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The south-east campaign: not to Far(ragon) away

The south-east campaign: not to Far(ragon) away


Postby BlackPanther » Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:19 pm

Route description: Meall Tairneachan and Farragon Hill

Corbetts included on this walk: Farragon Hill, Meall Tairneachan

Date walked: 31/07/2016

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 18 km

Ascent: 1010m

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I was keeping this route for winter, since most of it goes on a good track, but with weather bad everywhere else, I had to give up and tackle the Farragons (as I call them) in summer. Not that conditions up there resembled summer at all!

We picked Sunday for this climb because the access track goes through a working baryte mine - more about it later. One would say, these are one of the most boring Corbetts, but I didn't really feel that way, neither did Kevin. We really enjoyed this walk, despite mining equipment everywhere and 4-wheel drives going past ( one driver stopped to say hi and ask how many Corbetts have we done so far :lol: :lol: :lol: Obviously nobody visits this route except from dedicated baggers)
Currently, it's possible to park at 780562, at the start of the track leading to the mine - enough space on the side of the track for a few cars.

Track_FARRAGON 31-07-2016.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


We braced up for the boring slog up the "A9" through the forest:
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Above the tree line, we took out cameras, but not surprisingly, not much to photograph. No splendid views at the moment, cloud was down to 800m or so, all surrounding higher hills topped with clag.
Schiehallion:
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Not the best of days - looking down the track, with cloud on the horizon:
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To our consolation, the first Corbett was only a short climb up from the mine track:
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I should be getting used to views like that on this route:
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View east to Farragon hill from the highest point of the track, only 50m below the summit of Meall Tairneachan. The mine being out of sight, at the moment it looked like a nice ridge:
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We quickly climbed up the grass to the summit of Meall Tairneachan, not much effort to add another Corbett to our tally...
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With cloud low and strong winds, it wasn't the most comfortable place to take a break, not that we were tired much after marching up the track :lol: We stayed only for a few minutes to take some photos. West to Schiehallion:
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South to...a windfarm :lol: We still play this silly "wind turbine spotting" game. I get a point for each top, where we can spot a windfarm, Kevin gets a point if we can't see any. I'm so far in front now that I lost my count :wink:
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After a short break on the summit, we returned to the track and continued towards Farragon Hill. As soon as the mine came in sight, we stopped to check if it was safe to walk through. It seemed deserted, no workers, a sound of a generator but no machinery noise, we assumed it was safe to go:
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I remembered the old tin mine we visited once when in Cornwall. It was open as a tourist attraction and we could wander about the main part of it by ourselves. We were given yellow helmets (mine was too big for my head :lol: ) and electric torches. Kinda weird experience. I had also been to a big salt mine in Poland, but that was a tour with a guide so completely different. Not sure I'd want to get inside this one :? Kevin snapped a photo - and when we looked at it at home, it looks like there might be ghosts lurking inside this shaft...
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Baryte (barium sulfate) is mined for use in various industries, including paper-making, as a filler in paint and plastics, for medical applications, to make LED glass for TV screens and many others. This particular mine will almost certainly send most of its output to Aberdeen as a weighting agent for drilling fluids in oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.
We passed the mine without any problems and headed for the second Corbett. The track past the mine is mostly grassy and more pleasant to walk on.
Baryte mine from below:
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Our second target:
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To the east and north from us, weather seemed a bit better, even some sunshine over Beinn a'Ghlo:
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The track ends at the high col between Farragon Hill and the 736m top, there are various animal tracks heading for the summit, we simply aimed at the top and crossed the wet col, climbing up to Lick Hill ( :wtf: ).Now, the top was only a short walk away:
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Seems like some very peat haggy ground behind us, but we managed to avoid most of it:
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The final climb in wind and drizzle:
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Summit snap - Corbett no. 108. Not far(ragon) away from my half way point!
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We intended to have a picnic break on this summit, but it was far too windy and we were forced to hide inside a large peat hag to escape the gusts :lol: Kevin left his rucksack on the grass and went back up to take some pictures for our album. I must say, Farragon Hill is much better vantage point than Meall Tairneachan. Even in partly cloudy weather, we still appreciated the views:
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The Blair Atholl hills, Beinn a'Ghlo and Ben Vrackie, hard to believe I climbed them all!
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Zoomed Vrackie:
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Loch Tummel and cloud:
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More views from inside a peat hag :lol: :lol:
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There isn't much choice here when it comes to return route, just retrace your steps to the mine. The track can be seen zig-zagging down the slope, Lochan Lairig Laoigh to the left:
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Zoom to the mine and Meall Tairneachan:
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We took a slightly different line of descent, avoiding the boggy bottom of the col, picked the end of the track and walked back past the mine, over Meall Tairneachan and down to the car. Two more Corbetts added tot he tally, not the most exciting walk, but something different for a change.

That was the end of our main holidays, but Kevin managed to scrap a few extra days off in August, so we were looking towards it, hoping to bag Lurg Mhor and Cheescake. But it wasn't to be. We faced some really atrocious weather, wind gusts 50 or 60mph, rain, cloud, even snow showers ( :shock: :shock: :shock: ), so all dreams about overnighting on mountain summits had to be postponed for another time. We managed to crawl up 2 Grahams, 2 Corbetts and 2 Munros, most of this in half bent position. Reports to come soon :D
Last edited by BlackPanther on Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3034
Munros:246   Corbetts:147
Grahams:108   
Sub 2000:40   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: The south-east campaign: not to Far(ragon) away

Postby Yorjick » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:44 pm

The date walked appears as 18/08/2016 and it is still the 17th! Submitting your walk reports before doing the walk? :lol: Loved reading the report though, especially as I did the same route back in early July. Did you check out the Foss Bothy? Those in the Landrovers were possibly going out to or returning from the bothy that they use near the summit of Meall Tairneachan .
User avatar
Yorjick
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 174
Munros:282   Corbetts:202
Grahams:54   Donalds:10
Sub 2000:19   Hewitts:159
Wainwrights:173   
Joined: Sep 17, 2008
Location: Dornoch

Re: The south-east campaign: not to Far(ragon) away

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:02 pm

Yorjick wrote:The date walked appears as 18/08/2016 and it is still the 17th! Submitting your walk reports before doing the walk? :lol: Loved reading the report though, especially as I did the same route back in early July. Did you check out the Foss Bothy? Those in the Landrovers were possibly going out to or returning from the bothy that they use near the summit of Meall Tairneachan .


Ha ha, the dreaded interenet bug again! Not the first time the date got messed up, strange things happening on WH lately :wink: Now, where's my edit button???
It should be 31/07/2016 anyway.

We didn't even know there was a bothy up there... The guys in landrovers were actually from "Highland Safari": https://www.highlandsafaris.net/land-rover-safaris/seasonal-safaris.html
They take people up that track for photographing/wildlife watching purposes, though I wonder what kind of wildlife can one watch near the mine shaft, apart from an odd panther in woolly hat? :lol: :lol:
Cheers
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3034
Munros:246   Corbetts:147
Grahams:108   
Sub 2000:40   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

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