walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Carn Dearg and Sgorr Gaibhre from Rannoch

Carn Dearg and Sgorr Gaibhre from Rannoch


Postby dav2930 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:32 pm

Munros included on this walk: Carn Dearg (Corrour), Sgor Gaibhre

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Pharlagain

Date walked: 07/03/2017

Time taken: 9.5 hours

Distance: 25 km

Ascent: 1150m

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Another photographic record of grey skies, mist, murk and semi-whiteouts, and for that I can only apologize :roll:. But let me make it clear from the outset that the fault lies with MWIS! Their south-east Highlands forecast for Tuesday, 7th March, only the day before, included phrases like "dry all day", "cloud base above 1000m" and "80% chance of cloud-free Munros". Surely that's enough to seduce any reasonably enthusiastic hill-goer into formulating an optimistic agenda for the day? Well it was for me anyway. :lol:

It was on the basis of this forecast that I resolved to make the long drive from Tyndrum, where I was camped (yes, in a tent) to Rannoch Station, in order to bag Carn Dearg and Sgor Gaibhre. I had toyed with the idea of staying overnight at Ossian YH and taking in Beinn na Lap as well as these two. From a compleation perspective, that might have been the more efficient way of going about it. But then, whatever else my Munro-bagging career has been up to now, it has certainly never been 'efficient'. I've always been a sucker for topographical aesthetics - what looks nice in terms of the layout of ridges and other features as represented on the map, but which doesn't necessarily yield the biggest harvest of ticks in the time available. Hence, ever since I noticed, on OS Landranger no. 42, the southward-running ridges of Carn Dearg and Sgor Gaibhre, embracing Coire Eigheach like a pair of sinuous arms, my fate was sealed. When it came to doing these two Munros, I'd be approaching them from Rannoch.


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



So, having set off from Tyndrum early on 7th March, I eventually I arrived at a convenient parking space opposite the 'Road to the Isles' - a wide track leading to Corrour and on to Fort William - a couple of km before Rannoch Station. There was a lot of low cloud about, but I was hopeful, given the forecast, that it would lift and/or disperse. :?: :roll:

P1020432.JPG
The 'Road to the Isles'


I set off walking up the 'Road to the Isles' at 7.30am, soon passing a small plantation on the left and rising up gently towards a couple of bridges over the Allt Eigheach, the first being for walkers and the second for vehicles.

P1020433.JPG
Approaching the second bridge, with low cloud on the ridges.


Shortly after the second bridge is a small hydro station built sympathetically into the hillside, though still looking a bit raw with its covering of soil. It's not exactly a pretty sight around here.

P1020435.JPG
Hydro station


The wide track continues up and left around the top of another small plantation. My original idea was to carry on along the 'Road to the Isles' to about the 500m contour then strike rightwards directly up to Sron Leachd a' Chaorainn. But not far beyond the plantation another wide track / road winds up the lower slopes of the blunt ridge, seeming to head straight for the Sron. I thought I'd try my luck up here. It wasn't long before this road levelled off and traversed rightwards into the mouth of the corrie. Fortunately, at that point an ATV track appeared straight ahead and continued in the desired direction. At first this was very clear to follow, if rather boggy, and was supplied with railway sleepers serving as duck boards.

P1020436.JPG
Railway sleepers on the ATV track


The low cloud showed no sign of lifting and soon I'd be in it. The ATV track became less distinct after a while and eventually disappeared altogether, but had served well in leading up to higher and dryer ground and the final push up to the Sron. A dusting of snow appeared on the ground as the gradient eased back onto the ridge.

P1020438.JPG
On the broad ridge of Sron Leachd a' Chaorainn


The further along the ridge I went, the thicker the snow got on the ground.

P1020440.JPG
The second of two small lochans on the Sron


A line of footprints in the snow appeared every now and then and seemed fairly fresh - made either the day before or earlier the same morning. However, they were no substitute for a compass bearing!

P1020441.JPG
Approaching the 861m top


Passing over the 861m top, it was good to reach the summit slopes of Carn Dearg itself at last.

P1020442.JPG
Final slope up to Carn Dearg


And soon, out of the semi-whiteout, the handsomely-built summit cairn appeared.

P1020443.JPG
Summit cairn, Carn Dearg


It was 11.10am. The cairn was big enough to provide some shelter from the wind, so I got myself comfortably settled in its lea for a coffee and food break - and to take a compass bearing for the Mam Ban col.

P1020444.JPG
In the direction of Mam Ban


Sometimes there seemed to be a slight brightening of the cloud and almost hints of blue sky above it. I wondered hopefully if the clouds would suddenly be rent apart and reveal the wonderful views that were presently denied to me. I waited a while, but eventually decided I needed to press on. As I carefully followed the compass bearing, I was pleased to see the line of footprints reappear, heading in exactly the right direction.

After a while the ground began to level off at a slight top before dropping again to the Mam Ban, and at the same time the clouds parted to reveal the view down into Coire Eigheach. At last! The elation at being able to see beyond the next few paces was indescribable :D :crazy:

P1020448.JPG
At last a break in the clouds - Coire Eigheach


Then Sgor Gaibhre and its northern twin Sgor Choinnich appeared out of the continually parting and lifting clouds, with even tinges of sunlight brightening their snowy slopes here and there. It's almost comical how significant this felt under the circumstances!

P1020451.JPG
Sgor Gaibhre and Sgor Choinnich (left)


P1020452.JPG
Meall na Meoig (Beinn Pharlagain)


From Mam Ban it was a long but gentle plod up Sgor Gaibhre. For most of the ascent the cloud continued to clear off the summit and it looked as if I might get some summit views.

P1020453.JPG
Starting the gentle ascent of Sgor Gaibhre


P1020455.JPG
Looking back to Carn Dearg


But by the time I was getting close to the cairn the cloud had descended again :( .

P1020456.JPG
Summit cairn, Sgor Gaibhre


However, in the time it took to fix a compass bearing, the clouds parted again.

P1020464.JPG
What's that bright thing in the sky?


There was no shelter on the summit so I pressed on down the very gentle southern slopes (avoiding craggier ground to the left).

P1020466.JPG
Loch Ericht


P1020470.JPG
Zoom shot over Loch Ericht to Schiehallion


Meall na Meoig, highest top of Beinn Pharlagain and a Corbett, appeared enticingly ahead. Feeling encouraged by the improved visibility I thought I might as well include this one. It's not often I include Corbetts on a round of Munros (that's probably why I haven't done many Corbetts), but in this case it seemed the natural thing to do.

P1020471.JPG
Heading towards Meall na Meoig


P1020474.JPG
Looking back up to Sgor Gaibhre


P1020475.JPG
Starting up Meall na Meoig


P1020477.JPG
Tarn on Meall na Meoig


Higher up on Meall na Meoig the snow was quite deep and was hard going. The ceiling of cloud seemed to be darkening but remained above the summit when I reached it. It's a fascinating, rocky top with lots of crags and hollows and a tarn. Well worth the extra bit of effort to reach it, I thought.

P1020478.JPG
Cairn on summit of Meall na Meoig


But then, just as I left the cairn, the cloud came down once more, the wind whipped up and it started snowing quite fiercely. I stopped to put on my waterproofs and ski goggles as the blizzard set in. Any thoughts of continuing over the lower tops of Beinn Pharlagain now dissolved and I just headed down towards the Allt Eigheach by the shortest route. Fortunately the gradients were gentle and the going easy. The blizzard didn't last long and I was soon out of the cloud again. The wind had died down so I stopped for a bite and a coffee before continuing down to the river. It occurred to me that crossing the river might be difficult, but I needn't have worried. A brief dunk with the left foot at a gap between stepping stones saw me safely across. A short distance after that I was on the main track out of the corrie (now a road serving the hydro scheme) and the long road back to the car beside Loch Eigheach.

P1020485.JPG
Nearly back at the start. Looking across the West Highland railway to Loch Laidon


Had I known what the weather was really going to be like, I would almost certainly not have bothered to undertake this walk or drive all that way to get to it. I couldn't help being glad to have done it, but wasn't quite sure how grateful I should be to MWIS :? :lol:
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1272
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:10   Donalds:37
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: Carn Dearg and Sgorr Gaibhre from Rannoch

Postby Guinessman » Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:30 pm

That's a tough round Dav in those conditions.

Did these two last May. At the time they were still on with the hydro and it was like walking through a building site.

I did them by parking up where you did, walking to the railway station, getting the train to Corrour and walking back over the hills. I didn't do Beinn Pharlagain , I dropped into Coire eigheach and picked up the path further down the glen. They are big days with plenty of miles. Well done!
User avatar
Guinessman
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1064
Munros:282   Corbetts:41
Grahams:26   Donalds:89
Hewitts:143
Wainwrights:214   Islands:13
Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Location: NW Durham

Re: Carn Dearg and Sgorr Gaibhre from Rannoch

Postby rockhopper » Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:44 pm

That's quite a walk - well done especially given the conditions. Can remember hoping to add on the two munros when up Beinn Pharlagain from Rannoch Station en route to Spean Bridge but the weather was so bad that I just made do with the corbett that day - would've made a good walk as you demonstrated - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6268
Munros:282   Corbetts:187
Grahams:59   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Carn Dearg and Sgorr Gaibhre from Rannoch

Postby dav2930 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:21 pm

Guinessman wrote:That's a tough round Dav in those conditions.

Did these two last May. At the time they were still on with the hydro and it was like walking through a building site.

I did them by parking up where you did, walking to the railway station, getting the train to Corrour and walking back over the hills. I didn't do Beinn Pharlagain , I dropped into Coire eigheach and picked up the path further down the glen. They are big days with plenty of miles. Well done!

Thanks GM :D I never thought of catching the train to Corrour and walking back over the hills - sounds a great idea!

rockhopper wrote:That's quite a walk - well done especially given the conditions. Can remember hoping to add on the two munros when up Beinn Pharlagain from Rannoch Station en route to Spean Bridge but the weather was so bad that I just made do with the corbett that day - would've made a good walk as you demonstrated - cheers :)


Thanks RH :D It was indeed a good walk, but I must confess that if the conditions had been any worse I'm pretty sure I'd have turned back! I was glad I took in Beinn Pharlagain, it's a nice hill.
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1272
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:10   Donalds:37
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: Carn Dearg and Sgorr Gaibhre from Rannoch

Postby Mal Grey » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:29 pm

Good effort, lots of snow plodding and no doubt a lot of navigation work.
User avatar
Mal Grey
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2846
Munros:110   Corbetts:20
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:113
Wainwrights:71   Islands:5
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

Re: Carn Dearg and Sgorr Gaibhre from Rannoch

Postby The Rodmiester » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:27 pm

You should be very happy with that, Two Munros and a Corbett in just over two hours, good going think yourself lucky it wasn't last years snowfall, checkout my report on the single Corbett, nearly ten hours :lol: :lol:
User avatar
The Rodmiester
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 3388
Munros:107   Corbetts:196
Grahams:45   Donalds:13
Sub 2000:75   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:1   Islands:16
Joined: Aug 15, 2012
Location: Carnoustie

Re: Carn Dearg and Sgorr Gaibhre from Rannoch

Postby basscadet » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Had the same weather problem on the same day - I gave up after the first peak and went home, where as you seem to have far more motivation - brilliant :)
Sometimes it is just good to be out :D
User avatar
basscadet
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2779
Munros:84   Corbetts:52
Grahams:18   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:33   Hewitts:13
Wainwrights:17   Islands:21
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Carn Dearg and Sgorr Gaibhre from Rannoch

Postby dav2930 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:51 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Good effort, lots of snow plodding and no doubt a lot of navigation work.

Thanks Mal :D The snow plodding wasn't too bad for the most part as it wasn't that deep - except going down from Carn Dearg to Mam Ban and up Meall na Meoig. As for navigation, 3 separate bearings sufficed due to the fairly simple layout of the terrain - but those three were crucial!

The Rodmiester wrote:You should be very happy with that, Two Munros and a Corbett in just over two hours, good going think yourself lucky it wasn't last years snowfall, checkout my report on the single Corbett, nearly ten hours :lol: :lol:

Thanks RM :D Well I'd have been over the moon if it had only taken me just over two hours! Actually it took me 3hrs 40mins just to get to Carn Dearg summit - the whole thing took 9hrs 30mins. :wink:

I remember reading your report about wading through waist-deep snow to get up a Corbett - I'd forgotten it was Beinn Pharlagain! Great report it was too, I'll have to read that one again... :)

basscadet wrote:Had the same weather problem on the same day - I gave up after the first peak and went home, where as you seem to have far more motivation - brilliant :)
Sometimes it is just good to be out :D


Thanks BC :D I guess the motivation comes from not being able to get to the Highlands as often as I'd like - and wanting to get that bit nearer to compleation! :lol:

But you're right, sometimes just being out is motivation enough. :)
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1272
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:10   Donalds:37
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Chris Mac, dogplodder, Fractral, past my sell by date, R1ggered, Rottie50, warrior and 31 guests