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An Sgarsoch and Carn an Fhidhleir - Glen Tilt approach

An Sgarsoch and Carn an Fhidhleir - Glen Tilt approach

Postby duncanlawson » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:34 pm

Route description: An Sgarsoch and Càrn an Fhidhleir

Munros included on this walk: An Sgarsoch, Càrn an Fhìdhleir (Càrn Ealar)

Date walked: 17/07/2017

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 56 km

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After spotting that the Monday was going to be a fine day after a lot of fairly uninspiring weekends I decided to make the most of having a few days off work. Being a Monday, I was companionless, which was nagging at the back of my mind - should I stick to the conventional route from Linn of Dee, or should I attempt the route from Blair Atholl (which I'd been eyeing up for a while). Last minute decision to head to Blair Atholl was made (mainly due to it being a shorter drive up from Edinburgh!).

Arriving at the Old Bridge of Tilt car park at 7:30 ish, it was quiet save for another climber heading off on their bike to Beinn Dearg - a route I'd walked before and had thought 'wouldn't this be nice on a bike'. I too was using a bike, as the thought of walking up and returning back along the near entire of Glen Tilt on foot was not appealing, as well as being constrained by daylight!

The bike to the Tarf Water was long... should have known that... a couple of stops on the way to take in some juice helped, but I had to dismount when it came to the switch backs up the side of Glen Tilt on the road over to the Tarf. Did I mention that I was stuck with only 7 gears? (unfortunately the hardest set..) This ensured I was gasping / dripping by the time I hid my bike in an old shelter at the side of the Tarf.

On the way up Glen Tilt

Looking up Glen Tilt

It had taken just over 2 hours to this point, but the biggest challenge of the day was about to come - how to cross the Tarf? Boots off it was, but being me I decided to start ploughing across, not quite fathoming the depth of where I was going, nor the uneven stones, nor the cold water. Needless to say I had a little stumble and managed to fling a boot in to the water! (note to self - tie boots to rucksack next time - keep hands free) As I scampered back to shore and ran down the side of the river I was able to intercept it and pluck it from an eddy. After reattempting the crossing - this time successfully - I put on the soggy boot and started a trudge (muttering to myself as I went).

I headed across the moors / bogs and quickly found some deer tracks that another climber had also used (the infrequent boot prints were reassuring). Once I had got to the stream below the climb up to Carn Greannach I decided to have a snack stop, my only company was a long deceased stag whose skeletal remains were sitting in the stream.

Looking at Carn a'Chlamain / Tarf Hotel

Companion at snack time

The spot provided complete shelter and I basked in the sunshine, admiring the vast moors extending across the valleys (with the faintest glimpse of the Tarf Hotel nestling below Meall Tionail). Snack done I headed upwards and it was not long until I was up An Sgarsoch (I estimate 4 hours from the car park). The wind was surprisingly strong and I had donned my lightweight Montane to add some warmth to the situation and decided not to linger long, other than to take in the fine views across to the Cairngorm plateau and back to the Beinn a'Ghlo mass (these hills really do feel isolated). I then headed to the bealach between the hills snack stop ensued - this time with some small moorland birds for company. I left them some crumbs to scrap over.

Looking over to Macdui

An Sgarsoch cairn

The climb to the top of Carn an Fhidhleir was quick - I reckoned it took not much more than an hour from the top of An Sgarsoch. Again, good views from up here, Cairn Toul looking shapely from this angle and fine views into the upper Glen Feshie and Glen Eidart (Sgor Gaoith in the background also looking impressive).

Upper Glen Feshie

Top of Carn an Fhidhleir

The descent back to the Tarf Water was a bit of a slog, but I did stumble on an old land rover track just on the east side of the Allt a Chaorainn (I would say about 500m north-east of the shieling marked on the OS map). Followed this back to the Tarf and managed successfully to cross this time (without even having to take off my boots). I quickly regretted crossing, as the south side of the Tarf is boggy and pathless - almost ending up on my back a couple of times as I jumped across bogs. Making it back to the bike hut was a relief. It had taken 2 hours from the top of Carn an Fhidhleir.

Way down (1)

Way down (3)

All that remained now was the bike back. I went as fast as I dared (bumpy / steep rocky sections were proving tiresome) but once back in to Glen Tilt the cycling was good. Unfortunately it was mainly into a headwind which necessitated some additional effort. Nevertheless, I was back at the car park by 4:15 (so about 1.5 hrs from the Tarf).

A long distance covered, if not the longest of days time wise. It was remote, expansive and wild - not a single fellow climber spotted all day. All in all - pretty much as you would expect - but with the added bonus that I now know what that approach is like!

Hopefullly someone finds this useful as I struggled to find any reports of this route before attempting.
Last edited by duncanlawson on Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: An Sgarsoch and Carn an Fhidhleir - Glen Tilt approach

Postby Colin1951 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:47 am

A great way in to these ultra remote hills, 2 huge Munro scalps! I'd been thinking about this way in for a while but eventually seized the opportunity of a weekend at Inverey, to go the usual,way.

Hint for river crossings: put a pair of flip flops n your rucksack! Just as cold, but much less painful...
Posts: 157
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