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Merrick whiteout

Merrick whiteout


Postby Fife Flyer » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:08 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Merrick

Donalds included on this walk: Merrick

Date walked: 16/01/2016

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 13.5 km

Ascent: 875m

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Another 'kind of' last minute plan, as usual the weather forecast was fluctuating during the week and Saturday looked promising and I decided to go for it. As usual the forecast changed on the Friday with rain/snow scheduled to arrive about 2pm, no problem as we would be at least on our way down, if not back at the car by then :lol:

I was swithering and dithering about where to head, taking in access roads etc after the recent dumping of snow and asked Karen if she fancied heading down to attempt the Merrick, mainly because I know the area fairly well - as far as Glen Trool Lodge at least :wink: Another factor for opting for the Merrick, I know it is a fairly popular hill and after an aborted attempt on Broad Law during the week, didn't fancy another trailblazing day. For those of you who are interested my struggle up Broad Law was really tough, it took me 2 hours to reach the first cairn and conditions didn't look like improving. Snow varied in depth from 18" to 3" some soft some firmer and no sign of any human activity. I decided to head down and return another day, especially as it isn't too far to drive :lol: here are a few bonus photo's :wink:

Image Parking area, note the ice

Image Snow depth

Image The cairn where I turned back

Image Talla Reservoir

Now back to the Merrick :lol:
I had arranged to pick Karen up at Prestwick Railway Station as the best way down to Glen Trool from Fife was via the M8 and then down through Ayrshire. One thing I noticed was how common Average Speed Camera's are in the west, the M77 and A77 must have been a gathering place for speeders :lol:
We arrived at Glen Trool Lodge and then continued along the single track for just under 4 miles before parking in the first parking area :roll: Karen did suggest that there may be another car park further along and as it turned out she was correct :lol: There were about 10 cars parked and as we were ascending we were puzzled as to where all the car owners were :o
We set off just before 10am with the temperature hovering around about zero, on the plus side it meant that the path which would probably be a bit squidgy, was firm and icy. Great care was taken as ice and boots are a recipe to end up on one's backside.

Image Useful info

Image

Image One for 'stirlingdavo' :lol:

Image Views to the east

Image Water feature

Image Culsharg

Image Inside Culsharg

Image The bedroom / fire place

Once we passed Culsharg we reached a forestry track where you turn right and then almost immediately turn left and start climbing up through the forest.

Image Just to make sure you turn right

Image The way up through the forest

The path up through the forest was good, a bit steeper, but because it was sheltered was free of ice. By the time we reached the top of the forest we were both getting peckish, so we scanned the horizon for somewhere to dine :lol:
Just as we were finishing our brunch a few flakes of snow descended upon us, little did we know what was surprises the weather had in for us as we got higher :lol:
After we started off again and gained a bit of height we finally saw the first human beings, a group of 3 youngsters who passed us while we were kitting up - they had parked at the Glen Trool Lodge car park to make the walk more challenging :lol: Just ahead of them were a couple of guys who we would catch up with.

Image Looking back

Image Human beings, 5 going up, one coming down

Image Looking back, visibility starting to deteriorate

As we were gaining height the snow flakes were descending more frequently and it was starting to get rather chilly. The camera was put in the rucksack and sadly only made a couple of rare appearances :(
We reached the cairn on Benyellary, but didn't hang around as the wind was also picking up. The conditions underfoot were not a problem and we did ask a chap who was descending if he had needed any winter footwear, to which replied in the negative.
After Benyellary there is a descent down to the lovely named "Neive of the Spit" :lol:

Image Looking across to the "Neive", just looks a mass of white :lol:

Image Looking east

Image Similar shot

Image Scars of Benyellary

The descent down was fairly easy, the snow was softish so good progress was made, it was just a matter of following the footsteps in the snow, with the wall on the left.
It was getting pretty miserable now, the wind was whistling from right to left, my new hat was working a treat and keeping my head and ears nice and warm 8)
Now the final ascent, visibility was getting worse by the minute, we were keeping the 5 guys in front in sight and following in their steps (thanks guys) :wink: We caught up with a couple of guys who were struggling and just after we left them, they turned back and headed downhill :( One major problem I encountered for the first time was that my 'camelback' tube had frozen, this was a first for me and I would spend the next hour or so trying to defrost it :(
It was a real trudge up to the summit and the visibility was now about 20 yards, when we finally saw the summit trig there were 4 guys there chatting away. We stopped for a few photo's a quick chat and then headed down.

Image Karen enjoying the weather

Image Summit team photo, I must be getting tough (gloves off) :lol:

Image Looks like Karen was running away :lol:

The descent was becoming rather tricky, firstly we couldn't anything and secondly the heavy snow fall had filled in the foot steps :shock: We were initially following the group of 3 down, but I kept checking to make sure we were heading in the right direction :wink: Just as we reached the wall on the right handside, the 3 guys in front had stopped, one of them had developed a groin injury and was struggling, Karen offered some pain killers which were gratefully received 8)
We continued our descent down to "the Spit" and then up again to Benyellary, the visibility was so bad I didn't even see the cairn :( The good news was it was all downhill from now on 8) After about 10 minutes of further descending we met an American guy on his way up, we had a brief chat and advised him that conditions higher up were far from ideal (under statement). Much to Karen's relief he would soon overtake us on his way down :wink:

As we got on the lower slopes the visibility improved and we finally saw the forest 8) The path was really dangerous now, the ice was covered with a thin layer of snow and seemed determined to try and catch one of us out - failed :lol:
We decided to have another bite to eat in the shelter of Culsharg, my camelback, still hadn't defrosted, so I decided to decant some of my juice into a bottle 8)
We were soon joined by another walker we met on the summit and it wasn't long before I put 2 & 2 together. I had met and walked with Derek on my last outing in Glen Lyon, but hadn't recognised him with hood up etc. He also remembered me and he even recollected that I had done 180 Munro's when we met :lol: :lol:
The final descent was a matter of picking your way across the snow covered stones and trying not to find the ankle deep muddy puddles, sadly I failed there :roll: One bit of good news, my camelback defrosted and I got such a shock the juice went down the wrong way and I ended up coughing and spluttering :lol: :lol: :lol:

Image Path snow covered

We decided to visit the large stone that is mentioned in the WH route :lol:

Image

Image

Image Not the best photo, Loch Trool with patches of ice

Image Looking down Loch Trool through the murk

Image No snow on the ground when we parked up

The weather was to make the drive home 'interesting' especially as the Glen Trool road isn't a priority for the gritters. We did have one incident on a right hand bend, the car was wanting to go straight on, but finally turned right and it certainly gave both of us a wake up call, not that we needed it - and I certainly wasn't going fast :(
The A77 and the M8 journey can only be described as tortuous :(
Many thanks to Karen for her great company, was good to meet up as always :wink:
As for my next outing, once again the weather gods are in charge and after this cold snap, it looks like we are in for more of the usual - wind and rain :( :(
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Fife Flyer
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Re: Merrick whiteout

Postby kaye.cantlay » Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:20 pm

Wel done Fyfe Flyer - didn't realise there had been so much snow down there.
When you attempted Broad Law - were you not quite near the top after 2 hours?
kaye.cantlay
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Re: Merrick whiteout

Postby Borderhugh » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:30 pm

Good report Martin. I fancy some of those bigger Galloway hills. Did you have to use the de-icer to get your arm off the cairn?
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Borderhugh
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Re: Merrick whiteout

Postby nigheandonn » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:50 pm

The main trip looks interesting too, but I love that picture of Talla in the frame of snow!
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nigheandonn
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Re: Merrick whiteout

Postby Fife Flyer » Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:52 pm

kaye.cantlay wrote:Wel done Fyfe Flyer - didn't realise there had been so much snow down there.
When you attempted Broad Law - were you not quite near the top after 2 hours?


Simple answer - No :(

Borderhugh wrote:Good report Martin. I fancy some of those bigger Galloway hills. Did you have to use the de-icer to get your arm off the cairn?


You will be pleasantly surprised with the Borders hills Hugh :wink:

nigheandonn wrote:The main trip looks interesting too, but I love that picture of Talla in the frame of snow!


Thanks, took 3 shots with different zoom, here are the other two 8)

Image

Image
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