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The Brrrrrrack!

The Brrrrrrack!


Postby denfinella » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:28 pm

Route description: The Brack and Cnoc Coinnich, Ardgartan

Corbetts included on this walk: The Brack

Date walked: 05/11/2016

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 940m

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Winter conditions have now properly arrived on the hills in the Highlands, but we managed to fit this one in just before lasting snow arrived. This trip up the Brack was on one of the first cold days this autumn, with northerly winds bringing snow to the Cairngorms. Down in the Arrochar Alps it was sunny however, though still windy.

The route differs from the walkhighlands route: no extension to Cnoc Coinnich, but a longer exploration of the loch and burn at Ardgartan near the end.


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Cobbler looking fine from the start:

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The route begins along an easy track, which after just over a mile is rudely interrupted by the start of the hill path. "Steep" doesn't really adequately describe it, with the clean, green signpost comically contrasting.

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The first part's the worst - a couple of steps up between large rocks are so tall that hands were needed. After that the path improved a little, though it was still steep. Once out of the forest, superb views up Glen Croe opened up. A heavy snow shower over Beinn an Lochain amounted to just a few drops of rain in the wind over us.

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The Brack looked surprisingly fine and craggy up ahead:

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Strath Croe and The Cobbler:

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Here's a photo looking back, showing the direct ascent:

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Cobbler again:

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Soon the valley narrowed, with The Brack's south face looming overhead.

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Lochan at the head of the valley:

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The start of the path up to the summit isn't immediately easy to spot from the lochan, but it's clear once you're on it. Great views to all points south and east as it winds its way up around little crags and gullies:

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We rounded a corner and the trig point suddenly popped up right in front of us eye level.

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Summit views:

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It looks warm and comfortable in the photos, but the reality was 40 mph winds and about -2C before windchill, so we didn't linger. A little way away from the summit, and having seen no-one all day, I stopped to answer the call of nature. Zipping back up, I half turned to see another walker barely five metres away. Whoops - pleasantries not exchanged on this occasion and it was time for a hasty descent :lol:

We followed the south-west ridge for the way down to make a circular route. There's a faint path in places, but it's not continuous and there are a few minor crags to avoid. Ridge with Lochgoilhead ahead:

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View back towards the summit:

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Un-named lochan:

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The path variant we'd chosen ended up avoiding the last part of ridge, instead traversing below it on the south-east side. It was sheltered here and there were good views down Coilessan Glen, which was to be the next part of our descent.

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continued below
User avatar
denfinella
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1116
Munros:66   Corbetts:34
Grahams:23   Donalds:16
Sub 2000:61   Hewitts:14
Wainwrights:6   Islands:45
Joined: Mar 19, 2012
Location: Edinburgh

Re: The Brrrrrrack!

Postby denfinella » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:38 pm

View back to The Brack from our little sheep track:

25.jpg


Another small lochan on the way to the bealach, where we were greeted by a huge cairn and slightly unnecessary waymarker for the Cowal Way:

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The path alternates between being excellent and being a bit boggy, with good views of The Brack before it plunges into forestry - with slippery moss underfoot in the shade.

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Later on, the Cowal Way joins a wide track which is a real eyesore in places:

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At least the views were still good:

30.jpg


Down at the base of the track there was a car park mostly full up with army vehicles and related equipment. A quiet tarmac road leads north through the trees back towards the start:

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The road provides a direct route back, but halfway along we diverted onto the lochside / riverside path near the Ardgartan Hotel. I've noticed it's covered by another walkhighlands route, so being the good person I am :roll: I've put the photos into a separate report here.
User avatar
denfinella
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1116
Munros:66   Corbetts:34
Grahams:23   Donalds:16
Sub 2000:61   Hewitts:14
Wainwrights:6   Islands:45
Joined: Mar 19, 2012
Location: Edinburgh

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