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Scaraben scorchio

Scaraben scorchio


Postby BlackPanther » Wed May 31, 2017 5:54 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Scaraben

Date walked: 27/05/2017

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 13.3 km

Ascent: 640m

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I'm fussy when it comes to weather. To be honest, I prefer cold to hot. But in Scotland, cold usually comes with wet, so maybe I should keep my mouth shut :silent: and enjoy the scorchio - at least it's dry and sunny!

We loved the Morven-Smean-Maiden Pap experience so much that at the first opportunity, we decided to return to the kingdom of odd to bag Scaraben. This long, whalebacked Graham does not look as exciting as its weirdo neighbours, but we wanted to do the whole ridge rather just a short nip-up to the summit. The idea was simple: climb to East Scaraben first, then traverse to the summit and finally to Sron Gharbh, before returning to the starting point in Braemore.

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


We knew it was going to be a hot day, so we took extra water and sunscreen. I have just bought a new pair of walking trousers (to replace those torn on Mullach CMF) and decided to test them, but I forgot they didn't have detachable legs :roll: so to make things funny once again, I ended up walking with trouser legs rolled up whereas Kevin enjoyed his shorts-on experience :lol: :lol:
Even in the morning, when we arrived at the car park, the air was hot and we knew we were in for a scorchio...
The bridge at the car park:
2017-05-27 scaraben 001.JPG

Ready for adventure!
2017-05-27 scaraben 007.JPG

We wanted to do the traverse clockwise, walking along the river for 2 km before ascending East Scaraben. Familiar odd shapes were all around :D
2017-05-27 scaraben 008.JPG

We were observed cautiously by a group of locals... I felt sorry for the poor sheep. It was only half past nine, and the temperature was already over 20*C, we were sweating in thin clothes, how did they manage to look cool in their furry coats???
2017-05-27 scaraben 010.JPG

We followed a track along the river to a rusty, old gate, where we were suddenly bullied by a pair of oystercatchers! They flew over us screeching and squeaking angrily, we must have been very close to their nest!
The rusty old gate:
2017-05-27 scaraben 014.JPG

A few hundred meters past the gate, we left the riverside track and charged up across the boggy moorland. Thanks to the recent dry spell, the bog was mostly dry, but the heat was getting worse and we had to stop to strip whatever extra clothing we wore. Kevin detached his trouser legs, I had to suffice with a pair of jam rolly-pollies :lol: :lol: :lol:
Up to East Scaraben:
2017-05-27 scaraben 020.JPG

As we gained height, we realized that the air was so hazy, any distant views today would be out of question. Shame, but we had photographed the area well the previous weekend. Today was all about surviving the oven :lol:
2017-05-27 scaraben 021.JPG

Higher up, the slopes get steeper and more heathery. Views were restricted to Maiden Pap and Morven at the moment:
2017-05-27 scaraben 024.JPG

For the final 100m or so, heather gives way to rock and it was here, approx 30-40m below the summit of East Scaraben, I almost stepped into a piece of metal. First, I thought it was just a broken edge of a shed roof, but when I lifted the piece, it felt very light - aluminum. I took the piece to Kevin, who said in his I-know-it-all voice, you have just found yourself a bit of a plane!
DSC02150.JPG

Later, when we returned home, I found out, that the piece belonged to an Armstrong Whitworth A.W.38 Whitley bomber, which crashed on Scaraben in the early hours of the 1st May 1941, returning from a U-Boat spotting patrol. All crew members but the pilot had been killed in the crash, the pilot was found alive at the crash site, but died as a result of his injuries the following day.
More info about the crash site here:
https://her.highland.gov.uk/Source/SHG24055
There are quite a few pieces of the wreckage scattered on the slopes of east Scaraben, but we didn't look for them as it was so boiling hot, we just wanted to reach the top and rest a bit! We left the metal part where we found it and continued the ascent, soon we reached the top of East Scaraben.
It was time for re-applying sunscreen and re-hydrating, then for a pose!
2017-05-27 scaraben 038.JPG

We sat on the first top for quite a long time, enjoying the sunshine and the heat (not very often we get such a scorchio in Scotland!). The summit was only a short climb away to the west:
DSCF8566.JPG

View south - very hazy:
2017-05-27 scaraben 039.JPG

Cairn picture with wee Lucy:
2017-05-27 scaraben 036.JPG

Zoom to Maiden Pap:
2017-05-27 scaraben 034.JPG

The traverse to the summit requires only 120m of additional ascent on easy slopes:
2017-05-27 scaraben 041.JPG

It was dry as a bone everywhere...
2017-05-27 scaraben 047.JPG

View back to east Scaraben from near the summit:
2017-05-27 scaraben 049.JPG

Summit photo on our 77th Graham!
2017-05-27 scaraben 060.JPG

There was very little extra view to see on the summit due to haze, so after a couple of summit snaps, we continued our traverse to the last top. Walking was easy on the stony/heathery ground, much easier than on Morven (which is more bouldery and much steeper). It was still scorching hot, but a significant breeze was our saving grace!
Looking from Sron Gharbh to the summit of Scaraben:
2017-05-27 scaraben 064.JPG

Maiden Pap:
2017-05-27 scaraben 068.JPG

On the summit of Sron Gharbh we met another pair of walkers. We chatted for a while, before they started to descend to Braemore, we stayed behind to enjoy a hot photo session (Scaraben porn :lol: ):
2017-05-27 scaraben 074.JPG

The oddities - Smean and Morven from Sron Gharbh:
2017-05-27 scaraben 070.JPG

Kevin by the cairn:
2017-05-27 scaraben 079.JPG

The final descent was due north, down the steeper section, then NE across moorland and meadows, to join the Corrichoich track. The sky was clouding up a bit but it was still scorching hot, which might have been the reason for my odd behaviour...
2017-05-27 scaraben 084.JPG

Maiden Pap from the moorland below Scaraben:
2017-05-27 scaraben 088.JPG

The final meadows to cross:
2017-05-27 scaraben 089.JPG

Based only on the photos, one could say this is a boring set of round, rocky lumps with no character whatsoever. Nothing more misleading! Maybe not as weird as its neighbours, but Scaraben has plenty of attitude and is worth a full traverse. It might have been a scorchio day, but a very pleasant, shorter climb. We were glad we didn't attempt any multi-Munro traverse that day, we might have got ourselves a sunstroke. Later on, I heard that the record was +29*C. Bloody hell, it felt twice that when we were on the summit ridge!
And when we returned to the car, I noticed that my boots were yellow :shock:
DSC02152.JPG

After a scorching Saturday, Sunday was forecast cooler and more cloudy, but still fine weather, especially in the west. Our choice was one of Glenfinnian Corbetts, probably one of the longest ridges I have ever walked before reaching the true summit! TR to follow :D
Last edited by BlackPanther on Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BlackPanther
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Re: Scaraben scorchio

Postby Alteknacker » Wed May 31, 2017 6:53 pm

Most interesting! Never heard of these ones before.

Scaraben itself doesn't look too inspiring, except once one is on the top. But Maiden Pap and Morven look pretty cool - in fact the whole scene is a bit like a more gentle and pastoral Assynt...

BTW was it you that invented the rubble bag method of crossing rivers? I'm sure I got it from one of your reports, but a dissenter has attributed the copyright elsewhere....
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Re: Scaraben scorchio

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:43 am

Alteknacker wrote:Most interesting! Never heard of these ones before.

Scaraben itself doesn't look too inspiring, except once one is on the top. But Maiden Pap and Morven look pretty cool - in fact the whole scene is a bit like a more gentle and pastoral Assynt...

BTW was it you that invented the rubble bag method of crossing rivers? I'm sure I got it from one of your reports, but a dissenter has attributed the copyright elsewhere....


Thanks :D I know Scaraben might not have the wow factor but the full traverse really gives justice to this lovely hill, and the rest of them are crackers. Well worth the drive north!

Wish I could take the credit for inventing the rubbish bin method, but nah, it wasn't my idea. I prefer Pole vaulting over streams, or occasionally, the barefoot option :D
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Re: Scaraben scorchio

Postby trekker53 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:10 pm

Glad you both got a cracking good day for your return visit to Caithness. You've done a good job in promoting our hills, maybe we'll get some more visitors.
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Re: Scaraben scorchio

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:15 pm

Another good 'un!

You're lucky to have such places on your doorstep. Well, relatively...
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Re: Scaraben scorchio

Postby digby » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:01 am

Having just 'run' (a lot of walking on the uphills and heather) the Morven - Smean - Maiden Pap route, on an equally dry but infinitely clear day I am very drawn to running your route. The ridge is very inviting!
Incidentally google earth has mistakenly labelled Scaraben as Maiden Pap.
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Re: Scaraben scorchio

Postby Pastychomper » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:21 pm

Some good pictures, and a good choice of weather! :D

Also a nice reminder of when I did a somewhat similar route a few years ago, I agree it's well worth doing the whole ridge. In my case we had what must have been one of the clearest days of the year and could see the sea on three sides of the country.
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Re: Scaraben scorchio

Postby Border Reiver » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:56 pm

The yellow stuff on your boots is almost certainly pollen. And there was the BBC stating that the pollen season was over.
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Re: Scaraben scorchio

Postby Graeme D » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:31 am

"Scaraben porn" - is that a real thing!!!??? :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Nice area that I have long admired the look of. 8)
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