So not the classic Cairnwell three that you may have been expecting.
We had intact planned to do the four munros to the East of the Carinwell pass, Carn An Turic, Cairn An Clasie, Glas Maol and Creag Leacach. However the weather and time were against us so we cut the route short at Glas Maol.
We parked the car at the lay-by at Sean Spital Bridge and set off up Carn An Turic. The cloud had been low all the way on the journey and I was giving it a bit of side eye hoping that it would lift. As we set off we could see that the sun was trying to break through and we could see most of the hills just the tops were in the could which was blowing off them so we set off with light hearts.
The initial walk in to the base of the hill was nice and easy, I was glad that it has been so dry recently as I think it could have been a bit of a bog trot had it been wet.
The pull up the hill to gain height was a bit of a shock to the system but it was just a case of breaking it down into small chunks and keep on walking, stopping occasionally (often...very often) to take in the view opening up behind us We were in the lee of the hill so it felt really muggy and warm, as we came to the top the breeze was a welcome cooling influence.
We soon reached the top and the clag was well and truly down, waterproofs were donned and we had a wee snack and nip, my walking companion had thought ahead and taken a miniature of damson gin for us to celebrate each top with
As we walked on towards Cairn An Claise the clag briefly lifted and teased us with a glimpse of some of the views we were missing! How frustrating!
Cairn An Claise was quickly in the bag, we stopped in the shelter cairn for a bite of lunch, as we had two more munroes on the cards it was a quick bite. Two out of four planned munroes in the bag, time for a nip of warming gin
Then onwards to Glas Maol! As we defended towards the saddle between Cairn An Claise and Glas Maol the weather was really starting to get quite serious. The clag had come down thick and visibility was reduced to a few meters. The fog really plays tricks with your sense of distance, depth and height, it was most disorientating. We saw this interesting cairn just through it and both myself and my companion thought that it was at least five feet high when we saw it, as we went over to it we saw that it was only about three feet high, not nearly as impressive.
We carried on towards Glas Maol, I am extremely grateful for the OS maps app that I have on my phone as it really helped us out with the poor vis. We would have been able to navigate by compass but having the GPS was a real lifeline.
We found a faint path and followed it, then came across some fencing for the ski area, this was where I started to feel a lot more confident, I have been here before.... albeit with snow on the ground, I know how the land lays.
We carried on the last few hundred meters to the top of Glas Maol, I was checking the GPS almost constantly by then, even when we were almost on top of the trig point we couldn't see it until we were within about 10m of it!
While sitting in the shelter cairn by the trig point we decided that as we were soaked from walking through cloud and there was no chance of getting any good views we would just cut the day short. Miserable is probably about the right word for the idea of continuing on. So we decided to finish off the tiny bottle of gin...
We picked up the well worn path down to the ski centre and got down a few hundred meters, when we saw a ski tow we took shelter behind it and had another bite to eat out of the wind. Then continued on with a spring in our step down to the ski centre where we got hot chocolates with all the stuffs. I paid with a rather soggy tenner and had a good chat with the folks in the cafe. Its such a shame that we had such a poor season for skiing this year, they were saying they only had 12 days of snowsports!
As we were drinking our hot chocolate we realised that we still had the walk along the road back to the car to do! Luckily my companion is good at bagging lifts, and a couple of top blokes gave us both (and the dog) a lift in their wee Fiesta down to our car! Legends!
Overall it was still a great day in the hills despite the weather. We had definitely made the right choice cutting the walk short. We will return to Creag Leacach from Glen Isla in the future on a day where we will be able to see the views!
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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.