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In the domain of the Great Beast 666

In the domain of the Great Beast 666


Postby weaselmaster » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:50 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Carn a'Chuilinn, Carn na Saobhaidhe

Date walked: 05/04/2015

Time taken: 13.5 hours

Distance: 48 km

Ascent: 1900m

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A mixed forecast for the weekend and a highish looking avalanche risk made me curtail plans for Kintail and an exciting route on The Saddle for something more pedestrian. Driving back from Cannich last weekend i'd noticed 2 Corbetts sitting on the eastern shores of Loch Ness - both accessed by windfarm tracks, neither looking like they'd cause much of a snow and ice problem. So that was the weekend sorted - camp at Fort Augustus and do Carn na Saobhaidhe on Saturday, Carn a'Chuilinn on the Sunday. Thrilling :lol: The drive up was rather slow - lot of traffic on the roads with this being Easter weekend and we arrived in Cumberland's Campsite about 7.30 - still plenty light to pitch and have tea outside.


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



Saturday morning was cloudy and cold - no sense of Spring being in the air yet. Got away about 8am and drove the 20 miles along to Dunmaglass - a road that infuriatingly alternated between double track then single track for all of its length. Parked at the phone box and got ready to walk. It was really chilly - gloves and several layers required - Allison in some trouble as her water bladder had leaked all over her rucksack contents. Passing an imposing pair of gateposts topped by fishing eagles, the track is littered with a variety of safety signs for the windfarm folk. The wide track stretches off into the distance, large boulders spaced along its outer edge. We walk up the steepish incline on new track not shown on the map, alongside Beinn Mheadhoin and manage to miss the turn off on the right alongside the Allt Uisg an t-Sidhean, heading up the main track instead. We notice that we are heading too far off course and have to drop down into the coire to the bridge. Allison finds a 6-pointer antler, so it has not all been in vain. Up the hill towards Meall a Bhuailt, having to check we are on the right path as there are so many tracks going off here and there to the turbines I guess. Some hares sit and watch us, with one particularly inquisitive fellow running stop-start right up to us, sniffing the air then racing past.

Parking spot
ImageP1060746 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lodge
ImageP1060747 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Oops - left mine in the car...
ImageP1060749 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The track
ImageP1060750 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Looking back
ImageP1060751 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The track...
ImageP1060752 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We should be on that path :roll:
ImageP1060753 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The track then plays tig with the Aberchalder burn, crossing and re-crossing the waterway. We find a way across only to have to re-cross (actually you can just skirt round to the east side of the track and miss the loops and crossings). We're on the west side by this time and I decide that rather than cross the burn again we'll just head up the flank of Beinn Bhuraich and take a more direct route to the summit. I imagine that this will take about half an hour - it's only 2km - but oh my god it goes on for ever - over half frozen bog/peat hags and deepish snow. Visibility is crap and there's no sign of where we're meant to be going, no sense of uphillness. Finally we come to a snow clad slope that must mark the final approach to the summit of Saobhaidhe. The summit, like the walk so far is underwhelming and we slump down for a grumpy lunch with as much view as you'd get if you shoved your head in a wet pillow case. We decide to take the track back down - surely that will be easier. Well it would have been if the track wasn't buried under 2-3 feet of soft snow, making progress just as laborious as on the ascent. We pass a newly constructed hut for shooting parties, with its door wedged open and a swoosh of snow inside. On we do, down the "track" til we get to the spot we left it - after that there's a sense of getting somewhere and progress picks up. Three red kites keep us entertained with stooping and diving antics, chasing after the snow bunnies we'd seen earier on. Further down the air was alive with the strange electronic warbling of lapwings. The sun threatened to come out and the day improved marginally. Not one of my favourite hills, but then we didn't do it in the best conditions for views etc.

Way up to Beinn Bhuirach
ImageP1060755 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit - woo hoo!!
ImageP1060756 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Very impressed so far...not
ImageP1060758 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The "track"
ImageP1060759 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Golden Jubilee Hut
ImageP1060760 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Some thick snow in places
ImageP1060762 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Low cloud cover
ImageP1060763 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Red Kite
ImageP1060765 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The way back
ImageP1060767 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Stats
ImageP1060770 by 23weasels, on Flickr

On the drive back I decided to take the road from Inverfarigaig to Foyers, passing Boleskine House, once home to Aleister Crowley. I'd never been this way before and imagined it as an impenetrably remote location, but it's not, just on the roadside albeit with signs up saying Tresspassers will be demonically possessed :wink: Things I didn't know about Crowley - he was a keen and able mountaineer who regularly took summer hols in the Alps to go climbing and led an expedition to Kangchenjunga and a member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club
http://footlesscrow.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/brief-mountaineering-career-of-aleister.html
Anyway, we paid a visit to Boleskine Burial Ground on the other side of the road enjoying the views along Loch Ness and some old gravestones. We called in at the pleasant little pub in Whitebridge for a pint of Happy Chappie before heading back to Ft Augustus for some food and a wander into the town in the late evening sunshine.

Boleskine House
ImageP1060771 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060772 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060775 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060774 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ft Augustus
ImageP1060777 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Campsite
ImageP1060778 by 23weasels, on Flickr



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



Sunday brought a warmer morning, low cloud down but looked like it would burn off quickly enough. We drove the couple of miles to the parking spot (note - you would be better driving up the hill and parking at the gates of the power station where there's room for 2-3 cars without obstruction). The WH route appears to use the road - we took the old military road through the gate, which meant we were on the wrong side of a plantation fence for a wee while. Regained the track and set off at a goodish pace, clouds being burned away all around leaving a dazzling blue sky. The Loch Quoich Munros looked devine as we gained height then sudddenly the whole skyline was awash with white topped peaks - Kintail, Affric and Cannich hills circling us - I hadn't expected such a wonderful viewing platform today! We'd decided to follow the track further round than the WH route, using this to gain the final bit of height as well as taking in some extra tops - it was a nice day after all. Snow bunnies gambolled in the sunshine, frogs croaked, the snow covered more and more of the path. We passed Lochan na Stairne with sparkling blue waters and a little island - tempting to have a dip given the heat today :) We didn't, however, just headed up the track until it had completely disappeared under feet of snow and we made for one of the tops to the east where we had lunch. We decided to have a bit of navigation practice, going from top to top, although with good visibility this ammounted to pointing ourselves in the correct direction.

Cloud burn off
ImageP1060783 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Carn a'Chuilin
ImageP1060787 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Loch Quoich Hills
ImageP1060788 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060792 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060793 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Snow bunny
ImageP1060795 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back down the track
ImageP1060796 by 23weasels, on Flickr

inviting lochan
ImageP1060800 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060801 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060804 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060808 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Eventually we made it to the 781 top beside a'Chuilin and crossed deep snow clad flanks to the summit ridge - Allison was wary of avalanche so I suggested she wait, see if I died horribly then proceed if I hadn't :lol: Then on to the summit cairn, about half a km SW. We gazed in wonderment at the hills and the unusually hued sky before deciding to head straight down to the west of the summit rather than retrace our steps - that way we could tag on Carn Doire Caorach, an impressive 531m monster :lol: . Thereafter we made a boggy crossing of the plains back to the bridge to regain our original track and trotted back to the car. it had taken longer than anticipated today, but with such superb weather and views neither of us were complaining unduly. back to the car and a fine drive down the road, marvelling at the change in the weather from the last time we'd driven down this way on Monday - 0.5 degrees and sleetstorms compared to the 14.5 degrees wall to wall sunshine 6 days later.

Chuilin from the 781m point
ImageP1060810 by 23weasels, on Flickr

danger!!
ImageP1060811 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060812 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Approaching summit
ImageP1060815 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060816 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060817 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060818 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060819 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060822 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060823 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Descent
ImageP1060825 by 23weasels, on Flickr
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weaselmaster
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Re: In the domain of the Great Beast 666

Postby rockhopper » Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:09 pm

Another good trip for the two of you - Sunday certainly turned out a lot better than Saturday.
Double edged sword I guess - the hill tracks can come in very handy (when not covered in deep, soft, slushy snow :roll: ) but they do tend to get in the way of the views.
Had a look at your stats - think I need to get some practice in...think my moving speed is slower than your overall average ! - cheers :)
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Re: In the domain of the Great Beast 666

Postby dooterbang » Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:44 pm

Another wonderful rip roaring adventure - sounded tough going at times. Glad the smiles came back to lighten up your sad wee faces on Sunday :wink:
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Re: In the domain of the Great Beast 666

Postby pollyh33 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:56 pm

Oh I enjoyed that!


It really was a tale of two cairns!

As for the Crowley fella, was there a sense of demons around you when you passed the house??? :( :shock: :shock:
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Re: In the domain of the Great Beast 666

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:27 pm

pollyh33 wrote:Oh I enjoyed that!


It really was a tale of two cairns!

As for the Crowley fella, was there a sense of demons around you when you passed the house??? :( :shock: :shock:


We had thought of camping in the graveyard to see what midnight would be like around Chez Crowley, but I'm not sure that's allowed :lol:
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weaselmaster
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Re: In the domain of the Great Beast 666

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:28 pm

rockhopper wrote:Another good trip for the two of you - Sunday certainly turned out a lot better than Saturday.
Double edged sword I guess - the hill tracks can come in very handy (when not covered in deep, soft, slushy snow :roll: ) but they do tend to get in the way of the views.
Had a look at your stats - think I need to get some practice in...think my moving speed is slower than your overall average ! - cheers :)


Yes, RH - get your boots on more often :D
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weaselmaster
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Re: In the domain of the Great Beast 666

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:50 pm

Must keep these in mind for Summer for Mrs Colla , she likes the tracked ones :D
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Re: In the domain of the Great Beast 666

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:37 am

I must admit we have been avoiding Carn na Saobhaidhe for years though it's on our doorstep... A hill with ultra-boring reputation, but we have to get up there at some point. I'll wait for a good, sunny day though, just to reduce the misery... :lol:
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Re: In the domain of the Great Beast 666

Postby BoyVertiginous » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:26 am

Look like another two for the bike, no?
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Re: In the domain of the Great Beast 666

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:52 pm

BoyVertiginous wrote:Look like another two for the bike, no?


bikes would certainly speed the process up, if that rocks your world.
i personally couldn't take the uphillness of cycling them - although the process of descent would be another matter
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Re: In the domain of the Great Beast 666

Postby malky_c » Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:56 pm

My local hills :) . Must admit I spend a lot more time on the edges of them than right in the middle of the plateau...

Did a great cycling loop over Saobhaide, which took in the best of both approach routes as well as the nondescript bit where the summit is.

Good to hear they have Happy Chappy on tap at the Whitebridge. This might be a more regular cycling destination of mine this summer :D . I do a lot of cycling on this side of Loch Ness but can rarely be bothered to go all the way down to Whitebridge.
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Re: In the domain of the Great Beast 666

Postby scottishkennyg » Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:25 pm

Nice one Al and Al, funny image that one with the PPE..glad you both got brighter weather on the last day.
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