Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)
by Graeme D » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:51 pm
Grahams included on this walk: Fiarach
Date walked: 24/09/2010
Time taken: 2 hours
Distance: 4 km
Ascent: 470m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
With two weeks having passed and the evening darkness having encroached yet further, I thought that even with a sharp exit straight from school on the Friday I would be seriously pushed to do my original intended route and be back home by Saturday night. My mother-in-law was coming through on the Saturday afternoon anyway and the plan was that the three and a half of us were going out for a curry that evening , so I couldn't be too late back. I therefore decided to stick to the same neck of the woods but just to do Beinn Dubhchraig and Ben Oss instead, throwing the Graham Fiarach in for good measure.
I got all packed and organised on Thursday evening and nipped home Friday lunchtime to grab my gear and the dog ready for a fast getaway. As usually happens however, I got a little bit embroiled in "issues" at the very end of the school day and so it was not until half an hour or so after the bell that I left the building carrying nothing but the clothes I was wearing. I then made the schoolboy error of allowing the dog out of the car to stretch her legs on the grass before the drive up to Dalrigh. She went on a tour of the carpark at the point where every Tom, Dick and Harry on the staff was coming out of the building for the weekend (not that there are any Harrys on the staff! ). Well, that was another good 15 minutes away before she was successfully recaptured and back in the car.
The drive from Perth through Crieff and St Fillans to Lochearnhead and then up Glen Ogle and over the Lix Toll was the usual frustrating affair of Morrisons lorries, caravans and various crawlers doing 35mph . It was gone 5.30pm by the time I pulled into the parking area at Dalrigh and got quickly changed and gave Lucy her dinner. A final gear check and we were off along the little tarmac road beyond the far end of the parking area at quarter to six.
A bit later than planned but never mind. The plan was flexible. Ideally I would like to get to the summit of Fiarach and beyond before the darkness closed in and I had to pitch for the night, but if I didn't make it it didn't really matter. Lochan Fiarach, a short distance north of the summit, looked like it would provide a nice camping spot as well.
As I crossed the bridge over the River Fillan and skirted the railway line, it felt great to be out. There was a slight breeze and the fading sun was casting a lovely light across the land and the surrounding hills. In short, a cracking Friday evening in late September! And not a midge or any other irritating biting insect to be felt!
Almost immediately after crossing the bridge over the railway, a faint, boggy path cuts off to the left and begins to climb the southern flanks of Fiarach, through the fringes of the old Caledonian forest of Coille Coire Chuilc. A few sheep scatter before us and as we climb, the views of the surrounding peaks open up with every step. Beinn Dorain, Beinn Odhar, Ben Challum and the Glen Dochart hills in particular are looking resplendent in the autumnal glow.
I can actually feel the stresses and strains of the working week being lifted from my shoulders and disappearing off into the glorious evening. Lucy seems to sense it too and she is frolicking on the hillside like she was 5 years younger than she actually is. Just by the crags before the lochan my mobile rings and it is my wife checking in for the night. I treat her to a description of the stunning light and the views all around me and although I know she can appreciate what I am telling her, I also know that she'd really have to be standing here beside me to get the full force of the feeling. Spine tingling stuff indeed.
The shore of Lochan Fiarach does indeed look like an idyllic spot to call home for the night but there is still a bit of daylight to be squeezed out yet so I decide to push on for the summit. The sky is all set up for a stunning sunset and an almost full moon (one day on the wane) is playing accompaniment. Things are shaping up nicely.
The summit of Fiarach is a long, narrow rocky spur sitting about 20 metres or so above the surrounding flat moorland plateau. I head up onto the summit to see if I can camp up there. It looks like it would be a great spot, but it is quite exposed compared to down below and the pleasant breeze of earlier on has now been replaced by a stiff, biting chill wind. I'm also a bit wary of emerging from the tent in the middle of the night to take a slash and stumbling bleary-eyed right over the edge , even although I'm sure the moon will keep shining some light throughout the night.
So, after a few pictures in the fast fading light, I head back down 20 metres or so and set about pitching the tent in the relative shelter below the ridge, before cracking open a beer and cooking up a dinner of chicken and pasta in mascarpone sauce (a wildcamp staple of mine).
I'm in my sleeping bag and get my head down shortly after half past nine for what turns out to be a rather cold and fitful night's sleep. I do indeed have to venture out a couple of times to answer a call of nature in the moonlit night - the combined effects of the beer and the plummeting temperatures.
I'm prevented from getting any prolonged sleep by the stiff wind buffeting my tent (although it's far from a major gale) and the fact that my sleeping bag really has seen better days. It's 13 years old and has seen a lot of active service and been rolled out in some fairly skanky conditions (including being used as a makeshift seat on a few Asian and African buses ) during a year long trip around some of the least developed and most unsavoury parts of the planet! Time for a new bag methinks! I remember my watch telling me it was almost midnight, later that it was on the stroke of 3am and then finally that it was the back of 5.
Still, I guess the cold is a good sign and I should be glad - a nice clear bright sky with high cloud base. A good sign for tomorrow and the assault on Beinn Dubhcraig and Ben Oss.
by JB likes a beer » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:18 pm
by rockhopper » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:50 pm
by Merry-walker » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:02 pm
by Graeme D » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:04 pm
Hope you enjoyed your day yesterday. It was a cracking day for it. I look forward to your report too.
by Alan S » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:05 pm
Get very jealous of these kind of reports hopefully i will get camping next year
by Scotjamie » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:23 pm
by Stretch » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:01 pm
by jonny616 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:07 pm
by kevsbald » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:25 pm
However, my wife (odd to be saying that) will be working every Friday and Saturday between now and Xmas so I think I may have a few wild camps b4 then. Hopefully, you'll join me on your return.
Have a good break.
by malky_c » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:53 am
by LeithySuburbs » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:32 pm
by Graeme D » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:38 pm
by Stob Binnein » Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:44 am
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