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A Rough Hill, an Old Man and a Raven

A Rough Hill, an Old Man and a Raven


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Aug 04, 2015 3:53 pm

Munros included on this walk: Am Bodach, Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor)

Corbetts included on this walk: Garbh Bheinn (Loch Leven)

Date walked: 19/07/2015

Distance: 25.5 km

Ascent: 2670m

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I had many plans for this week in Kinlochleven; at my age however I should know better and the Scottish weather ensured that very little went to plan. :roll: It was another very unsettled week in Bonnie Scotland but fortunately not quite as wild as our week on Skye in May as the wind did drop on some days allowing us to actually climb some hills. :D

19th July 2015, Garbh Bheinn, 6.5km 830m

We had gone to bed on our first night with a somewhat iffy forecast for the Sunday and as a result we had slept in. When we finally emerged the weather looked lovely and the forecast had changed for the better. Having wasted a large chunk of the morning sleeping we couldn't go far so we drove the short distance to Caolasnacon to climb the Corbett that dominates Kinlochleven, Garbh Bheinn.
This hills name translates to Rough Hill/Mountain and from the initial ascent it's easy to see why. The path we followed wasn't so much wet as suffering a full scale identity crisis and masquerading as a burn. Most of the lower slopes consist of the type of tussocky boggy terrain than is loath to lose any of the considerable water that falls upon it. Fortunately there is plenty to distract you from the squelching in the shape of ever improving and hugely impressive views

ImageMorass by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSteepness ahead by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGleann a' Chaolias by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageViews opening up but still rough and wet by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageAnoch Eagach coming into view by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageThe incomparable Stob Ban by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLoch Leven by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageThat way dad? by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Once the way steepened up the minor top of Stob Coire Sgoilte the ground finally dried out. A bit of a slog later we were rewarded my more wonderful views and a lovely stretch on short springy turf. The ridge narrows following this and becomes more interesting (but with no real difficulties) before a stony walk up to the broad summit and majestic views in all directions. :D

ImageStob Coire Sgoilte with Stob Ban and The Ben beyond by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBlackwater reservoir by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageAonach Eagach with Bidean nam Bian behind by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageKinlochleven by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLoch Eilde Mor by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGrace on the summit by Anthony Young, on Flickr

We spent a while on the summit having lunch drinking it all in. Given the forecast last night this was a wonderful and most unexpected surprise. I toyed with the idea of an alternative descent but ruled it out due to the obviously rough and steep slopes down to the bealach with Meall Dearg.

ImageHeading down by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImagePinnacles on the ridge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGrand Day Out by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageThe Aonach Eagach once again by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLoch Leven mono by Anthony Young, on Flickr

On the way down the views were just as good a second time around but unfortunately the ground was just as wet. Still a fine unexpected present for the first day of our week.


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21st July 2015, Am Bodach, 12km 1100m

With a fine day forecast we took the opportunity of climbing a Munro from our front door for the week. We set off up the superbly constructed West Highland way giving us an easy start before locating the path shown on OS maps that made it's way up the Coire na h-Eirghe. If the way underfoot had been dry so far things quickly got wet but overall the path was well graded if a bit loose underfoot so making the climb feel quite easy going.

ImageGaining height on the West Highland Way by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageDrama on Garbh Bheinn by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSetting off up Coire na h-Eirghe by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGaining height by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageStob Coire na h-Eirghe by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGarbh Bheinn by Anthony
Young
, on Flickr

We reached the Bealach between Am Bodach and Sgurr an Iubhair with the clag toying with the tops. It was very atmospheric with glimpses down to Loch Leven almost 1000m below as we made our way along the ridge in the hope we would strike lucky with the views. Turned out we got ever changing vistas from the summit as the clag came and went with patches of sun adding to the drama. It was while on the summit we saw the only other walker (save for some German tourists on the WHW) of the day, she came and went quickly no doubt pushing onward with whatever multi Munro day she'd set herself. Our Grace chosen lunch spot wasn't the best :roll: and we were quickly getting fairly cold so it was time to decide where next. The temptation of continuing to Stob Coire a'Chairn was strong but having read the descent from Am Bodach could be tricky and lose I ruled it out and decided to descend by the grassy Southern ridge as suggested in the SMC Munro guide.

ImageLooking along the ridge to Am Bodach by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageCoire a' Mhail by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageViews from the ridge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking back to Sgurr an Iubhair by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGrace, Hughie and Tad on the summit by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageMam na Gualainn beyond Sgurr an lubhair's South ridge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Normally this route would be very easy and it was today apart from the grass being a bit wet and slippy in places meaning care was required at times. The views were a joy however with the crumpled terrain on the flank of Na Gruagaichean being particularly impressive. Things got more difficult as we got towards Sgurr an Fhuarain and we got caught out by some crags that were easily avoidable with hindsight. This negotiated it was a simple if wet trudge across the heathery ground to meet up with the WHW. The GPS track is an approximation and shows yours truly attempting to find (and failing miserably) a dry line.

ImageStob Coire a' Chairn by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking down Am Bodach's South ridge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageMountainside textures by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSgurr an lubhair with Stob Ban beyond by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSgurr an Fhuarain by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking back up Am Bodach's South ridge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLoch Leven by Anthony Young, on Flickr

This was a great walk that could be easily expandable if time/fitness allowed, a word of warning however; Hughie's previous record of tick collecting was shattered on the route, we removed around half a dozen that hadn't got a hold upon getting back to the cottage before removing several more of the little swines over the next few days. Certainly a route for gaitors and trousers.


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24th July 2015, Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor), 7km 740m

The weather deteriorated following the Tuesday with the wind and rain getting more prevalent over the sunny spells but things were looking up for Friday with lighter winds and fewer showers. Given the possibility mentioned, however limited, of inland thundery showers during the afternoon it looked like a shorter walk was required so I plumped for finally climbing a mountain that's been on the "to do" list for years, Stob Dearg.

Part of the reason I'd left it was I wanted Grace to be a bit older so we could do the whole ridge, as it happened we were just planning upon the there and back anyway, the whole lot can wait for a better day when it can be fully appreciated.

Getting out of the car however you'd have sworn this was that better day as it was a lovely morning with all the tops happily free from the dreaded clag.

For such an imposing looking mountain the ascent couldn't be easier helped enormously by the well build path that ventures up the increasingly steep coire.

ImageThe Big Bookil by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageThe Little Bookil by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageStob Beinn a' Chrulaiste by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageCoire na Tulaich by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImagePassing shower by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Things finally got a touch more difficult at the head of the coire and the way steepened and gave the possibility of some minor scrambling. Unfortunately by this time some cloud had snuck in and was playing with the rim of the coire. :( Once out onto the level ground of the bealach the extent of the clag could be seen with The remainder of the ridge hidden, Glen Etive offering only the occasional glimpse and the broad ridge to the summit disappearing into misty whiteness.

ImageTop of the Coire by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageA glimpse of Glen Etive by Anthony Young, on Flickr

With the hard work done however there was little question of not continuing onward and upwards in the hope of at least some views. On our way up the stony ridge we spotted a raven ( or did it spot us?) that was calling from a crag, we watched for a while before continuing. The views tantalized occasionally and by the time Stob Dearg swam out of the mist things looked promising. We sat down for something to eat and quickly realized we were being watched, not by the other group on the summit but by the raven. As the other walkers moved off the Raven moved closer, obviously very interested in what we were consuming. I am fully aware that we only reinforced it's behavior and that sandwiches and crisps are probably not good for a bird but it got some reward for it's cheek much to the annoyance of Hughie who was apoplectic with us giving scraps to a bloody bird :lol: At one point it disappeared off only to be seen chasing another Raven away from its free lunch before returning.

We waited for quite a while on the summit and did give some stunning sights of Glen Coe and the arrival of a group of climbers completing one of the serious climbs on the North face, they looked fairly knackered to be honest.

ImageStob Dearg sighted through the mist by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageThe Raven by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageA view down to Glen Coe (with Raven) by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGrace and Tad on the Summit by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageCauldron by Anthony Young, on Flickr

It was obvious after a while things were going to get worse before they got better and we set off down as the rain started. It never got too heavy but still meant the upper coire was really quite slippy in places. We avoided any mishaps and predictably the Big Bookil was cloud free and sunny by the time we got back to the general chaos at the car park. We had an early tea at the Clachaig and felt better about missing out on a clear summit as one of those heavy afternoon showers turned up to drench Glen Coe any anybody out on the hills at the time.

A fair week all considered even if we didn't do the things we'd planned, the Scottish Highlands however defy planning so as ever it's best just to be grateful for what you get :D


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Last edited by johnkaysleftleg on Tue Aug 04, 2015 6:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: A Rough Hill, an Old Man and a Raven

Postby basscadet » Tue Aug 04, 2015 4:16 pm

You say you didn't get the good weather, but some of your photies, are brilliant :)
I love it when the clouds part and you get some stupendous view - almost better than being clear, as you appreciate what you get more ;)
Ive fed the ravens on the Buachaille as well - very bold! But canny blame them for taking the opportunity, I'm surprised more wildlife doesn't get in on it :lol:
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Re: A Rough Hill, an Old Man and a Raven

Postby ancancha » Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:25 pm

Nice photo of the Raven :clap:
How far away was it :?:
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Re: A Rough Hill, an Old Man and a Raven

Postby KatTai » Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:36 pm

Haha what a cheeky raven! Think they have learned well that hikers = sandwiches! Stunning photos of an amazing landscape too, though eek! about the ticks!
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Re: A Rough Hill, an Old Man and a Raven

Postby dooterbang » Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:59 pm

Fantastic report! Nice to see the lie in had benefits - the sun :D

Some fab photos, really liked the Big Bookil first shot showing the climbers hut against it.

Cheers
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Re: A Rough Hill, an Old Man and a Raven

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:38 am

basscadet wrote:You say you didn't get the good weather, but some of your photies, are brilliant :)
I love it when the clouds part and you get some stupendous view - almost better than being clear, as you appreciate what you get more ;)
Ive fed the ravens on the Buachaille as well - very bold! But canny blame them for taking the opportunity, I'm surprised more wildlife doesn't get in on it :lol:


Thanks Basscadet. For this year I suppose the weather was quite good in all, three canny days and escaping a real soaking (apart from when I took the dog on a little wander around Kinlochleven). The clouds certainly add atmosphere and drama but I would have liked to see the big view over Rannoch Moor. As for the ravens getting a feed, I've seen sheep on Helvellyn wandering around each group eating all sorts of goodies from walkers.

ancancha wrote:Nice photo of the Raven :clap:
How far away was it :?:


It was probably only 6 feet away at it's closest.

KatTai wrote:Haha what a cheeky raven! Think they have learned well that hikers = sandwiches! Stunning photos of an amazing landscape too, though eek! about the ticks!


They also know that left backpacks mean sandwiches and rip them open, far too bright for there own good!

dooterbang wrote:Fantastic report! Nice to see the lie in had benefits - the sun :D

Some fab photos, really liked the Big Bookil first shot showing the climbers hut against it.

Cheers


Thanks Dooterbang
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Re: A Rough Hill, an Old Man and a Raven

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:57 am

I remember when we climbed Big Bookil (3 years ago), we met a very curious raven on the summit. It came very close to us, obviously it was used to being fed... Could be the same one, though they are all black so hard to tell :wink:

I had Garbh Bheinn in mind last winter for a snowy walk, but never got around to it... Seeing the steepness and the boggy path, maybe not the best idea. Possibly a late autumn trip, if we happen to have some decent weather later this year. Definitely I'll leave it for a cloudless day - the views are amazing.

Climbing mountains with cuddly toys is becoming popular :lol:
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Re: A Rough Hill, an Old Man and a Raven

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:59 pm

BlackPanther wrote:I remember when we climbed Big Bookil (3 years ago), we met a very curious raven on the summit. It came very close to us, obviously it was used to being fed... Could be the same one, though they are all black so hard to tell :wink:

I had Garbh Bheinn in mind last winter for a snowy walk, but never got around to it... Seeing the steepness and the boggy path, maybe not the best idea. Possibly a late autumn trip, if we happen to have some decent weather later this year. Definitely I'll leave it for a cloudless day - the views are amazing.

Climbing mountains with cuddly toys is becoming popular :lol:


The Lower slopes of Garbh Bheinn could certainly benefit from a good freezing, snow higher up would certainly make things tricky however.

Tad the cuddly dog has been up all our Munros, in fact he used to come up all our hills but old age is catching up with him :wink: , so Munros only now. :D
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