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Enjoying Arkle

Enjoying Arkle


Postby Cairngorm creeper » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:24 am

Route description: Arkle

Corbetts included on this walk: Arkle

Date walked: 08/07/2019

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 1017m

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The rock scenery of carved and shattered cambrian quartzite give Arkle a mountainous demeanour that far exceeds its altitude. The changing landscape from lochside to summit and highland views made the walk in almost as enjoyable as the narrow arete was exciting.
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The Route

Leaving the carpark at 08:30 it was a joy to see blue skies after seemingly weeks of grey. Loch Stack was a shimmering steely blue and the craggy eastern face of Arkle with its strange fluted edge was beckoning us forward.
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Early morning view of Arkle

The moorland was a lush green after all the recent rain, rich in wild flowers and alive with small birds (mainly wheatears) bees, butterflies and dragonflies. The natural world also seemed to be celebrating the long awaited sunshine.
The estate road led, eventually, to the two guardian stones at the entrance to the wood, and although impressive, their magical presence has been diminished by erection of a fence.
Leading out of the woods the path becomes very steep so it was an ideal spot to stop admire the views.
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Ben Stack

We were intending to start the ascent of Arkle on the right hand side of Allt na Dige Moire, but not wanting to loose the height gained, left the track at the highest point to make our way across country to the burn. The presence of a muddy and in places eroded, path suggested many other walkers must have had the same idea. Alongside the path the bell heather and cross leaved heath was in flower and in one area the cross leaved bushes all had extremely pale flowers a couple being almost white.
A small flock of rock doves flew overhead, making such a cackling noise I initially thought it was invasion jackdaws.
We left the eroded path to descend rocky slabs to the stream and an easy crossing point, stopping for a drink and to fill our water bottles. From here we made our way towards the stony flanks of Meall Aonghais, which despite appearances was remarkably stable, towards a grassy bealach which housed a small tent. It looked a spectacular place for a wild camp. As we were making our way up the to south top we met the tents owner who was on his way back from a very early morning visit to the summit. It had been a cold night on the bealach and he had woken up to find his rucksack covered in ice, brrrr!
It was worth keeping to the western side of slope for the views of Foinaven and a great gully plunging down to An Garbh Choire.
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The slopes to the South Top

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Looking down the gully

The thrift, growing amongst the rocks on the hillside was still in flower and a handsome buzzard went swooping past.
The south top was a wide plateau of covered in shattered quartz, with tantalising views of the narrow ridge leading to the true summit.
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The South Top of Arkle

Descending from the plateau the nature terrain changed dramatically from rounded hilltop to mountainous peaks, with more views of Arkle's famous neighbour Foinaven adding to the atmosphere. But despite looking fearsome there is a good path through the scree and gradient was not taxing.
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Foinaven

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Looking mountainous

The final ridge to the summit was short, but delightful and being foolish enough to try and balance on top of the crest added excitement.
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The Summit Ridge

There is a little bit of clambering over some rocks but no real scrambling,
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The scrambley clambery bit

it felt quite secure in the dry but I imagine it could be very slippery if damp and not a place to be in a high wind.
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Arkle Summit Ridge

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Looking down into Am Bathaich

An interesting feature on the ridge was the blocky quartz paving, the gaps between the blocks were incredibly deep and could prove treacherous in snow.
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Blocky Paving

We were overtaken by a man who was walking with impressive speed and confidence across the crest and chatting with him later on the summit he was very knowledgable about the local area and kindly pointed out and named all the visible peaks.
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12:55 Arkle Summit

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Arkle Summit

The views along the ridge were quite spectacular but the summit views were also impressive.
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Ben Hope to the North

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Looking west and out to sea

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Looking south to Assynt

Our faithful companion, Jeremy Jetboil, came out to make us a brew to enjoy with our view,
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A brew with a view

before making our way back along the ridge.
Appreciating the situation in reverse stopped us feeling too downhearted at leaving such a magical place.
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Wie took a slightly different line back from the south top, following the dry bed of the stream down then moving onto its right hand side as we got lower.
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The bed of the stream

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The quartz. slabs above the stream

We came across a waterfall we had missed on the way up, and although not high the way the water was running down the stepped white cliffs was beautiful.
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Waterfall
.
Without looking we found ourselves back on the muddy path and were soon retracing our steps back along the track.
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Leaving the woods

with a final view of the remarkable Arkle
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Looking Back at Arkle

to reach the carpark at 17:00.
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Cairngorm creeper
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 677
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Location: Nr. Grantown-on-Spey

Re: Enjoying Arkle

Postby Sunset tripper » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:06 pm

Great report and great hill. It was the view from Arkle a few years ago that inspired us to walk the entire ridge of Foinaven which only happened last month.
Dont really see the point of that haphazard fence that has been erected. It doesn't seem to serve any purpose. :?

All the best. :D
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Re: Enjoying Arkle

Postby katyhills » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:16 pm

Thanks for sharing that. Absolutely stunning in every way. :D

I hope to get up there at some point and do a few of these hills. Glorious when you have clear days like that.
katyhills
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Re: Enjoying Arkle

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:32 pm

Sunset tripper wrote:Great report and great hill. It was the view from Arkle a few years ago that inspired us to walk the entire ridge of Foinaven which only happened last month.
Dont really see the point of that haphazard fence that has been erected. It doesn't seem to serve any purpose. :?

All the best. :D

Thanks, it is a great hill. We had been wanting to walk up Arkle ever since seeing it from Foinaven :lol: But we get to go back to Foinaven as we never managed to complete our traverse of the ridge!
The fence by the stones is pointless must be elf and safety.

katyhills wrote:Thanks for sharing that. Absolutely stunning in every way. :D

I hope to get up there at some point and do a few of these hills. Glorious when you have clear days like that.


Thanks Katy, I hope you get clear weather when you make it north, it often seems drier than further south, and it is such a magical area I am sure you will have a great time.
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Cairngorm creeper
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 677
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Wainwrights:9   
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Location: Nr. Grantown-on-Spey

Re: Enjoying Arkle

Postby Jaxter » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:00 am

Definitely a magical place - sounds like you were able to enjoy it without the addition of clegs :shock: :roll:
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Re: Enjoying Arkle

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:27 pm

Spectacular! :D
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Re: Enjoying Arkle

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:34 pm

Jaxter wrote:Definitely a magical place - sounds like you were able to enjoy it without the addition of clegs :shock: :roll:

We have been lucky this year, missing all the clegs and midges, :D Must be the garlic :lol:

EmmaKTunskeen wrote:Spectacular! :D

It was indeed and one of the best :D
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Cairngorm creeper
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Posts: 677
Munros:140   Corbetts:21
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Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Nr. Grantown-on-Spey

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