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That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:00 pm
by Stretch
This day out was to set me up for Ben Lomond, my 100th munro. Little did I know that heading up munros 98 & 99 would end up being a soul-destroying outing. I decided to tackle these from the north and took the risk of thinking the ford over the River Lochay would be crossable, thankfully it was, but just barely. I headed off around 8:45 and made good progress past the cottage and up to the small dam next to the track. The track proved to be the only place all day where I'd take a dry step. From the dam it was a slog up to the ridge that leads to Sgiath Chuil. No path anywhere until I reached the ridge and even that path was pretty nasty. Higher up I lost the path due to the snow cover, but I could see far enough in the cloud to stay on target and I had my gps. The slog up to the ridge and the walk up the mushy snow wore me out. I made it to the northern top where I managed to slip on a slabby bit of icy rock and nearly pulled a calf muscle. That was the first time I cursed the hill. After a few choice words I carried on to the summit of Sgiath Chuil. I spent literally 5 seconds at the cairn and headed back to the bealach where the route states that you are to head steeply down between the munro and the top to get off the hill. I reached the edge of what looked to be a fairly good sized snow drift and beyond that it looked like the hill dropped off completely. I had my crampons but no axe on this day, so I decided that instead of trying to step closer to the edge of the drift I would walk along the side of the hill for a while until I could find a gentler slope down. This I found about 200 yards beyond where the route suggests. Things got interesting at this point as the snow was slushy and really slick on the steep grassy slope. I stayed low to the ground, cursing as I went along, and reached some easier ground about halfway down. At this point I had what was to be the only bit of fun I had all day, sliding down the rest of the hill on my bum-sled :lol: Once I got to the bealach my legs were telling my mind to call it a day and skip Meall Glas, but my mind had other ideas. Instead of heading straight up Beinn Cheathaich I followed the route into Coire na Saobhaidhe. After what seemed like miles of bog I reached the coire and although I'm sure it's really nice, I was too aggrevated to see anything special about it, so I kept moving to the spur that takes you up to the main ridge for Meall Glas. This was where more curse words dropped. It was a steep walk compounded by slush and slippery grass. Finally I made it to the easier ground at the top and instead of making for the lefthand ridge to Meall Glas I chose to head up the easier looking right side. I found some footprints and followed them to the summit. Didn't hang around here neither as it was windy and cold and I wanted to get to the car. The going was ok on the snowy ridge between Glas and Cheathaich and it was at this point that I saw the only other person on the day. What followed from the top of Beinn Cheathaich was a ridiculous descent through the deepest west snow of the day. Once I cleared the snow line I could see back toward the car, but my spirits were only temporarily lifted. I didn't see the track that you are supposed to meet on the descent, so instead I just carried on to the little pile of stones noted on the route description. From here I walked through more wet nasty bog on the soggy hillside. FINALLY, I reached the track and kissed the ground. After crossing the river I sped off down the track to the car.

I had originally planned to do Ben Lui and its lower neighbor to set up my 100th, but I didn't think the river crossing on that walk would be possible after all the rain. So I stupidly chose these two buggers. It was a pretty horrible day altogether, and I doubt that I even look up toward these two hills from the A85 next time I pass them.

Lubchurran cottage.jpg

Crossing the ford on the River Lochay.jpg

Cross the dam and then climb miserably up the pathless slope.jpg

Wet nasty path to Sgiath Chuil.jpg

Sgiath Chuil from below Meall Glas.jpg

Coire na Saobhaidhe.jpg

Stream in Coire na Saobhaidhe.jpg

Spur to gain the ridge of Meall Glas.jpg

Summit of Meall Glas.jpg

Fleeting views of Beinn Cheathaich.jpg

Kenknock Farm from descent.jpg

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:23 pm
by malky_c
Congratulations on the 100! :clap: Had a thoroughly miserable time on these hills myself some years back, without even any snow to liven things up. Had never contemplated going back until I read Rockhopper's report on them last week, which actually makes them look pretty good! Still, it's only a contemplation - probably be years before I do them again :lol:

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:28 pm
by Milesy
Congratulations! I had such a miserable time up Meall Glas walking through swamps I do not plan on going back to finish Sgiath Chuil any time soon!

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:33 pm
by rockhopper
Well done on your 100th - I've still got a way to go. :clap: :clap:

What a difference a week can make. It sounds like you had a pretty hard time of it - a lot of the snow looks like it has melted in your pictures and that probably made the ground boggier. I think if I was doing it again I'd approach Meall Glas from Beinn Cheathaich to avoid the steep climb up Meall Glas and it probably doesn't save a lot of time skipping it.

I certainly found it boggy on the early stages of the Sgiath Chuil approach from the south and from other reports thought that the north was drier but looks like you've hit it at its worst. I also had a similar problem to you getting down Sgiath Chuil with the snow drift.

On the plus least you got out this weekend....I've been at home due to family commitments :(

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:53 am
by mountain coward
I liked Meall Glas and Ben Cheetah a lot better than Sgiath Chuil - but I had better weather for them which seems to make all the difference. But I've never wanted to do the 2 Munros together - it looks a horrendous route between them!

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:49 am
by monty
Hi Stretch,
Sounds like you had a really tough day. You probably don't want to hear this but you didn't need to ford the river. From the farm there is a path that crosses the river by a bridge and then goes up the hillside. see my report :D Mind you you would have had to ford the river on the way back down but then its almost back at the car.

Yep the pathless hillside up Sgiath Chuil is full of bogs. I was lucky I done these in a drought. Good effort. :D

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:53 am
by Stretch
Hi Monty, I knew about the track up to the little hydro station but I decided to carry on to the ford. Looking back, I would definetely go up the zig zag path to the hydro station and then cut across to the ridge. But thankfully I'm done with these and going back to them will not be an option :lol:

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:53 pm
by gammy leg walker
Will now probably do these two hills from Glen Lyon now,reading your report has put me off from Glen Dochart side

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:57 pm
by Merry-walker
Argh bogs, hate em. Sounds famliar. Bum sledging sounds fun though :)

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:18 pm
by jonny616
Well done on the 100th & choosing these two bog fests.

I did SC on it's own last Jan in the snow so missed the bogs, but got wet crossing the river o few 100 yards after the ford.

Did Lui last November & found the first river crossing ok, because i took trainers, put my boots on once over & picked my trainers up on the way back!



Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:40 pm
by Graeme D
Hi Stretch,

Congrats on hitting the 100. You've whizzed past me now. I'm a bit stuck in the nasty nineties! :? Myself and two mates didn't fancy the ford crossing when we did Meal Glas and the Corbett a few weeks back. We continued along to Badour and used the footbridge there, then walked through some rather hideous bog on the other side of the river on the way back down off Cheataich. :(

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:49 pm
by Jockstar
Just made a mental note to stay away from these two until the drought happens in June. :lol: :lol:

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:04 pm
by mountain coward
You don't really need a drought for the route I used for Meall Glas and Ben Cheetah - there was only a short stretch around the area of the main river bridge to worry about. Sgiath Chuil however, was horribly wet most of the way! So it would depend if you were wanting to do the two together... I personally think they don't make a nice walk to do together.

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:09 pm
by LeithySuburbs
Stretch wrote:thankfully I'm done with these and going back to them will not be an option :lol:


Don't think i'd have tried to ford that :? - but then again your head is about 12 inches higher than mine :lol: .

Re: That's not Chuil

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:23 pm
by jonny616
Jockstar wrote:Just made a mental note to stay away from these two until the drought happens in June. :lol: :lol:

Hi Jockstar

In my experiance better done in snow when frozen.