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Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling


Postby Merry-walker » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:25 am

Munros included on this walk: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe

Date walked: 24/09/2010

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 19 km

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It has taken me a while to even want to write up this report. To be honest, I’d rather not re-live the day I had but I know that it is the only way for me to reflect on every mistake I made, and hopefully learn and move on. I had left word that I "might try to go further and get in Cairn Bannoch and Broad Cairn and come back via Sandy Hillock, Broom Hill and Moulzie - but couldn't make up my mind at the time" (first mistake)

Me and Mez (dog face) headed off to Glen Doll in reasonable weather. One or two very light showers making cute rainbows pop up all along the Clova road. I was excited to be doing this walk as it was long and hard and I was solo. I made an estimate of it taking about 6, maybe 7 hours tops (second mistake) and arrived after a 40 minute drive, at Doll car park. The wind was strong and it was cold. After double checking I had everything, me and Mez got on our way at 10 am (third mistake - I had intended to set off a lot earlier).

The walk along the first part of Jock's Road was great. A fairly decent track, easy enough even with the grunt factor. Got over the bridge after about an hour then stopped for a buttie and swig of juice.

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A group of walkers passed and stopped for grub, then we headed off again. Got to an interesting shelter which I (being a nosy female) just had to have a gork at. I remember thinking at the time that this would be fine to kip in should we have to (jinxed?) then we carried on with the walk.

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Just after the shelter, I checked the map, compass, GPS etc, I decided to leave the path to head on up to Tom Buidhe (fourth mistake) and it was here that the bog started to loom. I mean everywhere. Great big ponds of thick gloop which meant a bit of a detour. Had to get across the river which was not easy. It was a bit of a torrent and walked on quite a bit to find an easy bit. I was not going to be defeated by a bit a water though (fifth mistake). Now at this point, I had started to feel like I should go home and have a glass of squiffy juice. Leave this monstrous task for another day when the wind wasn't blowing hard sleety stuff straight in my face. But no, I carried on as I was enjoying the scenery.

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Got to the top of Tom Buidhe after walking about 3.5 hours and groped the cairn. Mez had already got there. Many mountain hares were skeeting about teasing her with their long leggies and keeping her happy. I can't remember exactly how long we spent looking at the pretty views and munching another buttie but by the time we left, I was feeling so cold and my fingers had started to feel sore.

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Checked the map etc and decided to head to Tolmout via Ca Whims (sixth mistake). Don't ask me why I wanted to go this way, at the time it looked easier staying higher up than going straight down Tom B then straight up the Tollie...

This made the walk longer but it seemed a good idea at the time.

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In this region, the great huge cavernous pools of gloop threatened to eat me and the poor dog up and I was now starting to feel nervous. However, onwards we went, albeit hard.

Got to Tolmount at around 2pm and flopped down for shelter from the sleety wind.

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Now I was tired. I didn't want to take any pictures but felt I should. By now, my map was beginning to get scraggy. I was so impatient to get out that morning that I didn't put it in any kind of protective plastic and as I had been forever getting it in and out of my pocket to check it, it was getting wrecked (seventh mistake).

Headed off towards Knaps of Fafernie and on to Cairn Bannoch (eighth mistake). Mind by this time, it was getting late and it was only when reaching the bottom of Tolmount (and yet more blinkin' gloop) I looked at the watch again and it dawned on me that I needed to leave. Sod Cairn Bannoch and Broad Cairn, they can wait.


Now, sorry but the rest is a bit of a daze, between Knaps of Fafernie and reaching Cairn Lunkard. I don't even remember Crow Craigies. I do remember that my juice bottles had icy bits in them and my Mar's bar was solid. I hadn't taken enough food, or the right kind of food (ninth mistake) and my gloves were soaking wet (tenth mistake – no spare gloves). The map was looking so bad now I was tempted to eat it or chuck it in the river.

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Then the worst happened. I fell.

I remember seeing Loch Esk, thinking ooooh that's so nice, think I'll get a picture!! I was meandering along with the stupid camera in my mitt (eleventh mistake) then I went over on my ankle. It wasn't sore at the time but it is now. In fact, everything is sore.

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Stuff was running through my head at that point and I felt so lost (twelfth mistake - panic setting in). I knew where I was on the GPS and scraggy map/ compass but it was a mass of pathless, gloopy bogginess and now I was getting very tired and cold. Stumbled along as carefully as I could until I eventually reached Cairn Lunkard but not before wading across more water.

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And then "Halleluiah" I could make out the track and I can't tell you the relief I felt when I spotted it.

I still had a way to go and as soon as the path levelled out after the bridge, I ran the whole way back through the forest (thirteenth mistake) until I reached the part that is closed off due to forestry goings on. Feeling totally sick now with the added worry that family might be actually starting to get worried, I ran through the closed off bit as it was quicker than the detour. Knew I shouldn't have gone that way but you know me (probably another mistake but please let me off with it).

Met my partner just as he was heading along the detour over the bridge. I had to yell to get his attention as he was in total search-mode. It was now 7.15pm and dark and oh god he was scarily quiet in between the "stupid, stupid, stupids" he muttered under his breath when he escorted me and Mez back to the car. He'd already ran up towards Moulzie as I had indicated that "I might try to go further". Poor guy was having kittens...

Arrived home a short while later and threw off the nasty, bog-soaked clothes. The rucksack stayed in the car till today. Couldn't bring myself to even look at it, or the clothes, or the pictures I had taken. I really under estimated this walk. The whole way. I didn't listen to what my gut was saying (turn back you stubborn foolish girl - how many mistakes is that now???)

I've had to do a lot of grovelling to my son and partner. I've done my son's home work for him and my partner, well, I'm not going into details but I think I'm forgiven.

Wonder where I'll go to next ....
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby BethAtTheHug » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:51 am

Ah well, sounds like you learnt a few lessons of how not to get in a bit of a pickle for next time. Lovely pictures, autumn in the highlands is great.
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby brpro26 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:57 am

Great photos, the weather looks great, what was the problem????

Slightly over ambitious for the day maybe but hey you'll be better prepared next time.

Get your boots cleaned up for the next adventure. :thumbup:
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby flipside » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:36 am

good god this sounds awful i am sure i spoke with your partner at the ranger station he had said he was looking for his partner who had gone walking with her dog and should have been back by now :shock: . We were doing Mayer/Dreish with the kids and wind/cold was too much form them so they made a hasty retreat back to the tent above the ranger station.

You are back in one piece that is all that matters with loads of experience :D
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby gammy leg walker » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:05 pm

Looks like you some adventure there merry-walker,think if you had just bagged Tom Buidhe and Tolmount then came back along Jock"s Road you may well have enjoyed this.Don"t be so hard on yourself,from what ive read at no time did you get lost,sometimes you need slow down or stop for 5min to asses where you are and where you are going(hard to do this when you start to panic)but this all comes with experience,glad you made up with your son,and surprised you had any energy to (ahem)get back in partners good books,anyway nice report you have submitted,with some cracking pics to back up,still intend going this way soon to bag these two :) :)
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby Alastair S » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:55 pm

Yes, no need to be so hard on yourself - you have learnt lots (albeit the hard way). As for partners remember that you can usually get a good phone signal from the tops of most peaks. Even if your partner hasn't got reception a message or text can often set your own mind at rest.
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby skuk007 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:08 pm

Blimey, that's an adventure alright. Hope it doesn't put you off though.
As has been said you'll prepare for the next one in a different way because you've had this experience.
Nice pictures too. :)
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby Merry-walker » Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:57 pm

Cheers all

Still a bit stiff with every thing, but the better for the experience. Thinking of Monamenach next week end 8) Some thing nice, short and sweet.
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby malky_c » Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:02 am

Some good moody autumn photos in here - I love this plateau in those kind of conditions. I distinctly remember dragging a bunch of freshers over here when I was at university. It was a cold and wet day, and some of them had obviously bitten off more than they could chew. The shelter came in quite handy then!

Anyway, you'll be glad of this experience in retrospect. It's probably a good idea to get a bit of a scare like this at some point (providing you get back OK) as it will make you better prepared for the future (edit: I realise everyone else has said that too!). Monamenach is a nice straightforward hill. If you fancy making a bit more of it, you can include Black Hill to the NW (route).
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby Gable Gable End » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:27 pm

autumn is favourite time of the year to go hillwalking, I have two weeks off from Monday and I am looking for a bit of an Indian Summer in October :D

This route incorporated in a kind of Jocks Road circular, the glen lyon 4 and the south glenshiel ridge are all on the list if the weather is decent and I can escape from doing up the new cottage :D
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby magicdin » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:13 pm

Good report Merry-walker - and an experience that will stand you in good stead for the future.
We've all had days like that - and probably all made "mistakes" like that

On the bright side - when you are back off the hill, warm,comfy with a glass of something in your hand
Is there really such a thing as a bad day on the hill ? :D
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby Merry-walker » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:55 pm

Yes, too right. An electric blanket, Forfar bridie and a glass of squiffy solves every thing
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby walk aboot » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:16 pm

Yup, enjoyed reading your honest report, merry-walker (being a bit harsh on yourself me thinks), and the photos are great :D .
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby Merry-walker » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:18 pm

I know hun, but that's me :D
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Re: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and a lot of grovelling

Postby kinley » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:24 pm

:lol:

Nice one 8)

As I never walk alone I always have that extra bit of reassurance (despite this we have both had those odd panicky moments) :?

Learning issues that have caused a bit of stomach churn but no harm are the best sort - we've managed a few in our time.

but never posted them

And you did get some nice photies....so all's well 8) :lol:
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