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Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay


Postby Jaxter » Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:26 pm

Route description: Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Heasgarnich, Creag Mhor (Glen Lochay)

Date walked: 06/03/2016

Time taken: 9.5 hours

Distance: 24.25 km

Ascent: 1436m

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Two hills on our radar for some time but had been put off in favour of other adventures were Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich. However, with Sunday looking a decent day and the few extra hours of daylight now it's March, the time had come. Plans came together, sandwiches were made, maps were studied and alarms set.

A brief stop in Killin was called for as the light on the Falls was mighty impressive
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before heading down the single track road (mercifully ice free) to the parking area just short of Kenknock. Parked, booted up, added a lot of layers as it was very cold and set off along the track at 8am.
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We reached the crossroads quickly and turned right up the zig zags, before stopping to take off all the extra layers we had just put on. The sun was out, it was uphill and we were getting warm! 8) The views down the valley were stunning and we had lots of photo breaks.

Looking back
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Sgiath Chuil and Meall Glas were looking impressive off to the left, and stealing the show at the head of the valley was the huge bulk of Ben Challum.

Challum
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Meal Glas
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We reached the dam and turned left, crossing a huge green pipe; part of the hydro works. The going was much easier here in terms of ascent and we were able to enjoy the views, although there were a lot of Bambi moments due to the many many icy puddles on the track :lol:

Looking back towards the Tarmachan ridge
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The sun was beating down and I was lamenting the forgotten sun cream for the second weekend in a row - you'd have thought I would have learnt after last week's red face 8)

Challum again
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As we worked our way down the valley, Sron nan eun came into view :shock: :shock: It looked imposing and impossible from where we were...deciding that other people have done it, so we could too, we powered on.

Challum and the Sron :shock:
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Closer... :shock:
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Posing in front of Challum
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Finally reaching the Allt Bad a Mhaim we consulted the instructions. As suggested, we continued along the track for what felt like more than 800m before spotting the gate in the deer fence and heading up towards it. This was steep grassy ground and was hard work after the long relatively flat walk in.
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Finally the time had come to attack the Sron. We headed uphill deciding to take our time and work our way around the crags. It was very steep and I was glad of my poles to stop me bending over and aggravating my still slightly sore back any further. There some tricky moments, and a few places where we were crawling on all fours, but looking back we could tell we were making progress.

Looking up...
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Cool water feature
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Before long we had begun to reach the snow which made things more difficult. We toyed with the idea of crampons but decided there wasn't enough snow, only enough to make things awkward. We managed to pick out some routes that had the least snow and looked passable.

Coming over a particularly steep bit, I thought that coming over the top was going to one of two things 1. Huzzah we've done it! or 2. :shock: :shock: Fortunately it was the first. We had conquered the Sron and had the most fabulous views to show for it :clap: :D We hurriedly threw our layers back on as the North wind was very cold, and I did another panorama with my new toy. Less accidental glove than last time...progress! :thumbup:

However, we still had a long way to go! Coming over the top, the bulk of Creag Mhor itself loomed ahead. But the sun was shining, the worst (we hoped) was behind us and we had the hills to ourselves 8) After a quick refuel, we headed on up. Although still uphill, the going was much easier here.

Creag Mhor ahead
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Looking ahead to the now impressive looking ridge up to the summit of Creag Mhor, we decided that crampons would be sensible. We headed for a big rock and set about getting them on. Always up for a laugh I also stuck my GoPro on my head and off we went.

Beast...
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Crampon-ing up
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What followed was 35 minutes of very very tough ascent. :shock: Huffing and puffing my way to the top, I realised that I couldn't stop or the video would make me look like a wuss, so I powered on up, over false summit after false summit. Eventually I made it. The views were stunning 8)

Who let this one out the asylum?! :lol:
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Equally silly...wasn't sure which one I liked best :lol:
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Heasgarnich from Creag Mhor
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It was far too cold to hang around so after the obligatory summit photos, we checked the map and headed off the other side of the summit. We followed the ridge down towards Meall Tionail before heading round towards the bealach between Creag Mhor and Beinn Heagarnich. We stopped on a rock in the sun for a sandwich and enjoyed the views, including this one of the reason you can't take the direct route between these two hills!
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Enjoying a sandwich
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Looking ahead of us, we could see our route up Beinn Heasgarnich; Sron Tairbh. The Sron Mark II :shock:
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It looked knackering :crazy: But we couldn't avoid it any longer. We tried to plan our route up it before making our way to the bealach and setting about it.

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To start with it was 'steep but ok' but before long it became 'very steep but just about OK' before progressing to a full on 'how the hell am I supposed to get up that?!' :shock: The weather had started to close in too; the wind was blowing, it was snowing and the visibility had gone downhill fast.

A moment of clarity - looking out to the Orchy hills
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I found a very cool bit of ice and decided to see how effective my crampons were by walking across it.... Fortunately crampons are super awesome and I was fine! :lol:
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Looking back down :shock:
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We finally reached the top of Sron Tairbh, continued on up to Stob an Fhir-Bhogha and then the long but mercifully fairly flat summit ridge up to the summit was just about visible. The snow visibility was not good and there was a fair amount of tripping and near misses due to this, as well as tired legs!
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I eventually made it to the top of Beinn Heasgarnich.
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We didn't feel like hanging around so snapped a few photos and made a hasty retreat, but not before a slight disagreement about which direction to go in... The dispute quickly resolved, we headed back the way we had come before turning off downhill, gently at first, heading down a ridge and over another bump.

Sun in the distance
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But then the slopes steepened significantly :shock: Unable to really see what the snow was like, we went pretty warily at first, including some very steep snow that we traversed across.

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We realised that, despite appearances, the snow was actually nice and soft. We enjoyed the ease of descending in soft snow as the feeling of sinking into it with the security of crampons was very welcome by this point! Looking back we were astonished at how steep it looked behind us, but were also very glad that we were on our way down as the weather was looking increasingly nasty further up. :shock:

Eventually we came out of the snow and had a pause to lose crampons and some layers as we were getting pretty warm again. Crossing the Allt Bad Odhar, we traversed round the base of a boggy Creagan Fhearchair to meet the track as it rose from the dam. All that remained was a long march along the track back to the car. Fortunately much of the ice had melted, although this had the effect of more puddles to fall in :lol:

Eventually we made it back down the zig zags, enjoying some atmospheric shots back down the valley:
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And finally back to the car, which was a very welcome sight! We always knew that these two were going to be a long day, and were very glad to have come out of it with smiles on our faces and dry feet! :D

I had a go at editing the video footage. It's not very impressive but the views are awesome.
VIDEO
Last edited by Jaxter on Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:34 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby Borderhugh » Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:41 pm

Another epic day and a great read Jackie. :clap: 2 sunny sundays on the trot. Wow!

That slog and the accompanying expletives going up the Sron and CM and the day will stay with me forever!

It was good test of our fitness for longer days in the hills. Roll on summer and more epic mountain days!
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby dav2930 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:32 pm

A big day for winter, well done :clap: Plenty of smiles there, looked like you had a great time!
I did exactly the same walk in almost identical conditions and weather back in Feb 2009; everything about it was great except the fact that I'd left my packed lunch back at Wigwams, Tyndrum! :roll: Fortunately I did have my flask of coffee, which sufficed. :lol:
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby Guinessman » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:11 pm

Another great and enjoyable trip report Jaxter. I'm planning doing these two this Sunday, I've got three days spare, so I am going up in my campervan. Can I ask, is the parking area decent?
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby rockhopper » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:22 pm

cracking day for it even if it did cloud over a bit later on - well done - great photos and good to see you saw a lot more than me on these hills :roll: - cheers
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby Scotjamie » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:41 pm

Nicely done both of you. Will follow same instructions when I come to do these
Great pics and enjoyable read :clap:
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby Jaxter » Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:01 pm

Anyone interested, I've edited together some of the video footage here :wink:

Borderhugh wrote:Another epic day and a great read Jackie. :clap: 2 sunny sundays on the trot. Wow!

That slog and the accompanying expletives going up the Sron and CM and the day will stay with me forever!

It was good test of our fitness for longer days in the hills. Roll on summer and more epic mountain days!

I knoooow aren't we lucky!! Roll on the next adventure. I can't wait :D :D :D


dav2930 wrote:A big day for winter, well done :clap: Plenty of smiles there, looked like you had a great time!
I did exactly the same walk in almost identical conditions and weather back in Feb 2009; everything about it was great except the fact that I'd left my packed lunch back at Wigwams, Tyndrum! :roll: Fortunately I did have my flask of coffee, which sufficed. :lol:

Oh no!!! Disaster :shock: :shock: I would have been so cranky without my food :lol:


Guinessman wrote:Another great and enjoyable trip report Jaxter. I'm planning doing these two this Sunday, I've got three days spare, so I am going up in my campervan. Can I ask, is the parking area decent?

Nice one - hope the weather stays good for you :roll: The parking area seemed fine, plenty of space - no-one else to be seen when we were there! Only a welcoming committee of sheep up the track :lol:


rockhopper wrote:cracking day for it even if it did cloud over a bit later on - well done - great photos and good to see you saw a lot more than me on these hills :roll: - cheers

I think we are the rare few that had a good day on these hills :lol: Can imagine it being an awful slog in bad conditions :shock:


Scotjamie wrote:Nicely done both of you. Will follow same instructions when I come to do these
Great pics and enjoyable read :clap:

Thanks - hope you get the weather!! :thumbup:
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby basscadet » Thu Mar 10, 2016 1:56 pm

Aye epic stuff.. These really are bu**ers! :clap:
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby jamesb63 » Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:18 pm

Very nice report :clap: :clap: hope to get these 2 done soon myself
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby Petr Dakota » Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:03 am

Well done both of you again and good idea from Hugh to stop for the first shot :clap: :D :wink:
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby Wanderlust7 » Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:07 pm

Well done guys I enjoyed your report and done these 2 a few days later so I am just starting my own report, a great set of hills this time of year and thankfully no bogs at all. I took a different way back from you. Again congrats on a tough day out.
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby ancancha » Sat Mar 12, 2016 1:30 pm

It's a very long hike into these two :!:
I cheated during the summer and biker hiked it :lol:
Fabulous fun though 8)
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby Jaxter » Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:42 pm

Thanks everyone!

ancancha wrote:It's a very long hike into these two :!:
I cheated during the summer and biker hiked it :lol:
Fabulous fun though 8)


We were thinking about biking it but would've been a pain with all the gates, and given the state of the road it would have been slow going :shock: Did you go down the low road?
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby ancancha » Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:58 pm

Jaxter wrote:Thanks everyone!

ancancha wrote:It's a very long hike into these two :!:
I cheated during the summer and biker hiked it :lol:
Fabulous fun though 8)


We were thinking about biking it but would've been a pain with all the gates, and given the state of the road it would have been slow going :shock: Did you go down the low road?


Think I took the same road as you; there were a lot of gates :roll:
my report
If I didn't have the bike I would have liked to have walked off the end Heasgarnich direct to the road using the WH route or variation, but I had a fun day anyway :D
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Re: Conquering the demons in Glen Lochay

Postby Jaxter » Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:40 am

ancancha wrote:
Jaxter wrote:Thanks everyone!

ancancha wrote:It's a very long hike into these two :!:
I cheated during the summer and biker hiked it :lol:
Fabulous fun though 8)


We were thinking about biking it but would've been a pain with all the gates, and given the state of the road it would have been slow going :shock: Did you go down the low road?


Think I took the same road as you; there were a lot of gates :roll:
my report
If I didn't have the bike I would have liked to have walked off the end Heasgarnich direct to the road using the WH route or variation, but I had a fun day anyway :D


Ah yes, just read through yours - looks like you had a great day! So different seeing it without the snow :lol: good effort cycling up that hill! :clap:
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