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Spring wanderings

Spring wanderings


Postby Guinessman » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:00 pm

Munros included on this walk: An Sgarsoch, Beinn Bhuidhe, Carn an Fhidhleir (Carn Ealar), Derry Cairngorm, Maoile Lunndaidh, Moruisg, Ruadh Stac Mor

Date walked: 17/04/2016

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Saturday 2nd April

Had great plans for this years April blitz of the Munros as I am aiming to compleat this year. Unfortunately the weather by and large hasn't played ball and I think compleating will take a bit longer than planned. Had driven up on the Friday night and slept in the van in a tree covered lay by overlooking Mar lodge on the road to the Linn of Dee. The target was An Sgarsoch. I had been on Carn Ealar in a May 2013 backpack but had missed out on its partner due to tiredness. I had brought the bike this time, the first time I've used a bike on the Scottish hills. Set off from the Linn of Dee car park around 8.30hrs on the bike. The first thing you notice is that the biking is hard work, its not like the perfectly flat manicured Sustrans tracks that I'm used to at home and I ended up pushing a few of the newly laid sections. Got to the ford to Geldie lodge around 9.50hrs and put the bike wheel into the water. Didn't fancy the strength/depth of the water so it was boots off by the fenced area for a cold crossing. I chained the bike to the fencing and set off, initially going on an ATV track opposite Geldie lodge to a spot height and then cutting over boggy ground to the snow covered shoulder of an Sgarsoch before going up to the summit, taking about 2hrs. From there its a 1000ft heathery drop on decent tracks into the boggy col and I then tracked up the shoulder and onto Carn Ealar. The descent path drops northwards and then tracks pathless over boggy ground to reach the estate track that takes you back to Geldie lodge. Its a surprisingly long return to the lodge. Back to the bike and then a return to Linn of Dee on the bike standing up most of the time on the rough track.



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Sunday 3rd April

Had slept overnight in the Linn Of Dee car park intending to Derry Cairngorm on the Sunday. The forecast was not good with snow showers and low cloud forecast. Derry Cairngorm is on of those hills that I had a nagging doubt in my mind. I've been on Macdhui countless times and backpacked through the area several times and I think I did Derry Cairngorm back in the early 80,s but wasn't sure so I intended to repeat it. Cycled up to Derry lodge in 25 minutes. Walking normally takes me an hour to get there. Chained the bike to the new bridge and set off up the path through the woods, quickly getting into the clag on Carn Crom. Wasn't able to take any photographs until later in the day. Continued on over snow covered tracks over the spot height of 1040mtr and onto the summit of Derry Cairngorm. Clouds did clear very briefly overhead showing blue skies but lasted seconds. I then retraced my footsteps to the spot height and thought I could retrace the path back to Carn crom. I didn't take a bearing and quickly lost the route back. I was unconcerned as its a bit of a linear mountain and I knew from the direction the wind was blowing that I was walking in the right direction. After a short while without trace of the path I took a bearing and it was at that point that I became dissatisfied with the compass. It was unable to function unless you held it dead level and at one point was pointing me in totally the wrong direction. I knew that the Sron Riach path lay off to my right so rather than follow the compass which would have taking me back to Derry Cairngorm and rather searching for the path in the clag I dropped down to the right over steep heathery ground and down to the Sron Riach path and back to Derry Lodge returning to the bike and back to the Lin Of Dee. Slept that night in a lay by up by the road to Glenshee. Next day was horrible with low cloud, rain and winds so I drove around to Fort William to give me options for the next day. As it turned out the next day was crap with 3 days bad weather forecast so I came home


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Tuesday 12th April

Still aching for a return for some unfinished business I drove up On Monday night and parked in the walkers car park at the head of Loch Fyne. I had done Beinn Bhuidhe last year but it had been a foul day. I opted to do it again as I could use the bike again and it was a relatively shorter drive up the Glasgow area for the previous evening. Cycled up the glen passing the highland cows as I did so and locked up the bike at the gate before walking onto the old hut. I was aware of the hydro track but opted for this route as it a longer cycle. Took the steep path up the gorge and then cross the open ground picking an untracked gulley to ascend to the top. There was snow on the final shoulder which was easily bypassed to the top. I was quite impressed by the summit and ridge, not what I was expecting and certainly hadn't seen last year. Rather than continuing down the WH route I continued on to the spot height 901m and then down its Eastern shoulder to reach the hydro track and then dropped down the gorge path back to the bike. Drove that night to Fort William as I wanted to do some Kintail hills the next day. Slept in the NF car park that night.






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Wednesday 13th april

The next morning was cloudy but dry around the FW area. There's nothing I need to do around that area so, as intended I drove to Kintail, aware that the forecast said it was better NW. Got to the Claunie in the middle of a storm where I couldn't even open the van door. Sat for 10 mins to see if was going to blow through and then decided that if I was going to Maiolle Lunndaidh the next day ,that I might as well drive a bit further north, so I continued on through Strathcarron to check out the start of the Attadale track To Lurg Mhor and "Cheescake". The weather was fine in Strathcarron but it was too late in the day to start my planned routes here so I drove around to Torridon to do a "safe" bet to the triple buttress and onto Ruadh- Stac Mor which I have done a few times. Set off at 1pm and walked quickly around to the Coire. The weather had dried up, but remained cloudy and overcast. Continued on to the back of the coire and went up the scree to the left where a path zig zags through the scree, then followed a sloping shelf before crossing the snow filled gully and ascending the rocks to the right. From there it was simply a case of following the path to the top. The clouds cleared briefly. I had considered going onto the second munro and descending but it had its head in the clouds so I descended my route of ascent and back to the van.


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Thursday 14th April

That night I had slept in the railway car park at Achnasheen. I awoke the next morning to brilliant sunshine and a cloudless sky. Drove the van around to Craig and parked up in the wooded car park. Got the bike out and was away at 08.30, starting to cycle down the to the bridge where you cut left up into the upper glen towards Glenuaig. The initial ascent is steep for cycling and I ended up pushing until the track starts to level out. From there its an easy cycle all the way up Glenuaig lodge and the shelter lodge. I was surprised that it had only taken 1hr 20 mins to cycle in. Got a chair out of the hut and sat in the sun for 20 mins whilst I got sorted and had a second breakfast, leaving the hut at 10.10hrs. Took the estate track from the hut down to the river then crossed trackless boggy ground until I got above the waterfalls coming out of the upper corrie. From there it was a simple cross over to the ground leading to the upper shoulder, where I found a path, and up onto Maoille Lunndaidh and up to the summit. At that top I could see across to the middle cairn which looked higher, though the map says not, so I went there as well. Looking across to Moruisg I could see a great zig zag path going from right behind the shelter hut which lead quite high to the flatter areas leading to the summit. I was intending doing Moruisg the day after but had seen the slopes from Strathcarron and didn't fancy them at all, this seemed a much better option, time dependent. I was on the summit of Maoille Lunndaidh at 12.10hrs and back to the hut at 2pm. Coming down I did follow a path which tacked the waterfall on its east bank before going over the trackless ground. I think I preferred my route. Back at the hut I decided to tackle Moruisg and went up the superb zig zag stalkers track from behind the hut gaining around 1200ft in about 45mins. Before going on over the final slopes of Moruisg to the top. Again there are two cairns, with seemingly nothing between them height wise, so I did both. I then returned via the same route to the bike. If anybody is going this way I would thoroughly recommend it as a route. Cycled out taking only 50 mins to return. On the way out I met the first person I had seen all day, a solo female backpacker camping out overnight. My watch was a casualty of the return, a couple of pins falling out due to the rough track



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Drove round that night to Kinlochewe and slept in the car park at Incheril as I intend to make use of it come May. Short trips and not what I had planned but the total is slowly coming on. Hope I get them done before I get sick of driving along the A9
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Guinessman
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Re: Spring wanderings

Postby rockhopper » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:15 pm

Well done - you don't give up easily ! Enjoyed that - brightened up my lunch break. Pity about the poorer earlier weather but glad to see you got a good result in the end - cheers :)
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Re: Spring wanderings

Postby Jaxter » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:24 pm

The weather is a bugger isn't it, imagine if you'd been up this week!! :roll: 8) :lol:

Glad you at least got some good weather and some nice days though :clap: :thumbup:
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Re: Spring wanderings

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Apr 21, 2016 2:25 pm

Some nice hills in that lot, seems you made the most of the breaks in the weather.
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Re: Spring wanderings

Postby Guinessman » Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:32 pm

rockhopper wrote:Well done - you don't give up easily ! Enjoyed that - brightened up my lunch break. Pity about the poorer earlier weather but glad to see you got a good result in the end - cheers :)


thanks for that

Jaxter wrote:The weather is a bugger isn't it, imagine if you'd been up this week!! :roll: 8) :lol:

Glad you at least got some good weather and some nice days though :clap: :thumbup:


It certainly was a bugger, perhaps MWIS should include that, it would save a lot of research! :clap:

Mal Grey wrote:Some nice hills in that lot, seems you made the most of the breaks in the weather.


Certainly did.
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Guinessman
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Re: Spring wanderings

Postby dav2930 » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:51 pm

Great report & pics GM. You got some good ones done there despite being unlucky with the weather. :clap:
I'm hoping to get up to the Lunndaidh and cheesecake ones in June this year - might camp somewhere around Pollan Buidhe or maybe nearer that hut you visited.

Guinessman wrote: Got a chair out of the hut and sat in the sun for 20 mins whilst I got sorted and had a second breakfast...

You sound like any one of the characters in The Magic Mountain :lol:
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Re: Spring wanderings

Postby litljortindan » Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:14 pm

Hope your van is comfy to sleep in! Certainly getting plenty use out of it.
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