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Alder way from Dalwhinnie
by simon-b » Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:06 am
Route description: Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil from Culra
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Bheoil, Ben Alder
Date walked: 07/09/2015
Time taken: 12.6 hours
Distance: 46 km
Ascent: 1573m5 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
On my second morning in a cottage near Laggan, I got up before daybreak. The first day and a half of my trip had been spent on the Monadhliath. Now it was time to take full advantage of the self catering facilities, with an early breakfast and a long day. It was a dark, cloudy dawn as I drove to Dalwhinnie, but the forecast inspired optimism. I parked near the station, and the East Highland midges were trying to out-do their more notorious western neighbours. But soon I had left them behind and was walking alongside a foggy Loch Ericht.
Still in the fog, I moved past Ben Alder Lodge, and after a good long walk-in, I passed the closed (due to asbestos) bothy at Culra. Further on, after leaving the main path to head for the Long Leachas ridge and Ben Alder, I began to emerge from the inversion. Lancet Edge, and then Ben Alder itself, appeared above the mist.
I crossed the Allt a' Bhealaich Bheithe and made my way towards the Long Leachas.
On reaching the ridge, I met another walker. He'd stayed in the bothy which was still unlocked, happy that asbestos was only dangerous if disturbed. As I had a much greater distance to cover before evening, I was soon bounding up the ridge, as he followed at a more leisurely pace.
The Long Leachas was great fun: steep, but easy scrambling all the way.
In time I reached the plateau above Coire na Leathchois, and fine, clear views opened up to the west.
From this point, easy gradients led to the summit of Ben Alder, where I encountered another walker. It was sunny, calm and warm, and we enjoyed a magnificent panorama.
He had been wild camping in the area. When I told him I'd walked from Dalwhinnie that morning, he asked if I trained for marathons or something. I looked at the size of his pack, which contained his camping gear, and replied, "I not sure what's harder; walking in all the way, or carting all that weight up here!" After a few minutes the walker from the Long Leachas arrived. We said a quick hello again, then I was moving off to take on Beinn Bheoil.
I dropped off the plateau SE towards the bealach, on steep grass with patches of scree, but nothing too awkward.
The bealach was passed, and I began to move up the broad SW ridge of Sron Coire na h-Lolaire, feeling a little tired now.
A slight descent followed before reaching Beinn Bheoil's SW ridge. Then came the push for the final ascent. This wasn't difficult, but on reaching the summit I felt somewhat fatigued, with the warm sun and no cooling wind. I wasn't going to complain about such conditions, though! There were lovely views...
...and I was soon sorted after a short rest. So I began the descent in good spirits, continuing to admire the spectacular scenery.
As I dropped lower, the views of Lancet Edge and Ben Alder I'd first seen in the morning reappeared, now mist free.
Of course I had a long walk-out ahead, but there were views to enjoy that I'd missed in the morning fog.
The trees alongside Loch Ericht shaded me from the late afternoon sun, making things comfortable.
About 18 months earlier, I'd first seen the Alder range in all its glory (if at a distance) from Meall Chuaich. And there was that hill, as I looked over Loch Ericht during the later stages of the walk-out.
The easy walking between Dalwhinnie and Culra had allowed good progress, and I was back at the car with plenty of daylight left. So it was still playtime for the midges, but they weren't going to worry me after such a superb day.
by PeteR » Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:53 am
To say I'm jealous is an understatement
by ancancha » Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:34 am
You got some nice photos on a clear blue sky day
I've been keen on these for a while. I cycled in to take a look and get some exercise one afternoon; I don't fancy the walk there and back
by scottishkennyg » Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:31 pm
by Silverhill » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:03 pm
by simon-b » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:27 pm
Thanks, ancancha. I hope you enjoy these when you get there.
Cheers Kenny, it was a great day. The long walks in and out were helped by the morning fog and late afternoon shade, keeping things cool on an otherwise bright, sunny day.
Thanks, Silverhill. It's one of my favorites now, too.
by litljortindan » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:31 pm
by Gordie12 » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:39 pm
by Graeme D » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:26 pm
by dav2930 » Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:17 pm
by Scotjamie » Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:29 pm
Great stuff on a great day.
by steven65 » Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:32 am