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The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir


Postby andygunn23 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:27 pm

Route description: An Sgarsoch and Carn an Fhidhleir

Munros included on this walk: An Sgarsoch, Carn an Fhidhleir (Carn Ealar)

Date walked: 17/06/2017

Time taken: 12 hours

Distance: 42 km

Ascent: 1059m

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The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Bagging (bag.ing) adjective; 1.Controversial; A simple term that will increase the blood pressure of outdoor enthusiasts; These youngsters are so foolish concentrating on bagging. 2. Something everyone on Walkhighlands will have a different opinion on and will rile the keyboard warriors; "My opinion is right, anyone Bagging the Munros is wrong.

Before continuing, please be advised the tongue is firmly planted in the cheek. :wink:

"...two rounded, featureless hills..."

Okay Walkhighlands you are not selling An Sgarsoch and Carn an Fhidhleir very well.

"...given distinction by their remoteness. In the heart of the wild country between the main Cairngorms and the Atholl ranges, few Munros can match these peaks for the feeling of solitude or open space.

That is better - now we are talking! Or should I say walking...

With the weather across the whole of Scotland looking dry and cloudy these two hills seemed like the perfect combination. Approaching the longest day of the year meant we could take as long as needed. The dry weather is always appreciated and the added bonus of the clouds would stop any painful sunburn - at least so I thought :crazy: :crazy: .

I consulted the WhatsApp faithful and managed to rope Cromar in.

"Do you want to cycle some of it? I can arrange bikes"
"I've classed biking as cheating..."
"Ah the ethics of bagging :roll: "

After a short debate around the use of bikes it was time to set off. We reached the Linn of Dee car park at 07:20 and were moving by 07:30. Again this meant another Saturday alarm before 05:00... :shock:

Early morning start - shorts and t-shirt made it a tad chilly!
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This route must involve the best part of 20 of the 26 miles along a well defined Land Rover track. Therefore cycling clearly is the quickest, most effective and energy efficient methods of transport (obviously excluding taking a Land Rover) - I think that is one element everyone can agree on?

After passing the old townships and crossing the White Bridge we were now approaching the bothy at the junction of the Geldie and Bynack Burns
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Why on earth would anyone opt to walk over cycle? Some estimates claim the humble bicycle saves the best part of 4 hours, 4 more hours in the pub!

When you look at the GPX you can see why the bike saves so much time!

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



Depending on your preference, the hills in the Cairngorms can be "boring", or "featureless". Whereas the West Coast offers more "adventure", "ridges" and "proper mountains". Out of the 73 Munros I have climbed, purely down to geographical location, most have been in the Cairngorms. There is no secret my preference is West, but some of my best weekends in the hills have been in the Cairngorms.

"I think we become immune to how amazing Scotland is. Imagine you took someone who's lived in a Chinese city all their life and plonked them here - they'd think they had died and gone to heaven!"
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I think the reason some of my best weekends have been in the Cairgorms is due to the remoteness in the heart of the wild country. This remoteness makes finding camping spots easy, you'll never have to queue like on Aonach Eagach and if you want to avoid people you could easily spend two days hearing nothing - apart from the "escaping" grouse that still continue to nearly give me a heart attack!

The first of the river crossings.
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You don't get river crossings up the ridge routes - a different kind of challenge! Thankfully the first river crossing didn't prove to be too problematic, we made it across dry. After the first river crossing we began to see a slow trickle of bikes passing through. They all seemed so smug :lol: . The image of a cyclist stopped around the bend with a puncture started becoming more pleasing :lol: :lol: .

Crossing the Geldie Burn before reaching the Geldie Lodge ruins.
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Geldie Lodge with some weird clouds overhead.
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After stopping briefly at the Geldie Lodge we set a target to walk for another 45 minutes before we could stop for something to eat. If memory serves me right we stopped for lunch just after 11:00. It was still early but we had already been going at a relatively steady pace for 3.5 hours.

It's really hard to picture remoteness.
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By the time we stopped for lunch it did cross my mind that a bike would be quite a pleasant accessory for the route back to the car. After a couple of tuna pita breads I was all fuelled up and ready to tackle Carn an Fhidhleir and the lack of bike situation was long forgotten.

Making our way up Carn an Fhidhleir - we opted to take a more direct route...
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This first real ascent was a bit of a calf burner - unrelenting boggy incline. Fortunately the weather had been pretty positive over the few days previous so what could have been a snorkel type bog was better than expected.

The cloud was sitting at roughy 750m and it just didn't appear to be shifting as hard as the wind was trying.

The view looking back.
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Clouds have a bad reputation, and sometimes rightly so - for example when you camp high and hope to awake to vast views but can only see the immediate 20 meters in front of you, well that sucks!

We had managed to enjoy a good few hours of views, so when we finally reach the cloud line wasn't all too disappointing. You could almost argue it is quite peaceful. Thankfully it also cooled us down, natures free mist machine. Once up the worst of the slog there is a gentle well defined path to the summit of Carn an Fhidhleir.

A good Scottish summer :lol:
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The time we spent on Carn an Fhidhleir was minimal to say the least. Just a quick tap of the top of the cairn to confirm it can legally be added to the bag :wink:.

View looking towards An Sgarsoch - yes it is one where you very quickly lose all your elevation.
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Shortly before making beginning the knee sapping descent we met two other chaps, one from Newtonmore - didn't quite catch where the other was from (although later found out he also went to Aboyne Academy - just a decade or so earlier :lol: , I bet Mrs Egan was already there!)

We joked how they might have been quicker just walking in from Newtonmore :lol: :lol:. Good chance it would be 50/50 in terms of distance. Obviously the path from Linn of Dee makes the Braemar side far more appealing!

Slightly unsure if there was a correct route down, and up again. From experience, not really. Just take the zig-zag approach and, if the weather allows, aim for the scree in the above photo (right hand side).

By the time we were making progress up An Sgarsoch, the cloud appeared to have lowered slightly so I didn't end up taking any photos. I always thought if needed I could take some photos into plastic bag and claim they were from the route up...

An Sgarsoch, Munro 73 in the bag.
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Just before reaching An Sgarsoch I managed to soak up some advice for conquering the Skye Munros. My head and the recommendations say to hire a guide and get them ticked off in a week. My heart has me Googling where to learn to rock climb and do them on my own accord - who knows where that adventure will end up!

There is no hiding from the fact the walk back is long.

Still have to walk as far as the eye can see!
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On the walk back I didn't really take any photos, it was all beginning to feel a bit similar... funny that :lol:.

After mile 23 both of our legs were beginning to struggle and every kilometre felt like a real challenge. People often refer to these as boring hills, if they are boring make them a challenging hill, and all you need to do for that is leave the bike and walk.

I have tried my best to make each of these "boring bags" as much of an adventure as possible, which does not for one second mean that anyone who bikes doesn't have the same adventure. Ultimately everyone's challenge is different, but for these hills you have to assume that given the remoteness only "baggers" venture out this far.

There is no official rules of bagging, or if there is, there shouldn't be, nor should there ever be. As long as it takes you away from a computer / phone screen then surely bagging should not be controversial or get people riled up - instead it should actively be promoted! :D

I may have only completed 73, but I have seen parts of Scotland, spent my money is small family shops, enjoyed a lot of local coffee and whisky that I would never have came across if I didn't for some reason catch the bagging bug.

Who cares if you want to do it as quickly as possible, or by a certain age, or before your too old and jiggered to walk, or if you just want to become a compleatist? The only thing that matters if you do it safely and enjoy it. If an outing ever ends up with a; "I wish I was just in the flat watching Netflix" - then I know it is time to slow down :lol:.

On the flip side if you have absolutely no plans to get to the 282nd summit, then fair play - just enjoy the hills you do decide to go up. Most importantly remember there really isn't such a thing as a "boring hill".

We stopped in Braemar and Cromar kindly treated me to a smoked sausage supper and ice lolly - once back in Aberdeen I then treated myself to a Chinese takeaway :D.

This outing gave the saying, "a calf burner of a day", a very painful second meaning... :lol:
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If for any reason I ever decide to go up these two hills again I can guarantee a bike will be the first thing on my packing list! :lol: :lol:

Until next time,
Andy
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby prog99 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:51 pm

Enjoyable read and some very quoteable quotes at the end. Shame you had the mist, both summits have great views.

If you want another variation on the same hills then combining with a night in the Tarf Hotel is a must.
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:27 am

An interesting way to promote a philosophical debate! :clap: :clap:

Probably most walkers aren't too troubled by the ethics: the issue is whether you enjoy it, as you say.

I use a bike quite a bit to close linear routes - but each to his/her own.

The point about isolation is also really well made. I don't know these at all, but I was surprised when I looked on the map to see how far away the nearest road is. That's definitely a bit bonus for hills that might otherwise be considered just lumps.

Just a comment on the Skye munros:
"Just before reaching An Sgarsoch I managed to soak up some advice for conquering the Skye Munros. My head and the recommendations say to hire a guide and get them ticked off in a week. My heart has me Googling where to learn to rock climb and do them on my own accord - who knows where that adventure will end up!"

You absolutely do not need to be a rock climber to do the Skye Munros. If you are OK with exposure, and can/are happy to scramble to Grade 3, you are fine (the ridge route itself has some more difficult bits that, frankly, do involve some climbing; but you can get to all the munros without climbing proper). If you haven't already, I would suggest you try out some grade 2 and 3 scrambles, and if you are OK with these, I can't imagine you would struggle with the Cuillin Munros.
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby Moriarty » Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:15 am

andygunn23 wrote:Bagging (bag.ing) adjective; 1.Controversial; A simple term that will increase the blood pressure of outdoor enthusiasts; These youngsters are so foolish concentrating on bagging. 2. Something everyone on Walkhighlands will have a different opinion on and will rile the keyboard warriors; "My opinion is right, anyone Bagging the Munros is wrong.
Andy

Enjoyable report. They certainly are a long trip on foot from that side.

Like the other great religions bagging is simply let down and misrepresented by a few extremists in its midst. :wink:

A few swivel-eyed obsessives harping on about the terrible chore of "having to" do hills that are too :wink: boring/too scary shouldn't distract from the majority of baggers who are blissed-out on the whole experience.

Just watch out for the radical preachers of the "true summits" and their 10 point grid references and you'll be fine. :shock: :wink:
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby Sgurr » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:40 pm

Super report. Those two are a l-o-n-g way away. Couldn't persuade husband to repeat them, so had to do them by myself with a Dawes touring bike I had to abandon half way there as the tyres weren't up to it.
Aaaargh to the sunburn, hope it is better now.

Now that we are both over 75, I'm afraid we shamelessly play the OAP card, which has only worked on a few occasions, Bagging purists will be shocked
1. emailing the estate and telling them that we know the true way is across a tidal causeway and over a pathless intermediate hill stuffed with rhododendrons, but we note they have holiday cottages near the bottom of the hill, and it would be nice to come in via boat with the cleaning crew, and go back with them to pick up tenants. Agreed, BUT DON'T TELL ANYONE ELSE that we'll do it for them
2. emailing the estate and noting that the gate at the bottom of the glen is locked, but were it unlocked we could drive our Honda Jazz very slowly 5 miles up the track and be in with a shout of climbing the hill. Agreed.
3. Husband didn't hear a landie coming up behind him until the last minute and fell into a ditch with surprise at the last minute with huge camping pack. Driver took us both to the bothy.
4. Hiring a boat up Loch Morar so that we could get at An Stac without killing ourselves as we nearly did for its neighbour Meith Bheinn

We have a friend whom we persuaded to cycle with us to Lurg Mor and Bidean a Coire Sheasgaidh and he used to mumble about coming back to repeat them on foot so he could have an unsullied Munro round. He has now emigrated to Australia so it is moved further down his priority list for his frequent returns. I don't care if my round IS sullied. I only do it for me, not the BAGGING GOD. So I shouldn't really grumble that Marilyn baggers should have to endure all the discomforts we did. Now they have felled the forest you don't have to crawl up a drainage ditch to get Crock (we had to). And I hear rumours that you can get a boat to near the bottom of Ben Aden (sacrilege).
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby BobMcBob » Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:55 pm

Sgurr wrote:We have a friend whom we persuaded to cycle with us to Lurg Mor and Bidean a Coire Sheasgaidh and he used to mumble about coming back to repeat them on foot so he could have an unsullied Munro round.


Given that he probably didn't start from sea level, they're *all* sullied. ;)
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby GillSte » Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:34 pm

Ethics? If you've walked a landrover track once before, you can consider that you have bagged it. That means it is OK to cycle along it the next time. :D :D :D

And sometimes (just sometimes) it is OK to cycle all the way up the hill in any case. Example? Windy Standard is basically a wind farm, so it's much more fun and interesting to go by bike than to walk. Trudging along looking at windmills can't be very much fun.
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby Ben Nachie » Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:40 pm

Now, you say that you have bagged 73 out of 282 Munros. This begs the question- what happens when they change the list (again). Maybe a new Munro or two will be added, or indeed deleted. Do you tick the New added ones off as 'armchair Munros'? Do you un-tick the deleted ones, or do you keep counting them?

Having started out on the 1984 list of 277 Munros and having sat cross-legged in a zen-like trance on the summit of Ben Lui for an indeterminate period of time pondering such dilemmas, I finally came to the conclusion that the only logical thing to do was to set out on a mystical quest to bag all the Munros that had ever been Munros. This arcane list is called The Denis's, and there are 322 of them.

Just a thought for you. :wink:
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby RocksRock » Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:47 pm

Sgurr, you shameless hussy! not that I wouldn't try it myself now ';m 70+

It's not the bagging GOD is the problem - it is the bagging lawyer chappie with his rule book and similar nonsenses :wink:
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby goth_angel » Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:02 pm

Excellent report.

Ethics of bagging is one of those subjects!! Personally I see nothing wrong with using a bike - you're still self propelled. I don't but that's only because I can't ride one... never learned as a kid and my husband's attempts to teach me on a Boris bike aged 43 were not a success! :oops:
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby Guinessman » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:47 pm

Ben Nachie wrote:Now, you say that you have bagged 73 out of 282 Munros. This begs the question- what happens when they change the list (again). Maybe a new Munro or two will be added, or indeed deleted. Do you tick the New added ones off as 'armchair Munros'? Do you un-tick the deleted ones, or do you keep counting them?

Having started out on the 1984 list of 277 Munros and having sat cross-legged in a zen-like trance on the summit of Ben Lui for an indeterminate period of time pondering such dilemmas, I finally came to the conclusion that the only logical thing to do was to set out on a mystical quest to bag all the Munros that had ever been Munros. This arcane list is called The Denis's, and there are 322 of them.

Just a thought for you. :wink:



Do you have a link for the list of "The Denis's" would be interested to see what's on it
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby Ben Nachie » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:06 pm

Guinessman wrote:Do you have a link for the list of "The Denis's" would be interested to see what's on it


I made a typo, there are actually 324 Denis's. Link to list (Excel spreadsheet)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/lvb355xlvesg7aa/Denis%20List%20.xlsx?dl=0
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby oslaallen » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:12 pm

Can I recommend the Mountaineering Scotland scrambling course on Skye. It's 2 days and you'll learn loads. You'll get to scramble ridges and reach summits all under tuition so you don't feel too daunted for your first time on Skye. You can then plan all your next Skye adventures (using the Skye Scrambles book) and know exactly how to figure out how all the different scramble grades work. BTW am a big cycle in and out fan as panniers are brilliant for filling with tents, food, etc for the wild camping epics! :lol:
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby Guinessman » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:18 pm

Ben Nachie wrote:
Guinessman wrote:Do you have a link for the list of "The Denis's" would be interested to see what's on it


I made a typo, there are actually 324 Denis's. Link to list (Excel spreadsheet)
[url]<span class="skimlinks-unlinked">https://www.dropbox.com/s/lvb355xlvesg7aa/Denis%20List%20.xlsx?dl=0</span>[/url]


Thanks for that. Apologies for hijacking the thread!
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Re: The Ethics of Bagging - An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir

Postby ancancha » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:13 am

Guess they must have taken down the "biker hikers only" sign :lol:
You must have extraordinary mental powers to cope with that slog in and out, well done for finishing :clap:
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