walkhighlands

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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Conival and BMA on a fine winter day

Conival and BMA on a fine winter day


Postby scottishkennyg » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:46 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben More Assynt, Conival

Date walked: 27/12/2015

Time taken: 8.5 hours

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Lately I had gotten out of the habit of escaping to the hills using the excuses of golf, holiday, Christmas and work pressures. I even used the waiting for better weather one too. I decided to make a break for it on Sunday 27th December as the forecast was reasonable. I had an idea to head up Northwest for a return to Conival and Ben More Assynt with snow and clear skies.
The morning started well at 0630, it was dry, a nice moon and a decent sky.
ImageMorning by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

The road was empty and the temperature was low but thankfully not freezing. It was clear that the road surface on both legs had been treated with plenty of grit, well done to the troops who carry out this job. A1.
An 82 mile drive passed in two hours and I was in the Inchnadamph Hotel car park. No other cars around. I looked around and the snow line was visible so I decided to take the heavier pack with more winter stuff. I opted for the crampons as opposed to the Kahtoola micro spikes. The rucksack felt heavy as I set off, then I noticed that the lid was not shut and that a strap was twisted.

As I walked I recalled the route from a previous summer walk as; up the glen, turn left up to valley, right again and up onto ridge the summit then a return leg over connecting ridge to BMA and retrace route back to car. I forgot about the proper start point. Instead of walking along the road to cross the bridge first I walked up beyond the hotel, the mountain rescue hut, the cottage then the field before it dawned on me I should be on the other side of the river. Plonker what I am. No worries surely there would be an easy crossing point over the rain fall laden water. I dodged around for ages before I eventually found a spot to cross. Any further upstream and I would have been in the bone caves. The crossing was iffy to say the least and as I mentioned, easily avoided.
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Safely on the path and the route is straightforward. Sun shining through clouds at head of path.
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Follow the track, keep the stream on the right and after about an hour the path heads up the hill side to the hanging valley. I noticed a big bird hovering above, probably sensed that there was good selection box chocolates to be had in the rucksack.
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

The snow on the ground made for slippery conditions and concealed the path higher up. There were interesting shapes on the icicles on a waterfall.
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

The views improved as height was gained. The mist was swirling along the ground creating a contrasting atmosphere. Above the clouds were low and restricted visibility.
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

At the upper valley the snow was deeper and had covered the boulder terrain and any paths. I took the map out to confirm where I was and get a bearing for the summit ridge. It was difficult to see obvious features. I pushed on upwards over the virginal snow clad surface. My feet were slipping on the hidden ice on some boulders and it was not easy to get good traction.
I picked a route and reached the summit ridge. The cloud was beginning to break up and there were intermittent views which always provide welcome reassurances for navigation.
I reached the summit cairn around lunchtime and sat down to refuel and savour the views.
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr
Back toward Quinag
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

It had been hard work and the effects of the lay off were evident. I was contemplating heading back without heading over to BMA, then the clouds lifted and I could see for miles.
Over to BMA
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Down west of Conival
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

It was too good an opportunity to miss. I donned the crampons, ice axe out and set off across the ridge to BMA. The rocks were covered in snow and ice and there was no obvious path. Occasionally the rocks would jar the crampons and my ankles would rattle. Total respect to the ladies (and to be PC …the men too!!) out there who can walk wearing high heels, this is as close as I intend get to that experience, not pleasant.
A cheeky wee broken spectre selfie
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

A view back up rocky section of Conival..
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

The route ahead to BMA
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

I reached the summit ridge of BMA and walked across to the mid cairn first to savour the views before returning to the other cairn and top.
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

The views were superb and the colours in the sky were rich and vibrant.
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Unfortunately the sun was low and I knew I could not hang around as it would be dark soon. I did not check the watch as I suspected this would lead to me trying to rush to beat a perceived time.
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

I returned along the ridge to rejoin Conival. I could not help but stop to take many more images of the landscape.
Back to Conival
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Back to BMA
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Selfie footprints..
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Down to Dubh loch mor
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Back at the summit cairn the colours in the sky were spectacular as the sun was almost setting.
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Back over to BMA with some nice colours..
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Toward Foinavon from Conival

ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

Unfortunately I could not loiter if I hoped to get to lower ground before darkness fell. I set off and noticed another set of footprints in the snow. I followed them down to the lower valley floor.
More nice views on descent
ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

ImageConival and Ben More Assynt by scottishkennyg, on Flickr

I passed the big boulder and followed the stream down to reach the wee path. I fell a few times and uttered a few expletives. Some of the snow had melted and underfoot it was very slippery. I reached the safety of the path without any more falls and was greeted by a herd of deer.
I tabbed on with one bent pole and the other one, one section shorter which made for a cracking ergonomic posture. After some time I noticed that my feet were feeling the effects of the heavy plank like soles of the winter boots.
I heard some melody and noticed that I had found a signal on the phone. It was 1700 although it felt like a lot later. I clocked in and pushed on to reach the car safe and sound at 1730.

A quick change then off to Ullapool for a eagerly anticipated fish supper. Haha..unfortunatey the best chipper IMHO was open but alas no chips!! Just a single fish and back on the road.

On reflection it was great to get out again and even more fortunate to get the views and conditions experienced.

Hope you enjoy the pictures and ATB for WHM for 2016.
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scottishkennyg
 
Posts: 644
Munros:282   
Joined: Jan 2, 2013

Re: Conival and BMA on a fine winter day

Postby simon-b » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:44 am

Two great hills Kenny. I really like the ridge between them. It must be good in winter conditions. I was there during the March 2012 heatwave, and it was nice then too. The views are superb. Well done for doing this with so little daylight.
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simon-b
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1914
Munros:282   Corbetts:30
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Joined: Jan 2, 2012
Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Re: Conival and BMA on a fine winter day

Postby Beaner001 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:51 am

Brilliant pics, you've really captured the light and the hills well :clap:
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Beaner001
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Posts: 743
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Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Conival and BMA on a fine winter day

Postby Collaciotach » Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:06 pm

Nice one , good to see some sun been like the dark ages over West :wink:
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Collaciotach
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Re: Conival and BMA on a fine winter day

Postby scottishkennyg » Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:35 pm

Cheers Simon, ATB for 2016
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Re: Conival and BMA on a fine winter day

Postby scottishkennyg » Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:37 pm

Thanks Beaner, I was glad that the clouds lifted to reveal some colour..Cheers and ATB for 2016
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Posts: 644
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Re: Conival and BMA on a fine winter day

Postby scottishkennyg » Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:39 pm

Slainte Colla, ATB for 2016
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