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Drumochter winter(ish) traverse and a significant Marilyn

Drumochter winter(ish) traverse and a significant Marilyn


Postby malky_c » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:58 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Mharconaich, Beinn Udlamain, Sgairneach Mhor

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Conic Hill

Date walked: 02/12/2018

Time taken: 7.1 hours

Distance: 24.5 km

Ascent: 1515m

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Munros: A' Mharconaidh, Beinn Udlamain, Sgairneach Mor.
Sub 2k Marilyns: Conic Hill.
Date: 01 and 02/12/2018.
Distance: 19km + 5.5km.
Ascent: 1045m +470m.
Time taken: 4 hours, 50 minutes and 2 hours, 20 minutes.
Weather: Mixed, with calm sunny spell followed by light snow/rain. Calm and misty on Conic Hill.

Not an overly promising weather forecast for the weekend, but it didn't look that bad either. East seemed to be brightest, so I opted for a straightforward circuit from the A9 for Saturday. I was walking by 10:30 am (not quite as early as intended), and the conditions looked fairly benign, if not overly inspiring.


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Image
Heading into Coire Domhain

Having passed under the railway, I followed the track into Coire Domhain for a short distance before hitting the slopes of the Boar of Badenoch. Not having been up here before, I thought this would be a nice little addition to the route.

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Sgairneach Mor

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The Sow

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Sgairneach Mor from The Boar of Badenoch

The slopes were steep but easy, and I was on the summit before too long. Still grey, but this is one of the best spots to look up and down the Drumochter pass from. A fresh covering of snow on the plateau was thin enough that it didn't really slow down my pace towards A' Mharconaidh.

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A’ Bhuidheanach Beag

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South through the Drumochter

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North through the Drumochter

There were a couple of hags at the col, then a more heathery ascent for the first section of A' Mharconaidh. I began traversing rightwards towards the ridge on the other side of the corrie, but this wasn't any less heathery so I reverted to going straight up. Again it didn't take too long to get onto the A' Mharconaidh plateau.

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Cloud pouring over Sgairneach Mor

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On A’ Mharconaidh

The weather made a turn for the better here, with the sun coming out to the west. It looked like my fairly uninspired choice of hills was fully justified, as I seemed to be in the centre of the best weather 8) . I chatted to a couple at the summit briefly - they had reached the same conclusion!

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Drumochter from A’ Mharconaidh

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North ridge of A’ Mharconaidh

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Ben Alder from A’ Mharconaidh

Even better was the walk over to Beinn Udlamain - the views over Loch Ericht to Ben Alder and the Laggan hills opened up and it continued to get brighter. Also, unlike most recent excursions, there was barely a breath of wind :D .

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Sgairneach Mor

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Across Loch Ericht to Ben Alder and Geal Charn

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Loch Ericht and Loch Pattack

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Sgairneach Mor

I stopped for lunch near the summit of Beinn Udlamain, overlooking Loch Ericht. Carrying on over the top, things began to get a little greyer, and the cloud moved in as I descended. It was looking like the weather window had conveniently opened for the most scenic part of the walk, and was now closing again.

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Beinn Udlamain

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Alder and Ardverikie hills

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On Beinn Udlamain

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TheFara

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Back to A’ Mharconaidh

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A’ Mharconaidh

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The Fara

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Beinn Bheoil

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Loch Ericht panorama

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Stob an Aonaich Mhor and south down Loch Ericht


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Heading for Sgairneach Mhor

I was out of the cloud as I descended towards Sgairneach Mor, then back in again. Originally I had been keen to look over into the corrie on Sgairneach Mor which looks out to the A9. Having been here before in winter conditions, I knew this held a good cornice, and was pretty impressive. I couldn't see it at all when I got there, but having enjoyed the views earlier, I wasn't too bothered.

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Summit of Sgairneach Mhor

I dropped rapidly down the ridge back to Coire Domhain. My previous visit a good 12 years ago had also taken in the Sow of Atholl, but the weather didn't invite this detour today. Besides I had been up there just a few weeks ago. Instead I tramped through increasingly soggy snow, which turned into a boggy vehicle track. This conveniently delivered me to a bridge and the good track back to the car. A satisfying day out, but my feet were wet again. Maybe this afternoon was finally the time to stop procrastinating and buy new boots?
____________________________________________

The original plan had been for a bothy weekend somewhere with Jackie but she still had a cold (surely nothing to do with our summit camp a couple of weeks back when she already had a cold :roll: ). In order to stop her from making any further daft plans, I suggested a nice easy walk that didn't involve any tents or bothies.

As it happened, I had looked at my Marilyn count a couple of months ago and realised it was rapidly approaching 1000. I only tend to check a couple of times a year, but 6 months spent down south at the beginning of the year had clearly pushed the numbers up faster than I had expected. That tied in nicely with Sunday. Conic Hill seemed a good bet - a nice easy walk (to avoid aggravating Jackie's cold and to break in the new boots that I had bought the day before 8) ), good views (theoretically!) and not too high, meaning more chance of seeing something if the weather was poor.


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The weather forecast was poor in the morning so we had a lazy start and didn't start walking until 1:30pm. The weather was really benign, but the cloud was right down to sea level almost, which was a bit disappointing. Given the lack of views, this barely deserved a report in its own right. Since Jackie has already written a great one, I have just tagged this onto the end of the previous day's wander instead, with minimal words (and photos :roll: )

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Loch Lomond

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Heading for the proper summit

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Almost clearing

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1000th Marilyn dram - Aberlour

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Heading down Druim nan Buaraich

Fortunately the hilarity of the afternoon made up for the lack of scenery - I'll need to go up Conic Hill again! We celebrated with an early dinner in the Oak Tree Inn while the forecast apocalypse moved in, then I dropped Jackie back in Glasgow and headed up the road home. A fairly leisurely but enjoyable weekend :D .
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5786
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:243   Hewitts:256
Wainwrights:102   
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Inverness

Re: Drumochter winter(ish) traverse and a significant Marily

Postby Jaxter » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:01 pm

Looks like you stole all the views on Saturday 8) Never mind, least I'd had views from Conic Hill before. Nae whisky that time though :wink:
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Jaxter
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1102
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Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow

Re: Drumochter winter(ish) traverse and a significant Marily

Postby inca » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:40 pm

Quite an achievement on the Marilyns count Malcy. Well done :clap: :clap:
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inca
Walker
 
Posts: 298
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: Drumochter winter(ish) traverse and a significant Marily

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:26 pm

Well done Malcolm, congratulations from us both :clap: :clap:

As a curious cat, I checked my Marylin count: 467... not even half way to one thousand. I'm well behind you...

We considered a route on Drummochter Munros on Saturday, too, but ended up on Sgor Gaoith in the Cairngorms. Not as bad a day as forecast, but we started with the first daylight and were well on our way down before the cloud began to break. Maybe we should have waited till later to get better views from the summit :lol:
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BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3100
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Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

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