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Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be


Postby BlackPanther » Wed Nov 25, 2015 6:02 pm

Route description: Geal-charn Mòr , from Lynwilg

Corbetts included on this walk: Geal-charn Mòr

Date walked: 22/11/2015

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 10.5 km

Ascent: 574m

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Winter, winter, winter has arrived! Only for one weekend, but seeing the thick snow cover on Wyvis made me think about mountain adventures with crampons and ice axe, snowman building, turning into snow leopard and so on. I was so annoying with my silly winter chit-chat that Kevin agreed to take me up a hill of some sort just to shut me up :lol:
We didn't do anything the weekend before as weather had been c***p to say the least and we didn't feel in the mood for any big adventures. We went for a short stroll in Strathpeffer forest, talking mostly about the unfolding events in Paris. I lived in France for a while, not in the capital, but I do feel connected in a way...
All right, let's make things more optimistic. A week has passed and forecast for Sunday was cooooold :? :? but calm with broken cloud. We wondered which hill to choose without having to drive too far. I remembered Geal Charn Mor, an easy Corbett near Aviemore. We had done it before, in early autumn 2009, so a long time ago. I always fancied this hill in winter conditions, as it has a track almost all the way to the summit, so simple to navigate and good for "a wintry quickie in the neighbourhood" :lol:

Track_GEAL-CHARN MOR 22-11-15.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


WH description says park just by the bridge in Lynwig, but that space was already taken by another car so we drove a bit further and parked at the end of the public road, by the gate and the beginning of the Right of Way to Carrbridge:
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We geared up quickly, even took crampons with us though I doubted if it was necessary... Through the gate we went and up the track. It was white and misty, but I hoped the cloud would burn off later on...
White misty world...
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No need to describe the details of the route, to be honest. Just follow the track! Having climbed about 150m we saw blue sky above us and our hopes were held high...
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It was cold even down in the glens, definitely below zero, but we knew from the long term forecast it wasn't going to last... So let's enjoy the winter while it's still here:
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Carn Dearg Mor:
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We loved the effect of "thinning clag" in the glen behind us and Kevin spent a lot of time taking photos and fiddling with his camera. Sadly, nothing comes without consequences, so he paid for this later...
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In the meantime, we were in the world consisting of three colours: black, white and blue...
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...apart from one man wearing a red jacket :lol: He could pose as Mr Santa any time he wanted!
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As we gained height, we expected to see the panorama of white Cairngorms, but the clag was still pretty thick over the plateau. Instead, we witnessed more of the "lifting cloud" spectacle:
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As much as we saw of the Caringorms that day, but we were not in the mood to complain. We had seen the views from this hill before, so even without the full pano it was still enjoyable walk for us. I loved the snow, as any snow leopard would :wink:
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Near the cairn, marking the top of the pass, we encountered a tractor, I wonder what is going to happen here, hopefully not another windfarm construction?
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We reached the cairn and from here, it's only a short climb due south to the summit of Geal Charn Mor (very appropriate name for today's conditions, I thought). The very top was still hidden in cloud...
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...but the clag was thinning and breaking as we had hoped. Of course, the first thing I noticed as views appeared was... guess what??? A WINDFARM!!!!!
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Would that be Ben Rinnes on the horizon?
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The white world emerging from the cloud:
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To the east, sadly, the main massif of Cairngorms refused to shake off the clag. View to Meall a'Buachaille:
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All right, we snapped as many photos as we could, prepared GPS and map for navigating in the mist and off we went. I remembered there was a path from the cairn to the summit, but now it was covered in snow so we simply marched in SW direction. It's only about 120m of ascent to the top and at very gentle angle. The snow was deep in places and we giggled, pulling legs out of the white stuff. Suddenly, we stopped because we came across a fence. It wasn't marked on the map and I didn't remember it being there in 2009. It looked brand new. OK, a few meters to the right of us we spotted a gate. It was padlocked, but whoever built the fence, was nice enough to remember about us, hillwalkers, and provided a neat stile, which Kevin tackled first:
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Another 10 minutes and we saw the trig point, emerging from the mist. It was sort-of breaking (the mist, not the trig point :lol: ) and the sun was shining through, I walked around with my camcorder, waiting for a good moment to record summit pano. Kevin grabbed his camera and... first he took this absolutely hilarious photo of me - it looks like tiny-tiny me, standing on the top of the trig point :lol: :lol: How did he manage to get this effect, I don't know.
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Then, he snapped this picture of the view beginning to show...
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...and his camera died. Batteries low, due to cold. And of course, he FORGOT TO TAKE SPARES!!! :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
I dug up my little pocket camera. It doesn't like cold and it never works well in winter conditions. But at least we managed a few more snaps before... this one died, too. Oh, s***t.
Lucy was happy to bag a new Corbett (her 16th), only complaining about cold bum :crazy: but that's what happens when you sit on top of trig point, darling.
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To the east and south, the cloud was burning off and we saw what we had hoped for - the white panoramas...
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As far as the eye could see, there were hills covered in snow, blue sky and nothing else! Just amazing.
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Shame my little camera doesn't take as good photos as Kevin's Finepix :( so it doesn't really look as good in photos as it did to the naked eye...
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Kevin posing by the trig point, still holding the useless Finepix :lol:
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With both cameras dead, we still decided to wait a few more minutes for the complete clear-out. It was frrrrezing cold, so we used the trigpoint as serving table for hot tea and snacks. And we didn't have to wait long... Soon we were surrounded by the beautiful, sunny landscape, where white & blue dominated. Kevin was kicking himself about the spare batteries, but it was too late for any regrets now. I used my camcorder to take some more snaps. They are nowhere near the standard of camera photos, but better than nothing...
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He's cold, it's time to go!
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We descended back to the track, enjoying the views while they lasted. Down by the cairn, we considered taking the alternative path for descent, but our hands and feet were freezing so it was easier just to run down the track back to the car park. As it's a local hill for us, we we will surely return here, as the views on a good day are superb. Perfect Corbett for a winter outing!

PS. Because the Cairngorms never cleared on Sunday, here are a couple of photos from our previous visit to Geal Charn Mor, just to prove my point.
By the cairn at the top of the pass, with Cairngorms in the background:
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GCM summit on a clear day:
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BlackPanther
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Re: Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Postby jmarkb » Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:06 pm

Nice one: it's a good wee hill for a short or iffy weather day.

BlackPanther wrote:Would that be Ben Rinnes on the horizon?


Yes, definitely.

I've always wondered about the etymology of Lynwilg - it sounds much more Welsh than Scottish.....
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Re: Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Postby ChrisW » Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:57 pm

Fantastic as always BP, not quite the "ice axe and crampons" level of winter you're after but it won't be long now :wink: love the tiny panther on the trig point :lol:
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Re: Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Postby dogplodder » Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:09 pm

Always fancied this one in winter and good to see how much snow is up there. That's the end of the autumn then. 8)
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Re: Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Postby Gordie12 » Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:30 pm

Nice one BP.

I'm looking to do this one this winter so found this really interesting.
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Re: Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Postby AnnieMacD » Fri Nov 27, 2015 1:26 am

Happy for you, BP, that you are enjoying the snow!! I can't wait for spring now as I don't go out in it. :(
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Re: Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Postby Tomsie » Fri Nov 27, 2015 9:18 am

Always good to be out, will have to try the special effects photo, next time we are at a trig :lol:
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Re: Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Nov 27, 2015 4:49 pm

Many thanks for this, we're also planning a winter visit to Geal Charn Mor :D :D We're wondering about trying snow shoes and had identified this as a possible route, what do you think? Since snow shoeing will be completely new to me I could be way off the mark so would like to hear your thoughts.
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Re: Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Nov 27, 2015 6:11 pm

Many thanks, everyone! :D :D :D
I can definitely recommend this route for anybody, to do in winter conditions. Very easy and not too tiring, with a bit of luck views are first class.

jmarkb wrote:I've always wondered about the etymology of Lynwilg - it sounds much more Welsh than Scottish.....


I was wondering about this one, too... To me, the name sounds kinda German.
On a funny note... According to Douglas Adams (The meaning of liff) LYNWILG is "one of those things that pulls the electric cord back into the vacuum cleaner." :lol: :lol: :lol:

Tomsie wrote:will have to try the special effects photo, next time we are at a trig :lol:


Sadly, I can't give any advice here, I don't know how Kevin managed this "mini me" snap. Neither does he :wink:

Huff_n_Puff wrote:We're wondering about trying snow shoes and had identified this as a possible route, what do you think? Since snow shoeing will be completely new to me I could be way off the mark so would like to hear your thoughts.


I admit I never used snow shoes, but I think it's good terrain for testing, as long as there is enough snow. Slopes not steep and the track, if it's covered with good layer of the white stuff, might serve as good "practice line". Shame that snow is melting. I was in Dingwall today and there is very little snow left even on Wyvis. Let's hope winter returns soon. I've already had enough of wet-weeping November days.
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Re: Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Postby brocoli » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:46 pm

That looks nice in this white coat :) . I once came down to the cairn at the track from Geal-charn Beag which offered nice views of the Cairngorms as well.
Is there any good way to get to Lynwilg from Aviemore by foot? I don't have a car and maybe I'm going to do this walk next weekend (depending on the weather of course).
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Re: Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:57 am

brocoli wrote:That looks nice in this white coat :) . I once came down to the cairn at the track from Geal-charn Beag which offered nice views of the Cairngorms as well.
Is there any good way to get to Lynwilg from Aviemore by foot? I don't have a car and maybe I'm going to do this walk next weekend (depending on the weather of course).


Thank you :D Don't know how much snow left there now... But hopefully winter will return soon.
We considered adding the top of Carn Dearg Mor, but it was so freezing cold on the summit and with cameras gone, we gave up the idea.
We always use car in this area so I never paid attention to footpaths from Aviemore... You will still have to cross the A9. Maybe there is a pavement/footpath along B9152, but can't say for sure. Nothing obvious marked on the map.
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Re: Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Postby jmarkb » Wed Dec 02, 2015 5:27 pm

BlackPanther wrote:You will still have to cross the A9. Maybe there is a pavement/footpath along B9152, but can't say for sure. Nothing obvious marked on the map.


It should be possible to use the new Speyside Way extension to minimise the road walking: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/cairngorms/aviemore-kincraig.shtml

BlackPanther wrote:According to Douglas Adams (The meaning of liff) LYNWILG is "one of those things that pulls the electric cord back into the vacuum cleaner."


Ha, excellent!
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Re: Geal Charn Mor - as white as it could be

Postby brocoli » Wed Dec 02, 2015 5:56 pm

jmarkb wrote:
BlackPanther wrote:You will still have to cross the A9. Maybe there is a pavement/footpath along B9152, but can't say for sure. Nothing obvious marked on the map.


It should be possible to use the new Speyside Way extension to minimise the road walking: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/cairngorms/aviemore-kincraig.shtml

BlackPanther wrote:According to Douglas Adams (The meaning of liff) LYNWILG is "one of those things that pulls the electric cord back into the vacuum cleaner."


Ha, excellent!


Thanks to both of you! Maybe Meall a' Bhuachaille will do the job :wink: . Oh and Lynwilg does not sound kinda german :wink:
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