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A good first for grandsons and a great trio for me

A good first for grandsons and a great trio for me


Postby dogplodder » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:51 am

Route description: Sgurr nan Conbhairean, Carn Ghluasaid and Sail Chaorainn

Munros included on this walk: Carn Ghluasaid, Sail Chaorainn, Sgurr nan Conbhairean

Date walked: 08/09/2018

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 17.5 km

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The time had come for two of the younger grandsons (three more to go!) to climb their first Munro. I decided against the two obvious options of Ben Wyvis and Cairngorm to find a hill the two older boys hadn't done. Carn Ghluasaid seemed a good candidate with its well made stalker's path and from what I remembered it didn't take too long.

The first time I was up there was August 2002 when thick cloud was low on the ridge and it took careful navigation to find the summit before a tactical retreat. There were no views that day. :eh:

I was back again in June 2010 and it's that occasion (when I did the three) that I've recorded the time for. In my log it says we left the car at 9.20, reached the summit of Carn Ghluasaid at 11.30, continued along the ridge reaching Sgurr nan Conbhairean at 12.45, then north to Sail Chaorainn arriving at that summit at 1.15. After a leisurely lunch we returned to almost the top of Sgurr nan Conbhairean and descended via Meall Breac reaching the car just before 5.00pm. So even allowing more time for a slower pace and frequent stops, Carn Ghluasaid seemed like a good choice for a 7 year old's first Munro. It should also give excellent views if we got a clear day. :D

At the tail end of unsettled weather the Saturday dawned fine and sunny. I didn't take Callie with me as it was just 11 days after her spay op. Her wound had healed well but the vet thought it would be better to leave it another week before anything too strenuous. So the group consisted of my son, 4 grandsons and a friend's 12 year old daughter. We parked at Lundie on the south side of the A87 before crossing the busy road and starting up a short tarmac section of the old road. We quickly reached a left turn on to a stony track signed for Carn Ghluasaid, where I got a group photo of the kids.

Start of Carn Ghluasaid ascent (Sept 2018)
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The track follows the line of the old military road and leads to a transmitter mast on the left before taking a right turn on to a path which climbs towards the ridge. The path was mainly dry but went through a few muddy patches where my son lifted the youngest, since he was wearing trainers which would be quickly soaked through.

Loch Cluanie behind
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The path levelled off on the shoulder of An Cruachan and when we reached the rock slabs we sat down for a short break and to admire the view.

Resting on the slabs
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Looking west I could see the ridge I came down when I did the three in 2010, 8 years after my first ascent in 2002 and 8 years before this one in 2018. The question is.... will I be up again in another 8? I rather doubt it. :wink:

Our 2010 descent route by Meall Breac ridge
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Loch Cluanie looking west
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Start of zig zag path
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On the zigzags
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South Glenshiel ridge from zigzags
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At the top of the zig zags we continued on the path as it weaved it's way through occasional boulders up Carn Ghluasaid's west ridge. It was then my son spotted a very large bird soaring above us, heading south, which I'm sure was an eagle. I was too late to catch it on camera, but he got it on his phone. With that slight delay the kids were ahead and had made their way to a cairn towards the right edge of the ridge, which I think they were a little disappointed to hear wasn't the top! We assured them it wasn't much further and the rest of the way was flat with little effort required to reach the first of two cairns on the summit plateau. The first cairn is said to be the true summit but we took the photo at the more scenically placed cairn on the northern edge of the plateau, above cliffs plunging into the corrie below.

First Munro for Finlay and Josh (the two smaller ones) :clap:
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Third time here but first photo!
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We sat down for a celebratory lunch but there was a stiff breeze and after 10 minutes I noticed the younger ones were feeling the cold so suggested we move downhill to find some shelter. To have lunch in two stages is not a bad idea anyway so we packed up and once they were moving they soon warmed up.

Start of descent across the level plateau
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Our second lunch stop was on the west ridge above the zig zag path, where we were shadowed by a pair of ravens sitting on a nearby rock watching us. I said to the kids they were waiting to see what food scraps we left and to prove it tossed my apple core away, triggering an immediate fly past. Not that they got much from us, poor things. Our footprint when we left was zero (apart from that apple core which I suspect the ravens left because they were really hoping for a ham sandwich). :shh:

We had another pit stop on the way down, partly to allow those behind to catch up and partly because we weren't in any hurry.

Enjoying the sun above Loch Cluanie
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We had an enjoyable journey home listening to Stephen Fry reading the first three chapters of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone", which I confess I have never read. It was a fitting end to a perfect day. All of that was about to change with news I found hard to take in, but which I'll keep for another day. I'd rather this day was remembered for the boys' first Munro and the hope it will be for them the first of many memorable days in the hills. :thumbup:

So back to June 2010 when I did the three with Anthony. After a few blurry photos on Carn Ghluasaid we continued in a westerly direction with the cliffs of the corrie on our right and over the minor top of Creag a' Chaorainn.

View down to Coire Sgreumh from Carn Ghluasaid (June 2010)
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Approaching Sgurr nan Conbhairean (Ian's photo taken Sept 2017)
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I did have a photo Anthony took of me at the summit cairn of Sgurr nan Conbhairean but it was so out of focus I deleted it. :-P

Sail Chaorainn from Sgurr nan Conbhairean (June 2010)
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All photos from now on were taken in June 2010.

Lochans Uaine
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Sail Chaorainn summit
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A' Chralaig and Mullach Fraoch-choire from Sail Chaorainn summit
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North to Loch Affric
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I remember we spent quite a while here, long enough for Anthony to fall asleep with his feet propped on a rock so they were higher than his head, which he said was good for them. While he was in the land of nod I took a few more photos

Sgurr nan Conbhairean from Sail Chaorainn
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Upper Glen Affric
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View west from the descent
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Loch Cluanie
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Ridge rising to Drochaid an Tuill Easaich
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I don't recollect any details about the descent from the ridge or the crossing of the Allt Coire nan Clach, but it must have been straightforward or I'd have remembered. After crossing it we rejoined the old military road heading east past the transmitter mast and back to Lundie. Altogether a great trio, which don't take all day. My friend Gerard got round them with a 5.00am start from Inverness and was back at Inverness airport for his flight south at 1.00pm. Not that everyone wants to go at his speed. 8)
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Re: A good first for grandsons and a great trio for me

Postby johnscot55 » Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:58 pm

Three generations "bagging" looks great family fun. My sometimes bagging companion is my grandson, but none of the middle generation is interested!
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Re: A good first for grandsons and a great trio for me

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:27 pm

Very nice! I also love going out on the hills with my grandsons :D .
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Re: A good first for grandsons and a great trio for me

Postby mrssanta » Sun Sep 30, 2018 2:23 pm

Beautiful. Great to see the children are keen to go up hills.
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Re: A good first for grandsons and a great trio for me

Postby dogplodder » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:08 pm

johnscot55 wrote:Three generations "bagging" looks great family fun. My sometimes bagging companion is my grandson, but none of the middle generation is interested!


The 'middle generation' are too busy with families and careers and sometimes come to it later. One can but hope. :wink:
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Re: A good first for grandsons and a great trio for me

Postby dogplodder » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:41 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Very nice! I also love going out on the hills with my grandsons :D .


It's so good to see them enjoying something real.... rather than virtual via their screens! 8)
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Re: A good first for grandsons and a great trio for me

Postby dogplodder » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:19 pm

mrssanta wrote:Beautiful. Great to see the children are keen to go up hills.


Thanks Mrs S - and long may it continue! :wink:
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