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East Arkaig Corbetts and the Wounded Knee Incident

East Arkaig Corbetts and the Wounded Knee Incident


Postby Graeme D » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:21 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Geal Charn (Arkaig), Meall na h-Eilde

Date walked: 16/07/2018

Time taken: 6.8 hours

Distance: 19.5 km

Ascent: 1350m

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According to Wikipedia, "The Wounded Knee Incident began on February 27, 1973, when approximately 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation". Apparently this event is not to be confused with the Battle of Wounded Knee which happened in 1890!

OK, that's enough American history for now. Back to the Scottish hills. After the horror show of Gulvain the previous day, I awoke to an uncertain weather picture. North really didn't look too bright so I pretty much instantly ruled out the idea of Mullardoch. The brightest looking skies seemed to be more towards the west. I pottered around and generally procrastinated for a couple of hours before finally making a decision, that being to drive up to Gairlochy and then along the far side of Loch Lochy to Clunes before heading along the Dark Mile to the eastern end of Loch Arkaig and the two Corbetts tucked in to the north of there.

The parking area was a hive of activity with a couple of campervans parked up, a few tourists heading for the falls, cameras at the ready, and a forestry team doing some work on the other side of the road using it as their HQ. I got my stuff together (every bit as slowly and haphazardly as yesterday) and set off along the road to the falls to see what all the fuss was about. Definitely not the most impressive cascade I have ever seen in my life but I dare say the prolonged dry spell has robbed it of some of its effect.

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The Eas Chia-aig from the road bridge just beyond the parking area

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Looking back to the bridge from the path above the falls

Leaving the path above the falls, the ground under my feet quickly changed into a rather industrial, almost lunar landscape. Clearly some heavy duty plant has been moving around these parts in the not too distant past and after a few kilometres I came to the small but substantial looking dam that presumably has been responsible for the making of the motorway-like track.

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A rather industrial feel to the early stages of this route!

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Evidence of some heavy machinery having been at work

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Glas Bheinn and a spot of storm damage

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The Bealach an Easain between Meall na h-Eilde and Meall an Tagraidh just visible ahead

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Beinn Bhan on the other side of Loch Arkaig

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More industrial infrastructure

I assumed this was the crossing point mentioned in the SMC Corbett book. Actually I assumed this had replaced the bridge mentioned in that book but a quick check of the map and glance around made me think otherwise. Clearly the illustrious SMC publication predates this particular pile of steel and concrete as I figured that the bridge in question was the best part of a kilometre further upstream. Good to see that my navigational abilities and general hill sense have not totally deserted me after the debacle of the previous day! :lol: I decided to cross here anyway and take my chances on the west side of the burn. The path through the trees on the east side looked less than appealing.

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The deep pool behind the dam

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Meall an Tagraidh and the Abhainn Chia-aig

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Towards Sron a'Choire Garbh and the Cam Bhealach

I'm not sure it was a wise choice as the going was rough and most of the way until I rejoined the faint path ascending towards the Bealach an Easain was spent trudging through knee high wet grass. And me with no waterproof trousers! Soaked again! :roll:

It was a tough wee pull up onto Meall an Tagraidh (I had decided to visit this shapely looking summit as well) but eventually I topped out and got a good view of my route ahead as well as east towards the Loch Lochy Munros. I momentarily had "one of those moments" when I recalled my day on Ben Tee and these two Munros and worked out that it was FIVE years ago. Still seems like last week!

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Meall na h-Eilde across the Bealach an Easain from the ascent of Meall an Tagraidh

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Back down Gleann Chia-aig

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The Loch Lochy Munros from the summit of Meall an Tagraidh

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The route ahead over the two Corbetts

It might not have been a brick splitter of a day or wall to wall blue overhead, but it sure as hell was a vast improvement on yesterday. Dry, sunny despite a generally rather cloudy feel, a light breeze, warm but not too warm and decent if not crystal clear views. I was a far happier bunny than I had been some 24 hours previously. My faith was restored. What could possibly happen to upset me!!!!????

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Loch Garry from the Bealach an Easain

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Meall an Tagraidh and the Loch Lochy Munros from the ascent of Meall na h-Eilde

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Geal Charn and Meall Coire nan Saobhaidh from Meall na h-Eilde

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The distinctive cone of Benn Tee now coming into the picture

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The Loch Lochy Munros from Meall na h-Eilde

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This is more like it - much improved on yesterday!

The answer hit me square in the face a short time after departing the summit of Meall na h-Eilde. I may have been too preoccupied by replacing my trusty little Canon back in my pocket after taking the next photo. It may just have been one of those things. I wouldn't want to even begin to hazard a guess at how many times I have narrowly dodged a bullet in the hills in the shape of a broken leg or twisted ankle, but this time my best efforts at remaining upright were in vain. My left foot found a loose rock on the rough, rocky downhill and I went my entire length. There was no dodging this one and I knew before I hit the ground it was going to hurt. My left knee hit a rock - hard - and the heel of my left hand got a little scuffed up for good measure. But it was my knee that came off worst. Well, my knee AND my trusty Craghoppers trousers, which now sported a hole in the left knee! :( The blood came after 20 seconds or so, not enough to be of any concern though. I knew that whatever damage had been done was much less visible.

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Meall Coire nan Saobhaidh from the descent to Bealach Choire a'Ghuirein - about 10 seconds before the Wounded Knee Incident!

This felt like a good time for a lengthy stop and a bite of lunch. No doubt that helped morale a bit but my knee was howling, particularly on the downslope. Look on the bright side though G, at least it's not raining and you know where you are! :lol: I soldiered on towards Meall Coire nan Saobhaidh, my knee beginning to throb a little less now.

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Glas Bheinn

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Approaching Meall Coire nan Saobhaidh

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Loch Garry and Ben Tee with the unmistakable profile of Meall Fuar-mhonaidh in the distance

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West towards Wonderland from Meall Coire nan Saobhaidh

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Ben Tee, Sron a'Choire Ghairbh, Meall na h-Eilde and Meall na Teanga

From the ironwork festooned summit of Saobhaidh I made tracks for the second Corbett of the day, yet another Geal Charn! :crazy:

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Geal Charn from the descent off Saobhaidh

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Loch Arkaig and surrounding hills from the summit of Geal Charn

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Looking back to Meall Coire nan Saobhaidh and Meall na h-Eilde in the middle ground

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Big Chief Wounded Knee on Geal Charn

With Geal Charn in the bag, it was a straightforward, if long, walk back down to the Allt Dubh below the western slopes of Glas Bheinn and back to the road at Achnasaul. I say straightforward, but then it was almost all downhill, and my knee was less than appreciative of this fact! :lol:

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Loch Lochy Munros from the descent south off Geal Charn

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The road home between Glas Bheinn and Beinn Mheadhoin

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Beinn Bhan

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Loch Arkaig and the return of a more "industrial" feel to the track

The relatively flat tarmac of the B8005 was a welcome relief in the circumstances and without further incident it led me back to the eastern end of Loch Arkaig and my car a short distance beyond.

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Looking west from the eastern extremity of Loch Arkaig

A number of tourist cameras were still being pointed firmly at the rather unspectacular falls but my mind was much more firmly on my dinner. Back at the car, I got my Lamb Bhuna out of the cool box and set up the stove on a flat patch of grass next to the car. 8)



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Then I headed to Glencoe for a night at the Squirrel and the Clachaig before my mission to lay Lucy to rest once and for all tomorrow on Ben Vorlich. Delighted I was to see that the Clachaig now has Fallen Brewery ale on tap! 8)

P.S. My knee is still howling, ten days on! :(
Last edited by Graeme D on Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Graeme D
 
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Re: East Arkaig Corbetts and the Wounded Knee Incident

Postby gammy leg walker » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:26 pm

Hope your knee gets better soon Graeme.

Can't say I'm looking forward to reading your Lucy TR mate
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gammy leg walker
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Re: East Arkaig Corbetts and the Wounded Knee Incident

Postby olaf771 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:30 am

Hi G,
What an epic walk and that you didn't let the Knee incident dampen your enthusiasm is fantastic. Lovely to read this report after I found it researching the Waterfalls and the valley above. The track seems to have replaced the carnage of rough tree felling on a TR some 4 years earlier in 2014. Anyway, I look forward to reading more interesting Trail Reports. Great photos, thanks
Phillip
P.S. hope the knee is fully recovered now!
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Re: East Arkaig Corbetts and the Wounded Knee Incident

Postby Borderhugh » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:08 am

Looks like you bloodied one of the rocks on Gael Charn for good measure! Great stuff!
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Location: Stirling :)

Re: East Arkaig Corbetts and the Wounded Knee Incident

Postby dogplodder » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:03 pm

Ouch I could feel that but see it's not recent so you'll be over it by now! 8)
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