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Glenpean Bothy and Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoigh

Glenpean Bothy and Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoigh

Postby Yorjick » Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:12 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgùrr Cos na Breachd-laoidh

Date walked: 22/07/2019

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 23 km

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I had been extremely disappointed not to have gone away the previous weekend. The plan had been to spend the weekend at Ratagan for the Walkhighlands Summer meet. My car was in the garage after smoke had emanated from the front nearside wheel. The garage messed up and ordered the wrong parts so I wasn't going anywhere! :thumbdown: So I was feeling particularly enthusiastic about this trip even though the weather forecast was poor.

​It was also an opportunity to try out some new gear. It was my first opportunity to try out my new AKU M SUPERALP GTX boots and new Mountain Hardwear PHANTOM 30F/-1C sleeping bag.

My Aku Suiterra Inject GT still have some use left in them. The worn tread makes them less secure on steep wet grass and the uppers are not as supportive as they once were. They do leak a bit in really wet conditions. Thomas may get a bit of wear out of them and I can see myself still using them for the occasional bothy trip. They were bought in 2011


My Mountain Equipment Annapurna was bought back in 1984 and will continue to be my first choice in winter. The new bag gives about a 40% weight saving and having a zip, is easier for an old man to get into! :lol:

Mountain Hardwear.jpg

This was the first time my son was jointing me for two years and was his first bothy trip. Having bought him a decent hardshell and new walking trousers, he was very much looking the part.

This was also my first visit to Glenpean bothy. That is why I chose it over A'Chuil. The forestry track continued further than shown on the map and there was a clear sign marking the very wet and boggy path over the last 500m.

I was aware that a work party had been planned over the weekend so was expecting to pass volunteers on their way out and perhaps some staying on, but we did not see a soul. Thomas exclaimed "Oh dear!" at one point. I was concerned about what might have happened, but it turned out that he had simply spotted a stag! :lol:



We laid out our bedding to stake out our claim on the sleeping platform in the second room. Emptying his pack, I noticed that he had even packed a can of deodorant :shock: : the first time I have ever seen deodorant in a bothy! :lol:


Thomas had carried in the wood, while I carried in the coal. I am sure that a wood burner is more efficient but does not provide the "bothy TV", dancing flames of an open fire. Things did seem to burn almost completely and it struck me how little ash there was when cleaning it out before our departure.


Thomas has aspirations of joining the army and had World War 3 all planned out by the time we had arrived back at the car to switch to daypacks with full reservoirs of water. I did not agree with all his suggestions as to which countries would be involved or their allegiances. One thing that he did not suggest was a reason!

This was to be a day of continuous rain, varying in intensity and between falling vertically to horizontal, but continuous. I had struggled a bit for the first half of the ascent, often having to "re-catch" my breath, while Thomas made the going look effortless! However, over the last third, he began to flag. He began to ask how much further and I would respond with my best honest estimate as a percentage. I felt that this would be more meaningful to him than metres of ascent. I also set a target time to encourage him to keep up the pace.

My estimates were just about spot on and the summit cairn appeared just as I was expecting it to!

Thomas needs to eat more out on the hill than I and I lost count of the number of cereal bars consumed.


​It was not to be a day for stitched panoramic photographs. Many do not see the point of walking without views, but I enjoy the challenge, looking at the flora, with it's rich biodiversity and the variety of textures beneath my feet.

Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoigh has a well defined ridge running to Druim a'Chuirn. There are a line of fence posts, but, of course, these are not marked on our 50 000 scale printed map, so I warned Thomas about following fences as they do not always take you where you want to go. At one point, Thomas got caught up in some rusting wire, which I tossed to one side as most people will be following the faint path running alongside the old fence and wall. I had taken a clockwise route as the SE ridge of Druim a'Chuirn seemed the gentler, less steep way down and, while it was steep in places, we were soon down to the "path" down to Glendessarry. I say "path" as it was more like walking down a stream bed. :crazy:

The River Dessarry was raging and we talked about what it might be like to ride the rapids in a kayak.

​We returned to the car, where we obtained an update to the weather forecast, ate our "lunch" in the car, added fuel and food to our large packs before taking the 3½ mile walk back to Glenpean bothy.

Thomas was looking tired and while his rucksack was almost empty, it took longer then the previous evening with full big packs. We did our best to hang out our kit to dry. I explained to Thomas that the best way to dry out clothes is to wear them - at least that is my hypothesis! Thomas had carries some dry clothes and was able to change into dry clothes. While it was very wet, it was not cold and I was happy bumbling about in my wet stuff. We were quick to get the woodburner going and to put the stove on for hot drinks and food.

Thomas' 4 season boots were soaked through and heavy, but I was enjoying the benefit of new boots with only slightly damp feet.

For me, the worst thing about wet gear is not being able to use it as a pillow. Thomas was using my camping pillow and all I could come up with was placing my first aid kit beneath my head. There was an inflatable pillow in the bothy that looked fairly clean but not clean enough for me to feel happy about resting my head on it. This meant that I did not enjoy a very good night's sleep. I need to do some research into lightweight pillows and make an investment ahead of future trips. :think: Recommendations are welcome!

Next morning, as there was only the slightest precipitation, after clearing out our kit and removing the small amount of ash from the woodburner, we took a few photos to act as mementos of our visit. I asked Thomas if he thought that he might return one day. He said "no"....but I am not so sure! :) It will certainly remain a very special place for me as I shared the experience with my son. I hope that I have planted the seen of enthusiasm and it will be the first of many bothies for him!


As expected, the weather was clearing as we walked back out from the bothy, but taking a final look back at Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoigh, it was still covered in clag. The large, dome-shaped boulder seen in the middle of the river was completely covered in water when we had crossed the bridge the previous evening.


I confess I was a little surprised by the total ascent and distance given when mapping the route on walkhighlands!

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Thomas had previously done four Munros and two Corbetts but this was his first time carrying a large pack (for part of the trip) and wearing full four season mountain walking boots, so he did well to cover 15 miles / 24 km and 1313 metres of ascent, especially in such abysmal weather! :clap: Also, after struggling in the Knoydart heat a few weeks earlier, I was pleased to arrive back at the bothy still feeling reasonably strong and fresh!

However, Thomas did have some sore and painful parts (and had ran out of deodorant? :lol: Or was it just that the power bank for his phone had depleted? :lol:), so instead of heading up Fraoch Bheinn and on to Kinbreak, as planned, we headed for Fort Augustus for lunch and then back home for hot baths!
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Re: Glenpean Bothy and Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoigh

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:01 pm

A very nice read. There's nothing like going out with the next generation (in my case, the next generation but one!!).

Ref pillows: I use a cheap down belay jacket I have, that packs down into its own pocket, and is very light. Dual purpose!

Sorry to miss you at Ratagan.
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Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

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