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Cul Beag for a cool sunset

Cul Beag for a cool sunset

Postby litljortindan » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:41 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Cul Beag

Date walked: 07/06/2018

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 5 km

Ascent: 700m

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Felt the need to try to get a walk in during the fine spell but with a mind to not overdoing it in the heat. Solution = another sunset walk. In fact I resurrected my plan A of May 26th in the belief that it wouldn't be quite so warm as on that evening and in light of some rather nice photos that appeared on Facebook recently from Cul Beag summit.
Been up a couple of times before but in winter so a sunset walk would be somewhat different hopefully and photographer's ephemeris (web app, thank you jmarkb) indicated that Cul Beag would still potentially provide some views with Stac Pollaidh and the sunset at least in the same shot if farther apart than would have been the case on May 26th.

A spot of deja vu though as I got to Ullapool with the temperature again nudging above twenty Celsius. Got round to the foot of Cul Beag and looked up at the line of crags ahead and thought I can't do this any more. So maybe I should look for a smaller alternative again. But no, I could still go so far and get some good sunset views -maybe even as far as the spectacular gully just below the summit. Also, there was a breeze to help keep me cool.

So I was mentally committed to the hill and, timewise, also committed to my route of the previous visit i.e. the most direct I could manage. I had parked on a flat area adjacent to a passing place more less directly opposite a fishing hut across the loch. From there I had a straight forwardish route of ascent more or less direct to the top. That is aside from one steep gully to walk up near the start.

Drank a litre of water before setting off and carried two litres with me to be on the safe side.
Got into a rhythm of bashing up over the grassy tussocks which wasn't bad going at all but still doubted that I could just switch on the engine at 8pm and arrive at the destination before 10.30pm.

Once past that steepish gully though my mindset improved and I thought more rationally about my progress. I knew I had a reasonable level of fitness from playing football regularly twice a week and I wasn't getting tired at all, just occasionally catching breath.

Getting past the gully also meant getting onto ledges that look straight down to Loch Lurgain and west to Stac Pollaidh and such good views can also serve to summon up energy from nowhere it seems. So it proved anyway.

So now I was spurred on by 1. cooling temperatures, 2. rising breeze, 3. magnificent views, 4. sunbeams indicating a sun lowering to a point where it might find a gap between the cloud and the horizon.

I got up to the big gully at 500m and remembered how this seemed further than it is to detour round and I reminded myself that I was now only 270m from the top. So one last steep pull up the last slope and I would be there at the top but it was only 9.30pm so time to slow the pace and take it easy in order to get there at around 10.10pm which is when I expected the sky to start to get more interesting if it could.

Made my slowed zigzagging way up and enjoyed that feeling of being intermittently and alternately close to the exposed western slopes and cosseted by the short spring grass in the middle of that last southern slope leading up to the top.

The summit area tapers in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Quite a beautiful hill in fact, never minding its mind boggling summit views.

The sun did dip to that narrow gap between cloud and horizon but never enough to light up the sky too much. Still, there was a brief flurry of sunset colour to the west and looking at the photos and video afterwards it is obvious that this sort of constrained light presents difficulties for the camera but also interesting difficulties for me as button presser. In short, the photos I've kept all tend towards fast shutter speed which favours the sunset over the foreground but I think that is the correct balance. That also presents a post-processing and/or selection dilemma of which photos best reflect the actual experience or how can they be made to. I mean I was aware of my sight adjusting between the bright west and the dark east so difficult to get that dynamic range into a single image. Then there's the issue of how laptop brightness affects interpretation and choice. Reminds me of when I tried colour printing and selecting correct exposure from a test strip viewed under bright light after minutes spent in a darkroom so with an inherent need to select an exposure time less than the apparently correct one.

Didn't hang about too long at the top as it was getting colder and I was hoping to get down reasonably quickly. This aim was greatly aided by the terraced tussocks of grass just solid enough and correctly proportioned to enable a fast paced descent. This time though I was veering east after the 500m gully to avoid having to descend the smaller gully near the start. This worked well with easyish walking and stumbling all the way back to the car.

Feeling very good after this walk in that my plan for avoiding the heat worked well, my hydration plan worked well and my legs worked well. Not so keen on June-July because of grass pollen but will try to go somewhere for my minimum target of a monthly walk.

ImageDSC08771 by John Little, on Flickr
An Teallach.

ImageDSC08784c by John Little, on Flickr
Clisham and co.

ImageDSC08796 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08797c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08798 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08801c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08801c2 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08806c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08825 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08836c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08838 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08840c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08847 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08859c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08863c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08864c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08865c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08877 by John Little, on Flickr
Has Donald let one off? Thankfully not.

ImageDSC08893 by John Little, on Flickr
Having acceeded to my wife's demand for a smiling selfie in each report I'm now told I have to take my hat and glasses off too.
About the only thing the thin sliver of sunset manages to illuminate is my chin.

ImageDSC08908c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08909c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08912 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08913 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08914c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08925c2 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08930 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08933 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08942c by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08944 by John Little, on Flickr

ImageDSC08947 by John Little, on Flickr

Thanks to Ben Nachie's suggestion of using OpenShot as a replacement for YouTube's defunct video editor I've now resumed making up videos from my Sony HX90 but I think the Flip camera stands up very well by comparison especially with its appealing and enhancing sunset/sunrise image artefacts. Dragging myself gradually into the twenty-first century!

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Posts: 1957
Munros:115   Corbetts:58
Grahams:28   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:47   Hewitts:12
Joined: Dec 11, 2011

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