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The Misty Ardgartan Corbetts

The Misty Ardgartan Corbetts


Postby Chris Mac » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:05 am

Route description: The Brack and Cnoc Coinnich, Ardgartan

Corbetts included on this walk: Cnoc Coinnich, The Brack

Date walked: 07/04/2018

Time taken: 5.2 hours

Distance: 14.3 km

Ascent: 1118m

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Cnoc-Coinnich--The-Brack.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

All week my friend Michele and I had been planning a walk for Saturday. Michele has been dying to get out on the hills again after some time away, so I pestered her to log all her hills on here which she got round to eventually! :lol: Once done I knew what she had walked and where so it was easier to plan where to head to for our first hike.

59 Munros and 8 Corbetts done was good going, luckily we had done a lot of the same hills so far and both still had the same ones to do bar a few. Our initial plan was to go for An Caisteal and Beinn a' Chroin at Glen Falloch, with me hoping to add in 1 or 2 more Munros in a bigger day.

As Saturday neared, the forecast was still decent, dry, misty in the morning but clearing up a bit later. Bigger hills would have less chance of a view and M was now thinking of a change of plan and try something easier for her first walk in a while. I suggested Cnoc Coinnich and The Brack at Ardgarten which neither of us had climbed, were closer and have several route options so the decision was made.

I set off and was at Michele's just after 9am, bringing good news in that I had realised we could park at Coilessan car park instead of at Ardgarten to save 2 hours of walking which went down very well! :D We stopped en route for my usual breakfast roll and lunch supplies before heading for Arrochar and enjoying the usual glimpses of the hills as you drive up the west side of Loch Lomond. Unfortunately all tops were mist or cloud covered but at least it was dry and not very windy.

During the drive we were chatting about hills and M was letting slip that she was more of a fair weather walker and hated bogs, this coming from someone who's done a lot of Torridon, Skye and other bigger Munros, yet later on during the day I would be informed that she was well out of her comfort zone as she cursed the bogs! :crazy: :lol:

We turned off at Ardgarten and headed along the B road to the car park. It was fairly busy but after chatting to a guy there who asked us if we knew where the Bothy was we knew why!

We headed south on the track for a few minutes before turning right to follow the forestry track up Coilessan Glen

Misty and cloudy tops, looking across Loch Long to Doune Hill & Cruach an t-Sithein:
ImageDSC_3477 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The local sheep sherpa met us as the track started heading uphill and it showed us the way ahead... :)
ImageDSC_3482 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We cross the bridge and head through the trees on the track:
ImageDSC_3490 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On the right The Brack won't come out to play...
ImageDSC_3502 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I don't know what weather she was expecting but at this point Michele decided she couldn't handle her thermals and decided to take them off as I went on ahead. :lol: It was a fairly mild and still morning so far despite the mist!
ImageDSC_3504 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I walked up to the pile on the left of the track, sorted some camera settings and snapped another shot across Loch Long:
ImageDSC_3505 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We set off again and soon reach the start of the steep ascent up to the bealach, path seen on the right hugging the tree line:
ImageDSC_3510 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We missed where the path joins for the bridge but would cross this way coming down:
ImageDSC_3516 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The track turns into a steep path here but the going is good:
ImageDSC_3518 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We soon reach the top and a gate and stile as we exit the trees, passing a Polish couple who say they are walking the Cowal Way.

On the right The Brack has cleared a bit as the lift seemed to head up the hill at the same time we did:
ImageDSC_3524 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

This is now boggy territory on the large plain of the unnamed bealach between the two Corbetts:
ImageDSC_3525 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I donate my gaiters to Michele and express my astonishment that an experienced walker like she is had never used them before!! :shock: I couldn't find my spare pair so fully expect to finish the walk a bit on the muddy side but at least the fair weather one is getting to experience something new! :lol:

On the left Cnoc Coinnich is completely hidden but having decided to head up it first we veer left towards it, since any sign of a path is indistinguishable from boggy streams at this point!
ImageDSC_3526 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The mist is sitting atop the bealach as we make out a cairn on the path marking where to turn off to climb The Brack:
ImageDSC_3527 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking over at the taller of the two hills the mist starts to envelope it again:
ImageDSC_3530 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As we ascend Cnoc Coinnich, going for a more direct start, we head for the gradual slope to the left of the first set of crags which is about the only thing we can see due to the mist so we pick out a large boulder and stop for a snack and break:
ImageDSC_3536 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Break view:
ImageDSC_3541 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The mist is coming and going and a fresh batch awaits the main ascent:
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_123659 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_3541 20180407_123931 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Out of nothing some of the mist and cloud passes and views appear suddenly:
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_124231 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

There's a faint grassy path to follow up Cnoc Coinnich and it's a fairly quick half hour from the base of the main ascent, or 45mins from the stile and gate leaving the forestry:
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_124235 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking behind us to the west and slightly north is Ben Donich with Inveronich down at Lochgoilhead down below on the left:
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_124526 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The mist suddenly appears again and makes the walking very atmospheric as I try to wax lyrical about this to M after she told me how she prefers going out on clearer days so she can enjoy the view! :lol:
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_125635 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

By the end of the walk she would be a converted fair weather walker though!! :clap:

Still.... it is nice when you can see from the top... Cnoc Coinnich summit cairn ahead:
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_130010 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Success and Corbett 1 for the day now climbed:
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_130059 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

At this point the eagle-eyes of an artist spotted some tupperware hiding in the cairn:
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_130141 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It was a geocache, which we examined as it was the first we had ever found before carefully hiding it again:
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_130209 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Summit cairn:
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_130316 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I wanted to hang about for a bit to wait for the view to clear as it was threatening to...
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_130345 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Michele was keen to press on and head down for The Brack so we set off again:
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_130440 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Back into the mist...
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_130538 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The Brack clearing, it looked as if the mountains were on fire or were all volcanoes letting off some steam, lovely stuff and why I will walk in most conditions:
ImageDSC_3541 20180407_130857 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

To the south west the hills above Lochgoilhead popped into view with Beinn Bheula snow-topped and peeking through, it looks like a great area for walking with some dramatic hills and one i'm itching to explore now:
ImageDSC_3542 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Donich and the other Arrochar Alps clearing a bit now too:
ImageDSC_3543 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Donich and a group of walkers coming up from Lochgoilhead bottom left, it's a popular route!
ImageDSC_3547 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We descend Cnoc Coinnich quickly...
ImageDSC_3548 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

...and reach boggy bealach:
ImageDSC_3552 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Just after this photo I endured a comedy moment as I cross a large snow patch...
ImageDSC_3554 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I could hear a stream a little up the hill gurgling away as if it was going underground, yet in front of me was a lot of snow with no visible exit stream to the left... I mentioned this to Michele before taking a few steps forward and losing my left leg is it dunked down into a burn and I felt cold water over my boot before pulling my leg out again, to the sound of M saying oops and the now louder stream I had inadvertently plunged into! :lol:

I laughed at the comedy timing and only had a wet foot and gloves as a result so we pressed on towards across boggy bealach veering left of the wee lochan between the hills. In hindsight we should have rejoined the path to the cairn then turned left and had to bog hop our way over a few streams, luckily with no more mishaps!

In saying that, I was making quick progress, possibly due to longer legs and a large stride despite having no gaiters. Behind me Michele was struggling a bit to find a way through as I heard her shout "f'ing bogs!"...
ImageDSC_3556 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

:lol: :clap:

We're soon through the worst of it with The Brack looking closer...
ImageDSC_3565 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We cross the fence and decide what route to take for the ascent. Tullich Hill in the distance:
ImageDSC_3567 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We head left of the steeper part of The Brack SW Top before swinging aroudn onto it:
ImageDSC_3569 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Unsurprisingly the summit we have just came down from is now cloud free! :roll:
ImageDSC_3573 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We head over the SW top, down and around the next outcrop:
ImageDSC_3578 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ahead in the distance the summit is still shrouded in mist:
ImageDSC_3580 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The other Arrochar hills have cleared a bit though and I can make out Stob Coire Creagach, Beinn Luibhean and Beinn Ime:
ImageDSC_3583 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Michele, despite informing me that this walk had taken her out of her comfort zone as we ascended, was full of smiles and loving being back out on the hills even if she had just traversed boggy bealach and the weather wasn't fair! :lol: She was also happy to be putting my gaiters through their paces and resolved to buy herself a pair in order to deal with future encounters! :D
ImageDSC_3586 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As we rounded the outcrop a group of 8 walkers could be seen descending:
ImageDSC_3591 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We headed towards them since they seemed to have found a path they were following and we hadn't, it's always easier to find a path on the way down. We chatted briefly to the senior gentleman of the group who was enjoying the walk and also hadn't done these hills as they set off to summit Cnoc Coinnich next.

We continued on as the summit of The Brack finally cleared of clouds, looking impressive and craggy, reminding me of Beinn an Lochain a bit due to the several steep sections we've had to negotiate:
ImageDSC_3592 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We continue past the lochan beyond the 577 mark on the map:
ImageDSC_3593 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On our right, to the east, the Loch Lomond Grahams have also cleared a bit:
ImageDSC_3598 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Michele pressed on as I faffed about with cameras, water and clothing briefly, which I always like for adding a human element to a photo, see if you can find her...
ImageDSC_3600 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Donich to the west is also clear now:
ImageDSC_3601 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Up a steeper section and now on the west face of the hill, looking back to Cnoc Coinnich and Cowal:
ImageDSC_3602 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Donich, one on my radar for sometime soon:
ImageDSC_3605 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We continue up and round:
ImageDSC_3609 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_3611 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As we come around the hill we spot a couple in the distance at the crags, the guy's high-vis jacket just visible:
ImageDSC_3614 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As we approach the clouds and mist have rolled in again...
ImageDSC_3620 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As we reach them the guy is helping his wife down a steep craggy section and it does seem to be the way to go, she's on her bum sliding down slowly! We get chatting and he asks about his choice of route and if it is easy to get down by the route we've just come up. We say yes and show him the best route saying the west face is a more gradual ascent but that he should find a few grassy path sections, then it's down to the bealach and forestry track to Loch Long.

They had been thinking about heading back the way they came up, I think from the Elephant Gulley side but we assure them they'll find it easy going from now on. We then hike ourselves up, having already deployed our walking poles to help.

We climb up a bit more easily than it looks with me enjoying yet another foot dunk, this time into a deep snow drift!

Before the view vanishes again I take in what I can of Loch Long down below:
ImageDSC_3623 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Cnoc Coinnich to the south:
ImageDSC_3624 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

At the Glen Croe side the clouds have arrived:
ImageDSC_3625 20180407_144753 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We head on through a flatter rocky section into the mist....
ImageDSC_3625 20180407_144759 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Brief view respite and a bit more soft snow higher up:
ImageDSC_3625 20180407_144855 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We reach the final steep summit section and I clamber up. Looking back the mist has rolled in behind Michele and this photo is a bit deceptive, looking like she's crawling on all fours it's actually taken pointing down about 45 degrees and the dark shapes in the mist are the rocks from the previous section. Despite being a camera phone shot due to swopping with all the moisture and a non-waterproof DSLR in the dry bag, it's shots like this that make me love coming up the hills no matter the weather:
ImageDSC_3625 20180407_145330 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Almost there...
ImageDSC_3625 20180407_145539 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Trig point now visible ahead, we've made it:
ImageDSC_3625 20180407_145542 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Although it looks an unusual shape...
ImageDSC_3625 20180407_145631 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It's a trig cairn! Something to focus on since the view isn't there...
ImageDSC_3625 20180407_145729 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Corbett 10 for Michele and 12 for me:
ImageDSC_3625 20180407_145813 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It's been a great double hill hike as the clouds roll past and Cnoc Coinnich briefly shows behind me:
ImageDSC_3625 20180407_145840 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Like Cnoc Coinnich the Brack has an interesting summit area, it's a shame we can't see much again though :( but always a good excuse to return, both hills are filed with Ben Lui, Tinto, Culter Fell and others in the "you owe me a view" category.

I'm determined to hang about a bit longer to wait for the visibility to improve:
ImageDSC_3627 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking down Glen Croe to Rest and be thankful:
ImageDSC_3628 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Arthur had only cleared briefly once on the ascent and still wasn't saying hello:
ImageDSC_3630 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Sunlight trying to reach through the clouds:
ImageDSC_3633 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I decide to have my sandwich while M, who already ate half of hers earlier, decides to head off to get a head start on me since my pace is quicker, i'm eating and want to wait for the clouds to clear. Summit trig-cairn:
ImageDSC_3638 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

My patience pays off as Glen Croe and Rest and be thankful pop into view from nowhere:
ImageDSC_3641 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Loch Restil, Glen Croe and the hills clearing again:
ImageDSC_3643 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

With the cloud closing my window of opportunity again and M still visible in the distance I decide to head off as I don't want to lose sight of her with all the mist and crags around:
ImageDSC_3647 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It makes for some dramatic images which is great!
ImageDSC_3648 20180407_150827 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We descend quickly, even the steeper section where we met the couple, our pole are a big help now:
ImageDSC_3648 20180407_150837 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Crossing a few of the larger snow patches:
ImageDSC_3648 20180407_151042 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Another clearing spell and from an outcrop I show Cnoc Coinnich from the north, just a few weeks ago I had a good view of the east face from Beinn Eich:
ImageDSC_3649 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Speaking of which, I look towards the Loch Lomond and Loch Long Grahams...
ImageDSC_3651 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

That's Conic Hill in the distance up beyond Glen Douglas:
ImageDSC_3652 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Doune Hill and Cruach an t-Sithein with Beinn Eich in the middle behind them:
ImageDSC_3655 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking back to The Brack from my vantage point:
ImageDSC_3656 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I'm glad I stopped off atop this craggy outcrop as behind to my right the view i've been waiting for finally clears and Beinn an Lochain is in view, one of my favourite hills:
ImageDSC_3658 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_3659 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

A glorious Corbett and walk and a fine looking mountain:
ImageDSC_3660 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Stob Coire Creagach:
ImageDSC_3662 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Tiny ant Michele ahead of me down below:
ImageDSC_3664 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn Bheula, another hill i'm looking forward to exploring at some point:
ImageDSC_3670 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Loch Goil hills and Lochgoilhead:
ImageDSC_3673 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn Lochain, Beinn Tharsuinn and Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn:
ImageDSC_3677 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Donich and Beinn an Lochain:
ImageDSC_3678 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Continuing down, on my way around I discover a cool crack in the hillside that goes fairly deep and is snow filled on the bottom:
ImageDSC_3679 20180407_153353 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I also discover that I seem to have lost Michele... then I hear a shout, scan around... another shout, there she is!
ImageDSC_3684 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

After the craggy section descent she had veered left thinking we came up that way but she was soon back on track and behind us The Brack was looking menacing:
ImageDSC_3686 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Loch Long and M catching up:
ImageDSC_3692 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The forestry track down below:
ImageDSC_3700 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On the way we discuss the order of the two hills, with Cnoc Coinnich the easier of the two, should we have done The Brack first? I said I liked doing the smaller hill to enjoy a warm up before the big event, M said she liked doing the harder one first to get it out of the way. We agree that both are valid options depending on the situation and how you feel! :D

Still smiling!
ImageDSC_3704 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Approaching the final few steep sections before the bealabog, we spot two people climbing the Cnoc:
ImageDSC_3706 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The smallest Corbett and an easy hike:
ImageDSC_3708 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We reach the bottom and cross the fence again, this time at the gate, passing the tiny lochan on our right:
ImageDSC_3713 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The pointy Mullach Coire a' Chuir is now visible on the right along with Beinn Tharsuinn and Stob na Boine Druim-fhin:
ImageDSC_3715 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We make a bee line for the cairn on the path knowing it should hopefully give the least boggy descent to the gate and stile, it doesn't! Michele celebrates our double Corbett hike at the cairn with Cnoc Coinnich behind her:
ImageDSC_3725 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

:clap:

The south face of The Brack, a great hill of crags and steep sections to explore:
ImageDSC_3727 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Despite the mist and cloud level seeming to lift with us during our ascent, creating a great atmosphere with teasing glimpses of the views, the summit of The Brack stubbornly remained in cloud foralmost the whole day:
ImageDSC_3730 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Back on the Cowal Way heading for the forest path again:
ImageDSC_3732 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_3735 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_3739 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We cross the higher up bridge this time.

ImageDSC_3743 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_3744 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On the forestry track again so the descent is rapid as we blether about how much fun our hike was, what hills to do next time and how Michele now sees that even walks on days like today can be scenic. Also, gaiters are essential kit! :lol:
ImageDSC_3745 20180407_162309 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Crossing the lower down bridge:
ImageDSC_3745 20180407_162608 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Doune Hill on the way doon:
ImageDSC_3751 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As we approach the end of the walk Cruach Tairbeirt is looking good further up Loch Long:
ImageDSC_3762 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We turn left once the track heading south to the bothy is reached:
ImageDSC_3765 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Then it's just the final stretch back to the car:
ImageDSC_3767 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_3774 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I'll be Brack... :roll: :crazy: :lol:

ImageDSC_3777 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

At the car I got changed from my boots and chatted to a couple next to me who were heading to the bothy. I informed them that most of the cars here were also visiting it and to expect some company!

The drive back down Loch Lomond saw the rain start and it was the perfect end to a cracking day on the hills knowing we beat it! I dropped Michele off in Glasgow and headed home getting a large fish supper on the way as a reward for a 14.3km day with a decent ascent of 1118m, not bad for a first walk in a while for M! Looking forward to the next one, maybe we'll get An Caisteal and co. done... :wink:
User avatar
Chris Mac
 
Posts: 821
Munros:40   Corbetts:22
Grahams:10   Donalds:10
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Joined: Sep 11, 2014

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