Off the radar in the Dalnaspidal Triangle - Part 1
by Graeme D » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:25 pm
Route description: Beinn Mholach, from Dalnaspidal
Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Mholach
Date walked: 20/11/2010
Time taken: 6.5 hours
Distance: 15 km
Ascent: 630mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
They rolled up at my house shortly after 6.30 on Saturday morning and they had brought a rather unpleasant drizzle with them. The forecasts seemed to be not too bad for the weekend (Sunday was certainly purported to be shaping up as the better day) so undeterred we heaved all our gear in CW's Honda and hit the A9 northbound heading for Dalnaspidal Lodge.
We had spent the previous few days debating the merits and feasibilities of various routes. Should we head in over the Corbett Meall na Leitreach? Should we head straight along the track to the bothy? Was a route over Beinn Mholach and continuing on to the more distant Stob an Aionach Mhor on the edge of Loch Ericht before returning back to the bothy a realistic option? The Corbett book claims that a walk taking in BM and SaAM from Dalnaspidal is an undertaking only to be attempted by strong walkers on good summer days. Well, I reckon we all qualified on the first count but was a lot less confident about a day in the latter half of November ticking the second box! And where would the Graham Creag a' Mhadaidh fit into the equation?
Darren had left his dogs at home and I was also without Lucy for this one, not carrying dog food allowing that little bit of extra capacity for carrying fuel. We were all carrying hefty looking packs so it seemed that the most sensible option was to head straight along the flat lochside track to the bothy before dumping most of our gear and heading onwards and upwards from there.
We were off over the level crossing by 8.05 and onto the track along the western side of Loch Garry. We made pretty decent time although we had to make a couple of significant stops while CW made running repairs to his ankles which were suffering inside his (or rather Emma's) winter boots. He was even considering the possibility of baling out altogether, or at least returning to his car for a change of footwear. He would however have to return at some point to collect Kev and myself as neither of us fancied extending our route on to Perth/Glasgow respectively! In the end, a combination of Compeed, bandages, duct tape and a sock redeployment kept him going.
Beyond the southern end of the loch the track gave way to what can really only be described as a minor swamp before we reached the Allt Shallain which we were quite clearly not going to be able to ford. The Corbett book had stated that this might well be the case, in which event it would be necessary to take a short detour upstream to a bridge. From the bridge, a good landrover track leads to the bothy, which really only comes into view when you're right on top of it.
We had made good time despite Darren's tribulations, reaching the bothy in a couple of hours, so we took our time emptying our packs and laying out our gear, although to be honest we weren't really expecting any company. After a quick bite to eat and a quick sniff of Darren's Caol Ila , we were away from the bothy and onto the long ascent of the north east shoulder of Beinn Mholach.
Almost immediately we came across a mountain hare sitting absolutely still just a few feet from us and resolutely refusing to move on. Otherwise, the ascent was uneventful until we broke through the snow line just below the crags of Creag nan Gabhar. It was a relief to have shed most of the weight from our packs - in fact, I had just chucked a few essentials into a very small daypack which had been stuffed away at the bottom of my main pack and Kev was travelling with just poles and the clothes he was standing up in.
Kev was first to reach the huge, squat and very impressively crafted summit cairn, with Darren and myself a minute or two behind. The Corbett book claims that this is one of the least visited listed summits in the country, but even still, an empty food can shoved into a space between two stones in the cairn provided evidence that clowns can find their way up here too. Kev did what the clown should have done in the first place and dutifully removed the offending item from the hill when he left. We spend a wee while at the summit, having a bite to eat and using the trig pillar to set up cameras on timer while we posed on and around the massive cairn. We were also hoping that the cloud base might just lift to give us the views that this remote summit and magnificent cairn so richly deserve, but alas, apart from a few fleeting glimpses of Loch Rannoch to the south, we got nothing. As Darren quite rightly pointed out though, not to worry - a great excuse if one were even needed to return here one day.
There seemed little point in these conditions in making the long and rough walk out to Stob an Aonaich Mhor, followed by a head torch march back to the bothy through goodness only knows what kind of bog fest, so we decided to call it quits for the day and return to the comfort of the bothy before tackling the Graham and the remaining Corbett tomorrow.
We returned to the bothy on more or less the same line, but veering fractionally further north on the lower slopes before picking up the landrover track just above the bothy. It was then just a case of getting the fire going and settling down for the evening. We had plenty fuel, food whisky and beer. As Darren pointed out, the only thing missing was the plasma screen with Sky Sports, but heh, I guess no bothy is perfect!
by kevsbald » Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:51 pm
by malky_c » Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:00 pm
by davetherave » Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:19 pm
Did you guys take all your fuel in, or was there fuel on site.?
by Graeme D » Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:47 pm
As for the fuel situation, bit of both Dave - we all carried in some coal and Kev and myself carried some wood too. We both couldn't believe the weight of coal Darren carried in! There was also a load of wood there, including some unsplit rounds out in the entrance porch. Looks like the estate maybe drop it off there.
Malky, it's an area well worth casting your net into. Just hope you find nicer weather there than we did.
by dooterbang » Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:38 pm
I must do more Corbetts.
Loch Rannoch is nice. Icycled from Rannoch train station to pitlochry via North side, stayed in SYH and returned the Southside following day....awesome cycle in the summer .
Well done on your weekend adventure.
p.s i havn't kipped in a bothy yet
by davetherave » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:32 am
Graeme Dewar wrote:As for the fuel situation, bit of both Dave -