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A Bleak Outing to Carn na Caim

A Bleak Outing to Carn na Caim


Postby jupe1407 » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:23 pm

Route description: Carn na Caim and A'Bhuidheanach Bheag, Drumochter

Munros included on this walk: Carn na Caim

Date walked: 12/02/2016

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 13.1 km

Ascent: 611m

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Carn na Caim and A'Bhud.... the other one have been sitting in my mental "I'll do them another time" munro file. However, with a good forecast in prospect for the weekend, and freezing but clear conditions, I decided to take a day's holiday on Friday and head to Tulloch Station Bunkhouse, hopefully taking in these two unexciting tops on the way, in the futile hope that they'd be nice in winter garb.

I was away somewhat early and decided to kill some time at Queen's View over Loch Tummel as I was likely to be there for sunrise, only to be met with a huge bank of fog :lol: I headed back along the road two mile and found a lovely, atmospheric spot with a break in the fog and completely still waters.

Carn na Caim-1.jpg
Loch Tummel looking west


Carn na Caim-2.jpg
... and looking east


It had been a bitingly cold night and the car thermometer was showing -5. The trees were also frosted and looked really cool (literally). After some faffing about here, I packed away my kit and headed up the A9. The early morning light looked superb on the West Drumochter hills, and I had high hopes for good winter views as I parked in Layby 87.

Carn na Caim-3.jpg
West Drumochter Hills


I was almost tempted to head back down and repeat Geal Charn for the fourth time. It's a nothing hill in itself, but the views in winter down Loch Ericht and the Alder Forest and absolutely sensational. However I decided to stick to the task at hand and after sorting out my kit, I headed across the A9 and up the works track. Initially at a decent pace, stopping frequently to admire the light on the hills across the road and consult my GPS which of course only confirmed that height gain was a tad slow.

Carn na Caim-4.jpg
Route up


Carn na Caim-5.jpg
Back down track to the A9


The tracks then turns east and steepens considerably, en route to the old quarries. The tops of the Alder hills were now visible, bathed in sunlight, looking simply wonderful. Looking back towards my targets was less than encouraging however.

Carn na Caim-6.jpg
Near the old quarries looking west


I was still undecided which hill to tackle first, as I arrived at the "decision time" point. Conditions weren't particularly great now and snow looked to be coming from the east, so I opted for Carn na Caim first as navigation was simple and would only need me to reach for the compass twice if conditions further deterioated. That, and it looked an easier walk.

Carn na Caim-8.jpg
Decision time....


Carn na Caim-9.jpg
Carn na Caim is one of the bumps over there


It turned out to be anything but easy. I'd stupidly gone to the gym the night before and the walk to Carn na Caim consisted entirely of sticking snow that was a real grind to make decent progress on. Added to that was the fact that the other footprints I'd been using ended after about 500 metres. I suspect they'd got bored and ski'd back down. Anyway, after a tediously long and slow trudge I neared the end of the fenceline and branched off NE to reach the small summit cairn. I had now views at all and visibility was poor. I demolished a Mexican Cheese and Raspberry jam sandwich (seriously it tastes good) took a very brief summit photo and headed back via my outward route.

DSC_0021.jpg
Summit


On the return I had a quick chat with a group of three ski-tourers who were in the area for a few days. I headed wearily back towards the 902m point, and briefly debated whether or not to do the "other one". It wasn't really a debate, I was tired, and a bit bored and headed for the quarries and the walk out. This is a decision I will almost certainly regret when I have to re-ascend the track just to do the "other one", however I just couldn't be bothered with another 5k trudge. Besides which I'd left the orange kit-kats in the car.

As I descended the track the light on the West Drumochters looked glorious, even though the cloud base had dropped.

Carn na Caim-10.jpg
Late light on the West Drumochters


Feeling somewhat knackered and with the soles of my feet feeling like I'd be tortured by the CIA using wooden sticks, I got back to the car in about 5 and a half hours. The summit itself is a non-event, but the views west were magnificent most of the day, and a very worthwhile outing.


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jupe1407
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Posts: 1332
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Re: A Bleak Outing to Carn na Caim

Postby Petr Dakota » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:57 pm

Some great photos there...especially the 2nd one :clap: :clap:
I planned the two Munros there since december, always chose something else meantime, but I want definitely do it in the winter - freezy conditions to avoid all the wetness & boggy ground :lol: :lol:
More boggy mountains in my to-do list for the winter in case of the frozen ground 8) :D :wink:
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Petr Dakota
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Re: A Bleak Outing to Carn na Caim

Postby jupe1407 » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:28 pm

Petr Dakota wrote:Some great photos there...especially the 2nd one :clap: :clap:
I planned the two Munros there since december, always chose something else meantime, but I want definitely do it in the winter - freezy conditions to avoid all the wetness & boggy ground :lol: :lol:
More boggy mountains in my to-do list for the winter in case of the frozen ground 8) :D :wink:


Thanks Petr. It's definitely the time of year to do the boggy ones! :lol:
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jupe1407
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Re: A Bleak Outing to Carn na Caim

Postby Jaxter » Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:55 am

Some amazing photos :clap: but very questionable choice of sandwich... :?

Would be nice to get a good day for these 2 :D
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Jaxter
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Re: A Bleak Outing to Carn na Caim

Postby jupe1407 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:42 pm

Jaxter wrote:Some amazing photos :clap: but very questionable choice of sandwich... :?

Would be nice to get a good day for these 2 :D


Yeah, ideally a nice crisp, calm day. The hills themselves aren't fantastic, but the views to other ranges were excellent from the walk up.

The sandwich choice sounds massively wrong, but is actually wonderful. Of course it's possible that any sort of sandwich would taste amazing on a cold summit in the middle of nowhere :lol:
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jupe1407
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1332
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Grahams:6   
Sub 2000:4   
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Joined: May 15, 2012
Location: Forfar

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