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Aches in the Arrochar Alps

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:20 am
by weaselmaster
This Friday I was invited to my niece's wedding, being held on Inchcolm Island - so there would be no hills for me that day...or would there? A quick peek at Hill-bagging revealed that the tiny island had a TuMP of a whopping 34m, perhaps I could squeeze that into the day? Amusingly I noted that mad-bagger Robert Phillips had been there earlier in July. The weekend would, therefore, be a bit curtailed, leaving on Saturday morning so I reckoned we'd do some hills close to home.

The wedding was lovely - boat over from South Queensferry, ceremony in the picturesque abbey founded in the 12th Century. A medieval inscription carved above the Abbey's entrance reads "Stet domus haec donec fluctus formica marinos ebibat, et totum testudo perambulet orbem", or, "May this house stand until an ant drains the flowing sea, and a tortoise walks around the whole world". The bride and groom were very happy - even the weather behaved. After the ceremony finished, and before the photographer got busy on the group photos, I reckoned there was time to slip away and get my TuMP. It wasn't too difficult - the island is less than a kilometre long. I'd been warned about the gulls, that they might attack, but I suspect the young birds are of an age now where parental supervision is less strict, and - other than flying up into the air - they paid little heed to my presence. I didn't even get any additional colour splashed onto my jacket. I wasn't away for long and managed to get back before I was needed in a photo, the proud possessor of another TuMP and - even more excitingly - a SIB (don't ask - it has to do with the highest point on an island) :lol:

inchcolm.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

ImageDSC02197 by Al, on Flickr

Inchcolm hill
ImageDSC02218 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02221 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02223 by Al, on Flickr

The happy couple
ImageDSC02257 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02289 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02293 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02291 by Al, on Flickr

Not my usual hillwalking attire
ImageDSC02292 by Al, on Flickr

Was back home before midnight on Friday, having stayed sober and driven. After a busy day I could have done with a bit more sleep, but 06.45 arising to get ready for another day in the hills. Weather was dreich as I went to pick Allison up. Our plan for Saturday was to do Narnain, Ime and Vane, with a few Sims added on for good measure. maybe the Lui 4 for Sunday, although the forecast wasn't very promising. No problems driving up, paid my £4 to park at Inveruglas and noted to my annoyance that I hadn't loaded the route I'd drawn onto my GPS. Normally - particularly with popular hills that have paths - this wouldn't matter, but there was the matter of locating a forest track to climb Narnain, which was shown on the 1:25k planner, but not on my 1:50k GPS map. I hoped this wouldn't cause problems - we did have a paper 1:25k map.

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Off along the track that leads to the Cowal Way, past a futuristic new building presumably related to the Hydro and a left turn down the Three Lochs Way. The rain - which had been threatening, now became heavy enough to warrant rainjacket and trousers. We left the track after a couple of kilometres, aiming for where I thought the forest track should be. This involved clambering down sodden grassy banks to a small river then following the lines of pylons for a bit. We resorted to working out a grid ref from the 1:25k map and entering it into the GPS to guide our blind stumble through ever thickening trees. Surprisingly we did seem to come upon a track of sorts, which petered out quite quickly. Underfoot was forest swamp, branches pulled at our hair and clothes as we pressed on through small clearings. I knew if we kept ascending we'd meet a forest road that ran across our line of travel - and meet it we did - not until we'd had deer fences and hidden holes full of water to negotiate. Once on this path we were able to find the overgrown track that zigzagged up towards Coire nan Each. However once at the end of the forestry we were still having to traverse long wet grass and scrub. The rain would stop for a few minutes, we'd take off our waterproofs as it was so hot and clammy, then no sooner had we walked a little bit further uphill and the rain would start again. My feet were soaking (wrong choice of footwear for today) and Allison's temper was stretched.

ImageP1200212 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200213 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200214 by Al, on Flickr

We got into the coire proper, the grass shorter and drier, purple heads of common knapweed bursting out in a riot of colour all over the hillside, the more demure pretty white flowers of grass of parnassus studding the grass here and there. We stopped for lunch having walked for over 3 hours already and attaining a height of only 450m. Lunch served to recharge the batteries and we made better time up to the coire rim, heading for the first peak of A'Chrois. We could see the knobbly ridge heading from Creag Tharsuinn to Narnain, head under cloud. South, views of Lochs Long and Goil treated the eye. Up towards the notched and rocky summit of Narnain. Large white bags filled with rocks awaited airlift - we wondered where they were to be used. No one else up at the summit trig, but we started to see lots of fold as we headed out of the clag towards Beinn Ime. There's a new path being constructed on the slopes of Narnain - the answer to our query about where the rocks were bound.

Lively Knapweed
ImageP1200215 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200220 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200219 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200217 by Al, on Flickr

Nearing the head of the coire
ImageP1200223 by Al, on Flickr

Creag Tharsuinn
ImageP1200224 by Al, on Flickr

Long & Goil
ImageP1200225 by Al, on Flickr

Descending a'Chrois
ImageP1200227 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200228 by Al, on Flickr

Narnain flashback to 2012
ImageP1010045 by Al, on Flickr

Narnain was our first Munro together back in September 2012 - on that occasion clag assisted us in getting lost and spending a few hours down in Coire Croe and the northern slopes of Ben Arthur before visibility improved enough to show us the Rest and Be Thankful car park. The two peaks took us 10.5 hours that day from Succoth. No repeat of losing the way to Ime today - path was clear as day. We passed a number of other walkers heading up. Fine views back to Ben Arthur - an impressive little hill. More folk at the summit - we continued down the northern shoulder heading for Beinn Choranach. Another Sim - this one involves ascent of 140m, so is another of my beloved HuMPs. Easy enough going, good view of Beinn an Lochain from the top. Next it was down to Lag Uaine - the Green Hollow - between Ime and Vane. This dropped us down to below 500m so it would be a bit of a slog back up. Fortunately, Vane is one of the smallest Munros - music to Allison's ears.

On to Ime
ImageP1200230 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Arthur
ImageP1200232 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200234 by Al, on Flickr

From Ime to Chorranach
ImageP1200236 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn an Lochain
ImageP1200237 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200238 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200242 by Al, on Flickr

Lag Uaine
ImageP1200243 by Al, on Flickr

Before we got to Vane, there was another Sim to be dealt with, the northern outlier Beinn Dubh. After dropping down to Lag Uaine, avoiding various crags, we set off obliquely upwards, heading for the lochan on Vane's back. From here we had another 1.5km to the summit of Beinn Dubh, rising over Loch Sloy. As I approached the summit I startled a Golden Eagle, perched at the top of the steep grassy drop to Loch Sloy. We both looked at the other with a moment of surprise then she spread her wings and thrust off into the air, swooping down towards the loch and disappearing into the western flanks of Ben Vorlich. I've only had a handful of such encounters where I've been almost within touching distance of an eagle - each occasion remains clear in the memory, a momentary glimpse into another world. By the time Allison had arrived the bird, as they say, had flown the coop.

ImageP1200244 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Beinn Dubh
ImageP1200245 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Sloy
ImageP1200247 by Al, on Flickr

"I missed the bloody eagle?"
ImageP1200249 by Al, on Flickr

We returned to the lochan and made our way up the stony ridge leading to the summit of Vane- less steep than the usual route up. Clag was closing in again as we made our way back down - it had been a long day, with over 2500m ascent and that wet and wearying start through the forest swamp. Good to have the solid feel of road underfoot we headed back towards the car, arriving there just after 8pm.

Vane summit
ImageP1200250 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200251 by Al, on Flickr

Now the question was where were we going to camp? I'd decided we'd do An Caisteal and Beinn a'Chroin on Sunday, so somewhere nearby. I suspected Beinn Glas would be mobbed. Those suspicions were heightened when we drove past Ardlui and saw their boggy field was busy. Right enough - Beinn Glas resembled a refugee camp as we drove by. Hmmm. Managed to find a spot near the layby at Glen Falloch - not the biggest or best pitch I've had, but as it was almost 9pm and we hadn't eaten, it would do. Bit of a struggle to cook (or rather warm up) a dhal, courgette meatball curry and rice in the smaller tent but managed and we fair enjoyed it.

stobglas.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Rain overnight, the delicate silver tracery of spiders' webs. Packed up and off by 8am. Clouds down again, threat of rain.
I had a quick glance at the map and reckoned that Stob Glas would be a Sim - I couldn't remember having done it. A 4G signal in the layby allowed a quick check - yes Sim, no not done - OK we'd include that. Had I possessed a bit more presence of mind I'd have seen that Beinn Chabhair was also easily accessible from An Caisteal and added that too, but that'll be for another day now. We set off up the glen, new machinery poised to work on the new Hydro project. Standard route up Sron Garbh and Twistin Hill, rain accompanying us along. Up to the summit of An Caisteal more quickly than expected. We set off down the crag-guarded western ridge, picking up a path as we headed for Bealach na Ban Leacainn. Sheep loomed out of the mist, watching us. We made it, eventually, to the summit of Stob Glas at a cost of 2km and 330m descent - then had to reverse our steps. We paused for some food at around 850m, the previous day's efforts having sapped the muscles a little.

ImageP1200252 by Al, on Flickr

Summit An Caisteal
ImageP1200253 by Al, on Flickr

Down to Stob Glas
ImageP1200254 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200256 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200258 by Al, on Flickr

We continued back to the summit of An Caisteal then followed the standard path round to Beinn a'Chroin. More walkers along the way. Rocks were quite slippy in the wet. Continued along to the 940m Munro Top then descended back into Glen Falloch. Fairly boggy as usual along here. Massive new works going on to trap water for the Hydro. Sun came out as we neared the car - just typical!

ImageP1200259 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Beinn a'Chroin
ImageP1200261 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200262 by Al, on Flickr

Boulder with a hat
ImageP1200264 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200265 by Al, on Flickr

Re: Aches in the Arrochar Alps

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:56 pm
by Collaciotach
Ha Mad bagger Robert Phillips ...... Pot n kettle ;)

Còrd rium a bhalaich ... i enjoyed that :clap:

Re: Aches in the Arrochar Alps

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:10 pm
by robertphillips
That was a great trip to inchcolm back in july, Al after your outing last weekend in the gorms, :crazy: you are miles ahead of anyone when talking about mad baggers. colla will confirm this. :lol:

Re: Aches in the Arrochar Alps

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:46 pm
by Collaciotach
robertphillips wrote:That was a great trip to inchcolm back in july, Al after your outing last weekend in the gorms, :crazy: you are miles ahead of anyone when talking about mad baggers. colla will confirm this. :lol:

Deffo you ain't gotb a look in Robert ;) ... PS hope all is well

Re: Aches in the Arrochar Alps

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:14 pm
by weaselmaster
robertphillips wrote:That was a great trip to inchcolm back in july, Al after your outing last weekend in the gorms, :crazy: you are miles ahead of anyone when talking about mad baggers. colla will confirm this. :lol:

:lol: me - mad???

Re: Aches in the Arrochar Alps

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:37 pm
by Jobax
nice report, maybe doing narnain & ime myself on Friday if the weather isn't too honking.

one question - whats a sim?