walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Carn Ban - tour de midge

Carn Ban - tour de midge


Postby BlackPanther » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:49 pm

Route description: Carn Ban via Strath Vaich

Corbetts included on this walk: Carn Ban

Date walked: 24/07/2016

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 44 km

Ascent: 1079m

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

All right, here we go!
A week of hillwalking, one I was looking forward too. The dream was to bag Foinaven and maybe finish off the Cairngorm Munros (3 left) but sadly, weather was far too capricious and we had to suffice with a few easier routes. We still managed 4 new Munros, 3 Corbetts and 3 Grahams, used bikes a couple of times, got soaked, midge-bitten, bruised and exhausted, but isn't that what hillwalking is about?

Our first trip (Sunday, 24th of June) was a local Corbett, Carn Ban. The world "local" may suggest it was an easy quickie in the neighbourhood, but nothing more misleading. This hill is situated in the middle of Alladale Estate, 20km away from the nearest public road. Very awkward to get to if you want to do it in a single day. Luckily, one can cycle either from Glencalvie (east) or Black Bridge (south). We chose the latter as it was much closer to home and much easier to drive to with bikes attached to the car.
As I underlined many times before, I'm a rubbish cyclist, especially when it comes to stony mountain tracks and steep uphills. Biking is fine on tarmac and downhill :lol: :lol: anything else is suffering for me. But in case of Carn Ban, there was no other option. Yes, it's a walkable distance, just about, but it would take us ages, so bikes came out of the shed.
Our route:

Track_CARN BAN 24-07-16.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


We have walked that track about 2/3 way up along Loch Vaich, when we did Beinn a Chaisteil a couple of years back so we knew what was to come. Most cyclists would regard this track as very good, for me it was a C- on a scale from A to F. Ironically, a few days later I had even worse experience on the track to Fhidhleir and Sgarsoach, but that's a story for another day.
Back to Carn Ban, Kevin joked it should be re-named CAR BAN, no cars allowed nearby :lol: Poor Black Arrow had to stay by Black Bridge :( At least they share a name :lol:
DSCF6395.JPG

Just before leaving home, Kevin discovered that his bike had a flat tyre, he had to quickly change the tube, which left us with no spare in case of a puncture. We packed in a repair-kit and prayed that we didn't have any nasty accident along the way.
DSCF6397.JPG

There were a few midges buzzing around when we prepared for cycling, but not too bad at the moment. We were more concerned about encountering rain on the way, as the morning looked rather cloudy and forecast suggested more unfriendly weather pushing in from the south-west in the afternoon. So far, most cloud was above the summits, but who knows what may happen as the day develops.
DSCF6396.JPG

We hopped on the bikes and rushed up the track. The first 3km or so were easy on the tarmac road, but once past Lubriach farm, we turned onto less friendly terrain. My teeth chattered and my head wobbled as we cycled, midges were getting worse and we had to stop at some point to apply repellent. Tour de Midge - I thought with a good dollop of sarcasm, but didn't dare complaining. Kevin is a keen cyclist and I just didn't want to bee seen as a weak, moody woman.
We reached the crossroads by the small dam, and of course, we were so busy waving midges away, that we took the wrong track, the one up Meallan Donn. Thankfully, we realized our mistake after a few hundred meters.
Turn right here:
DSCF6401.JPG

At this point the track improved and cycling would be pleasant but for the black army, which was getting worse and worse. I think all midges from the Highlands got the news about our little trip by now, judging by the black swarms over our heads...
Looking good for cycling:
DSCF6403.JPG

The morning cloud was lifting now and most hills were clag-free, the day was still sad and gray though... Even Loch Vaich looked sad:
DSCF6410.JPG

As we continued along the loch, the track was a bit too bumpy for my taste, with lots of little ups and downs, well, at least it kept me entertained :lol: :lol: We pushed on and after a couple of hours of shaking, jumping and teeth chattering, we reached the bridge in Gleann Beag. For me it was a relief. I was now back to what I liked best, walking on my own two feet! Little did I realize, that by the end of the day my boots would be two swimming pools. Ha ha ha.
The bridge and the steep slopes of Meall a'Chaorainn:
DSCF6413.JPG

The track continues up the glen and one can cycle up a bit further to climb Carn Ban via its 823m top, but we decided to go straight up from the crossroads. Weather was still holding at the moment:
DSCF6412.JPG

Our route goes up this bumpy slope. There is a track to a little dam to start with, but it doesn't go very far up:
DSCF6414.JPG

Getting ready for the walking part:
DSCF6415.JPG

Zoom to Beinn Dearg:
DSCF6418.JPG

From the top of the dam track we climbed up the heathery slopes, soon we came across a zig-zagging stalkers path. It was wet most of the time, in places more a boggy ditch than a path, but in case of this remote mountain, it was still better than expected.
View down to Gleann Beag:
DSCF6422.JPG

The path is marked on 1-25k map as going up to 700m, but we got fed up with it as soon as we emerged on the flatter ground and headed straight across the peat-haggy ground. To be regretted by me later on, as my summer boots turned out to be as leaky as a rusty chamber-pot :lol: .
Too many peat hags to my taste, but weather still holding!
DSCF6427.JPG

We climbed up another steeper section to the flat shoulder of Tuill na Gainimh...
DSCF6443.JPG

...and from there, up another peat-haggy area to the col between the Corbett's two lower tops (823 and 838m, no names). At this moment, weather started to show the first signs of breaking, cloud descended on Beinn Dearg:
DSCF6430.JPG

Looking back south, Loch Vaich in the middle, Castle Hill to the left:
DSCF6435.JPG

Castle Hill and Meall a'Chaorainn:
DSCF6436.JPG

Just below the summit of the middle top, we noticed a nasty-looking shower charging towards us from the east, so we stopped to waterproof ourselves and to take a few photos as long as we had any views at all.
It's coming! Brace up!
DSCF6454.JPG

Me, Lucy and Beinn Dearg:
DSCF6453.JPG

View north-west:
DSCF6463.JPG

Yes, weather was definitively taking a turn for worse:
DSCF6448.JPG

The crags of Seana Bhraigh:
DSCF6458.JPG

Just before the rain arrived, we caught a glimpse of Ben Mor Coigach...
DSCF6452.JPG

...but the rest of the way to the very summit was a viewless experience. At least there was a vague path:
DSCF6456.JPG

Over the 838m top, we reached the summit eventually. The rain was hardly more than a drizzle, but the cloud was thick and milky. We waited by the cairn for a while, munching snacks and hoping for the clag to disperse, but nada.
Kevin posing by the cairn:
DSCF6468.JPG

On the way back, we could have taken the route over the southernmost top, but as the cloud was now down to about 750m, we decided we couldn't be bothered and retraced our steps across the peat hags, to the stalkers path. We actually found its "upper end" on the way down, and most of the time we had to walk on the heather alongside the path, it was more a stream/ditch full of wet moss.
Surprisingly, midges didn't bother us a lot during the "walking" part of this route (there was a good breeze on higher ground), but as soon as we started the final descent to our bikes, they attacked us with double appetite for our blood. We quickly prepared the bikes, jumped on and started the long cycle back to Black Bridge. My boots were making squelchy sounds as I pushed the pedals, making me laugh sarcastically, even more so every time I thought about "Tour the Midge" :lol: :lol: Here we go, that's Scotland for you, BP!
We returned to the car park midge-bitten and wet, but in surprisingly good mood. I was just happy that the whole experience was over, to be honest :lol:
........
Shame we didn't see the views from the summit, but with current weather, I'm glad we at least got a half-decent day. Will I be returning to this Corbett? Sincerely doubt it. Might suffer up this track again to climb the two Alladale Grahams next to it, but not this year. Once a year into Alladale is more than enough :lol: :lol:
.........
There's more to come from me, a whole 5 new TR's, but most of them in rather cloudy conditions. :( For some walks (as the one described above) we didn't bother taking the heavy bridge camera, so photos were snapped with my little pocket compact. Not as good and sharp, but when everything around you is gray and dark-ish, it really makes little difference.
Last edited by BlackPanther on Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3547
Munros:260   Corbetts:165
Grahams:114   
Sub 2000:49   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Carn Ban - tour de midge

Postby jamesb63 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:55 pm

Brilliant in depth report BP ive not done any hills in this area something I hope to rectify asap
great selection of pics aswell, More important it looks like your knee is holding up well :clap:
look forward to more TRs :D
User avatar
jamesb63
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 397
Munros:218   Corbetts:2
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Apr 14, 2015
Location: Alexandria

Re: Carn Ban - tour de midge

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:37 pm

jamesb63 wrote:Brilliant in depth report BP ive not done any hills in this area something I hope to rectify asap
great selection of pics aswell, More important it looks like your knee is holding up well :clap:
look forward to more TRs :D


Thanx a lot, I didn't have much choice of photos, we didn't really take very many, the ones we took should tell the story well (apart from midges, they are too small to be seen :lol: ). I'm sure you will love this area, Beinn Dearg circuit is great, Seana Bhraigh and Castle Hill, too :D

My knee is holding most of the time, still gets a bit achy and stiff after very long walks. We're thinking about Lurg Mhor and Cheescake now, another 40+km walk, hopefully the knee will last through it...
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3547
Munros:260   Corbetts:165
Grahams:114   
Sub 2000:49   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Carn Ban - tour de midge

Postby Sick Kid » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:00 pm

I remember the midges being horrendous when we camped near Alladale Lodge, I remember the air being like midge soup :?
Good on you going all that way for one Corbett, we squeezed as many hills in as possible so we wouldn't have to go back :wink:
User avatar
Sick Kid
Walker
 
Posts: 534
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:351   Hewitts:26
Wainwrights:13   
Joined: Dec 2, 2013
Location: Sunny Gourock by the sea!

Re: Carn Ban - tour de midge

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:22 pm

Sick Kid wrote:I remember the midges being horrendous when we camped near Alladale Lodge, I remember the air being like midge soup :?
Good on you going all that way for one Corbett, we squeezed as many hills in as possible so we wouldn't have to go back :wink:


This was actually the last higher hill in this area, now we only have 3 odd Grahams to do, one (Carn Salachaidh) I'm saving for winter. I guess we won't be tempted to wildcamp here in the future... Midge soup doesn't sound inviting :lol:
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3547
Munros:260   Corbetts:165
Grahams:114   
Sub 2000:49   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Carn Ban - tour de midge

Postby dogplodder » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:26 pm

Sounds a trial of endurance that one. You two are hard core right enough. :lol:
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3759
Munros:232   Corbetts:57
Grahams:17   
Sub 2000:25   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:9   Islands:23
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: Carn Ban - tour de midge

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:34 pm

dogplodder wrote:Sounds a trial of endurance that one. You two are hard core right enough. :lol:


I admit, it was quite painful... but wait till my Fhidleir/Sgarsoach report. Carn Ban seems an easy stroll compare to that :lol:
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3547
Munros:260   Corbetts:165
Grahams:114   
Sub 2000:49   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).




Walkhighlands community forum is advert free


Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Dave McG and 77 guests