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Monadhliath, Monadh Ruaidh, monochrome and colour

Monadhliath, Monadh Ruaidh, monochrome and colour


Postby simon-b » Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:23 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Chailleach (Monadhliath), Bynack More, Carn Dearg (Monadhliath), Carn Sgulain, Geal Charn (Monadhliath), Mullach Clach a'Bhlair, Sgor Gaoith

Date walked: 05/09/2015

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Values quoted for distance and ascent in this report are according to Memory-map

The chance of a self catering cottage at good price for the first full week of September was too good to miss. That was decided before it turned out to be, probably, Scotland's best week of weather for the whole year. The cottage was at Lagg, near Laggan. Still the summer side of the equinox, this was ideal for some long walks to the remote hills of the Alder range. Those expeditions will be described in separate reports; this post deals with the relatively easy days on the rest of the Munros I needed to climb, which were also conveniently located. It was a tip full of variety, with the greys of the Monadhliath,...

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Looking NE from Carn Ban, Monadhliath


...the reds of the Monadh Ruaidh under blue Cairngorm skies...

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NE Scotland from Bynack More


...and the beautiful purples and greens of the glens:

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Glen Feshie



Saturday 5/9/2015: Geal Charn

2015-09-05_1111 130km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 650 m
Time: 3.7 h


It was a damp, grey Yorkshire I set off from during the early hours, but a few hours later the sun was shining on the Pass of Drumochter. Around midday I was at Garva Bridge, ready for a quick afternoon ramble up and down Geal Charn.

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Looking west from near Garva Bridge


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The view SW from Geal Charn


Before 5 pm I was at the cottage, with a lovely view of the River Spey and Creag Dhubh from the front window.


Sunday 6/9/2015: Carn Dearg, Carn Sgulain and A' Chailleach

2015-09-06_0602 251km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Distance: 25.1 km
Ascent: 1081 m
Time: 7.75 h


In time for a good early start from Glen Banchor, it became clear it's not just the West Highlands where you can get clustered by hordes of midges. Soon I was moving towards the mountains.

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Walking towards the Allt Fionndrigh


The higher hills were in mist, and conditions were grey as I passed over into Gleann Ballach. But as I ascended towards Carn Dearg, the clouds lifted and broke. The summit was reached with views, and then I doubled back towards Carn Ban.

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Carn Dearg from Carn Ban


Then came the long trudge across the plateau, heading for Carn Sgulain.

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Lochan Uisge


This plateau is a great place for wildlife, with lots of birds, including some of the largest flocks of Ptarmigan I've seen. There were plenty of mountain hares running around, too. Eventually I reached the second Munro.

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Carn Dearg from Carn Sgulain


Up to this point I'd only met one other walker, shortly before Carn Sgulain. But I encountered quite a few people on my way to A' Chailleach. It was fairly windy as I got to the final summit cairn, with a nice vista of Badenoch and Strathspey.

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Descending from A' Chailleach


Back at the cottage, I cooked my tea and then got an early night, ready for a big day. On Monday I was up early and off to Dalwhinnie, from where I made it to Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil.


Tuesday 8/9/2015: Bynack More

2015-09-08_0731 198km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Distance: 19.8 km
Ascent: 811 m
Time: 5.75 h


After Monday's efforts, a fairly steady day was in order, and Bynack More from Glenmore fitted the bill. I set off walking in fog.

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The lower slopes of Creag nan Gall


Before long, I was ascending out of an inversion, before crossing the River Nethy.

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Bynack More and Bynack Beg from the River Nethy


It had been an easy walk most of the way. The only steep bit was on the final push towards the summit.

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Approaching Bynack More


By now I was starting to feel the strain of the last few days, but I was soon on top. It was a beautiful day with little wind.

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Beinn Mheadhoin, Beinn MacDuibh and Cairn Gorm from Bynack More


Heading back down, I met two people ascending, carrying their bikes.

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Descending


A number of other walkers were on their way up, as I dropped back to the glen, from which the fog had cleared.

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An Lochan Uaine


On the last bit of the walk back, my feet were feeling sore. So, despite the continuing good weather, Wednesday was a good time to take a rest. With the cottage's idyllic location, I didn't need to go anywhere, so I just sat in the garden enjoying the sun. Thursday was another big day, this time on the North Alder range, which I reached from Luiblea. It was also a day on which the dry weather held, but the wind started to pick up.


Firiday 11/9/2015: Sgor Gaoith and Mullach Clach a' Bhlair

2015-09-11_0805 265km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Distance: 26.6 km
Ascent: 1101 m
Time: 7.1 h


Friday's forecast was for dry weather and clearing clouds again, but with gales. Was this a good day to head for one of the Cairngorm plateaux? There was only one way to find out, so I drove to Auchlean. The wind was pretty strong, even down in Glen Feshie.

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Heading for the hills from Auchlean


It was hard work, walking up the track into the driving wind. I was braced for turning back if necessary. On reaching the plateau, the gale was fairly fierce, but I was able to stand up and walk in it. So I moved on to Carn Ban Mor, and got my first sight of Sgor Gaoith.

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Sgor Gaoith from Carn Ban Mor


At least the SE wind was coming from the right direction not to blow anybody of Sgor Gaoith's cliffs. But as I approached the summit, I was hit by a ferocious blast which seemed to be coming from the north, and I could hardly move. Forcing myself on, I found myself moving into much more still air. As sometimes happens, the wind seemed to be missing the summit, and all was calm on top. The thought of a sudden gust kept me cautious, though. So I chose to kneel to touch the highest point, right at the edge of the sheer drop. I'd done a similar thing on Seanna Bhraigh over three years earlier.

Sgor Gaoith's summit really is a dramatic place!

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Loch Einich and Braigh Riabhach from Sgor Gaoith


Into the gale again, I doubled back southwards. A couple appeared, en route for Sgor Gaoith. I wasn't the only one who wouldn't let a little breeze put me off. Crossing the Moine Mhor, the wind was still there, but tolerable.

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Looking back across the Moine Mhor to Sgor Gaoith


Getting to the highest point of Mullach Clach a' Bhlair meant dealing with a bit of a gale again, but without any great difficulty. Maybe this is a rather featureless summit, but in its own way has a wild, desolate kind of attractiveness. On my way down, I dropped out of the worst of the wind.

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Coming down from Mullach Clach a' Bhlair


So my last bit of walking during this trip was along Glen Feshie, where the heather in bloom contrasted with the green conifers. This is a beautiful place, fitting for a grand exit.

Saturday morning was time to pack up and go home. On the Pass of Drumochter, I drove into the first rain I'd encountered for a week. Through Perthshire, across the Southern Uplands and in England as far as Scotch Corner, it was pretty torrential. But I arrived in a sunny Wakefield. It had been a very lucky week!
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simon-b
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1904
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Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Re: Monadhliath, Monadh Ruaidh, monochrome and colour

Postby ancancha » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:45 am

Nice photos Simon, you must have had an enjoyable few days :clap:
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ancancha
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Re: Monadhliath, Monadh Ruaidh, monochrome and colour

Postby dooterbang » Mon Sep 14, 2015 5:23 pm

Another nice wee trip Simon. I watched a documentary, The Salt of the Earth, which featured photgrapher Sebastian Saldago. He shot mostly in monchrome. Maybe I should give it a wee try out next time.

Cheers for posting.

Paul.
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dooterbang
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Re: Monadhliath, Monadh Ruaidh, monochrome and colour

Postby Silverhill » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:52 pm

You’re getting round the munros at a fair speed this year! Very well planned with the weather too.
I agree, there is something about the Moine Mhor.
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Silverhill
 
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Re: Monadhliath, Monadh Ruaidh, monochrome and colour

Postby simon-b » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:22 pm

ancancha wrote:Nice photos Simon, you must have had an enjoyable few days :clap:

Thanks, ancancha. It's always enjoyable in Scotland, especially when the weather's like this.

dooterbang wrote:Another nice wee trip Simon. I watched a documentary, The Salt of the Earth, which featured photgrapher Sebastian Saldago. He shot mostly in monchrome. Maybe I should give it a wee try out next time.

Cheers, Paul. It's the first time I've tried B and W photography on the hills.

Silverhill wrote:You’re getting round the munros at a fair speed this year! Very well planned with the weather too.

It was very lucky, Silverhill. I nearly booked the following week instead, then had a last minute change of plan. Since midsummer I've got from 200 to 241 Munros. But 41 more before Christmas is not going to happen (without dreaming on...)
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simon-b
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Posts: 1904
Munros:282   Corbetts:30
Grahams:7   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:156
Wainwrights:214   Islands:4
Joined: Jan 2, 2012
Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

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