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Beinn a'Chochuill in a whiteout

PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:24 am
by donnycoll
we noticed a break in the weather between storms so decidet to tackle a couple of hills in the snow.
We were planning on hitting 2 hills but the weather had different plans.
All was going well in the morning, after dropping the better half off at the train station on her way to work i picked up big rory and we were off to Dalmally for the start of the walk, we got a bit confused and took the first signed turn off traveling north which led to a couple of miles of single track road before we reached the bridge and parked up. We stopped for our usual cup of tea and got geared up. No other cars at the bottom so looking like we have the hill to ourselfs which was nice.
We started up the farm track and passed the highland cows which was nice as they really done care who walks past them, the sludge you have to walk through is not great and means you def have to give your boots a good wash when you get back to the car!!
we carried on to just about the end of the farmers track and stopped where we thought it would be a good point to head up to the ridge. we could see the cloud layer up ahead and hoped it wouldnt be too thick. We had a cup of tea here and a quick bite to eat as it was late morning. This was pretty much the height the snow was becoming thicker under foot.
We got ourselves going off track up the hill digging into the snow and taking turns to lead as it was a tiring work digging steps into the snow as the snow was up to the knee most of the way and deeper in parts.
we must have been at about 700 feet and all of a sudden we couldnt differentiate between snow and cloud. GREAT.
We hung fire for a few minutes and chatted about what the plan was, it was not snowing or rainy so the visibility was ok, we could see our footsterps behind us for 20 meters anyway and we split up a bit to test it and could see a good distance. only problem was the hill was white and the cloud was white.
We studied the map and could see where we were and what the hills shape was, with no major drops etc, so we set our bearing and decided to continue on a bit as the forecast said that low cloud is likely but with a potential of getting above it.
We continued to plod on 20-30 meters at a time with mini breaks to check the visibility, we managed to keep the hills ridge on our right hand side about 10 meters off and felt comfortable doing this.
We got to the flatter ridge near the top0 of the hill and headed further west to the summit.
When we got to the summit we noticed a few stones slightly less covered in snow than the rest of the place. turns out this was the cairn at the top0 but the snow was that deep only a small section was visible, we dug it out a bit to be sure...
So we took the usual photos and had lunch before discussing this was a good learning curve but also a tick in the box as we had zero views.
Just as we were leaving the wind picked up slightly and the top cleared slightly and we could see about 50meters all round and were 100 percent sure we were in the right top haha.
We were happy with that but didnt really have time to wait about as it had taken a lot longer to get to the top than planned.
The plan in the morning was to hit Ben Eunaich today aswell but the cloud and snow had slowed us down, it was getting late in the afternoon and we were concerned about daylight so instead of relying on the compass and map with slow progress we would just follow our footsteps back the way we came and hit the other hill in the summer with some friends.
After about 5 mins of walking the skies cleared within seconds!!
We got some really good views of the surrounding hills, we were eventually above the clouds, we took some good photos and walked down a good bit. we got to the turn off where we could have continued up Ben Eunaich, but it looked like the clear skies was not going to last long with a big wall of cloud heading our way.
Sensible heads prevailed and we continued down following our footsteps into the clod zone again. just before we dissap0eared we glanced back and could no longer see the tops so we were happy we made the right decision.
The walk back was un eventfull, passing the cows again then a snack in the truck before heading back to glasgow for a well deserved bath! before a few evening beers :)

Re: Beinn a'Chochuill in a whiteout

PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:56 am
by Jaxter
Nice one! We were up there in very similar conditions on Sunday. Hard work wading through all that snow :lol: :clap:

Re: Beinn a'Chochuill in a whiteout

PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 1:16 pm
by donnycoll
Hey Jaxter, I did see your report too, looks like you had 'slightly' better weather on the way up, but the cloud didnt lift :( ? and you got both hills :) good effort in those conditions. it was a proper leg burner in that snow!

Re: Beinn a'Chochuill in a whiteout

PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:42 pm
by Jaxter
donnycoll wrote:Hey Jaxter, I did see your report too, looks like you had 'slightly' better weather on the way up, but the cloud didnt lift :( ? and you got both hills :) good effort in those conditions. it was a proper leg burner in that snow!


Aye we went for it, figured we had plenty of daylight and navigation wasn't too mental.

No views though, clagged oot!