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A fabulous first foray down Loch Arkaig

A fabulous first foray down Loch Arkaig


Postby Jaxter » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:33 pm

Route description: Meall na h-Eilde and Geal Charn, Loch Arkaig

Corbetts included on this walk: Geal Charn (Arkaig), Meall na h-Eilde

Date walked: 10/11/2017

Time taken: 5.4 hours

Distance: 17.88 km

Ascent: 1285m

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Following a horribly late night, a very early start and a difficult drive (blizzard conditions over the Drumochter Pass and it only got worse from there :shock: ) it was probably a miracle that Andy had only had to wait about 15 minutes for me at the Commando Memorial, our designated meeting spot. However I pride myself on being on time for everything and Andy was quite happy to hold it against me all day :lol:

We jumped into one car and headed down the Loch Arkaig road. Fortunately in his car because I felt like I needed a nap, however that road is not one that encourages one to fall asleep, more the opposite :shock: Fortunately on this occasion we were not heading too far down it and we parked up at the designated parking area just before Achnasaul shortly before 10.

Gulvain and Loch Arkaig
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It was chilly so we were on the move quickly, walking a short distance along the “road” before turning right up a track just before the bridge over the Allt Dubh. This Hydro track made for an easy start to the day (I say start….I’d been up for over 5 hours already :crazy: )

Very quickly the views down Loch Arkaig made me realise what an incredible part of Scotland this wee corner is. And this was only the start; the views would only improve 8)
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The track took us some distance up the glen as we walked along the side of the Graham Glas Bheinn. I suggested to Andy that we could always climb that too, but he had more sense than to agree :lol:

Looking ahead
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Once past the Dam the quality of the track declined and we were squelching our way through a lot of mud and bog. Eventually the track came to an end entirely and we were on our own. We were to walk around the end of Glas Bheinn so off we went; it was pretty boggy and the ground was very uneven so this required a fair amount of concentration to avoid faceplanting into unsavoury ooze.

As we skirted Glas Bheinn, we could see our route ahead, and also down into Gleann Tarsuinn towards the Loch Lochy munros. Or not…as a snow storm had blown in :lol:
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But it blew through quickly enough
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A wee bit of down and up and a river crossing that we managed unscathed saw us heading up the steep ridge towards Meall na h-Eilde.

Looking towards our second target, Geal Charn
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Looking back down the glen. Andy is looking cold :lol:
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Glas Bheinn
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It was pathless (obviously…we were on a Corbett :lol: ) and the gradient saw us huffing and puffing our way uphill and into the clag.

Somewhere around this point it started snowing again and coupled with the wind it was the sort of weather than stung the face and made keeping ones eyes open quite challenging.

We climbed higher, aiming for the 681 spot height. We seemed to miss this and in the class we just got our heads down and pushed on. After a while we figured we must have reached 861, and seeing a lump looming out of the whiteness Andy checked his device…only to find that it was the summit! Huzzah :D

Andy looking a bit like a snow angel on the summit of Meall an h-Eilde
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Me getting assaulted by the wind
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The views from this hill should have been magnificent, however they were not and it was snowing fairly heavily so we posed for a few photos before adding copious layers of clothing and better gloves.

I caused great hilarity with my eye protection device – a pair of Primark sunglasses I’d picked up for 50p. Laugh all you like, they kept the snow out of my eyes :lol:

It wasn’t a place for hanging around, so we checked our direction and headed down the ridge following the fenceposts over plenty of snow, bog and slippery rocks.

After laughing at me for my poor fashion choices, as we walked directly into the wind I had a good laugh at Andy as he muttered “I wish I had some **** Primark sunglasses” :lol: :lol:

Soon enough the shower was over and we had dropped beneath the level of the clag. The views down the glen were stunning and we could see the route ahead.
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Andy switching gloves
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Ben Tee
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Glas Bheinn
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Next we had to climb up and over Meall Coire nan Saobhaidhe, an 826 lump in our way. This was negotiated without much bother and we could see ahead to Geal Charn, our second summit of the day and also back towards our first summit, which was now clear. Typical :roll:
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Glas Bheinn
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Panorama from Meall Coire nan Saobhaidhe
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Fort William hills
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Around this point the sun made itself known and it was so bright that my sunglasses found another use, getting them the nickname of “multitool sunglasses” :lol:
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We followed the ridge downwards heading towards Geal Charn which was actually lower than where we were standing. It was an easy walk and then we squelched our way across some more bog before heading steeply uphill.

Andy heading up
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The gradient and rough ground underfoot made it quite tough but we were out of the wind so there was little to complain about really :lol:

A panorama from relative shelter
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Shortly we climbed out the top and we walked the final few metres to the summit where there was a trig point to hide behind.

The wind assaulted us now we were exposed and I had to brace myself against the trig point so I could take photos :shock:

Andy on top of Geal Charn
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Me on top of Geal Charn
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Garich and pals
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Gleann Tarsuinn and the Loch Lochy hills
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The views were stunning and we enjoyed them for as long as we could but it was cold :shock: So it was time to head down. We followed the shoulder of the hill towards the bealach before straight-lining it towards a muddy ATV track we had spied coming up the glen earlier.

Last view down Loch Arkaig
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Gleann Tarsuinn & Loch Lochy hills
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This was steep and slippery and there were some dodgy moments but we made it to the river relatively unscathed. Here Andy had a bit of an accident, breaking his pole as he climbed up the opposite bank :lol: I tried not to laugh too much as karma would no doubt want to knock me into the river, but we were all good.

Looking down the burn
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Safely across the burn we climbed up to the track and it was a sloppy walk back to where the track became easier underfoot. No mention was made of adding the Graham by either of us…. :lol:

A moody Loch Arkaig
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And a less moody one
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After a brief shower we were easily back at the car where it was a simple drive back to my car at the Commando before heading to the Hostel for an evening of merriment with good friends :D

An impressive waterfall on the drive out
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View from the Commando Memorial
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Jaxter
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Re: A fabulous first foray down Loch Arkaig

Postby malky_c » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:52 pm

Pleasant loop - been up these from the north but the Loch Arkaig side is probably marginally nicer.

Sunglasses are usually the death knell for any sun or visibility so you were pretty lucky all things considered!
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Re: A fabulous first foray down Loch Arkaig

Postby londonwalker » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:18 pm

Cracker of a report Jaxter. Brought back a few memories of a great but cold day up there :D
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londonwalker
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Re: A fabulous first foray down Loch Arkaig

Postby PeteR » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:30 pm

I really enjoyed these two when I did them. I added on the Graham Glas Bheinn too :wink: , but I see Andy hasn't been introduced to such wee hills just yet :lol:
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Re: A fabulous first foray down Loch Arkaig

Postby Alteknacker » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:49 pm

Some really cracking pics there, Jackie :clap: :clap: :clap: . I love the ones with the sun behind clouds - it was a bit of a day for those kind of pics, though mine haven't come out nearly so well.

You were fortunate with the short snow flurry - I was blundering about in a white-out for about an hour on the way to Sron a'Choire Ghairbh :roll: .
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Re: A fabulous first foray down Loch Arkaig

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:23 pm

Jaxter wrote:we walked along the side of the Graham Glas Bheinn. I suggested to Andy that we could always climb that too, but he had more sense than to agree :lol:


Exactly the same thing Kevin tried to force on me when we did this route a few years back :lol: I was sane enough to resist the idea. We returned to visit the Graham on another day.

Sadly, the big ugly hydro track at the start spoils it a bit :(
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BlackPanther
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Re: A fabulous first foray down Loch Arkaig

Postby Jaxter » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:51 pm

malky_c wrote:Pleasant loop - been up these from the north but the Loch Arkaig side is probably marginally nicer.

Sunglasses are usually the death knell for any sun or visibility so you were pretty lucky all things considered!

Yeah I was definitely tempting fate there.... 8)



londonwalker wrote:Cracker of a report Jaxter. Brought back a few memories of a great but cold day up there :D

Cheers Andy :D Was an awesome day :D



PeteR wrote:I really enjoyed these two when I did them. I added on the Graham Glas Bheinn too :wink: , but I see Andy hasn't been introduced to such wee hills just yet :lol:

Aye, we shall have to work on him :lol: To be fair, it's an excuse to go back down there :wink:



Alteknacker wrote:Some really cracking pics there, Jackie :clap: :clap: :clap: . I love the ones with the sun behind clouds - it was a bit of a day for those kind of pics, though mine haven't come out nearly so well.

You were fortunate with the short snow flurry - I was blundering about in a white-out for about an hour on the way to Sron a'Choire Ghairbh :roll: .

Cheers Allan! We were quite lucky, we weren't in the clag for too long :D 8)



BlackPanther wrote:
Jaxter wrote:we walked along the side of the Graham Glas Bheinn. I suggested to Andy that we could always climb that too, but he had more sense than to agree :lol:


Exactly the same thing Kevin tried to force on me when we did this route a few years back :lol: I was sane enough to resist the idea. We returned to visit the Graham on another day.

Sadly, the big ugly hydro track at the start spoils it a bit :(

:lol: :lol: :lol:
The Hydro track isn't too bad now, it's bedded in and the grass has grown around it. Few more years and it'll be barely noticable 8)
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