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Mam na Gualainn & the disappearing walkers

Mam na Gualainn & the disappearing walkers

Postby Gordon Ballantyne » Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:14 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Mam na Gualainn

Date walked: 06/10/2016

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 6.5 km

Ascent: 790m

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Left the house at 5am and drove to the starting point by Loch Leven. I'd decided to abandon the classic ascent over Beinn na Caillich due to the forecast high winds and opted for the the direct route.
Parked up at he side of the road, where a track disappears into the trees.

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I shunned this track in favour of the signposted route further west about 100m. However on the descent, I followed the track down which led directly to the car. Why is it that when you err on the conservative side it never works out - eh ?

Ballachuish horseshoe form the SROW path.jpg
Ballachuilish Horseshoe from the SROW path

Glencoe in the morning sun.jpg
Glencoe in the morning sun

Epic Ballachuilish.jpg
Epic Ballachuilish

The path led up through the trees then past a radio mast, presumably to give the Glencoe & Ballachuilish folk a signal for their phones. Someone ( Rights of way society ? ) had marked the path about every 200m with a roadside - type of marker - black & white stripes with reflective markers nat the top - red on one side and white on t-other.

The path markers.jpg
The path markers

Couldn't help thinking it was a bit of overkill !
At a point where you start thinking about leaving the path, I stopped to view the route ahead from the path, & decided that the first obvious rib looked the better terrain Headed up the fairly steep slope, so there were plenty of "viewing" stops. The sky was blue and I was sheltered from the wind. The ground had a bit more grass & heather than seen from below, so it was a wee bit softer underfoot than expected.

Near the top of the steep bit, I saw a group of 6 walkers heading up the path. They stopped for a while - obviously going through the same routine as me to pick out the best route. Anyway I'd disappeared over the first crest before I saw which route they took.
On the ridge to the summit, a fence crosses the route and some thoughtful soul had put a gate where the path intersected the fenceline. However the gate was ajar and banging around in the wind, so I recovered a bit of old tow that had been trodden into the ground, to tie the gate shut, but it broke straight away, which is probably why it had been discarded. Anyway I initiated plan B which was to sit the gate on a wee wooden stump protruding from the bottom of the strainer and jammed it shut with a spare fencepost, that I'd found lying on the ground nearby.
Having done my public service, I headed up to the summit with the wind rising all the time. On the last wee bit before the summit, I turned round and could see the following party just breasting the first crest on the ridge.
At the top it was fairly windy and when I tried to take pictures with my phone, I had trouble getting it to work properly. I put it down to my "life Field" not reaching to the tips of my cold fingers, as when I got back down out of the wind, everything worked fine ! Will have to revert to my wee camera again.
The views across to Bidean etc were stunning - equally so to the north across the Mamores and the Ben, CMD, the Aonachs and the Grey corries in all their glory.

The mamores from the summit of Gualainn.jpg
The Mamores from the summit of MnG

Pity it was so cold or I'd have stayed there for ages to soak the views in. As the following party had not arrived and I'd finished ma piece, I headed back down. When I got to the gate it was still shut as I'd left it. I puzzled and wondered where the walkers had gone. In the end I just assumed they'd stuck to the north side of the fence and we'd passed like ships in the night. Never saw them again ! A mystery !
The descent was uneventful as the ground was fairly dry and I managed to stay on my feet for a change, so no wet arse today !
Dropped into Al & Kates at Ballachuillish, but they were away, so kept on going to the hostel at Glencoe, stopping for a cuppa in the village first. Too early to check in, so drove along to the Clachaig to look up at Aonach Dubh & Clachaig gully - which still looks chossy even half a century later. The pub has fairly expanded, with a big car park, so you don't have to drive up the road to find a place to stop now !

Clachaig Gully.jpg
Clachaig Gully

Classic Aonach Dubh from Clachaig.jpg
Classic Aonach Dubh from the Clachaig Inn

Had a poignant moment that evening when reading Hamish Brown's book " The Last Hundred ", where he described staying at the hostel when Jim & Ingrid Feenie were wardens there.
I can still remenber watching the '66 world cup final in their flat on their black & white TV with 44 footballers playing in a blizzard at Wembly - such was the quality of reception at that time ! ( remember 405 lines - didn't think you would )
Some of ze Englanders were cock-a-hoop and became even more insufferable - to the extent that Goldie bit Mull in the leg when England scored ! Don't think Mull was impressed, although his leg was !
No shenanigans this time though !
Gordon Ballantyne
Munro compleatist
Posts: 292
Munros:282   Corbetts:89
Grahams:20   Donalds:7
Sub 2000:59   
Joined: Jan 30, 2011
Location: Westhill, Aberdeenshire

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