back down towards Glen Feshie. We could see the top quality track heading SE - that was heading the wrong way and would cost us almost 3km if we went that way, so I pressed onwards following the stream down Coire Chrion Alltain and quickly back to the road. Usually my "short cuts" end in disaster of some sort or another so it was pleasing to see one that worked! By now Allison's spirits were restored as we neared the end of the route and we were both delighted to have got these 3 under our belt. Just over 10 hours, but a good day out.

Towards Carn Dearg
ImageP1060103 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Carn Dearg Mor from Carn Dearg
ImageP1060105 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060107 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Mullach Clach a'Bhlair
ImageP1060110 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060113 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Back at the campsite we enjoyed a hot shower followed by a tasty curry. Good way to round off a long day. Rained a lot overnight, very blowy in the trees overhead too. Decided to stay relatively close to base on the Saturday and go to Kingussie for Carn an Fhreiceadain - the forecast was for winds of 70mph+ so we didn't fancy anything too exposed. Pasked in the town car park, rather than at the golf course and walked up the side of the Gynack Burn which was brimfull and chundering down its course with a rumbling of boulders amidst the foaming waters. I would not have wanted to cross that :lol: The road takes you through the golf course then up by Pitmain Lodge and onto more open ground. A wet trudge up the hillside, coming across increasing amounts of snow after 500m. Made the top of Beinn Bhreac then pressed on in 50mph winds (according to our anenometer) to the top of CanF. Trig point and tall cairn - we visited both to be sure - this was Allison's halfway mark (111 Corbetts) after all. Then it was a matter of following a new track down into the west side of the hill, the Monadliath Munros over to our right, obscured by clag. The Allt Mor was thundering away below us, looking like new sections of course cut for it by the Hydro works. There were some impressive sections of surviving snow drift, one which almost swallowed up a bridge. Snow on the track was more persistent on this side of the hill, down to 350m or so. The bridge that you are meant to cross back over by has been flood damaged, which meant going through the private lands of Pitmain Lodge and using their bridge, which didn't look too safe today either :lol: Nipped into the Co-op in Kingussie for some bread and beer.

Rothiemurchas campsite
ImageP1060115 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Allison grateful she doesn't have to cross this
ImageP1060119 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060122 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Beinn Bhreac
ImageP1060125 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Towards top of Carn an Fhreiceadean
ImageP1060126 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060128 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Corbett 111 for Sick Kid
ImageP1060131 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060136 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Allt mor
ImageP1060138 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Buried bridge
ImageP1060139 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Big drifts
ImageP1060142 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bridge at Pitmain lodge
ImageP1060144 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Climbers on crags
ImageP1060145 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060146 by 23weasels, on Flickr

For our last day i swithered what to do. Forecast was for sunshine in the east, and I had originally intended to do Morven, but then there was Corryhabbie Hill which had eluded us before on a day of clag when we had neither map nor GPS route. I decided upon that. So much for sunshine - it poured through the night and continued raining until 8.30. packed up the wet tent and set off for Glen Livet, huge areas of flooding as we drove towards Grantown on Spey. The weather was improving however and as we arrived at Ellivreid farm the sky was blue and cloudless. The farmer came out to see us and told us we were welcome to park at the side of his drive, chatted away about the winter in Moray having been dry and mild with hardly any snow. We set off unencumbered by ice axes or crampons. I specifically left my ski-goggles on the parcel shelf thinking I'm not going to need them on a day like this :lol: The track took us over farmland, with many sheep beetling out the way, then onto a rough track. Ben Rinnes looked colourful behind us, the rolling Moray landscape peaceful and serene. Up the back of Muckle Lepprach - we could see the weather changing and coming our way from the 'gorms. A few patches of snow remained up here - including some dainty coverings on the heather that looked as delicate as the lichens around them. Nearing the summit I was glad to see a shelter cairn - looked like we were going to need it! As we ate our lunch the temperature plummeted and the snow started to fall, just puffy flakes which melted soon after landing. the windchill was substantial and on the walk along the back of the hill my fingers were painfully cold. We spotted another couple behind us - they were Corbett baggers up from London for the weekend as we found out when we chatted with them back at the car. Decided to drive back home via Braemar - only slightly with the thought of nipping up Carn Ealasaid from The Lecht on the way - but when we stopped at the Lecht carpark there were still lots of ski-ers doing their thing and it wasn't clear if you could just walk up that way. So we headed home instead, a lovely sunny afternoon for a drive. 5 Corbetts for the weekend, helps with getting back on schedule of 2 a weekend after recent problems in that department :D

Bynack More from the roadside
ImageP1060147 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Start of the walk - sunshine!!
ImageP1060148 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ben Rinnes
ImageP1060150 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Moray Landscape
ImageP1060152 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060154 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Muckle Lepprach
ImageP1060155 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Weather coming in
ImageP1060159 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Corryhabbie Top
ImageP1060162 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060164 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sun about to disappear in snowstorm
ImageP1060165 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060168 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060169 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060171 by 23weasels, on Flickr
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Re: Cairngorm Corbetts

Postby onsen » Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:10 am

Enjoyed your wet & windy adventures, weaselmaster. :thumbup:
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Re: Cairngorm Corbetts

Postby malky_c » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:25 am

So it was you guys I passed on Sunday morning at Rothiemurchus campsite (I walked up the Lairig Ghru path at about 9:20am). Unfortunately my people recognition skills are poor, even for people I know well, so all I thought was 'that looks like Weaselmaster's car!'

I suppose someone had to head out on Saturday. Glad it wasn't me though!
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Re: Cairngorm Corbetts

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:02 am

malky_c wrote:So it was you guys I passed on Sunday morning at Rothiemurchus campsite (I walked up the Lairig Ghru path at about 9:20am). Unfortunately my people recognition skills are poor, even for people I know well, so all I thought was 'that looks like Weaselmaster's car!'

I suppose someone had to head out on Saturday. Glad it wasn't me though!

I was thinking that when I read your report that you must have been walking down that track when we were about to head off. You could have stopped by for a cuppa if we'd noticed each other.

Saturday wasn't that bad really :lol:
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Re: Cairngorm Corbetts

Postby PeteR » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:35 pm

I very nearly did Corryhabbie Hill myself on Sunday (along with Ben Rinnes), but opted for a shorter car journey and stayed west instead, on the Glen Orchy 2. Your photos suggest a better day weather wise than I had expected for the area.

I still have the two Feshie Corbetts on my radar for sometime soon. I really must make the effort.
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Re: Cairngorm Corbetts

Postby Fife Flyer » Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:53 pm

Enjoyed reading that Al, up to your usual standard :clap: :clap:
Another quiet weekend for you two, bit of wind and rain obviously doesn't put you off :lol:
Saturday forecast was too wild for me and it doesn't look good now until Friday :(
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Re: Cairngorm Corbetts

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:21 pm

Do you do anything else but walk ? :lol: :lol:

Yer keen indeed :clap: :clap:
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Re: Cairngorm Corbetts

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:25 pm

Collaciotach wrote:Do you do anything else but walk ? :lol: :lol:

Yer keen indeed :clap: :clap:

Don't be daft - a one track mind, me!!
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