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Long day on Streap and Braigh nan Uamhachan

Long day on Streap and Braigh nan Uamhachan


Postby malky_c » Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:36 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Braigh nan Uamhachan, Streap

Date walked: 09/01/2016

Time taken: 8.8 hours

Distance: 22 km

Ascent: 2010m

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Corbetts: Streap, Braigh nan Uamhachan.
Date: 09/01/2016.
Distance: 22km.
Ascent: 2010m.
Time taken: 8 hours 50 minutes.
Weather: Grey with odd bit of sunshine. Cold with occasional breeze on summits. Fresh snow.

I had the car this weekend and the weather on Saturday was looking fairly reasonable. I set off with the bike in the back with the intention of approaching Mullach Coire nan Geur-oirean from the east end of Loch Arkaig. However I had thrown some extra maps in just in case the weather looked better than the forecast further down the Great Glen. I had a desire to go up Streap in the winter if possible, and as it happened, by the time I was passing Stronaba, the conditions out west were looking pretty fine.

By the time I had pulled up at the Craigag carpark just west of Loch Eil and put my boots on, it was approaching 9:30am. I could really have done with leaving an hour earlier. Not to worry - I could always leave out Braigh nan Uamhachan if I ran out of time.


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I walked up a good forestry track through Gleann Dubh-lighe then out onto the open ground. It had been a chilly minus 5 at the car, although the snowline was sitting at 500m. As I climbed upwards, it became apparent that there had been a slight temperature inversion overnight, as it was marginally warmer at the edge of the snow.

Streap Comhlaidh:
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Gleann Dubh-Lighe bothy:
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Beinn an Tuim can be avoided if required but I knew it had some of the best views down Glenfinnan so I was keen to include it. There was no great strategy to getting to the summit - I just kept heading upwards, weaving around any rocky outcrops or steep sections where they appeared.

Gleann Dubh-Lighe:
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East Loch Shiel hills:
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As I hit the snowline, the rest of the Streap ridge appeared in front of me. It looked impressive and also quite daunting! It was clear that I wasn't going to get the sunshine and blue skies I wanted, but the weather was still quite reasonable and the views good.

Streap Comhlaidh, Braigh nan Uamhachan and Gulvain:
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On the way up Beinn an Tuim:
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The Streap ridge from Beinn an Tuim:
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Finally as I approached the upper part of the hill the classic view down Loch Shiel appeared. The snow was unconsolidated (apart from a very occasional old patch hidden beneath the fresher stuff) but fortunately not too deep.

Loch Shiel:
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Loch Eil and Ben Nevis/Mamores:
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Sgurr Ghiubsachain and Loch Shiel:
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Loch Shiel from Beinn an Tuim:
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On Beinn an Tuim:
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Loch Shiel and the Glenfinnan viaduct:
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Sgurr nan Coireachan:
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Now it was time for the first descent. Beinn an Tuim was classed as a Corbett at one time (until a re-survey calculated that it was lacking in 5m of ascent), so there was quite a lot of down from it.

On the ridge – looking from Beinn an Tuim to Meall an Uilt Chaoil:
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Some shreds of cloud blew in across the ridge as I made my way up Meall an Uilt Chaoil. There was a bit of breeze up here, but nothing compared to Monday above Strathcarron. Somehow I ended up contouring the last 20m or so of Meall an Uilt Chaoil by a traverse to the west. In retrospect, there was probably very little to be gained from doing this.

Back to Beinn an Tuim:
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Loch Bearoid, Eigg and Rum:
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Sgurr Thuilm and Stob Coire nan Cearc:
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Time for another descent and re-ascent. Although this was smaller, I couldn't help but reflect that if these were over 3000ft, then at least 3 of the 5 main summits would probably be Munros.

Main summit of Streap:
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Sgurr na Ciche and Garbh Ciochs:
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East through Glen Loy:
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At last, on the descent of Stob Coire nan Cearc, the main summit of Streap finally looked not too far away. Some easy ground led to the final summit arête, which is preceded by a more level grassy arête. The wind was at its strongest on this. It was straightforward but I was certainly aware of the large steep drop down into Glenfinnan on the left.

Streap and Streap Comhlaidh:
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Final approach to Streap getting closer:
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Eigg:
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I had been unsure whether I might need the axe and crampons on the final rise to the summit, but the snow was so soft and fresh that they would have been more of a hindrance than a help. I took it steady on a couple of sections, looking for an alternative to the sharp snow covered slab edge which forms the absolute crest in places, and before long I was on the summit. While a full-on winter ascent in good solid neve might have been more exciting, I felt this was enough of an achievement. It had taken me more than 4 hours to get here and there was still another summit (Streap Comhlaidh) to cross before I could even think about the second Corbett.

Back along the ridge:
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Finally the summit:
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Still not getting the hang of this:
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I took a careful bumslide off the summit - the first bit was pretty steep - then it was down to the col before Streap Comhlaidh. A short steep ascent presented no difficulties. Now it was decision time - drop back down the south spur towards the bothy or head north then east to get to Loch Chomhlain and Braigh nan Uamhachan?

Stob Coire nan Cearc:
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Good day to be on the Black Cuillin:
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I went north. If I reached Loch Chomhlain and felt it was too late for another hill, I could always walk down the glen instead. More great ridges on the rim of the northern corrie provided an easy descent in the snow, and before too long I was having a break above the loch. It was much warmer down here and nice to be able to take off my hat and gloves.

Descending from Streap Comhlaidh. Main summit to the right:
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Streap Comhlaidh:
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Looking down to Glen Pean:
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East to Ben Nevis and Fort William:
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Coire a’ Chaorainn:
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I can't say the idea of going back up again for over 400m appealed greatly at that point (it was almost 3pm by now) but neither did hag-hopping back down the glen. I told myself that once on the ridge, the going would be nice and fast, and I could be dropping down above Gleann Dubh-lighe bothy in the last of the light.

Loch a’ Chomhlain and Braigh nan Uamhachan:
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Ascent of Braigh nan Uamhachan:
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I ground my way up Braigh nan Uamhachan, reaching the summit at about 3:50pm. Theoretically it would be dark in 20 minutes but I knew I had almost an hour of useable light. I don't know if the weather was changing or it was just being 200m lower, but it was much warmer and calmer up here than it had been on Streap.

Back to Loch a’ Chomhlain:
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There was the glow of a decent sunset just visible through the Rough Bounds of Knoydart and the walking, as hoped, was quite fast and straightforward. There was another 100m ascent to contend with but even this wasn't too bad, and I was glad I had done this rather than walk down the glen.

Carn Mor and Bidein a’ Chabhair:
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Summit of Braigh nan Uamhachan:
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Looking across to Streap:
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Long ridge back to the car:
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Back to the summit:
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My eyes adjusted as the light dimmed, and I was able to get well below the snowline before it became difficult to see. I was glad of this as I had wanted to be able to scope out my final drop into the glen before it got properly dark. The last section was steep, but I was able to get right down to the track in the glen before getting the headtorch out.

Finally dropping down to Gleann Dubh-Lighe:
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Initially the path was a bit squelchy with annoying frozen bits in it, but a short way into the forest it improved. The bothy appeared to be inhabited as I passed, with the welcoming smell of wood smoke. I was tempted to pop in and say hello, but I knew I might struggle to leave if I did that! I made a bit of a blunder here as my map was out of date (so I didn't even bother looking at it for this bit). I passed the front of the bothy and zigzagged down to the river on a boggy path looking for a bridge. There wasn't one, so I had to ford the river and follow a deer fence on the far side across more bog. Eventually this joined a track which I turned the wrong way on initially. I knew this because - surprise - it led to the bridge I had been looking for :roll: . At least I knew where I was now, so the rest of the walk back to the car was uneventful, if longer than it seemed on the way in.

Lots of this on the walk out:
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The weather had turned, with spits of sleety rain falling as I reached the car. I was rather pleased - I had managed to find a reasonable winter's day to get up Streap, and had probably had the longest day out that I've ever done at this time of year.
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malky_c
 
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Re: Long day on Streap and Braigh nan Uamhachan

Postby ancancha » Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:32 pm

Fabulous, great photos :clap:
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ancancha
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Re: Long day on Streap and Braigh nan Uamhachan

Postby Collaciotach » Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:55 pm

Thats a fair shift :clap: :clap: :clap:

One of my most memorable days was out on Streap yet to do Braigh mind !

Good report
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Collaciotach
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Re: Long day on Streap and Braigh nan Uamhachan

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:07 pm

At least you didn't have the dreaded bracken at this time of year going up Beinn an Tuim...I remember that being a particular nightmare. But an impressive outing in the snow to get both of these hills in. Some fine scenes there too.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Long day on Streap and Braigh nan Uamhachan

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:09 pm

Fab, simply fab. I'm saving this route for a good sunny summer day.
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