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Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin bags.

Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin bags.


Postby Jaxter » Mon Dec 28, 2015 4:39 pm

Route description: Ben Chonzie via Glen Lednock

Munros included on this walk: Ben Chonzie

Date walked: 28/12/2015

Time taken: 3.45 hours

Distance: 12.5 km

Ascent: 712m

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I don’t know how or why, but my solo mountain trips always seem to have a wee bit more ‘adventure’ in them than planned, whether it’s climbing the same mountain 3 times in one day, cycling miles along the A82 in the gloom, or coming down 4 miles too far along the road, wading a stream and getting a lift back from an Irish builder. These things just don't seem to happen when I'm with other people... Today was no exception :crazy:

After my epic snowy Glencoe fun yesterday (I’ll write that one up next) I looked at the forecast and decided it looked good enough to sneak in a wee one today and it would get me back in time for work. I made an executive decision that my ‘won’t go out in the snow on my own’ promise was null and void, because 1) I’m a seasoned snow veteran now (well, I’ve done 3 snowy trips) and 2) there’s hardly any snow left in Perthshire (actually there was a fair bit) and 3) I’d be back down before the weather turned bad and it was supposed to be an easy walk anyway! Famous last words. :roll:

My adventures began on the B827 where the visibility was zero thanks to the darkness and very thick fog. :shock: I crawled along hugging the grass verge as there were no white lines and it was really bendy. The single track road up Glen Lednock was a relief in comparison. Eventually arrived at the car park and set off up the track at exactly 8am. It was still dark but the weather was fairly mild and there was barely a breath of wind.

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Ben Chonzie beginning to appear
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It began to get light and I started shedding layers pretty quickly. Eventually approaching the dam, I checked the instructions which said to cross above the dam. A relief as the ford was far too deep! Had a look above the dam. No chance. I guess due to the rain and snow melt recently the river was much fuller than usual. I walked about a mile up stream looking for a crossing point but there was nothing. I was kicking myself for not remembering my bin bags, as it looked like a wading job. :?

I sat myself down above the dam (it looked like the easiest crossing point), removed gaiters, boots and socks, rolled up trousers as far as I could and braced myself. It was absolutely bloody freezing :shock: The water was flowing fast, it was deeper than I expected and slippery underfoot as well. No turning back now, I went for it. The bit at the far bank went even deeper and water went up to mid-thigh (I’m short, ok :lol: ) and nearly knocked me over. Chucking the boots on the bank, I clambered out and jumped around swearing for a full 5 minutes :shock:

Chonzie now visible in the light
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Eventually, after feeling had returned to my feet, I dried myself off with a spare jumper and put clothes back on but leaving off the gaiters to give trousers and leggings a chance to dry. Heading off up the track I had cold, wet legs, but blissfully dry and comfy feet. Trying not to think too much about the return journey, I ploughed on. The track made the ascent and navigation simple, but my legs were still screaming at me. Trying to work out what was wrong, I remembered yesterday’s 900m of ascent in deep snow. That would be it. :lol:

Mountains beginning to appear
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Eventually reaching the cairn, I turned off the main track.
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It looked a bit sludgy and snow looked deeper, so stopped to put the gaiters back on. I was extra thankful for this about 10 seconds later when my foot went through a snow drift into a deep bog. :roll:

Nice views making up for muddy foot
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The wind had picked up a lot by this point, so I stayed below the crest of the hill whilst still following the fence posts. Eventually there was nothing for it, I had to come out of hiding! The fence posts changed direction and I followed them to the summit, knowing that there was a shelter there where I could at least get out the wind for a few minutes.

Today was not to be my day, not only was the shelter facing the wrong way, it was also full of snow. I quickly took some pictures – the views were not bad at all, a wee bit hazy but looking down Loch Turret was impressive. After frantically adding more clothes, I utilised the snow in the shelter as a tripod, got my summit photo and off I went, today was not a day for hanging around!

Loch Turret and pretty skies
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It was so windy it blew my eyes shut :lol:
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The route back was the same, I had some fun sliding down the deep snow and very quickly was out of the worst of the wind.

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Following those fenceposts again
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I think this could be the Loch Earn hills in the background?
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The track made for an easy descent and before I knew it I was at the river again. Sighing, I removed boots etc all over again and decided to try the ‘ford’ as I thought it might not be so deep. In fairness, it was a little shallower, but wow it was cold; :shock: it felt colder than before. After a few more dodgy balance moments and a whole load more expletives I reached the far side.

My nemesis
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As I was re-dressing myself, a couple of walkers came along the track, clearly thinking I was insane (I was wondering myself to be honest!). They didn’t seem too keen on the wading so heading downstream in search of a better option. For their sakes, I hope they did!

Looking back
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Pretty Glen Lednock
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Walking down the rest of the track was simple and my feet were still dry! I was knackered but felt pretty pleased with myself. I was expecting it not to be the most interesting walk, so how wrong I was :lol: Got back to the car and met a guy just heading up, so I warned him about the river and wished him luck.

Back in Glasgow in time for work...when my student asked me if I'd had a nice day, she was a bit shocked when I told her what I'd been up to :lol: :lol:

So, did I miss a trick? How the hell are you supposed to get across that river?! :lol:
Last edited by Jaxter on Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin b

Postby dogplodder » Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:20 pm

I think you're incredibly brave to take on a mid thigh wade at this time of year! :clap:

I too have been known to use bin bags - along with clothes pegs to stop them falling down. :roll:

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=16268
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Re: Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin b

Postby Silverhill » Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:41 pm

Brrr, wading the Invergeldie burn didn’t sound fun at all. But at least circulation in the feet got stimulated. :wink: I’ve only been up Ben Chonzie via Glen Turret (very nice route too). But I expect that the burns coming down the hillside there would have been equally swollen.
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Re: Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin b

Postby The Rodmiester » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:26 pm

I've never seen so much water at the burn before, good thinking bin bags. For some reason the summit of Chonzie can get really windy, good effort considering the soft wet snow :clap: :clap:
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Re: Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin b

Postby Scotjamie » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:36 am

Great report. Bravely done. (Bin bags a good idea until they leak and fill with water - caused mayhem on CWT at Sandwood!)
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Re: Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin b

Postby Jaxter » Tue Dec 29, 2015 3:27 pm

dogplodder wrote:I think you're incredibly brave to take on a mid thigh wade at this time of year! :clap:

I too have been known to use bin bags - along with clothes pegs to stop them falling down. :roll:

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=16268


:lol: :lol:

It was the cold that got me most - couldn't feel my feet by mid way across :shock:


Silverhill wrote:Brrr, wading the Invergeldie burn didn’t sound fun at all. But at least circulation in the feet got stimulated. :wink: I’ve only been up Ben Chonzie via Glen Turret (very nice route too). But I expect that the burns coming down the hillside there would have been equally swollen.


It was an adventure...and a good story now :lol:

The Rodmiester wrote:I've never seen so much water at the burn before, good thinking bin bags. For some reason the summit of Chonzie can get really windy, good effort considering the soft wet snow :clap: :clap:


I'll never go out without them again :lol:

Scotjamie wrote:Great report. Bravely done. (Bin bags a good idea until they leak and fill with water - caused mayhem on CWT at Sandwood!)


Thanks! Ah yes, like everything, great when it works, but when it doesn't... :lol:
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Re: Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin b

Postby matt_outandabout » Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:31 pm

Lednock is lovely - when the local waterfalls are running, it gets even better (and wetter).

It is also one of only two places I have had to bail a DofE group out of when weather turned...
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Re: Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin b

Postby Borderhugh » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:45 pm

Another early start Jackie! Thankfully i didnt have to get my feet wet on this one. You didnt mention the Irish builder before! Looks like i'm playing catch up. Hopefully the weather gods will be kind to me on the 9/10 january. :clap:
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Re: Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin b

Postby Jaxter » Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:07 pm

matt_outandabout wrote:Lednock is lovely - when the local waterfalls are running, it gets even better (and wetter).

It is also one of only two places I have had to bail a DofE group out of when weather turned...



I guess a reminder that you can end up in trouble anywhere, whatever the weather :crazy:


Borderhugh wrote:Another early start Jackie! Thankfully i didnt have to get my feet wet on this one. You didnt mention the Irish builder before! Looks like i'm playing catch up. Hopefully the weather gods will be kind to me on the 9/10 january. :clap:


I'll tell you that one next time we're out :wink: :lol:

Only 99 behind you now... :shock:
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Re: Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin b

Postby Dave Hewitt » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:30 am

Jaxter wrote:So, did I miss a trick? How the hell are you supposed to get across that river?!

It's just normal hill stuff really - a good example of how conditions can vary considerably even in supposedly straightforward places. That burn tends to be one of those all-or-nothing ones. If the water's contained behind the dam then it's just a trickle or simply dry, but if the dam's overflowing a lot comes down - there's quite a big catchment area upstream. From your pics it was a good bit lower than on a snowmelt day in Feb 2014 when I was there with a pal who is a good river-crosser, and he reckoned he'd only try it with a rope and even then perhaps not. We headed quite a long way upstream above the dam to have a look, but there was no hope of getting across so instead we angled up on to Creag nan Eun then down to the Lednock dam and just back along the road - a good alternative outing.
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Re: Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin b

Postby Lifeboatjohn » Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:33 pm

Hi Jaxter, great report, really enjoyed it!

I walked up here today and struggled to get across the ford without a soaking...finally managed to pick a route using the larger rocks as stepping stones and walking poles to balance! Was no visibility much after that and plenty of snow from the cairn where I left the track up to the top.

Anyway, was wild and windy at the top and on the descent I began to worry about whether I could safely negotiate the treacherous ford again...imagine my surprise when I got there and the flow of water had been diverted into the pipeline under the dam and the ford was almost bone dry! Happy days!
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Re: Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin b

Postby Jaxter » Sun Jan 03, 2016 1:04 pm

Lifeboatjohn wrote:Hi Jaxter, great report, really enjoyed it!

I walked up here today and struggled to get across the ford without a soaking...finally managed to pick a route using the larger rocks as stepping stones and walking poles to balance! Was no visibility much after that and plenty of snow from the cairn where I left the track up to the top.

Anyway, was wild and windy at the top and on the descent I began to worry about whether I could safely negotiate the treacherous ford again...imagine my surprise when I got there and the flow of water had been diverted into the pipeline under the dam and the ford was almost bone dry! Happy days!



You must have much longer legs and better balance than me!!! There wasn't anywhere I would have even attempted that :lol: A nice surprise for the way down though. Lucky you :clap:
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Re: Lesson learned: never go out walking without large bin b

Postby Yorjick » Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:26 pm

Great idea to use snow to form a tripod. I carry a Gorillapod, but without a fence post or boulder, it results in a low camera angle, Citizen Kane effect with little of the background hills appearing in the photo. The advantage of taking the ford is usually that the bottom is more stable and even, reducing the chance of a slip or badly bruising a foot. If not too wide, throwing your rucksack across ensures that your kit does not get soaked should you slip.

I climbed Ben Chonzie from Glen Turret way back in 1992. I hope to revisit it when I tick off Auchnafree Hill.

Well done and thanks for providing an entertaining Sunday afternoon read. :clap:
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