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The Compass

The Compass

Postby ancancha » Sun Apr 12, 2015 1:46 pm

Route description: Beinn a' Ghlò

Munros included on this walk: Càrn nan Gabhar

Date walked: 11/04/2015

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 22 km

Ascent: 770m

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

The above GPX is estimated, read on...

I've tried to get this one done for a while, first go I managed Carn Liath and as I got down into the bealach my knee started hurting, so I bailed out down Allt na Beinne Bige, or at least mostly the ridge to the west of it. Second time I managed Carn Liath and Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, but as time was getting on made a decision at the bealach to bail out down Allt Bealach Fhiodha.
This time I was determined to get it done, no messing, straight there and back or so I thought :lol:

The forecast was for snow showers, but not much more and so it started with some overcast sky and a snow shower
Crossing the stream just after the turn off for Carn Liath
Beinn aGhlo Stream.jpg

Passed a couple coming back, I was late on the trail as per usual, just a hello, I was pushing on.
Hung a left at the small pile of stones which mark the start of the path and as you can see the weather was very promising 8)
Beinn aGhlo Sheep.jpg

The cloud on top of Carn nan Gabhar was coming and going, so I pressed on past the bemused sheep. Met a few more walkers and briefly chatted.

Scottish mountain scenery is always pleasant to look at, crossing the Allt Coire na Saobhaidh
Beinn aGhlo Allt Coire na Saobhaidh.jpg

I'd put my gaiters on at the start, remembering the bog zones from previous walk outs, but it has been dry recently and the path was reasonable, the going was good and I quickly found myself in the Allt Bealach Fhiodha.
Beinn aGhlo Allt Bealach Fhiodha to Bealach.jpg

looking back
Beinn aGhlo Allt Bealach Fhiodha.jpg

and Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain to the left
Beinn aGhlo Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain.jpg

Got to the Bealach and the snow came on heavy and persistent, so much so that a couple of Ptarmigan or Grouse couldn't be bothered moving when I appeared next to them.
Beinn aGhlo Ptarmigan.jpg

The path up was still visible for a short while, but soon disappeared into an ice sheet, got the camera out for more photos, but the battery had died :(
So got the iPhone out and got a couple of shots
Beinn aGhlo Path top.jpg

The snow showers were still coming and going, but mostly coming now, probably the last patch of blue sky
Beinn aGhlo Path Ice Field.jpg

Traversed my way along moving carefully around the ice fields, I did have a walking pole, but no crampons or ice axe, so not going to take any chances.

Eventually got up top, found a path and quickly made the summit and cairn, it is awesome in the driving snow 8)
Got the iPhone out to take a few photos, but it too had died :shock:
No more GPS :problem:
The track below shows where it had conked out, to be honest the iPhone hasn't been well for a while and I've been wondering whether to get a new battery for it or upgrade either to a Samsung or new iPhone :think:

Beinn a'Ghlo 20150412.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

I wasn't hanging around in these conditions, and certainly was going to do lunch as intended.
Quickly headed back down shielding my face with one gloved hand, it was pretty appalling now, with driving snow and gusty winds.

Swiftly found my self on a steeper slope and assumed I was going back down into the Bealach. Rather than head back down to skirt around the ice fields again I had opted for what I assumed was the ridge towards Airgiod Bheinn.
At the time I thought I must be back in the Allt Bealach Fhiodha, but this was strange, surely I hadn't covered that much distance so quickly ?
The snow had lightened and there was some visibility now :D
Anyway deciding on the follow the streams down tactic found myself at the bottom and what I assumed was still Allt Bealach Fhiodha, an easy mistake, what had actually occurred was that I had dropped off down Coire Lagain and the hill in front of me which I was considering was Beinn Bheag was actually Meall na h-Eilrig.
Well I did have a compase, so lets get it out and check, mmm, north that way :!: have the poles reversed themselves while I was up there :?:
If I go to the left of the hill in front of me (Meall na h-Eilrig) I will be heading North East, where as I know I need to be going west to get back to the track and car :think:
Well no matter what it looks like I am following the compass :-?
Trudging over the snow covered thick high heather was tough going, but after half an hour or so I got my bearings and could clearly see Beinn Bheag in front of me, phew, but the light is going to be gone pretty soon, so even with the head torch I need to crack on to escape. Got to the path and followed it for some way before losing it and again it was trudging through the snow covered high heather with a few stumbled in the fading light. I found myself heading south, which would have been OK to intersect the track, but wasn't sure I was far enough along to do that, so reverted to heading west again, which would eventually take out somewhere along the path further along.
The gods were getting a good talking to at this point, well mostly the ancestors. It had started snowing heavily again and the light was fading, the head torch wouldn't help me locate any landmarks in this.
To be honest one thought that was going through my head was that my grandfather, a skipper of a fishing boat would have had to go out to make a living in atrocious weather all year round with only the stars and a compass and his wits to guide him and his crew safely home, below is a photo of the sort of boat he would have battled the North sea in, we think we have it tough sometimes :(
Fishing boat.jpg

Anyway the path is still eluding me, so time to get the iPhone out and see if it has managed to scavenge enough charge from the mili charger, I had put in an internal pocket in the hope that the warmth of my body would help.
Yippee, it had :lol: it took a while to boot up, but it got there and at least I now know where I am exactly and within five minutes I had found the track and was on my way home 8)
I stopped to put the head torch on and then it was one foot in front of the other.

The car and just in time as I could feel cramps coming on after the arduous walking over the heather.
I am so glad I have the compass :lol:
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