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Away with the Faeries - Sick Kid completes her Second Round
by weaselmaster » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:29 pm
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Bhuidhe, Ben Chonzie, Schiehallion
Date walked: 04/11/2018
Time taken: 17 hours
Distance: 51.7 km
Ascent: 3271m12 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
So how come we hadn't climbed it together? Schiehallion was one of my earliest Munros, I first went up this special mountain on a claggy day, back in 2006, with a mate and my son, then 14 who, having grown tired of false summit after false summit looming out of the mist asked what was the point of climbing a hill when you only had to return to the bottom. Next time was very early in my WH days, back in October 2012 when I'd only done 8 Munros. Allison was away on holidays and had done Schiehallion and Ben Nevis before we started walking together- I thought this was a good chance to catch up on her, believing for some reason that it was Ben Lawers I'd done before, not Schiehallion. I remember turning into Braes of Foss car park with sudden recognition and not having the gumption to change my plans - so that of the 9 Munros I'd then done, Schiehallion had been done twice.
The (beardy) weasel in 2012
P1010206 by Al, on Flickr
Allison, for her part, had climbed Schiehallion with family & friends in May 2012 when she was getting herself fit. I suspect that had someone told her then about whether she'd be coming back to the hill to finish her second Munro round she would have been in utter disbelief.
Allison in 2012
478427_455229444493164_17405882_o by Al, on Flickr
But before we get to Schiehallion, there's the small matter of Beinn Bhuidhe, her penultimate Munro, to deal with. Of course, I'd tagged a couple of Simms onto the summit, which increased the duration of the walk significantly and really meant that we'd need a little overnighter at this time of year. So up we drive on Thursday evening as usual and set off up Glen Fyne in the mirk without much of an idea where we should pitch. It is always more challenging to find a spot by headtorchlight and the ground - where it was vaguely level - was very lumpy. I thought we might find a spot by the derelict farm buildings at Inverchorachan, so we continued up through the dark glen, stars outlining the bulk of Cruach Tuirc, occasional glimmers from the eyes of deer as we trod along. When we got to the buildings there was one flat area across from the house, layered in wet bracken. Rain had started, so we decided to opt for that and got pitched and into bed.
I'd been away in Manchester and London for the few days before, having travelled up in the sleepless sleeper (seated) on Wednesday night, and apparently within seconds of my head hitting the pillow I was asleep - a sound 8 hours, thanks very much. Friday morning looked pleasant - blue sky, wisps of light cloud and not much wind - was still quite cold as our rucksack covers were frozen solid. From the buildings it's basically straight up the hillside without mercy - despite my sleep I was feeling knackered and slow. We walked up the side of the Allt na Faing (water of the sheepfold) and then onto the flank of Beinn Bhuidhe itself, noting a new track coming in from the west, not marked on the maps. Onto the summit ridge, in a little bit of snow and up to the fine summit. Ben Lui looking beautiful from here.
Rather meagre choice of spots to pitch
P1200961 by Al, on Flickr
P1200962 by Al, on Flickr
P1200964 by Al, on Flickr
P1200967 by Al, on Flickr
P1200968 by Al, on Flickr
P1200969 by Al, on Flickr
P1200970 by Al, on Flickr
I'd done some of the Simms clustered around this hill last time I was here - today we had a 6k diversion to another Faerie hill - Beinn an t-Sithein. We discovered the reason for it being so named - by some magical power it never gets any closer! Or so it seemed to us. Eventually clambered to the top at lunchtime and sat looking across to Loch Awe. Retraced our steps much of the way into Coire Buidhe, aiming for the 901m top. From there, the final Simm of the day, Ceann Garbh and quite a pleasant descent along the course of the Allt na Mhuilinn back to the track along the River Fyne. Was just getting dark as we returned to the car around 5pm.
Looking to Beinn an t-Sithein
P1200971 by Al, on Flickr
P1200972 by Al, on Flickr
P1200974 by Al, on Flickr
Not getting any nearer!
P1200975 by Al, on Flickr
View back to Bhuidhe
P1200977 by Al, on Flickr
Looking down on Ceann Garbh from the 901m top
P1200979 by Al, on Flickr
Descent to Glen Fyne
P1200981 by Al, on Flickr
P1200983 by Al, on Flickr
My original plan had been to head for Schiehallion on Saturday then pick up some other Munros around Lawers on Sunday. The forecast was for very strong winds and constant rain on Saturday - winds but dry on the Sunday. Under the circumstances, it seemed prudent to delay Allison's completion til Sunday and try to get up something on Saturday in the miserable rain. We'd drive to Comrie Croft as I didn't fancy finding another wild camp spot in the dark, probably end up doing Ben Chonzie in the rain.
And so we did. We wakened to drizzle and the rain got heavier as the day progressed. On each previous occasion I've done Chonzie, it's been a walk in from Comrie due to freezing conditions on the road in - which adds around 10 miles to the day. We were grateful that today we could get to Coshievachan unhindered and have a mere 12k walk to do. Being an unexpected outing, I hadn't researched the Simms nearby - I did think about trying to add on Achnafree Hill (which would have taken us, as it happens, over 2 Simms - but Allison was unreceptive to this delightful suggestion, for some reason.
We parked beside a van full of men in what looked like dry suits with all manner of plungers and other aquatic looking tools - don't know what they were going to do. Up the standard route to the hill, passed a couple who had already been to the summit. The streams that cross the path were going at full tilt. When we turned from the track onto the hill path the wind started to catch us - on our back mostly as we ascended. Following the fence post line to the summit, still deceptively far from where you expect it to be. Shelter was taken behind the cairn and lunch was had with dripping clothes. The way back was enlivened by the rain being driven right into our faces - lovely. Back at the car in three and a half hours.
P1200984 by Al, on Flickr
P1200985 by Al, on Flickr
P1200986 by Al, on Flickr
P1200987 by Al, on Flickr
It was just after 2pm - neither of us fancied the thought of traipsing round Crieff or somewhere in the rain, so we returned to the campsite and had a hot shower before repairing to the tent and having an afternoon snooze. Comrie Croft gets better each time we visit - they've added extra showers and toilets, the shop was selling a good range of items including fresh fruit and veg from the adjacent gardens, plus with camping just £5pppn between Nov-March I don't think you can argue with the value. Only slight downside at the weekends is that they often have wedding parties at the croft - so there was music filtering up to us in the evening. Fortunately, the rattle of rain on the tent diminished the impact of the music.
Sunday morning - still some rain as we had breakfast, but it went off as we started to pack up. |Dark clouds loomed to the north, and I was far from sure it was going to stay dry. It's one of our completions after all - they're always in bad weather We drove up to Braes of Foss to find the car park stowed out. A busy hill is this one. Managed to squeeze in beside the toilets and got ready to set off. We were just going to do the standard route, not - as I'd previously suggested - the ascent from the north, nor would we be searching for the faerie caves or even adding nearby Simms (there aren't any). Loads of people ahead of us, and some of the most lurid coloured clothing I've ever seen on a hillside - Hamish Brown would be birling in his grave (if he were dead). I was pleased to find my energy levels on ascent were somewhat restored today after the tiredness I've been experiencing for the last couple of weekends.
Setting off for Schiehallion
P1200989 by Al, on Flickr
P1200990 by Al, on Flickr
P1200991 by Al, on Flickr
As we got to the boulder field the wind was stronger, otherwise, we were shielded in the lee of the hill. after last weekend's icy blast it was surprisingly warm today (and yesterday) with the temperature at ground level in the teens. No encounters with the "Blue Witch" today then:
Schiehallion was also said to be a favourite haunt of the mythical Cailleach Bheur, or the Blue Witch, who appeared in Hallowe’en to usher in the winter. “Her face was blue with cold, her hair white with frost and the plaid that wrapped her bony shoulders was grey as the winter fields,” wrote AD Cunningham in Tales of Rannoch, published in 1989. According to folklore she would catch out unwary travellers, her icy blast freezing them to death.
We reached the summit, Allison celebrated her achievement in usual style. Some cretin had left an empty bottle of Schiehallion beer on the summit cairn (we removed it). We snuck down behind a rocky block, out of the wind for a little celebration - Laphroaig (for her - Coke Mango flavour for me), chilli oatcakes and mushroom pate and some chilli roasted almonds. We sat for a full 40 minutes, just enjoying the moment. Two rounds done - ach well, on with the third before the inevitable return visits to Corbetts takes hold in the new year.
P1200993 by Al, on Flickr
P1200994 by Al, on Flickr
P1200995 by Al, on Flickr
P1210001 by Al, on Flickr
P1210002 by Al, on Flickr
by mamoset » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:51 pm
by scoob999 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:37 pm
That's a lot of big hills! Sounds like you could do with a few wee ones? Luckily I know some round about here you can do
by Alteknacker » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:02 am
by IreneM » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:47 am
by The Rodmiester » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:04 am
by robertphillips » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:29 pm
by BlackPanther » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:55 pm
I admire your dedication, guys. We had climbed 39 Munros this year - and that was record breaking for us
by Chris Mac » Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:28 pm
So... back to the wee hills again now?
by dogplodder » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:22 pm
by weaselmaster » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:12 pm
dogplodder wrote:Congratulations and what an achievement!
Och she wants to do a third round, but there are Corbetts to revisit before then. And Grahams.
We’ll continue Munros until the end of the year I think 😊
by malky_c » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:22 pm
by bigkeith » Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:29 pm