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Barcaldine Trio Vs Glencoe Duo

Barcaldine Trio Vs Glencoe Duo

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Sep 18, 2016 8:58 pm

Fionas included on this walk: Beinn Bhreac (Loch Creran), Beinn Mheadhonach, Beinn Molurgainn, Meall Mór (Glencoe), Sgòrr a' Choise

Date walked: 18/09/2016

Time taken: 13.75 hours

Distance: 33.2 km

Ascent: 2760m

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I was on duty during the day on Friday, so needed a venue which didn't take too long to drive to after work. I remembered the three Grahams at Barcaldine were a neat little round - a stay at the walled garden campsite at Barcaldine would be convenient. Plus we could drive back via Glencoe on Sunday and pick off Sgurr a'Choise and Meall Mor, giving a tally of 5 for the weekend. Nice work in principle. An uneventful drive up Oban way - some sunshine, some showers. It was pleasant and dry when we got to the campsite and were able to sit outside eating our tea as the midges were scarce. Result!

morlurgan3.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Drove the 5 miles along the Bonawe road to the starting point - there's a bulldozed hollow as the road turns round to the right at the River Estragan that suits to leave a car, maybe 2. Through the gate across the road and up a track - initially gravelled then becoming a slightly soggy ATV track. This leads steadily up Beinn Bhreac. Clag was down, obscuring the summit of our third hill, Beinn Mheadhonach over to the right. There's a large cairn at the summit, but this isn't the Graham, only a Simm. For the Graham you need to continue on half a km then follow the ridgeline right, heading for the 726m spot height of Mam Hael. Down to the right is the line of travel to nearby Beinn Morlurgainn, to the left lies Creach Bheinn. I did swither about nipping up - it's only a kilometre - but I thought that would be pushing it a bit - Corbett second round isn't on the drawing board yet :lol:

ImageDSC01691 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Bhreac
ImageDSC01693 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01694 by Al, on Flickr

Looking towards Oban
ImageDSC01696 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Mam Hael
ImageDSC01700 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01701 by Al, on Flickr

Descent line
ImageDSC01703 by Al, on Flickr

We followed the curve of Mam Hael round to the bealach with Morlurgainn and set off up the grassy slopes - easy going on short grass and heather. Reaching the top there's a cleft to be descended into and climbed out of before the summit is reached. We paused for lunch and looked across at the undulating terrain heading across to Mheadhonach. The cloud was starting to lift which gave cheer.

ImageDSC01705 by Al, on Flickr

Mam Hael, Creach Beinn
ImageDSC01709 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Morlurgainn
ImageDSC01711 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01712 by Al, on Flickr

Looking to Mheadhonach
ImageDSC01713 by Al, on Flickr

A steepish descent SE towards Meall Dearg - we saw several large groups of deer who made haste towards Loch Etive. As we walked on we could see the the mountains across the Loch - Stob Dubh then the Starav Hills - Starav looking particularly impressive with its great rock prow poking upwards. A glance up north revealed the long outline of Beinn Sgulaird. We continued on to Meall Biorach and looked upwards at the steep and rocky route towards to summit of Mheadhonach. Allison was keen to try some scrambling up one of the rocky outcrops. It was hot work, made worse by a sudden ked attack - horrendous things, burrowing into my beard hair.

Meall Dearg
ImageDSC01714 by Al, on Flickr

Stob Dubh
ImageDSC01715 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01716 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01718 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Etive, Starav
ImageDSC01719 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01720 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01722 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01723 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01725 by Al, on Flickr

Stob Gabhar
ImageDSC01727 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01731 by Al, on Flickr

View up to Glencoe
ImageDSC01730 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01734 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01735 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Mheadhonach
ImageDSC01736 by Al, on Flickr

We reached the summit and enjoyed lovely views over to the Firth of Lorn before heading easily down westward for the 619m point then continuing on to the 387m height - getting slightly lost when I took over navigating from Allison. From here the descent steepened and took considerably longer than I'd imagined it was going to. There's a gorge in which the River Estragan runs, so either cross this high up, or head left for Inversragan, which we did. Descending steeply through ferns, we headed for a set of fields, the middle of which has a gate opening on the road. We stopped to pick brambles for the morning porridge before continuing up the 130m rise back to the car :( At least it was sunny.

ImageDSC01738 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01739 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01741 by Al, on Flickr

Knotgrass Moth Caterpillar
ImageDSC01743 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01746 by Al, on Flickr

Back at the campsite I made the tea and we had a pleasant evening sitting out before dusk drove us under cover. Dry overnight - such a boon to be able to put the tent away dry and clean. We packed up and set off along the road for Ballachulich. Sunshine and blue skies - we knew it wouldn't last - the forecast being for showers in the forenoon and heavy rain thereafter. But it was a pleasant change to set off in the warmth of a sunny morning.

mealmor2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Our route took us along past the school and headed along the track into Gleann an Fhiodh. The mighty shape of Sgorr Dearg dominated the skyline to our right as we wandered along easily. We could see Sgurr a'Choise and Meall Mor up ahead, with a rather significant looking drop between them. We crossed a couple of streams and walked further into the glen until we reached a cairn marker, then turned left to cross the River Laroch. We spotted another couple up of the slopes of Sgurr a'Choise - other people on a Graham???

Sgorr Dearg
ImageDSC01747 by Al, on Flickr

Our hills for the day
ImageDSC01748 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01752 by Al, on Flickr

The river crossing was fine, on stepping stones and we set off up the steepish hillside, following a faint path / deer tracks to reach a col about halfway along the back of a'Choise. We caught up with the other folk and continued easily along the back of the hill, which was rock interspersed with grass/heather. As we progressed the ridge narrowed somewhat to the summit. We stopped for lunch, surveying the sweep down to Meall a'Bhuige and further on to Meall Mor. The clouds came down, it drizzled on and off.

River crossing
ImageDSC01753 by Al, on Flickr

View back along the glen
ImageDSC01754 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01755 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01758 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01760 by Al, on Flickr

We followed a path from the summit to a gate in the deer fence then set off up the southern shoulder of Meall Mor. This proved easier going than either of us were expecting, given the steep profile of this hill when viewed from the Glencoe road. To our right, Meall Lighiche and Sgurr na h-Ulaidh disappeared into mist, to the left the fearsome walls of Bidean nam Bian rose into cloud.

Descent route
ImageDSC01761 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01763 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na h-Ulaidh/ Meall Ligichte
ImageDSC01764 by Al, on Flickr

Looking back on Sgurr a'Choise...
ImageDSC01766 by Al, on Flickr

...a shapely hill
ImageDSC01767 by Al, on Flickr

Summit to the L
ImageDSC01769 by Al, on Flickr

We made the summit then retraced our steps to head down the NW shoulder. The map shows forestry plantations but fortunately these have been cleared and the going was easier as a result. We made for a gate in the deer fence then continued on to Am Meall, with the transmitter mast atop. So far, so good. The clag was really down now and made navigating a little challenging - particularly as I'd misread the route instructions in the SMC Grahams book. We were to follow a fence line then head to the south of the quarry, but I'd plotted a route that followed a diffenent fence and went to the north of the quarry. Let's just say that what's shown as clear hillside on the map is most definately not, and we struggled through trees, bushes, ferns and god knows what before finally getting back down to the road. But apart from that, a good pair of hills.

A "halfway" celebration - should have been on the previous summit :roll:
ImageDSC01770 by Al, on Flickr

Am Meall
ImageDSC01772 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01773 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01775 by Al, on Flickr

Allegedly clear hillside
ImageDSC01777 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01780 by Al, on Flickr

Allison also made it halfway through her Grahams - not on Meall Mor as we thought at the time, but on the earlier summit of Sgurr a'Choise.
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