9 being, 2 men, a teenager, 3 wifeys and 3 pooches
After dropping John at Glasgow Airport at 7am, I headed up to Perth, Tiso, (found it this time) to meet up with Davy before heading up to Tilt.
The road in to the start point was littered with hares, all brown and big eared variety, too low for the mountain ones we are used to seeing.
Arrived a little ahead of schedule at 8:45 in the car park under Carn Liath to find Hazel and Dave enjoying the morning sun.
Deborah and 'the teenager' arrived shortly after and we were booted/trainered up just before 9:30am. I decided to start in trainers, and see how the snow was on the way.
Heading round on the track we cut off before the hut, over a fence and on into bogland. very boggy, lots of jumping across etc, despite my waterproof socks,,feet were feeling damp, but not cold.
The patch up Carn Liath can be seen for miles, a huge grey zig zagging scar. So no problems finding the start point. The path is very rocky but easy going, nice zig zags break up the pull into manageable chunks. I was using my 30 paces and breather system,,,I even managed 50 on occasion lol
Weather had promised snow in the afternoon and despite pretty good views all round, we could see isolated weather fronts moving in from the North West,, creeping up behind us. One or two passed a bit south but managed to throw a flurry of very small snow flakes our way around 10:30am but didn't come to anything more.
I reached the summit of Carn Liath a few mins after Dave and Davy, sun still shining but pretty cold,,so layers required. Soon after, the teenager et all arrived and we had a wee sit down, chat etc before heading off across the summit plateau with great views to the remaining 2 summits.
The ridge walk to Braigh Coire Chruinn Bhalgain was lovely, again we could watch weather fronts coming and going around us. I wasn't expecting the drop down before BCC to be so far, but it was an easy path, bit boggy in places around the stream at the bottom before again following a good path back up the other side. Climbing the ridge towards the summit, we were flanked on the right by huge snow cornices, with cracks running the whole length only feet from the path. Dogs being dogs, got curious and when Freya nearly disappeared down into one of the cracks, it was time for the leads to come out. Far too risky. Reached the summit cairn with little effort, perched close to the corrie and the crags below. No stopping here, just a second to take my summit pic and off we went. Still hadn't walked on anything more than the odd patch of snow by this time, so trainers doing their job well.
The visibility was starting to come and go a bit as we made our way down the shoulder to the 993 point, skipping past this, we then saw the snow ahead, complete cover, all the way down to the Bealach Fhiodha. My first thought was to put on the boots, but Dave and Davy were already making their way over and called back that it was very soft, Hazel on the other hand seemed to be on an icy patch a little higher up. With the dogs now off the leads, as they would easily pull you over, we all made our way over,,I simply walked in Davys footprints,,no problems, harder to break your own trail I think. Visibility to the left down the slope was short, didn't see where we would have ended up if we'd slipped
From grass to more snow, this time on the flat, we checked out the drop to the left, down to the bottom of the bealach, looking like time for a bumslide. Dave W made off first and we were going to drop down the grass but decided to skip to the left and take the snowy white shortcut lol Lots of fun sliding down, dogs running alongside and nipping my feet lol
SERIOUSLY good sliding conditions here lol The teenager seriously wanted to go back up and do it again,,,hey we're not teenagers anymore,,so feel free, you're on your own haha
Reaching the bottom, the clag had lifted enough for us to see the full extent of the snow field we crossed at the top, a looooooong way down and a wet end would have been our fate.
The bottom of the bealach Fhiodha is also the point where we would leave the hill after our third Munro, Carn nan Gabhar, which now loomed up on our left. Even in the snow, it was easy to see a couple of paths making their way to the right, then doubling back across and under the shoulder itself, this eased the climb as it was more diagonal than straight up to the ridge.
Dave and Travis went off on the lower one ahead while the rest of us took the slightly higher one. plodding our way up to the cairn on the lip of the summit plateau. I'd read about the 3 tops here so knew this wasn't the actual summit. Had a breather at the cairn, with the trig in the distance, still not the summit, so moved over to the furthest and biggest cairn. Reached the top at 2:40pm, Munro 147 for me,,,150 for Hazel, hence she produced a hipflask to celebrate,,wee Mortlach,,nice!
We took some time out here, sat around, few pics, wander off to admire the views etc. Then I spotted the dark mass of cloud and "stuff" moving towards us again from the North West. Looked like heavy down pour. I didn't bother with my waterproof trousers, others however thought better and donned the full gear. Packing up and moving off,,,it started!
The hardest hitting hailstones I had EVER encountered., some serious pain when they hit your legs, occasionally I just hunkered down with my back to it when it got too much and sat it out for a while, noticed the teenager doing the same. Think Davy S just danced it out, you know the dance,,with an OUCH OUCH here, and and OOOOH AAHHHH there,,here an OUCH, there an AAAHHHHH,,,,,,
We moved on thus for a bit until it passed by.
By the time we were descending into the Bealach again, sun was out,,ish! off to the left and a wee run down some good snow. This was probably over a burn so maybe not the wisest but it got us down a bit quicker. The snow started falling here again and was soon pretty heavy, very sheltered so just drifting down around us.
A decent path on the whole, with a bit of water logging more than bog, there hadn't been much rain recently, so a lot of the bog was actually pretty dry and crumbly.
Visibility towards the bottom was ok for a couple of hundred metres but we could barely make out the shape of hill no.1 Carn Liath and the sun made an occasional break for freedom from behind the sheer greyness.
The snow stopped by time we rejoined the main track then on to a larger track, passed the hut and our cut off point across the bog. Loch Mariag in view, nearly there.
Back to the car, change into dry socks and trainers, feet felt as good as they did at the start, except for a wee blister on the knuckle of my toe, so happy with staying out of the boots.
Fab,,sun even came out as we drove off towards Tilt again.
Smashing 3 hills, good company, and a nice wee bunch of blue balloons. Reeee-sult
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.