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Zombie Apocalypse at The Lecht

Zombie Apocalypse at The Lecht


Postby weaselmaster » Sun May 17, 2015 11:54 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Brown Cow Hill, Carn Ealasaid, Conachcraig, Morrone, Morven

Date walked: 17/05/2015

Time taken: 13.75 hours

Distance: 48.24 km

Ascent: 2747m

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Last time we passed by The Lecht, back in February, the area was hoaching ith skiers. When we drove up this weekend, to climb Carn Ealasaid, there was not one skier around. Clear evidence, I think you'll agree, that something terrible is afoot, and almost certainly the cause is a Zombie Apocalypse unleased upon the Moray and North Deeside lands. I invite you to read on...IF YOU DARE!!

This promised to be something of a dull weekend. After spending the last few in Kintail and Knoydart my appetite was tuned to rocky west coast hills with breathtaking views. A crappy forecast, definately better in the east, plus Sick kid recovering from a muscle pull suggested we should be Cairngorm bound to pick off my remaining 3 Corbetts over that direction. Given the rolling unassuming nature of these hills, and the fact that one starts the ascent a good number of metres above sea level, I'm going to call them Cairngorbetts, as they lack the full bhoona factor of Corbetts elsewhere. Didin't get away from wwork til almost 5pm and traffic was horrendous going through Glasgow. We arrived at Ballater campsite by 8.30 nonetheless. This was a bit of a shock to the system - after weekends of wild camping in remote places we were in the midst of a busy family caravan/campsite. Our pitch was opposite the playpark too...However, it's a nice site, very reasonable at £25 for 2 people / 2 nights and friendly, with good amenities.

We'd decided to do Carn Ealasaid then Brown Cow Hill on Saturday and Morven on Sunday. I'd looked at putting a route that linked Ealasiad with Brown Cow Hill, but there was far too much time spent in valleys - doubtless boggy - and too many dull miles for my liking. So it was the bagger's route, up to The Lecht and nip to the summit. There was nothing unusual on the drive in - roads fairly empty, but it was quite early still. We got to the large parking area at The Lecht and found the whole place abandoned... you wouldn't have been surprised to see tumbleweed blowing across the terrain. What could have caused this dereliction from the bustling hive of activity that we'd noticed when we drove past earlier in the year and thought about climbing Carn Ealasiad, but were put off by the vast numbers of skiers. Today there wasn't one. Something must clearly have gone very wrong out here in the wilds.


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



A look at my GPS told me our starting altitude was 638m - hey we're at Graham height already and we've just got out the car! We donned our kit and made our way up abandoned ski runs, crossing marshy ground and rising quite steeply initially til we reached the top of the ski runs. Nothing moved, apart from flocks of gulls which wheeled and soared overhead, calling to us about something - but what? Not being conversant in Gull, I could only imagine they were trying to warn us, or maybe impart something horrible they'd seen. We walked up to Beinn a'Chruinnich - more desolation, the occasional discarded glove or soft drink can imparting little of the terror that must have struck here not long ago.

The desolate scene at The Lecht
ImageP1070570 by Al, on Flickr

Not a Skier in sight
ImageP1070571 by Al, on Flickr

Looks like some hard fighting went on here - and the birds...what do they want to tell us?
ImageP1070573 by Al, on Flickr

"Beware Zombies" they call (I think)
ImageP1070574 by Al, on Flickr

Over to our left was Carn Ealasiad - not the most inspiring hill to be honest. Snow and hail - or should i say "snail" intemittently battered us from gloomy clouds and a snell wind bit and gnawed. We kept to our right to avoid the worst of the peat bogs and climbed up to the lofty 792m altitude - a small cairn marked what could have been the hill top, or a pile of stones. I wasn't sure and didn't really care. My GPS told me we were at the summit - time to go back the way we'd come. That's when I found the first bit of evidence. A skellington, curled up in the grass was all the proof I needed that Zombies had indeed been here. Allison had gone off ahead, and I said nothing, not wanting to startle her, but walked back to the car with an uneasy feeling in my belly. All these hundreds of skiers must have been Zombified and unleashed a plague apon the land - for as we all know, Zombies don't ski.

Carn Ealasaid
ImageP1070575 by Al, on Flickr

A bigger hill
ImageP1070577 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Carn Ealasiad
ImageP1070579 by Al, on Flickr

The first skellington
ImageP1070580 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070581 by Al, on Flickr

Keeping my thoughts to myself I drove the few miles back to Corgarff Castle, where we planned to park to walk to Brown Cow Hill. Not a name that makes a mountain man anticipate great stuff - unlike "Slioch" or "Sgurr na Ciche" or even "Streap" - no, Brown Cow Hill was something out of Camberwick Green. "Oi, Windy Miller, you seen where our Daisy went?" "Arr Nobby, I think she's up Brown Cow 'Ill" Anyway, it was our fate to walk this route today and at least it was drier than on Ealasaid. We parked at the parking space at the bottom of the path to the castle and wandered up the hill. Now this castle was originally built around 1550, at the time of the first wave of Zombie Plagues affecting Scotland, by the Laird of Corgarff - unfortunately he hadn't put the impressive star shaped wall around it then, and the Zombies set it afire, killing his wife, family and servants. We liked the wall, but thought that a Zombie with a modest sized ladder would be over it quite quickly.

Car Park - free from Zombie Menace at present
ImageP1070582 by Al, on Flickr

Corgarff Castle
ImageP1070584 by Al, on Flickr

We wandered up the track - lots of brown heather covered hills, but no cows anywhere to be seen. Probably victims of Zombie attacks too. Passing Carn Oighreag on our right I made a note to ascend it on return- it looked the kind of hill to offer up a tick on Hill-Bagging.co.uk. We left the path and started to ascend through heather and bog - and from this point on more skellingtons were found - in fact the hillside was alive with them, piles of bones everywhere, sure confirmation of the Zombie plague. Shaken, we marched through peat hags that resembled trenches in Thiepval before coming up onto drier land at the first of the Brown Cow Cairns. Still no cows. The Zombies had done a good job. The weather was frustrating us also - one minute it would snow, resulting in the donning of layers of kit, then a few minutes later the sun would come out and cook you, but when you de-layered the snow would return. Very vexing.

A deceptively peaceful glen
ImageP1070585 by Al, on Flickr

A Brown Hill
ImageP1070586 by Al, on Flickr

Less Brown hills
ImageP1070588 by Al, on Flickr

Brown Cow Hill
ImageP1070589 by Al, on Flickr

We could see the summit cairn of BCH over to our right, and a few more minutes of laboured walking into an icy wind got up our target. There were good views across to Ben Avon, and to Lochnagar in the South. We hid in the shelter of a peat hag to have food. Descent was similar to ascent - peat hags, marsh and more skellingtons. We did head up Carn Oighreag then rejoin the path, passing over more piles of bleached bones. At one point I almost stood on a nesting grouse, which exploded upwards from under my feet, leaving a nest full of eggs. "Better watch the Zombies don't come for these" I warned her as I moved off quickly. We managed to make it back to the car without having been brutally murdered.

More evidence
ImageP1070590 by Al, on Flickr

Challenging terrain
ImageP1070591 by Al, on Flickr

Trench systems -possibly dug by locals defending their livelihood against the Zombie Plague
ImageP1070592 by Al, on Flickr

Brown Cow summit, Ben Avon behind
ImageP1070598 by Al, on Flickr

Delighted to have got this far without becoming a Zombie's lunch - or simply possessed?? - you decide
ImageP1070601 by Al, on Flickr

Carn Oighreag
ImageP1070603 by Al, on Flickr

A tiny replica of Corgarff castle
ImageP1070605 by Al, on Flickr

Grouse eggs
ImageP1070606 by Al, on Flickr

Uh- oh
ImageP1070607 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070608 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070609 by Al, on Flickr

Caterpillar - maybe a Brown Tail?
ImageP1070610 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070611 by Al, on Flickr

We drove back to Ballater - it was only just gone 3pm and the streets were thronged with folk. Some of them could quite easily be Zombies. Allison had been looking forward to going for a shower then maybe going into town for a couple of pints - but I felt that would be playing right into their hands - an idle hour makes the Zombies attack. So I decided we'd go and climb another hill. Conachraig was nearby - a Corbett Allison hadn't done. I had - naturally adding it into the Lochnagar round as any sane human would - so I showered benevolence upon my buddy and sacrificed a couple of hours to get a corbett for her alone - not to mention saving her from the Zombie threat. I am not sure she was fully enthusiastic about my generosity.

We drove down the winding road to Glen Muick and found the car park heaving - looks like Zombies have not made it across the Dee - good news for South Deeside. We followed the usual route towards Lochnagar, passing a snake in the grass as we went by - only my second Adder sighting. I decided it was best to go up the steepest possible route on Conachraig, just in case there were lurking Zombies, so this added to Allison's displeasure. Wind was blowing snow into my face as I got to the summit then waited for her to catch up. I decided - to put her in an even better mood - that we'd have to go over and visit the other tops, including Caisteal na Caillich - the Witch's Castle. Didn't see any witches either. Not sure of the relationship witches have with Zombies, but I'm just saying - didn't see any witches... :shock:


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



Busy, Zombie-free car park at Glen Muick
ImageP1070612 by Al, on Flickr

Lochnagar
ImageP1070613 by Al, on Flickr

Adder
ImageP1070615 by Al, on Flickr

Conachraig
ImageP1070616 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070619 by Al, on Flickr

Rocky tors mark the summit
ImageP1070620 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070621 by Al, on Flickr

Here comes the reluctant one....
ImageP1070622 by Al, on Flickr

over to the witch's castle
ImageP1070624 by Al, on Flickr

View back to main summit
ImageP1070627 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Muick
ImageP1070628 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070629 by Al, on Flickr

Velvet horned deer
ImageP1070631 by Al, on Flickr

Stats have gone a bit mental - I blame Zombie action
ImageP1070632 by Al, on Flickr

We returned down to the track over very steep heather. I did look extra carefully where I was putting my feet in case I stepped upon a chequered snaky thing, but I didn't see another one of those. There was a herd of deer by the car park, antlers covered in velvet, looking rather like those plush coat hangers you might get in an upmarket suit retailer's store. We returned to Ballater - by this time the Zombie count appeared to have reduced in the main street and we could make the tent and safety. A tasty veg chili and beer later I went to take a can of Beavertown's Gamma Ray out of my pack when I was struck by the illustration on the can - it looked a lot like the scene you might see if Zombies were to man UFO type flying saucers and zap earthlings with ray guns. Why did I pick this particular (and rather fine American style IPA) beer this weekend of all weekends? Not just co-incidence, I'll vouch for that. It's some additional warning. Sleep was hard to come by that night in the tent, I'll tell you - although it could also have something to do with that bane of campsite life - "the campsite snorer". Allison was all for going out under cover of night and setting fire to his tent, but a warning about the likelihood of Zombies stalking the avenues between the static vans persuaded her to stay put and simmer.

Beavertown beer can - no co-incidence?
Imagebeavertown-gamma-ray-apa-can-33cl-9001216-0-1425489746000 by Al, on Flickr

Morning arrived meaning we had survived another night. Today's target of Morven had already been augmented by the addition of Morrone - Like Conachraig, a Corbett I'd done previously. We drove the few miles to Groddie, parked by the piles of grit and set off for the eastern outlier of the Cairngorbetts. We approached the cottage, which looks quite habitable from the roadside, but as you approach you see this is no longer the case. Setting aside precautions we ventured inside and found two things that rattled me. Firstly above the fireplace was a computer-printed A4 photograph of the very same fireplace. Secondly, on a door were various writings in blood. Now - to the best of my knowledge, Zombies don't write. I may be wrong, we may be dealing with extremely clever Zombies - after all, how else would they manage to stay off the front pages of the P&J and other cutting edge publications whilst they ravage these lands - but it just didn't feel right. Outside of the cottage was one of the best preserved examples of a "Liar press" that I've seen - as you'll know, these stone contraptions were used to squish the truth out of recalcitrant children and sometimes adults.

Morven
ImageP1070634 by Al, on Flickr

Ooh, that'll need a fair bit of Polyfilla to put right
ImageP1070635 by Al, on Flickr

inside the house - blood writing in a kinda Blair Witch stylee
ImageP1070637 by Al, on Flickr

The "Liar Press"
ImageP1070636 by Al, on Flickr

We set off up the hillside, initially on marsh and heather until we found a rather fine path that aided the ascending considerably. There were no skellingtons. OK - Allison had found the skull of a rabbit back at the cottage, but that might just have dropped off the shoulders of some hapless creature. No, No Skellingtons on this hill. Something was definately Not Right. We reached the top of the first section, a flatter area follows and views are good to Mount Keen in the south. We started to climb to Little Cairn, then Mid Cairn before reaching the top of Morven, when I noticed. There were lots of mounds of earth/stones. Now these were clearly not your usual pile of muck you get up hills. For one thing, the soil was not Scottish soil - it was light yellow and quite at odds with the dark peaty loam. If I wasn't mistaken, this was Foreign Soil - more precisely Transylvanian Earth. With this thunderbolt ot all became clear to me - these were the day-time resting places of Vampires, the writing in the cottage was vampire script, and the presence of The Undead on this hill was of course the reason that Zombies had not over-run this hill. The clue was there all along - any mountain with a "V" in it has, or had in the recent past, harboured Vampires. Research since returning home confirmed that both Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich had extensive clans of Vampires in their vicinities until the building of the Loch Sloy dam, after which they hastily left, muttering darkly about the neighborhood going to pot thanks to the Hydro Board. And that was just in the late 1940s.

Another caterpillar - ?Oak Eggar
ImageP1070639 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070640 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070641 by Al, on Flickr

A blackened stake points the way, ominously, to the top
ImageP1070644 by Al, on Flickr

A Vampire Mound - not Scottish Earth
ImageP1070645 by Al, on Flickr

We followed the track past more mounds. We came to a pile of stakes - clearly set aside by troubled villagers to try to thwart the blood-suckers as they slept. i had no fear - it was bright sunlight and I knew we were quite safe from harm. However, this is clearly not a hill to linger on in the twilight. We reached the large cairn, wrote in the summit book and enjoyed some views, free from the "Z" threat. Hares bounded about over the stony landscape below. We returned to Mid cairn and took the curving path that goes to the south on the way down - much easier on the knees. One could use this on ascent too, if one were lacking in any decency. Back at the car we gathered ourselves for one last push.

Pile of stakes
ImageP1070646 by Al, on Flickr

There are 3 mounds in this photo
ImageP1070647 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070648 by Al, on Flickr

Arriving at the summit
ImageP1070649 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070650 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070651 by Al, on Flickr

Mid Cairn
ImageP1070652 by Al, on Flickr

The easy way down
ImageP1070654 by Al, on Flickr

A large flat rock is not a good nest
ImageP1070655 by Al, on Flickr

Forgot to start the GPS til we were already en route
ImageP1070656 by Al, on Flickr

We drove back through Ballater - still busy and with a possible Zombie count of at least a dozen in the town square. Noticed that the town's Museum had been burned to the ground very recently - again no coincidence that the museum had a depository of many methods of combatting Zombies dating back into the middle ages, or at least the 1920s. All lost in the flames. Driving through Braemar, I was not surprised to see the town was packed by German Bikers on Iron Steeds - as I had hoped, a mercenary army of Teutonic Knights of the Road has assembled to deal with the Zombie menace. Just as it was in the fateful summer of 1984. Good luck my lads, good luck.

We drove down to Auchallater and found a spot to park. The ticket machine was malfunctioning - again, probably the doings of the Undead. Grabbing our poles, we crossed the road and then the Clunie Water to start up the track leading to the very top of Morrone. Death stalked our way. A large skellington of a deer was clearly evident as we joined the track, but no more were seen on the way up, or indeed on the way down Morrone. Clearly a Zombie horde had swept along this way but had not bothered to climb this hill. Where could they have gone to? There's little else of note from our amble up Morrone - the wind was strengthening to around 40 mph as we neared the top. Inside the Goring hut, where we crept from the wind to put an extra layer of clothing on I noticed strong leather belts on the wall. If I'm not mistaken, these look exactly like the leather belts last seen in Dr Frankenstein's laboratory to hold down his "monster". We hastily made a departure from the hut. Maybe that was why the Zombies had not climbed this hill? Keeping an eye out for a tall lumbering figure with bolts in his neck we tanked it down the hill. Back in the relative safety of the Yeti, driving past Glenshee, I suddenly realsied where the Zombie Plague had gone. Just as at The Lecht, there was not one Skier in evidence at Glenshee today. Allison snapped a photo as we drove by to confirm this in case you doubt me or think my tale far fetched. Not One Skier. I rest my case, but am frankly astonished that so many have perished without even the slightest acknowledgement in the daily press.

The mighty Morrone
ImageP1070658 by Al, on Flickr

Lochnagar hills
ImageP1070660 by Al, on Flickr

To the Mast we must go
ImageP1070661 by Al, on Flickr

Local tempest
ImageP1070662 by Al, on Flickr

Looking North
ImageP1070664 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070665 by Al, on Flickr

In the last pic, you'd never guess this was just behind you...
ImageP1070666 by Al, on Flickr

Inside the Goring ...or should it be Frankenstein - hut
ImageP1070668 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070669 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Callater
ImageP1070670 by Al, on Flickr

Evidence of Zombie pass by
ImageP1070672 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Avon and the Clunie Water
ImageP1070674 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1070675 by Al, on Flickr

As you can see - no skiers at Glenshee either... :shock:
ImageP1070676 by Al, on Flickr
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weaselmaster
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Re: Zombie Apocalypse at The Lecht

Postby Mal Grey » Mon May 18, 2015 12:21 pm

A brilliant and highly useful report. It is essential for the future of mankind that we don't allow the press cover-up to lull is into a false sense of security when it comes to Highland Zombie Apocalypses. Why, it was only the Easter before last that we witnessed one on Loch Ailort, when the fires of folk camping on the beach near Peanmeanach went out suddenly one by one, and their torches fell dark as they were clearly overrun, as we watched safely from the opposite shore of the loch.
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Re: Zombie Apocalypse at The Lecht

Postby Graeme D » Mon May 18, 2015 2:24 pm

That was a fine chortle! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Zombie Apocalypse at The Lecht

Postby basscadet » Mon May 18, 2015 2:53 pm

Aye fine mopping up job, and good laughs there in your report. Some of those hills are affy dull, so well done for making an interesting report..
I was in the borders and was so uninspired I could only think of one sentence to write about the whole day :lol:
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Re: Zombie Apocalypse at The Lecht

Postby malky_c » Mon May 18, 2015 3:14 pm

I don't tend to think in terms of boring hills too much, but I couldn't find much of interest to say about Carn Ealasiad, that's for sure! I went up it from Cock Bridge which was a little drier, but I doubt it provided much more excitement. Brown Cow Hill was a little better, having approached it from the Glen Avon side. While it's pleasant wandering country, not many of the mid-height hills around here scream 'revisit' particularly loudly :lol: .

That's some interesting beer there - not heard of that one before. I'd like to see more micro-brewers put beer in cans, as I might be tempted to backpack a couple with me if they did :) . Nothing worse than lugging empty bottles around.
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Re: Zombie Apocalypse at The Lecht

Postby weaselmaster » Mon May 18, 2015 3:25 pm

malky_c wrote:I don't tend to think in terms of boring hills too much, but I couldn't find much of interest to say about Carn Ealasiad, that's for sure! I went up it from Cock Bridge which was a little drier, but I doubt it provided much more excitement. Brown Cow Hill was a little better, having approached it from the Glen Avon side. While it's pleasant wandering country, not many of the mid-height hills around here scream 'revisit' particularly loudly :lol: .

That's some interesting beer there - not heard of that one before. I'd like to see more micro-brewers put beer in cans, as I might be tempted to backpack a couple with me if they did :) . Nothing worse than lugging empty bottles around.


I'd agree re "boring" hills - there's always something of interest. It was a bit of going through the motions though when i'd rather have been on the West coast.

Re the beer - Beavertown are a London brewery that make some good stuff - this APA is really hoppy and citrusy, even better if you find it on draught. Their Blood Orange IPA is superb on draught, less so in cans. Still to be acquainted with their double IPA "Skull King" at 8.9%. Their can/bottle designs are top drawer!
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Re: Zombie Apocalypse at The Lecht

Postby scoob999 » Mon May 18, 2015 4:56 pm

you're going soft you two :? you're supposed to do Conachraig from the glen callater side like we did, not from the loch muick side :lol:

Some nice pics too :D
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Re: Zombie Apocalypse at The Lecht

Postby Beaner001 » Mon May 18, 2015 6:51 pm

Haha, another enjoyable read and twist on the walk report :lol: :clap:
Great pick of the adder, I've still to see one although I guarantee the temptation would be too much for the dogs and one would end up bitten leading to all sorts of problems so I'll have to be content with others sightings :shock:
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