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Like a poor man's Danny MacAskill

Like a poor man's Danny MacAskill


Postby Ranger » Sun May 21, 2017 6:48 pm

Route description: Carn na Saobhaidhe, via Dunmaglass

Corbetts included on this walk: Carn na Saobhaidhe

Date walked: 19/05/2017

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 28 km

Ascent: 680m

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A spate of jobs in the highlands was coinciding with a quintessentially fine May - for the third time in a fortnight, an opportunity too good to miss :D

One of the remotest Corbetts, Carn na Saobhaidhe (Hill of the Fox’s Den) is the highest point amidst miles of featureless moorland that characterises the Monadhliath range. I'd looked across to its barren plateau slopes on my very first solo excursion (from southern England by way of the Caledonian sleeper to the Newtonmore Munros), which only heightened the sense of loneliness I associated with it.

An early drive over the Lecht, under sunny skies ever infilling with high cloud, brought me to Dunmaglass, where I parked under a tree that buzzed as host to unseen bees. Cycling to the hill offered to tame the nine miles of glen and high moorland in which the summit was enclosed. Therefore a six hour hike, which my time could ill afford, would - punctures aside – be avoided.
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No sooner was I off along the estate road when a 4x4, a long cloud of dust in its wake, become first of a dozen such vehicles to pass me during the day. I soon realised this was the principal access to a vast wind farm development located in the heart of the Monadhliath landscape. A site office worthy of a housing estate was passed before the ascending track, widened to carry giant turbine-bearing lorries, reduced me to a bottom gear, 4mph crawl - the price of remaining defiantly in the saddle. More vehicles with flashing orange lights passed me until, with some relief, I branched onto a track sign-posted “no access to wind farm”. I picked up speed dropping down to a river ford, refilling my water bottle, before struggling for traction on the steepest grind of the day - the high cloud and breeze welcome at least for nullifying the sunshine.
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I emerged from the confines of the glen onto open moorland and, one inevitable wrong turn later, joined a more rustic track meandering beside - and often through - the sedate Aberchalder Burn. Skeletal white stumps, remnants of the ancient Caledonian forest, protruded from deep within the peat flanks that bordered my route.
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Near the 700m contour line I paused at a newly-built timber building, beyond which I yielded and pushed the bike towards the final slopes. Emerging from another deep trench of peat, the gradient eased allowing a final 100 yard cycle to the modest summit cairn – my prize for 2 hours and 9 miles of endeavour. :D
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Beyond the barren surroundings, and the eye-sore wind farm to the north east, the horizon was a litany of west highland peaks, from Ben Klibreck to the snow-mottled Nevis giants. I'd preferred to have lingered longer in that remote spot, but, grapes and malt loaf (my new favourite for the hills) consumed, after 20 minutes enjoying the solitude I set off - with a little trepidation - on the return journey.

It was soon apparent this would be no effortless glide. As much time was spent defying gravity - clinging onto brakes to avoid being bounced off – as embracing it, on the tear-inducing faster sections. Lacking suspension my hybrid mountain/road bike passed the juddering on to my arms with generosity. Only having rejoined the wide construction road, at a 15 mph speed-limit sign, did I dare release my grasp on the brakes, albeit on the straightest sections only. Without a helmet I was taking no chances on the loose, skiddy gravel surface. I reached 37 mph en route to the lower glen and, after 40 minutes from the summit, the van. My working day was resumed with a few extra memories from the typical 9 'til 5 to show for it
:D
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Ranger
 
Posts: 262
Munros:282   Corbetts:73
Grahams:12   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:15   Hewitts:5
Wainwrights:2   
Joined: Dec 20, 2010

Re: Like a poor man's Danny MacAskill

Postby Alteknacker » Fri May 26, 2017 10:13 pm

The tree remnants are amazing. I suppose they could be over 1000 years old. I somewhere that the deforestation of the Highlands (and in fact GB in general) began about 3000 years ago in the iron age).

I suppose the new building you picture is a bothy? Either unfinished, or folk need to bring their own planks to sleep on....
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Alteknacker
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Posts: 3031
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Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Like a poor man's Danny MacAskill

Postby Ranger » Sat May 27, 2017 10:42 pm

Alteknacker wrote:The tree remnants are amazing. I suppose they could be over 1000 years old. I somewhere that the deforestation of the Highlands (and in fact GB in general) began about 3000 years ago in the iron age).

I suppose the new building you picture is a bothy? Either unfinished, or folk need to bring their own planks to sleep on....

Yes when you hear how long it takes peat to form, for these stumps to be appearing from under 2 or 3 feet of the stuff shows the age of them.

Yes the hut was unfinished. The photos were put up on the wall showing the progress of the build. It seems an odd place to construct a new bothy up there at 700m but maybe it's for the grouse shooting or something. Would've been some sanctuary in bad weather in that barren landscape!
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Ranger
 
Posts: 262
Munros:282   Corbetts:73
Grahams:12   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:15   Hewitts:5
Wainwrights:2   
Joined: Dec 20, 2010

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