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Loch Lyon High Level Circuit - Day 2

Loch Lyon High Level Circuit - Day 2


Postby Graeme D » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:27 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Heasgarnich, Creag Mhor (Glen Lochay)

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Chaorach, Cam Chreag (Auch)

Date walked: 03/07/2010

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 1100m

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The red wine must have done the trick because I had a very decent night's sleep near the summit of Beinn Chaorach. I remember stirring awake at one point in the dark and thinking it must still be well before 4am to be dark, then again in daylight when I glanced at my watch to see it was just before 6 o'clock. I thought I should perhaps get up and get cracking, but I must have nodded straight back off again and the next thing I knew it was nearly 9!

I put on my trousers and boots and grabbing my camera, popped outside to be greeted by a cloudy sort of morning. I staggered bleary-eyed towards the summit of the Corbett and as per my estimate the previous evening, I had set up camp not far below the trig point at all. I take a few quick shots from the summit before striding back down to the tent for breakfast, before packing up and heading north down towards the broad peat-hag studded bealach on the way to Cam Chreag.

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Cylindrical trig point on Beinn Chaorach - Beinn Odhar and Beinn Dorain in background

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Cam Chreag seen from the camping spot

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Beinn Dorain and Beinn a' Chasteil from the descent off Beinn Chaorach

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Beinn Achaladair behind Beinn a' Chasteil and Beinn nam Fuaran


I pass the scattered remains of the little wind farm generating station for the old electric fence and swing round and up onto the long summit plateau of Cam Chreag. From the tiny little cairn, there are excellent views back over the ground I have covered so far as well as onward to the soon-to-be-tackled Munros of Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnaich. Ben Challum also looks mighty fine a short distance the the south-east.

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Beinn Chaorach and Beinn Odhar from Cam Chreag

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South to Ben Challum

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Next target - Creag Mhor


As I stand at the summit munching on a Granny Smith, the wind again gets up and a few spots of rain begin to fall, so it's back on with some light waterproofs before I pick my way gingerly down the steep slopes towards the Allt Mhic Bhaidein where I replenish my water supplies.

IMG_4059.jpg
Beinn nam Fuaran from descent off Cam Chreag


The ascent north east towards Creag Mhor is up brutally steep grassy slopes and as I slog my way up, the rain starts to become heavier with every passing minute. As I approach some crags just below Stob nan Clach, the heavens open up and I make a quick dash for the limited shelter provided by the crags, managing to just about squeeze myself and my pack into a little space below an overhang. The downpour lasts a good 30-40 minutes and keeps me pinned down against the crags for most of this time until it slowly slackens off and stops, giving way to another spell of watery sunshine and breezes.

As I pass a little lochan at the head of Coire Cheathaich, I am aware of the sound of human voices being carried on the wind and turn to see two people several hundred yards behind me - the first people I've seen since leaving the WHW yesterday afternoon.

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Rounding the head of Coire Cheathaich in sight of the summit

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Looking back to Cam Chreag

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Stob nan Clach


I reach the summit shortly afterwards and decide to change out of my shorts and into longs - no sooner have I made the switch than the elderly couple appear behind me. I exchange greetings and congratulate them on their fine timing - 30 seconds earlier and they'd have come across me standing by the summit cairn in my underwear!

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Loch Lyon and Beinn Heasgarnich from Creag Mhor summit


We all settle down for a spot of lunch (cold leftover chicken fried rice for me) and exchange conversation - they are just out for the day doing Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnaich by the traditional approach route up from Glen Lochay and they seem somewhat confused and bewildered by my plans to circumnavigate Loch Lyon and all the surrounding Munros and Corbetts. :o :shock: :?

They head off before me and just after they have left, an elderly gentleman accompanied by a middle aged man appear, they too having come up from Glen Lochay. By the look on the face of the younger man when I tell him where I am headed, I cannot quite tell whether he is full of admiration or thinks I'm a fool. :lol: :lol: :lol:

It is yet another rain spattered descent down steep grassy slopes to a peat hag studded bealach before another energy sapping ascent up the equally steep, wet, grassy slopes of Sron Tarbh, before flattening of through the crags and following the ridge round to the north for the gradual climb up onto the large flat bald summit area.

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Looking round to summit of Heasgarnich from top of Sron Tarbh crags

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Back to Creag Mhor

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Ben Challum and Creag Mhor from above Sron Tarbh

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North over Loch Lyon and Beinn Mhanach to Beinn a' Chreachain

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Beinn Heasgarnich summit - looking to Ben Challum and Creag Mhor


By now the temperature has dropped quite a bit and the constant ascent and reascent of steep, slippery slopes has started to take a toll on my legs, which feel decidedly heavy as I wind my way around the head of Coire Heasgarnich and through the jumble of crags and little lochans on the broad ridge as it curves east and then north towards the descent into Coire Ban Beag.

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North east along the ridge - weather closing in again?

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Coire Heasgarnich

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Back through the crags and lochans to the summit

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Meall nan Subh


As I make my way down into the corrie and alongside the Allt Chall below the slopes of Meall a' Chall, the sun comes out again and the temperature rises significantly - this is now the best part of the day, but it is to be a false omen for what lies ahead!

I'm really starting to struggle for pace now and as I take a breather sitting on a large rock in the middle of the burn, I do a quick reassessment of the situation. Coming down off Heasgarnich, I had already decided that I was not going to press on for Meall nan Subh today. I now decided to continue down the Allt Chall to the track on the southern shore of Loch Lyon, and to find a decent campsite for the night. Depending on how I felt later, I could either do a quick scoot up Meall nan Subh this evening or make an early start in the morning, leaving the tent and most of my gear which I would collect on the way back before heading for Sron a' Choire Chnapanich.

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Sitting in the Allt Chall - Meall Buidhe to the right across Loch Lyon


When I arrived on the track at the point where the Allt Chall flows into Loch Lyon, there wasn't an immediately obvious good place to pitch the tent. Of more concern than this, however, was the large number of clegs which were buzzing about, no doubt due to the presence of a nearby sheep pen. I decided to move on, and continued along the track towards the dam.

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Approaching the dam wall with An Grianan beyond


I hadn't gone far before the rain was on again and the wind was beginning to whip itself up once more. With no good camping spot presenting itself, I arrived at the end of the dam wall and decided to pitch my tent on the flat area of short grass immediately below the dam wall - maybe not quite the true wild camping experience of the night before, but the weather seemed to be taking a turn for the worse and something told me I could do with the shelter the dam wall might provide.

By now I had given up any notion of doing Meall nan Subh tonight. In fact, I was pretty certain that I was going to strike it off the agenda altogether. Having consulted the map once again, I was also unsure whether Sron a' Choire Cnapanich was even still on the cards. I suspected I would simply head along the track on the north side of the loch and drop my pack at point 424423, before scooting up the side of the burn and up onto Meall Buidhe and back.

Anyway, that was for another day. For now I settled down to chilli con carne and more red wine and listened to the wind howling stronger and stronger outside the tent. The canvas had started to sing to the sounds of lashing rain long before I called it a night and crawled into my sleeping bag.


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Graeme D
 
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Re: Loch Lyon High Level Circuit - Day 2

Postby mountain coward » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:36 pm

Wow! made me feel tired just reading that!!
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Re: Loch Lyon High Level Circuit - Day 2

Postby monty » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:20 pm

Hi Graeme,
The weather must be taking the toll on your enthusiasm. You are still doing ok. That looks about 1100m on this walk and about 15km but the steep up and down on the wet grassy slope must feel like a slog. Also you are carrying full kit.

I notice you went straight down the steep slope of Creag Mhor. I have read its advisable to go around in a horseshoe heading north west from the summit instead of north east especially when its wet. It drops 400m in 0.7km. How was it ??
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Re: Loch Lyon High Level Circuit - Day 2

Postby Graeme D » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:33 pm

Hi Monty,

I scoped it out well before taking the plunge, and the elderley couple seemed to have gone down on more or less the same line and they were still alive! It was very slow though - I just had to take it a step at a time, use my poles for support, and make sure I didn't do anything rash. There were a few points where I had to stop and do a bit of backtracking to find a better line though. That sort of thing really makes my legs turn to stone after a while! :(
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Graeme D
 
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Re: Loch Lyon High Level Circuit - Day 2

Postby malky_c » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:38 pm

This looks like a good route idea (well on paper at least!). I wasn't entirely sure where you were heading with the first part, but it looks like a very natural line to take. I'm assuming part 3 will involve a shortest route possible squelch back to the A82.

Did once have a notion of doing a circuit of Loch Lyon, but from the dam. Have long since forgotten about it due to the increased distance away, but may be time to resurrect, as it is a good way of doing a pile of Corbetts I haven't done.

monty wrote: I notice you went straight down the steep slope of Creag Mhor. I have read its advisable to go around in a horseshoe heading north west from the summit instead of north east especially when its wet. It drops 400m in 0.7km. How was it ??


I went up that way in deep snow once - quite steep but good fun. In retrospect, I'm surprised I didn't cause an avalanche :shock:
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Re: Loch Lyon High Level Circuit - Day 2

Postby mountain coward » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Graeme Dewar wrote:Hi Monty,

I scoped it out well before taking the plunge, and the elderley couple seemed to have gone down on more or less the same line and they were still alive! It was very slow though - I just had to take it a step at a time, use my poles for support, and make sure I didn't do anything rash. There were a few points where I had to stop and do a bit of backtracking to find a better line though. That sort of thing really makes my legs turn to stone after a while! :(


I'd definitely go round in the horseshoe instead - I was wondering when I read it if you'd done that bit for bravado!
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Re: Loch Lyon High Level Circuit - Day 2

Postby monty » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:04 pm

Yep guys and dolls, I still need to do those so I will probably ascend directly up the slope. I find that better than descending with these auld knees :lol:
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Re: Loch Lyon High Level Circuit - Day 2

Postby Scotjamie » Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:02 pm

I have guessed the real destination - if you continue on your last bearing for the next three days you will end up in the public bar of the the Moulin Inn outside Pitlochry - must be worth the effort.
Brilliant serial bagging, and really enjoyable stuff
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Re: Loch Lyon High Level Circuit - Day 2

Postby Graeme D » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:20 pm

malky_c wrote:This looks like a good route idea (well on paper at least!). I wasn't entirely sure where you were heading with the first part, but it looks like a very natural line to take. I'm assuming part 3 will involve a shortest route possible squelch back to the A82.


Right about the squelch back to the A82, sadly not quite by the shortest possible route! :(

Scotjamie wrote:I have guessed the real destination - if you continue on your last bearing for the next three days you will end up in the public bar of the the Moulin Inn outside Pitlochry - must be worth the effort.
Brilliant serial bagging, and really enjoyable stuff


Goddamm it! If only I'd thought of that - it would have saved me a load of grief on the Sunday.... :lol:
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Re: Loch Lyon High Level Circuit - Day 2

Postby mountain coward » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:35 am

Scotjamie wrote:I have guessed the real destination - if you continue on your last bearing for the next three days you will end up in the public bar of the the Moulin Inn outside Pitlochry - must be worth the effort.
Brilliant serial bagging, and really enjoyable stuff


:lol:
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Re: Loch Lyon High Level Circuit - Day 2

Postby kevsbald » Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:28 am

What a man!

Good effort. I can't wait for part 3 - "The Drookit".

Hoping our club sandwich on the 16th will be a more pleasant affair.
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