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On a day like today

On a day like today

Postby BlackPanther » Tue May 22, 2018 10:02 pm

Munros included on this walk: Carn Dearg (Corrour), Sgor Gaibhre

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Pharlagain

Date walked: 07/05/2018

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 26.5 km

Ascent: 1187m

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I woke up on Monday morning, remembering it was the Bank Holiday Monday, so a day for the hills! The day before we scampered happily over Amulree Grahams, but we agreed we should get some Munros done as well. So far this year, we were too distracted from our main target of M Compleation by obscure Corbetts and God forsaken Grahams, not to mention Subs in a** end of the world. As a result, we had only climbed 3 new Munros in the first 4 months of 2018, a dismal number to be honest. On the other hand, weather was not exactly up to scratch, especially in February and March (the Eastern Beast etc.) but some may say this was just a good excuse. Maybe so, but we didn't really care. We enjoyed climbing lower hills and didn't exactly suffer from lack of routes to explore in northern Scotland :lol:

With days getting longer and weather more friendly, we are now back into Munro business, and looking for maybe less popular routes up some hills. I have a plan written down for Cairn Dearg and Geal Charn that does not involve Culra, also an alternative route for Beinn nan Aighenan, but there is one round I had in mind last year and somehow didn't get around to doing it. It concerns two Munros on the edge of Rannoch Mor, Carn Dearg and Sgor Gaibhre. Whereas they can be climbed easily from Corrour, we didn't fancy the train journey, so the approach from the south was our choice. It's a long drive for us, once again, but we're getting used to 2-3hrs each way in the car. Not sure the car appreciates it, she's beginning to throw little tantrums now and then :lol: But the decision was taken to climb Carn Dearg and Sgor Gaibhre from Loch Rannoch side and no car tantrum was going to stop us :wink:

The advantage of the southern approach is that you can get a bonus Corbett (Beinn Pharlagain) for only 200m of extra ascent!

When we left Beauly, I was in excellent mood, singing all the way down the A9...
Free is all you gotta be
Dream dreams no one else can see
Sometimes ya wanna run away
But ya never know what might be comin' round your way...

What was coming round our way? The Rannoch Round! :D :D :D
We decided to start up the southern ridge of Carn Dearg first, then traverse to Sgor Gaibhre and conditions permitted, add Beinn Pharlagain to the circuit as well. Which we did:

Track_RANNOCH 3 07-0518.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

When we reached Loch Rannoch, cloud was lying very low on mountain tops, but forecast was good so we hoped it would brighten later in the day. There is ample space to park at the start of the track from Loch Eigheach.
The parking area:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 008.JPG

Walk on track begins here:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 006.JPG

Rannoch Station and the viaduct, grey cloud still hangin' around...
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 015.JPG

The track is excellent, it can be cycled. A new bridge has been fitted to cross Allt Eigheach (to allow vehicular access to hydro works I guess) so no problematic river crossings. The ridge we planned to climb first starts just past a small plantation:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 021.JPG

The track into the glen goes much higher than marked on the map, but we left it at its highest point to aim for Sron Leachd a'Chaorainn:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 025.JPG

The ground is wet at first but very quickly it becomes dry and grassy, very easy ascent. It would be even more enjoyable if we had any views to savour, but at the moment, weather was still sulky and I was beginning to worry we'd end up doing a "triple cairn in the mist" round :lol:
The southern shoulder of Carn Dearg is very long and has multiple false tops, with several small lochans dotting the ridge:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 035.JPG

On the ridge itself, we spied a grassy path and followed it over the neverending lumps and bumps... The clag was starting to lift and my hopes were growing. Maybe we would not spend a day in the mist after all!
This is NOT the summit, just another top!
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 045.JPG

Leum Uilleim and Blackwater Reservoir - is it going to clear?...
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 062.JPG

Eventually, after a long trudge over lumpy ridge, we saw the summit. And the clag was thinning!
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 055.JPG

I was so eager to reach the top that I didn't even wait for Kevin!
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 064.JPG

Summit cairn at last in Black Panther's sight!
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 065.JPG

Finally! Munro no. 221 (64 for Wee Lucy):
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 072.JPG

We sat on the summit and waited patiently, sipping tea and munching cookies. After maybe 10 minutes, the clag lifted completely and we were gifted with grand views of surrounding hills, slowly emerging from cloud...
On a day like today
The whole world could change
The sun's gonna shine
Shine thru the rain
On a day like today
Ya never wanna see the sun go down

2018-05-07 rannoch 3 086.JPG

Sgor Gaibhre, our next target:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 074.JPG

Having filled her stomach with tea and sugar and her lungs with fresh mountain air, Black Panther was meowing impatiently for Kevin to come along and traverse to the second Munro!
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 093.JPG

The initial descent is steep-ish but a path can be followed, no problems. Lower down on Mam Ban col, there are some peat hags to negotiate but nothing drastic. Generally, very easy going. We met another walker heading the other way, he was doing the hills from Corrour side. We also saw a pair of walkers following our route up Carn Dearg, but they never caught up with us.
Carn Dearg from Mam Ban:
Image2018-05-07 rannoch 3 099 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
By the time we reached the col, the clag was completely gone from the ridge we were on, and from surrounding hills, too. Beinn Pharlagain looked like a nice addition to the traverse:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 101.JPG

View north-west from the col:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 103.JPG

220m of re-ascent from the col to the summit of Sgor Gaibhre looks as comfortable as it possibly could:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 107.JPG

We were on the summit at half past one, half an hour ahead of schedule. Munro no. 222 for me, 65 for Lucy...
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 125.JPG

...and no. 226 for Kevin:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 129.JPG

Lucy and Carn Dearg in the background:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 127.JPG

Gazing in the distance, towards Loch Ossian and Beinn na Lap:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 118.JPG

Sgor Choinnich and Lochan a'Bhealaich:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 112.JPG

Now, with all the hard work done, we agreed we could easily add Beinn Pharlagain to our route. Indeed, it would be a sin not to climb it now. Weather was constantly improving and I heard that Adams song playing in my head again...
Somewhere there's a place for you
I know that you believe it too...

This is where we're going:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 135.JPG

The easy southern ridge of Sgor Gaibhre leads to Bealach Leathann (675m). From there, it's less than 200 m of ascent to the summit of bonus Corbett :D
Sgor Gaibhre from the bealach:
Image2018-05-07 rannoch 3 141 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Beinn Pharlagain and the S ridge of Carn Dearg:
Image2018-05-07 rannoch 3 143 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Ben Alder was the last mountain to shake off the cloud. Still on our to-do list which is shrinking now...
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 145.JPG

The re-ascent to Bein Pharlagain is wet in places and we encountered some boggy stretches:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 148.JPG

...but the hard work was rewarded with a nice sighting: a local bird :D
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 150.JPG

By the time we reached the final top of the day, it was a sunny afternoon, 50 shades of grey long forgotten :lol: On a day like today, who would refuse striking a happy pose on one's 139th Corbett (67th in case of the wee fluffy lamb):
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 175.JPG

It was hard to believe that conditions can change so quickly from total mist & murk to basking in sunshine. I think mr Adams was right...
On a day like today the whole world could change
The sun's gonna shine shine thru the rain
On a day like today no one complains
Free to be pure free to be sane
On a day like today
Ya never wanna see the sun go down

Panoramas from Beinn Pharlagain:
Image2018-05-07 rannoch 3 178 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Image2018-05-07 rannoch 3 179 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Image2018-05-07 rannoch 3 181 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Loch Rannoch and Lawers Ridge:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 169.JPG

Rannoch Mor and Glen Orchy Munros:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 165.JPG

Glencoe peaks on the horizon:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 160.JPG

View back to Sgor Gaibhre (left) and Ben Alder:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 154.JPG

After a well deserved break and a final sip of tea, we descended the wet SW slopes into the glen. As we walked, we spotted several water voles but they were too fast to give us a chance for a good photo. Having reached Allt Eigheach, we found it easy to cross:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 182.JPG

On the other side of the river, we located a wet ATV track which took us to the small dam. From here, much better track can be followed back to join the ascent route on the lower slopes of Sron Leachd a'Chaorainn. By now it was a lovely afternoon, full-on summer conditions!
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 191.JPG

Looking back to Beinn Pharlagainn from the access track:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 194.JPG

As we walked back to the car, we discussed our options for the following weekend and we agreed that, weather permitted, we would tackle some Munros in Glen Orchy area.
Our next target:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 198.JPG

Panther unleashed:
2018-05-07 rannoch 3 200.JPG

To sum up, an excellent round. Easy walking, grassy slopes, long ridges, superb views on a sunny day. Definitely worth saving for a clag-free day. It's always great to spend some time exploring paths less traveled, because...
... because as mr Adams sings...
Free is all we gotta be
Dream dreams no one else can see
But ya never know what might be comin' for you and me
Ya it's gonna be...
Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a'Chreachain :lol: :lol: :lol: TR to follow soon.
Last edited by BlackPanther on Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 3364
Munros:260   Corbetts:163
Sub 2000:48   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: On a day like today

Postby Alteknacker » Fri May 25, 2018 8:35 pm

Nice one! I still have these to do, but have a few potential routes planned.

Love the panos from Beinn Pharlagain - it looks like it's a superb viewing point.

Great to hear you saw some water voles. They were so common when I was a kid, but I haven't see one for 50 years or so :( .
User avatar
Posts: 2886
Munros:167   Corbetts:29
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

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