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Glen Roy: a play in 3 acts (part 1-3)

Glen Roy: a play in 3 acts (part 1-3)


Postby malky_c » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:33 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Carn Dearg - Glen Roy

Grahams included on this walk: Creag Dhubh (Glen Spean), Leana Mhor (Glen Roy East), Leana Mhor (Glen Roy West)

Date walked: 21/11/2010

Time taken: 6.3 hours

Distance: 17.5 km

Ascent: 1850m

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Spent most of the week daydreaming about doing a longish route on the Corbett and Grahams at the head of Lochivraon, with a likely diversion onto Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. Blue skies, clear horizons and lovely firm snow were all part of that dream, but by the end of the week it became clear that the better weather was to be found further south. Friday afternoon saw me coming up with a new plan to do Meall A' Phubuill and a brace of Grahams from Glen Loy. My daydream now switched to this culminating in a lovely sunset on the Ben, as viewed from Druim Fada.

As it happened, I found myself out ridiculously late on Saturday night, and there was no way that 3 hours sleep was going to cut it (I required a 5:30 am start). I therefore set my alarm for 7, and decided I could always finish in the dark or cut out a couple of hills.

Leaving the house shortly after 7:30, I was greeted by light but persistant rain - this was never part of the plan! As it continued raining down the Great Glen, the thought of such a long day out appealed less and less, and I started thinking of alternatives. I decided to shelve it for another day, and swapped Glen Loy for Glen Roy. The duo of Carn Dearg and Leana Mhor to the SE of the glen (Glen Roy actually has 3 Carn Deargs and 2 Leana Mhors just to complicate things!) looked relatively untaxing, and there were various other small hills I could do afterwards if things perked up.

Part 1: Carn Dearg and Leana Mhor

Corbetts: Carn Dearg (South)
Grahams: Leana Mhor (East)
Date walked: 21/11/2010
Distance: 9.5km
Ascent: 850m
Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Weather: Cold, cloud down on summits, cold breeze on summit. Some sunshine in glens.

The lower section of Glen Roy (a couple of miles beyond Bohuntine) is extremely twisty and rough, and is probably just as fast to cycle as it is to drive! Still, I was parked up in a flat grassy area opposite Brunachan and ready to start walking by 9:30.


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NE up Glen Roy from near Brunachan:
Image

The first hurdle is crossing the River Roy. There is no bridge here, and although the river looks fairly shallow, it is almost knee deep. I was over quickly, but not quick enough to keep my feet dry. On the other side, I discovered that Brunachan is actually an open bothy, albeit not one maintained by the MBA. Fairly basic, but looked like it would provide a decent enough night.

Brunachan Bothy:
Image

Behind the bothy, I hit the NW shoulder of Carn Brunachan. This was steep but straightforward. The parallel roads were crossed without noticing them - they stand out from the glen, but are surprisingly hard to spot close up. By the summit of Carn Brunachan, I was into the clag.

A slight descent then onto Carn Dearg. Most of last weeks snow had either melted or been blown away, but what was left was very hard. Thankfully most of the boggy sections had iced up!

From the summit, there were panoramic views round from Creag Meagaidh to the Easains to...
Oh wait a minute, no there weren't. Must've slipped back into my daydream there!

Top views from Carn Dearg:
Image

I didn't linger at the summit, as a light but cold breeze had sprung up. I haeaded down the broad SW ridge, stopping for food very briefly once out of the wind. The ridge was so broad that I kept veering off the crest. Shortly before the col, I suddenly cleared the cloud. Many of the higher hills were still under heavy clag cover, but things were starting to break up in the Loch Ossian direction. As I thought this might be my only view of the day, I had a more leisurely break here.

Chno Dearg/Stob Coire Sgriodain over Gleann Glas Dhoire:
Image

Creag Dubh and where the Easains would be if you could see them:
Image

Aonach Beag/Beinn Eibhinn, Sgor Gaibhre and Sgor Choinnich:
Image

A stock fence ran over the col - easy enough to step over but no sign of any gates. Leana Mhor was an easy ascent on the far side, giving just about the mininum climb possible for a hill of Graham status. There was a puny cairn on the rather broad plateau, but this didn't even seem to be right on the summit. Hard to tell.

Descent down the N ridge gave limited but nice views down Glen Roy. There was a bit of dappled sunshine on the hills opposite, giving some colour to the day.

Glen Roy from Leana Mhor:
Image

Beinn Iaruinn from the descent of Leana Mhor:
Image

Down on the valley floor, my feet had almost dried out from the river crossing. Now all that remained was to get them wet again!

As the weather was improving, I decided to drive a couple of miles back down the glen and climb the other Leana Mhor.

The next Leana Mhor from Glen Roy:
Image

SE ridge of Beinn Iaruinn and the car:
Image


Part 2: Leana Mhor (another one!)

Grahams: Leana Mhor (West)
Date walked: 21/11/2010
Distance: 4km
Ascent: 490m
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Weather: Cold, some sunshine and cloud breaking up on higher hills. Cold breeze.


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There was a handy grassy area to park just south of the bridge under this Leana Mhor. I'd only been in the car a few minutes so didn't have time to start feeling lazy. I headed up the S bank of Allt Coire an t-Seilich, moving soon onto the southern of Leana Mhor's two NE ridges. Little to say about the ascent - short, steep and heathery, crossing a flatish area just below 600m. Cloud had cleared off the Easains by this point.

Down Glen Roy to the Easains:
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Up Glen Roy from ascent of Leana Mhor:
Image

Glen Roy and Creag Dubh:
Image

S face of Beinn Iaruinn:
Image

The summit was as flat as the last Leana Mhor but a bit firmer. Meall na Teanga suddenly appeared in front of me - gloomy but atmospheric looking. Couldn't find the blue duck marked on the 1:50,000 map :wink: , but I did spot a bird of prey circling to the N. Too far away to photograph or identify unfortunately.

Views to the Easains were good, and the Carn Dearg I had just been up was now clear. The Grey Corries were also finally emerging from the murk - it was shaping up to be a nice afternoon. I had another lunch here, and wondered what to do next. I could sit about a bit longer, then descend, drive home and have a nice nap, or I could make the most of the day. A vague plan had been forming in my head over the previous couple of hours, and it looked like it may work out. If I got moving, I could drive round to Creag Dubh and be at the summit of that in time to watch the sunset.

Easains emerge from the clag properly:
Image
Loch Arkaig zoom:
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Loch Arkaig and Meall na Teanga:
Image

My Carn Dearg finally emerges from the clag, Beinn Teallach behind:
Image

Grey Corries are the next to start clearing:
Image

Seemed like a plan, so I scarpered back down to the car double quick, getting there in 20 minutes. I drove back down to Roybridge, then headed east towards Tulloch.


Part 3: Creag Dubh - the grand finale!

Grahams: Creag Dubh
Date walked: 21/11/2010
Distance: 4km
Ascent: 510m
Time: 1 hours 45 minutes
Weather: Cold, some sunshine. Cold breeze on summit.

Wasn't sure where best to start this hill, but I was happy to use the shortest route, given the amount of daylight left. There was a good area of hardstanding next to the phonebox at Murlaggan, so I parked here. I feared that getting onto the hill would involve a farmyard crashing, fence-climbing session lower down, but there were no such issues.


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



Leaving the car at 2:45, I went through a gate into a field on the west side of the Allt a' Bhuird. At the other end of the field, another gate gave me access to the rougher ground. Both gates were unpadlocked, and there looked to be an equally easy route following the east bank of the burn and the lower part of the driveway to Murlaggan.

There would definitely be some serious bracken bashing in the summer on the next section - even the dead stalks took a bit of effort to walk through. After the bracken, the hillside steepened, passing through scattered trees and small outcrops. The angle became shallower further up. There was no defined ridge as such - I just kept heading upwards until the trig point and cairn were in sight.

Grey Corries, Aonach Mor and the Braes of Lochaber:
Image

A great viewpoint for the Gery Corries, which were now completely clear. This afternoon would have been a great time to be up there, although it would have taken some determination to set out on them this morning! Ardgour and the west was also clear now.

I spent a good half hour on the summit eating and taking photos. The sunset wasn't the most spectacular one, and I was in the wrong location to see it at its best, but it was a great end to a day which didn't look like it would amount to much.

Easains:
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Easains and a spot of sun on Stob Coire Sgriodain:
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Summit cairn and Beinn a Chaorainn:
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Aonachs and Grey Corries from the summit:
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A bit bigger:
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Stob Coire Easain, the Innses and Stob Ban:
Image

Zoom in reveals the big Buachaille just poking over Cnap Cruinn, Crowberry Tower visible if your eyesight is good:
Image

Grey Corries to Aonach Mor again:
Image

Cold but not that cold:
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Across Fort William and the Loch Linnhe/Loch Eil confluence to Ardgour:
Image

I approximately retraced my steps back to the car, although the terrain was so bumpy that it was impossible to recall the exact route. I was back at the car for 4:30.

Back down to the road on the descent:
Image

Quite a successful day in the end. I think Cuillin had combined Creag Dubh and the first Leana Mhor from a more central starting point, something I had thought about doing previously. However, I ended up making much of today's routes up as I went along, so didn't get a chance to use Cuillin's route in the end.
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malky_c
 
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Re: Glen Roy: a play in 3 acts (part 1-3)

Postby rockhopper » Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:41 pm

Great report and read malky. Very appropriate title given all your toing and froing with the car 8) I particularly like the photo Grey Corries to Aonach Mor again (and no Led Zep album covers in there either :lol: )
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Re: Glen Roy: a play in 3 acts (part 1-3)

Postby monty » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:56 pm

Good report malky,
Takes a bit of dedication leaving the car twice never mind three times in the one day :lol: :lol:
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Re: Glen Roy: a play in 3 acts (part 1-3)

Postby kinley » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:21 pm

Very near to bumping into one another Malky :) Bound to happen sometime.

Quite a combination there - quite a place Glen Roy - the parallel roads are fascinating.

Looks a good enough day given the disappointing cloud cover.

Cheers 8)
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Re: Glen Roy: a play in 3 acts (part 1-3)

Postby Merry-walker » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:43 pm

Really enjoyed reading your report, you are very dedicated to the hills and flashing your knee caps too!! :lol:

Lovely photos
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Re: Glen Roy: a play in 3 acts (part 1-3)

Postby malky_c » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:22 pm

Cheers all - looks like my plan B would have been better than I thought though Kinley!

I'm with you on getting out of the car the second and 3rd time Monty - I rarely ever do these types of days out, as I normally prefer to do one long walk. My body usually decides that it is finished for the day when I get back to the car, regardless of the length of the route :lol:

Cheers Rockhopper - apologies, I was a bit harsh on a decent set of pictures in your report :D I'm sure you'll perfect the image manipulation soon enough though. The only way I avoid too many bizarre colours is by not doing anything much to my photos. I'm no purist, but I spend enough time messing around on the computer already without needing another distraction :lol:

Might try a bit of image manipulation if I ever get a decent DSLR - right now I only have a fairly basic compact camera, so I've not bothered to try polishing any turds...
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Re: Glen Roy: a play in 3 acts (part 1-3)

Postby Graeme D » Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:40 pm

Fascinating TR Malky - a real case of 3 for the price of 1 (although by the time you were getting out the car for the third time that day you probably didn't think you were getting a bargain! :lol: ). I love this area but have never actually been up into Glen Roy. One to file in the future trip folder. :D
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Re: Glen Roy: a play in 3 acts (part 1-3)

Postby dooterbang » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:03 pm

Out raving the night before Malky, :wink:

Great TR.

Well done on having the motivation to get out and about with limited sleep.
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Re: Glen Roy: a play in 3 acts (part 1-3)

Postby mountainstar » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:26 pm

3 in one day...yes i remember doing that type if thing when I was bagging, don't worry you'll get better when you are "compleat"! :D
Not sure about wearing them shorts in winter though....thats just pure madness, no cure for that! :shock:
That bothy is one I have passed (on the other side of the road) many times, but up to now has eluded me, did mean to stop there earlier this year, but with bad weather I followed the Caledonian Canal instead of going over Carn Dearg from Fort Augustus.
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