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How can I drive to a Corbett with a Beast on my bonnet!?

How can I drive to a Corbett with a Beast on my bonnet!?


Postby Graeme D » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:09 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Càrn an Fhreiceadain

Date walked: 10/03/2018

Time taken: 6.3 hours

Distance: 18.9 km

Ascent: 730m

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Answer? Let the train take the strain!

It had been February 2017 since I had last walked with my two Perth friends Bruce and John, on the occasion of my 200th Munro on an epic day on Sgor na h-Ulaidh. Life had somehow gotten in the way for the remainder of the year and scuppered any plans we had dared to come up with. 2018 had dawned with the Christmas holidays having passed and another planned hill day being binned in the name of family life and festivities.

We set another date, the first Saturday in February, but before I could get to the calendar and claim rights to the date, my wife beat me to it and booked us tickets to see Bruce Fummey at Perth Theatre with his current stand-up show, "How can I drive to a gig with a Jakey on my bonnet?" Very good it was too, but it meant that the walk had to be rescheduled for the first Saturday in March. At least we were still talking about March 2018!

Bruce (Spalding that is, not Fummey!) didn't seem too keen on the Friday night in Duror Bothy followed by Beinn Sgulaird on the Saturday so we eventually came up with the plan of taking a break from the driving rota and going by public transport instead. Malky would be very proud of us! Carn an Fhreiceadain was identified as the target with the traditional route starting more or less from the train station in Kingussie anyway. John had done it before a few years ago but was quite happy to do a repeat.

Then came the Beast from the East (Part 1). We all agreed it would be very unwise to travel in those conditions, let alone go hillwalking at the end of the totally non-essential journey, and I think Bruce was still crapping himself at the thought of a rerun of the Sgor na h-Ulaidh experience! We quickly rescheduled for the following Saturday and agreed to keep close tabs on the Beast.

Bruce pulled out on the Thursday, blaming unavoidable work commitments on the Saturday but John and I decided to stick with the plan. The police were no longer advising against non-essential travel and we always figured that if we didn't fancy the look of the hill once we got there, we could always hole up in the Duke of Gordon and watch the rugby, or catch the train on up to Aviemore and go for a pub crawl there.

Let's just say that it was a bracing walk up the road to the golf course then alongside the Gynack Burn past the bridge at Pitmain Lodge and onto the open hillside where a pretty featureless world in deep white awaited us. Once onto the open moorland and the hill proper, John recognised next to nothing that looked even vaguely familiar from his previous visit.

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I'm no golfer but I think the course might be closed today. Seems awfully quiet in any case!

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Pitmain Lodge junction

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Signage

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Let's see what the Beast has done to this hill!

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Back down towards the A9 corridor

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Creag Bheag and Creag Mhor

After 15 minutes or so of ascent, it became very difficult to tell whether we were still on the track or not and pretty much resorted to picking what felt like the line of least resistance. Eventually we spotted the Green Bothy a couple of hundred yards away to our left and agreed to head for it to see if it was open and we could get in for a sit down and a bite to eat. It was open by virtue of the fact that the door has clearly expanded and no longer closed properly within the door frame, so we put our feet up in relative luxury for 15 minutes or so. Had it not actually been so mild, I may have been tempted to fire the stove up! :lol:

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Green Bothy

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John through the fine looking windows

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You definitely wouldn't see a Lazy Susan table in your average MBA joint!

From here it was pretty much a case of following a more or less due north bearing by the line of least resistance (quite difficult to come by much of the time) to Beinn Bhreac.

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Leaving Green Bothy behind

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Meall a'Chaochain Dubh

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Creag Bheag, Creag Mhor and Creag Dhubh

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Towards Beinn Bhreac

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Fence towards the Cairngorms

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The loneliness of the Winter Corbett Bagger

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The loneliness of the Winter Mountain Hare

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Into the frozen Beast ravaged heart of the Monadhliath

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It could be John. Or it could just be a speck of dirt on the lens!

I waited on Beinn Bhreac for John to catch up. Poor guy still didn't recognise the slightest thing from his last time in these parts! He seemed a little crestfallen to learn that this was not the Corbett summit, which was still some distance away across a wasteland of a coire that looked like it would swallow for ever anyone foolish enough to descend too far into it.

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Fhreiceadain from Beinn Bhreac

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A world of grey and white

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That's definitely John this time!

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Skirting some rather precarious looking drifts in the north facing coire

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John skirting above the coire

We stuck to a high curving line, eventually breaking out of the deep powder snow onto more solid ground as we reached the summit plateau, where the long lost track began to put in fleeting reappearances to lead us towards the summit trig point.

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Fhreiceadain trig

After a few minutes, John appeared out of the white. I'd had just enough time to lay out the picnic blanket and get the deck chairs assembled! :lol:

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John following me home

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John and half a trig pillar

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I'm only here for the free exfoliation!

We took a due south bearing off the summit heading down Meall Unaig towards the Allt Mhor and the track ( :crazy: ???) that would lead us back to Pitmain Lodge. We speculated on the scene awaiting us in the Duke of Gordon, Scotland having thrashed Ireland to set themselves up as hot favourites for the Six Nations title and a wild celebration going on in the pub with free drink for one and all! :D

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Let's go home!

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Approaching the bridge over the Allt Mhor below the flanks of Creag Dhubh

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Creag Mhor from the little stand of trees

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John hallucinating about all that free drink!

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Creag Mhor

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Journey's End

Alas, our speculation turned out to be vastly different from the reality of the situation in the Duke of Gordon. Events had not gone to plan in Dublin, and our wild party turned out to be a local Jakey and not even a hint of free beer! I wondered if the Jakey was the same one that Bruce Fummey had had road rage issues with! :shock:

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Not the local Jakey! This one's from Perth via Auchinleck!

We had one final sight of local interest to visit before heading for the train. After all, it's very rude to visit a place without spending some money in the local Co-op store buying provisions for the long arduous journey home! John even chanced his luck on a lottery ticket, asking the young lady behind the counter if Kingussie was the sort of place where visitors from Perth could get lucky of a Saturday night! :lol: Let's go John, I think I hear the train coming! :crazy:

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God Bless Scotrail, God Bless Pistonhead!


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User avatar
Graeme D
 
Posts: 3678
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Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

Re: How can I drive to a Corbett with a Beast on my bonnet!?

Postby malky_c » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:08 pm

Do you believe John when he says he has been up there before? Sounds iffy to me :lol: .

I completely misinterpreted your title and assumed an accident with a stag was going to be involved - glad there was a more obscure meaning to it.

Good train effort :wink: . A handy hill for it, for sure.
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malky_c
 
Posts: 6063
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Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Glasgow/Inverness

Re: How can I drive to a Corbett with a Beast on my bonnet!?

Postby rockhopper » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:41 pm

Nice one despite the conditions :thumbup:
Does make for a good loop (even better on a bike when there's no snow :wink: ) - cheers :)
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rockhopper
 
Posts: 6726
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Location: Glasgow

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