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Ice, disappointment and delight!

Ice, disappointment and delight!


Postby Stefan1 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:39 pm

Route description: Rois-Bheinn round, Inverailort

Corbetts included on this walk: An Stac

Date walked: 17/03/2018

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A few snaps from a recent walk!

I took the train up to Lochailort on Friday night, arriving late, and ready for bed. The next morning after a lovely breakfast at the Lochailort Inn, it was off into the hills. Snow was lashing Edinburgh again, so I was rather glad to have gotten away to the west... where it was sunny! Very sunny.

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Deer at the start of the walk. Irritatingly, I didn't notice until the evening that my camera was set to shoot at ISO 6400 , rather ruining the day's photos...

Looking up at the hills, there appeared to be a little snow on the tops, but not too much. I set off following the walk description for the Rois-Bheinn round. Progress was very good and in just over an hour I reached the patchy snow.

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An Stac with Roiss Bheinn lurking behind it.

Oh dear.

While it certainly looked like lovely, fluffy snow, it was in fact sheet ice, melted and refrozen god-knows how many times. It was completely impassable! The views had already started to open up behind me, but disappointment set in. It seems my day would be spent wandering around in the valley instead. Oh well. I headed down and wandered around fairly aimlessly for a bit.

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Some deer also wandering around below the ice.

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More deer... or possibly the same deer...

The sun was lovely, and on the odd occasion that the bitterly cold breeze dropped, it was really very pleasant. However, as much as this was lovely to be out in the countryside... I wanted some hill-top views. I stopped for lunch and as I munched on the wrap I had bought at the station the previous day an idea came to me. Was it not sunny? It was! Could it not have been sunny on previous days? Seems unlikely... but... maybe! Was I not approaching the mountains from the North? Indeed I was! In that case... could I possibly walk around one of the mountains and try to go up the south face, where the ice might be patchy enough to be avoidable? Well...it was worth a shot!

An Stac was the only real option, but that looked like the best of the hills anyway. I wandered allong the valley, constantly glancing at the hill. It did indeed look as though there was less ice the more round the south I got. Eventually, there was nothing for it but to go up hill. It was a lovely little climb. Easy, but rocky enough to be fun! Only twice did I need to navigate a little creatively to avoid big ice patches! And soon I was at the top. The views were incredible, though the wind was freezing. Fortunately, a few meters down the west face got me out of the worst of the wind and I was able to sit there for almost an hour just enjoying the beautiful views. Good thing I spent so long taking it in too, as the aforementioned camera issue meant my photos did not come out well!

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View from the summit of An Stac

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Rather worth it...

I sat there, looking out and pointing to hills I had climbed on Eigg, Rum and Skye. Mountaintops are, of course, excellent locations for 4G reception, so I was able to catch up with the world, and soon found out that the snow had returned to cover most of the country. Yet here I was in glorious sunshine, and with a lot of time on my hands, after-all, I had planned a considerably longer walk! I started to wonder if I could maybe catch the sunset somewhere. I had noticed a little shoulder to the North of An Stac. Looking at the map this seemed to still be over 500 m up, and would definitely offer good sunset views, while being a bit closer to the Inn - hopefully allowing me to catch the sunset and get back before it got pitch black. Although I had both a head-torch and a couple of normal torches, I really don;t much like walking after dark. This little shoulder peak seemed like a good option.

Obviously, heading down the ice North Ridge was not an option, so I wandered off down the South Ridge. Besides, I still had some time, I think. I didn't rush, and made sure that I went a long way round, dropping all the way to the bottom of the Corrie, before climbing a couple of hundred meters again for the location I had picked out for the sunset. All too soon, I was there. The views, though not as good from An Stac, were certainly more than good enough. There was a problem, however. The sun was not setting. I had a flicker of 4G left in my phone, and so checked the sunset time. Oh (again) dear... 18:21! That's not supposed to happen! It's winter! 16:30 (the time it was now) was more than late enough for a sunset!

I admit, over the next hour and a half, as I waited, sometimes sitting, sometimes jumping around, occasionally wandering here and there, there were times when the breeze gusted that I was about to give up and go. Fortunately, I didn't. Here's why:

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Sometimes the camera snaps come out rather good!

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Here we go, sunset time! It's going to be a good one!

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The Sgurr of Eigg... in rather nicer conditions that I had dad up there half a year earlier!

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The Cuillin Ridge - bet some people had some fun there today!

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An Stac, thankfully, the south side had been kind to me!

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Ok... I appreciate that this is just the same view over and over again... but I couldn't really help myself, it was rather pretty!

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Sun nearly gone.

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And the end of an excellent day

As the sun went, so did I. I dropped down quickly and soon picked up a trail, disturbing many a deer, emboldened by the twilight. The trail was easy and not steep, and I was able to jog to make good time. I got back to the Inn at about 19:30, with just enough light to avoid needing a torch.

And so the end of an excellent day. Was I dissapointed that I hadn't managed to do the whole walk? Of course? Had I enjoyed my day anyway? You bet you! I'll have to come back some time and do the whole walk without the ice. The ice had disappointed, but the views had delighted!
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Stefan1
 
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Re: Ice, disappointment and delight!

Postby Mal Grey » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:40 pm

Wow, what a place to be at sunset. Wonderful.
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Mal Grey
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Re: Ice, disappointment and delight!

Postby litljortindan » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:06 pm

Beautiful sunset. Despite your camera setting problem those are all rather good photos and good thinking to get an ice free route.
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litljortindan
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Re: Ice, disappointment and delight!

Postby wilkiemurray » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:51 pm

lovely - have good memories of this hill - amazing views
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wilkiemurray
 
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Re: Ice, disappointment and delight!

Postby malky_c » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:57 pm

Perseverance pays off by the looks of it! Both in getting there and waiting for the sunset :) . Even if the photos are slightly grainy, it doesn't diminish the effect at all - that's a view I could look at for hours. Great report 8)
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