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The Marylin redemption

The Marylin redemption


Postby BlackPanther » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:25 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Creag nan Clag, Tom Bailgeann

Date walked: 10/02/2018

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 8 km

Ascent: 402m

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After the Alligin ordeal the previous weekend, I was eager to redeem myself. There's nothing better than a weekend day spent lurking outside :D but sometimes weather conditions are simply not good enough to venture onto high tops and that was the case last Saturday. Forecast winds: 40-50 mph on Munro levels, plus frequent passing cloud and showers, that was enough to make us look for a lower alternative. I didn't mind a Graham or a Sub'2000-er as long as it was a hill with some character. I browsed WH for something interesting not too far away and found no less than 8 Sub'2000 Marylins in the area south and east of Loch Ness. Some are very easy climbs, good for short winter days, some might be used as scrambling practice ground. In the end, we picked two Subs that can be combined into a circular walk: Creag nan Clag and Tom Bailgeann. The latter one has a communication mast on top and a decent track going all the way up, so we decided to start from this one, then traverse to Creag nan Clag. The whole circuit took 3.5 hours, some time spent watching wildlife and taking photos. We encountered some rain as we progressed, but they were just thin showers and none lasted longer than 10 minutes. All in all, a very entertaining wee route... And I must send many thanks to Malcolm, who had posted it first and gave us the idea :D
Route:

Track_DORES TWO SUBS 10-02-18.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


We drove up B862 from Dores and parked at the entrance of the track to the mast. There is a police note on the gate saying, this track is in permanent use and one should not block it, but we managed to park in the corner without obscuring the entrance. There was still some thick clag drifting around the summit of Tom Bailgeann, but we hoped that with the help of strong winds, the cloud will disperse soon.
The gate:
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Creag nan Clag is very close as well and one could just nip up both summits in a couple of hours, but we preferred the circular route. The second Sub looked interesting though and I couldn't wait to get there later on:
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As we began marching up the wet track, grand views opened up behind us. Loch Duntelchaig in full glory:
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No health problems this time, apart from Kevin being a bit grumpy: why so much cloud about, I want to see the views, blah, blah. I assured him that good things come to those who wait - and I was right in the end :lol:
Panther in the mist:
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The climb was uneventful and soon we reached the summit of Tom Bailgeann. It's topped with a trig point and a transmission mast plus accompanying buildings, quite untidy to be honest. Didin't feel like a proper climb, but Tom Bailgeann is a Sub'2000 Marylin so I posed for my usual daft summit photo:
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We hid behind the mast waiting for the clag to burn off and it did eventually, leaving us with some views at least: Kevin had no reason to be grumpy any more!
Emerging from the mist: view south to Beinn a'Bhathaich.
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We traversed 100m NW to the lower top (albeit only by 2m), it is a better vantage point to Loch Ness and the hills beyond:
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View south along Loch Ness, still a bit misty but weather was improving:
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To continue the traverse, we descended due south, back to the road, aiming for the southern end of Loch Ceo Glais. Conditions improved significantly and soon we were basking in sunshine, as well as surrounding hills:
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Kevin following an old fence:
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Looking back to the summit of Tom Bailgeann:
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Suddenly it was a whole different day!
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We reached the line of trees and the final descent to the road by the loch looked very rough, but thankfully, we spotted a track descending the slopes nearby. We were on the wrong side of a small gorge though, but Kevin said he'd find a way across :lol:
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He found access to the bottom of the gorge, there was hardly any water in the stream, so we hopped over, scrambled up the steep slopes on the other side, ending up on the beaten track. This track (access to pylons) is not marked on 1-25k map, but it offers an easy escape route down to the loch:
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We took a short break by a large stone, to strip off outer layers (it was warm now with all that sun and wind dropping) and as I was sorting things out in my rucksack, Kevin spotted an otter in Loch Ceo Glais. It was an unexpected bonus, to see a wild animal, all happy and unaware of our presence, swimming about and hunting for fish. We had met wild otters before, but they are usually so quick that getting a good photo (or any at all) is really difficult. This time luck was with us. We watched the otter play and dive for 10 minutes or so, before a car driving past scared it away. Below a few photos from both our cameras (video snaps are of worse quality, sorry about that).
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Diving:
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With fish:
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Leaving Loch Ceo Glais behind, we walked 500m along B862, before turning off the road, crossing Feith Glass and picking a wet path heading towards Tom na Croich. Another shower has arrived, but it was very thin and didn't last. We didn't even bother re-dressing in waterproofs.
Tom Bailgeann and Loch Ceo Glais:
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We continued on the wet path (seen here to the left hand side) past a gate indicating it was a right of way. Later I found out that this path is a part of a long distance route called "Trail of the Seven Lochs" - something to explore in detail in the future!
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The trail crosses the lower slopes of Creag nan Clag, so after a short distance we left it to climb towards the summit of the second sub. The shower has passed and another spell of sunshine was on the way, so we picked up pace, to arrive on the top together with good weather :lol: First, we aimed for a small bump of Tom na Croich and stopped here for a few pictures.
Looking south from Tom na Croich:
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Creag nan Clag, very heathery:
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There is a path up somewhere but we didn't bother looking for it, just crossed the wet col and aimed for the summit, jumping over scratchy heather. Higher up, the slopes were less overgrown and provided pleasant walking. Views so much better than expected!
Tom Bailgeann:
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Panorama south:
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The true summit is not marked (no cairn) but Kevin made sure, using his map and GPS, that we found the highest spot amongst all that grass and heather :lol:
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Looks like a good spot for a summit photo! All of us (including wee Lucy) ticked off 2 new Sub'2 Marylins today :D
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We were luckier with weather on the second hill. Now, looking around, I understood why the local route was named "Trail of the Seven Lochs". Everywhere we turned, we could see water!
Loch Ruthven:
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Loch Duntelchaig:
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Tom Bailgeann from Creag nan Clag:
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Loch Ruthven and the southern side of Stac na Cathaig, another Sub'2000er on the list:
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Zoom to snowy Meall Fuar-mhonaidh and Glas-bheinn Mhor, the two Loch Ness Grahams:
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The descent from Creag nan Clag is straightforward, a few crags can easily be avoided to the right hand side on the descent. Lower down it's a bit overgrown again with heather and bog myrtle, but not a jungle by any means :wink:
Descending back to the road:
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Cloud passing over Loch Duntelchaig:
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Back by Loch Ceo Glais, we picked the right of way again, crossing a stream on stepping stones:
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Finally a short walk along the tarmac took us back to the starting point. The whole circuit took 3.5 hours and that included watching the otter and a long tea break on the summit of Creag nan Clag. The latter, despite its name, provided us with great views :D Of course there are easier (faster) ways of climbing these two Subs, but we really liked the circular. Thanks again, Malky :D

We didn't suffer from any health issues this time so I could redeem myself and show off a little bit :lol: With weather so unstable, it was definitely safer to stay on lower hills, but we still enjoyed a few hours of rambling.

We nipped up to the hills again yesterday and I took the opportunity to catch up with Kevin on Grahams. Loads of snow and fantastic views, all thanks to a quickie in the neighbourhood :wink: TR to come soon.
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BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2957
Munros:243   Corbetts:147
Grahams:106   
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Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: The Marylin redemption

Postby malky_c » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:48 pm

Lovely :D . Handy little hills these, and nice to see them in full colour. Nice otter photos - I've never managed to get a photo of one before (in fact I've only ever seen a couple).

At some point, I'll explore the full ridge which drops down to Inverfarigaig. It's probably quite rough though.
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Re: The Marylin redemption

Postby Sunset tripper » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:16 pm

Good otter pics. I've been in that area a lot but never seen otters there. Loads of good wee hills in the south loch Ness area. Not on the big lists so some have few visits.
One of My favourites is at the other end of the loch - Beinn a'Bhacaidh. It is perched above the loch with great views down to Fort Augustus and the canal. Last time I was up there a couple of years ago it was near whiteout conditions (for a while) and it's quite a complex little summit area.
All the best. :D
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Re: The Marylin redemption

Postby ancancha » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:29 pm

Hey panther, how many salami and cheese sandwiches did you have to give the otter to come and pose so nicely :lol: Fabulous :clap:

Glad you are back to form :D
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ancancha
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Re: The Marylin redemption

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:24 am

Thanks, folks :D :D At the very start I must deny any attempts of spoiling otters with salami, cheese or any other human snacks :lol: We were simply lucky to be in a good position above the loch and with wind blowing towards us. We stood quiet for quite a long time, watching and taking photos... I have a short video file with the otter in action, I'll try to show it here (I'm at odds with the latest technological gimmicks so it may take time).

Beinn a'Bhacaidh has been on the list for a while now, I imagine it must be a cracker viewpoint. All these Loch Ness subs and wee ridges seem perfect for shorter days and we will explore the area more, now we climbed all higher hills in the neighbourhood. I'm also intrigued by the ridge of Burach on the other side of the loch, looks like a tough climb for a Sub!
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BlackPanther
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Posts: 2957
Munros:243   Corbetts:147
Grahams:106   
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Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire


Re: The Marylin redemption

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:35 am

OK here it goes... Hopefully it works through Google plus :D Click on the video itself to get sound and full screen option:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/oJVrKEf2UrL8UxD92
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BlackPanther
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Posts: 2957
Munros:243   Corbetts:147
Grahams:106   
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Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: The Marylin redemption

Postby Mal Grey » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:15 pm

Good stuff. Your summit pose would have been even better on top of the mast ;)

Love the otter sighting. Why do otters always look like they're having such good fun?! :D Just like Panther's I guess! :lol:
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Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

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