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Spring on Sgiath Chuil

Spring on Sgiath Chuil


Postby past my sell by date » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:09 pm

Munros included on this walk: Sgiath Chùil

Date walked: 25/03/2018

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 850m

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I did this hill together with its partner years ago by the standard route from Auchessan: the only memorable thing was that we inadvertently locked the car key in the boot at the start :roll: Fortunately in those days a wire coathanger was all that was necessary to get back in and the man at the first house on the L kindly lent us one - so problem over :lol:
However I've always thought it looked attractive from the east - particularly under snow,
2483.jpg
Sgiath Chuill from the woods bove Glen Ogle
Also I wanted to try it from Auchlyne where a pleasant hill track takes you "boglessly" up to the 450m mark :)
I'm a bit wary at my age of going out alone on the "big" hills in full winter conditions, but Sunday dawned warm and sunny, the clocks had just gone back and it felt quite Springlike :)
I parked in the village, and wandered up the delightful track which zig-zags easily up the hillside.
5430.jpg
5433.jpg

5433.jpg
Early views up the track
Above a small lochan/reservoir there was a dead sheep in the ditch above the track :( I guess it had gone in to shelter from the recent blizzard and been buried by the snow. further up there were two more. :( Eventually the track splits and you head Left whereafter it's broadly level
5434.jpg
My target comes into sight
5437.jpg
From the split in the track
5440.jpg
It crosses the Auchlyne West Burn
5443.jpg
And then travels alongside it :D :D
5446.jpg
Ben More and Stobinian start to emerge from the cloud
5449.jpg
There was quite a strong cold breeze, but I found a nice sheltered spot for a rest with a comfortable seat :)
I had intended to leave the track around here and head directly towards the top, but That would have entailed crossing the burn which didn't look at all easy. I noticed from the map that the track crossed it again a few hundred metres beyond - but it didn't so much cross as go through it :(
5452.jpg

It looked at least 8" deep in the centre and there was nothing to hold on to until you passed that point. I checked that the concrete was not at all slippery and after looking around but finding no easier crossing point I plunged through and set off up the boggy hillside shortly after. Wet bog or wet snow? not a great choice and progress was glacial, but I headed up towards a larger snowfield in a shallow gully - the going was a bit better
5455.jpg
Snow field
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Looking back down
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Ben More and Stobinian again - clearer now
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I made steady progress - but it was the usual Scottish stuff - three steps on top and then a plunge in :( - infuriating and exhausting in equal measure
5470.jpg
Nice views over to Stuc a Chroin - Creag Mac Ranaich to its R I think: Ben Vorlich is to its L but hidden
5473.jpg
I wasn't sure what the gully in the centre would be like so I headed up to the R at this point. I had crampons in my sack, but my view - if just hill-walking - is that you only put them on if you feel seriously unsafe without. they slow you down because you have to lift your feet higher and if you don't concentrate you are always likely to catch one in the other and do an instant face plant :lol: :lol: :lol: - only it might not be funny!
5476.jpg
Almost alpine - The summit ? sadly no - just the side of Sgiath Chrom
I contoured round on to the flat area below the real summit
5477.jpg
That must be the summit
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First view of the hills further W - Ben Challum at the back
At this point I was feeling pretty tired when a sudden squall blew up. The sleet stung my face , my hands and one wet foot (from the ford) were getting cold: was I going to have to turn back? I started to get those "wtf am I doing here feelings" that arise when things aren't going well :lol: :lol:
But I pushed on a bit , the squall moved away and I saw the big track made by walkers descending the normal route :) Nice to know there were other people on the planet :)
5485.jpg

Tracks descending - nice
Thus encouraged I soon made the 70m or so climb to the top and found a sheltered spot to rest

Views from the summit

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Near neighbours Meall Glas and Ben Cheathaich: Ben Challum on the L and Creag Mhor/ Beinn Sheasgarnaich perhaps in sunlight behind
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A wider view
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Looking N - Meall Ghaordaidh in the distance I think
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According to the map the Tarmachan ridge is directly in front of Ben Lawers from here
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Zoomed view - That must be Lawers at the back in mist
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Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin
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Zoomed again
5491.jpg
The hills S of Loch Tay
5492.jpg
Looking East - the snow in this corrie gets a lot less sun than the S facing slopes I had ascended

Looking at the slopes in this picture I decided to head down that way, staying on the North side of the East ridge of Sgiath Chrom. The result was that I tromped down a magic kilometre or more of perfect spring snow :D :D :D - I haven't done that in Scotland for years. I came round the Eastern edge of the ridge - still in shade and found some fresh tracks - they could only be mine and I followed them back to the track
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They had to be mine
However when I reached the ford it was several inches higher than in the morning.
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From the ford - Ben More and Stobinian now totally clear
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I didn't mind getting wet feet at this stage of the day, but there was nothing to hold on to at the deepest part, and I had visions of being swept down these steps, banging my head and drowning :(
So I decided to chicken out and stay on the N side of the burn as I knew it eventually went under the track. Fortunately only about 300m down I came upon this and was able to cross and regain the track with ease :)
5515.jpg
Some way befiore the track junction there is an area on the R marked tip (disused). heading off here I found a small track that cut diagonally down across the hillside and after going through a gate I rejoined the track just above the reservoir. Clearly others had taken the same short cut. I was also able to cut through a number of the zig-zags below this.
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A final view
According to my camera I set off at 12.50, reached the ford at 14.30, the top at 17.00, the ford again at 18.20 and the bottom at 19.20
Attachments

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Last edited by past my sell by date on Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
past my sell by date
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Posts: 889
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Re: Spring on Sgiath Chuil

Postby dav2930 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:29 pm

Enjoyed reading that Tony. Great photos too. :thumbup: Looked a really enjoyable day; nice getting up onto the Spring snows even if the firmness was a bit variable in places. This and neighbouring Meall Glas are often dismissed as rather dull hills but I really don't know why. I thought they were fine viewpoints and made a great day out when I did them back in Feb 2016. I was gutted when I lost my new camera (a Sony RX100), which had dozens of pics on it, the next day! :( .
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dav2930
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Re: Spring on Sgiath Chuil

Postby Gordie12 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:13 pm

I keep meaning to do this hill but never seem to get round to it.

I'll be happy if I get a similar day to you - great photos!!!
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Re: Spring on Sgiath Chuil

Postby past my sell by date » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:01 pm

dav2930 wrote:. This and neighbouring Meall Glas are often dismissed as rather dull hills but I really don't know why. I thought they were fine viewpoints and made a great day out when I did them back in Feb 2016. I was gutted when I lost my new camera (a Sony RX100), which had dozens of pics on it, the next day! :( .

Thanks dave
Losing a camera is a bit of a nuisance; losing the pics inside is a disaster - they're irreplacable :(
past my sell by date
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 889
Munros:282   Corbetts:85
Grahams:27   Donalds:6
Sub 2000:6   Hewitts:145
Wainwrights:159   
Joined: Apr 24, 2013

Re: Spring on Sgiath Chuil

Postby past my sell by date » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:04 pm

Gordie12 wrote:I keep meaning to do this hill but never seem to get round to it.

I'll be happy if I get a similar day to you - great photos!!!

Thanks Gordie
I can thoroughly recommend the track from Auchlyne - nice views and very easy walking. in Summer the ford would pose no problem at all - but if you're doing both hills it is less convenient
past my sell by date
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 889
Munros:282   Corbetts:85
Grahams:27   Donalds:6
Sub 2000:6   Hewitts:145
Wainwrights:159   
Joined: Apr 24, 2013

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