see part 1)(
We awoke in the Bothy and felt pretty good, having had a good 10 hour kip so I got dressed and went outside to check out the late morning view up Feith Uaine Beag towards Carn a'Chlamain summit:
20160727_121135 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Iain outside the Tarf Hotel/Feith Uaine Bothy which is impressive and in good condition:
20160727_121151 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
An Sgarsoch to the north:
20160727_121155 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Sign on the front door:
20160727_121801 DSCF6927 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We tidied up, packed our bags, had a Jetboil coffee and brekkie bar and discussed our options for day 2 of our adventure. We'd stick to the plan for now, head along Tarf Water, ascend Beinn Mheadhonach, continue on to Beinn Dearg and at that point would decide if we had time to head back to the van or just stay in Allt Sheicheachan Bothy for the extra night. Already we were thinking "lets just blast this" following our less than ideal start the day before.
Leaving behind our accommodation for the night:
20160727_122418 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We head off to the west and follow Tarf Water which was easy to navigate along the bank and the reason we chose this route instead of a peat bog ascent up and over:
20160727_123010 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
After a few meanders and encounters with many wee frogs, once of which was nice enough to jump on my hand and pose for a photo for Iain, we head towards Tom Liath, the smaller hill ahead, where we will take a left and cut the corner on the way to Loch Mhairc:
20160727_130322 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Looking back at our route from the Bothy:
20160727_130345 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Straight ahead then veer left:
20160727_132615 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We ascend slightly and before we know it are at Loch Mhairc:
20160727_135710 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Panorama showing Beinn Mheadhonach in the background on the far left, Beinn Dearg mid left, Loch Mhairc mid right and Iain:
20160727_135723 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ptarmigan attack! I finally catch one of the many Ptarmigan flying off after our route disturbed them unknowingly until the last possible second:
20160727_144853 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
From Loch Mhairc we follow the Feith an Lochain burn south while attempting to find a suitable place to cross in order to begin the ascent up Carn a'Chiaraidh on the way to Beinn Mheadhonach but it takes a while and on the way I manage a spectacular knee dunk in black mud. Luckily the boots, gaiters and waterproof overtrousers do their job and a quick rinse sorts things out as we have a snack break on a nice pebbled beach.
Eventually we find a suitable crossing point and make our way across and up the left side of Carn a'Chiaraidh which is fairly easy going:
20160727_144858 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Our route up to the left of the Corbett top:
20160727_145601 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We make it to the south side of the top, having negotiated even more Ptarmigan and some boulders on the way, dump our bags and look ahead to summit number 1 for the day, a wee warm-up Corbett before the big Munro. A bit more bog hopping involved but much easier ground to negotiate and at least it is cloud free!
20160727_153351 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The final ascent:
20160727_155123 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As we head up Beinn Dearg is on our right (west) with its summit still in the clouds, great...
20160727_155439 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
On the left (east) is Carn a'Chlamain, summit free of clouds unlike yesterday...
20160727_155457 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Beinn Mheadhonach has two summits with the first being the true one but we take some photos at both just to be safe, since some **** doesn't have a detailed 1:25k scale OS map on his phone...
20160727_160034 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We take advantage of a rare cloud free summit to take a few pics.
20160727_160053 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben Vrackie in the background, conquered a few months ago in much nicer conditions:
20160727_160134 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Carn a'Chlamain summit zoomed:
20160727_160156 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben Vrackie in the clouds:
20160727_160204 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Satisfied and also thinking by this point "right let's get this done then it's just a long out" we head back down towards the Corbett top and our bags, centre of the pic below, and we'll head to the left, down then back up Beinn Dearg's Corbett top Elrig'ic an Toisich before veering left for the final summit ascent:
20160727_161247 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
On the way down we get treated to a rare sight, Beinn Dearg summit! It doesn't remain clear for longer than a minute however...
20160727_161250 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
By now we're a bit hungry so decide to stop along at the rocks of Carn a'Chiaraidh to have a Jetboiled dinner, beans & sausage & meatball pasta which both went down very well. Suitably recharged we negotiate our way down then back up Elrig'ic an Toisich, both of us experts at bog-hopping now. Iain would later admit that I was dragging him round at this point but it didn't feel that way and we made decent progress.
Around now Iain also took a photo of one of the bramble-esque red flowers that we had seen everywhere and that I mentioned in the day 1 report. So it turns out these are Rubus chamaemorus (Cloudberry) and are not that easy to find apparently... not in this area of Scotland that's for sure, they are everywhere!
We pass the Corbett top and head west to climb up and find the north east path coming down from the summit. On the way we stop in our tracks... ahead and up the hill just along from the path we want is the biggest herd of deer we have ever seen, easily over 150 we reckon and we stand in awe watching them heading up into the clouds, forgetting to even take a photo as it was one of those jaw dropping moments when you can't quite believe there are than many deer out here in one big herd.
Moving on and now the cloud has found us again. Carn a'Chiaraidh and Beinn Mheadonach are in the background of this shot as the rain tries in vain to discourage us:
20160727_174231 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Viewranger again does an excellent job of keeping us going in the right direction and we find the path up Beinn Dearg, at last a path, how we have missed them! It feels like civilisation is slowly edging closer to us after our time in the wilderness:
20160727_181346 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The path of bliss heads into the clouds, where hopefully there is no sign a few hundred angry deer waiting to chase us back down...
20160727_181351 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We reach the base of the summit and continue on, getting that burst of extra energy when you know the final summit is within reach:
20160727_182009 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A familiar shot similar to the one just before the Carn a'Chlamain summit, nae view, heid in clouds:
20160727_182014 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
At last, there it is:
20160727_182637 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I nip ahead to get a triumphant summit shot of Iain ticking off yet another Munro in his quest for compleation and Iain obliges by collapsing onto the trig point!
20160727_182857 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
At least we have a partial view from the summit which is more than we expected. Looking west:
20160727_182914 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The view north and back the way we came:
20160727_182917 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
My usual summit shot...
20160727_182937 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We thoroughly enjoy our break in the wind shelter/cairn/trig combo knowing that it's all just downhill from here, easy peasy...
20160727_183016 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
...except once we get going it's clear that we have a long out back to civilisation:
20160727_184623 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Not put off and having already decided to omit the Allt Sheciheachan Bothy and head straight back to the van, we continue onward on yet another never ending path:
20160727_185249 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160727_185303 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Looking back to the north and Beinn Dearg summit pimple:
20160727_185757 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Not even a top but we feel like bagging another random cairn on the way :
20160727_185805 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It would take us about 3 hours to drag our by now painful feet (the legs were fine, think I need new boots) back down the hill:
20160727_185809 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
At this point a path through a bog seems like nirvana:
20160727_190855 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
On the way we catch site of Allt Sheicheachan Bothy down the hill, maybe some other time...
20160727_192357 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Luckily the rain would stay off for the walk out:
20160727_192853 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The road ahead:
20160727_192907 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The path as it crosses the Allt Sheicheachan:
20160727_193711 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We stop for a break and water bottle refell. As it did this time last year, our water-to-go bottles were a brilliant item of kit to have with us, saving us carrying litres of water and enabling hassle-free filter refilling from streams. Schiehallion is in the background and framed nicely, probably why this burn got its name I reckon.
I ask the wee folk for some magic dust to teleport us back to the van but with my wish going unanswered we press on:
20160727_194226 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Start of the Allt Schiecheachan:
20160727_194715 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The view south towards the Corbetts Farragon Hill and Meall Tairneachan:
20160727_195650 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Schiehallion, head permanently in clouds during this 2 day trek:
20160727_195652 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The long and winding road continues and we set legs to autopilot as we trudge our way along, Ben Vrackie edging slowly closer:
20160727_200825 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160727_202155 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
On the left Beinn Mheadhonach and the tops of Carn a'Chlamain give a brief appearance:
20160727_202241 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
At around about this point we decide to have a quick break and sitting on the path I make the schoolboy error of leaning back against the heather. Of course this just angers the wee midge buggers and they begin a sustained assault on me, leading to a frantic emptying of half the contents of my rucksack onto the path in an attempt to find my midge hat/net combo which of course was near the bottom of the bag!
We continue on towards the woods and both decide we're glad we bagged Beinn Mheadhonach as we don't plan on coming back to this area for a long time as it seems to not like us!
20160727_210724 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We reach the bliss of a main road and make the final stretch seem not too bad by remembering how much worse of a state we were in coming down off Goatfell this time a year ago! Nice farm with Castle turret:
20160727_215155 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We hear the sound of the Scouts we saw the day before having an almighty Ceilidh somewhere nearby and it turns out they are almost next to the car park which we reach at last, the Van glowing like an Angelic sanctuary and ready and willing to welcome us with open doors and unselfishly allow us to peel off our boots and socks as we down tools and feel the elation that getting off your feet after a long 2 day, 50km hike gives you:
20160727_220606 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We had done it, mission accomplished. Iain bags two more Munros in his quest, I get a day out adventuring on the hills again and we got a bonus Corbett too. The comfort of the van begins to slowly dissolve the pain as we drive back to the big smoke, triumphant in our adventure, more of Scotland explored and yet another fun tale to tell of our experience.
Once my very sore Achilles tendons recover i'll be back for another adventure some time soon...
Final Viewranger stats for day 2, overall a tough 50km covered during the two days:
Day 2 - Viewranger track by Chris Mac, on Flickr
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