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Four Peaks Challenge - the Strath Nairn Edition

Four Peaks Challenge - the Strath Nairn Edition


Postby Jaxter » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:34 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Creag nan Clag, Stac Gorm, Stac na Cathaig, Tom Bailgeann

Date walked: 06/08/2019

Time taken: 3.35 hours

Distance: 13.36 km

Ascent: 755m

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Strathnairn loop (bike)
44.31km
634m ascent
2 hours 20 minutes

This plan (if something made up on the hop can be called a plan :roll: ) was sort of Malky-inspired (again, never a good sign :lol: ) I’d been around the Strath Nairn circuit a few times on the bike and Malky had been up the 4 Marilyns passed on the route on several different occasions. With a three hour weather window and gradually improving fitness I decided to attempt to add in one or possibly two of the easier peaks en route….

It was an easy and familiar cycle down to Dores…
Image

…before heading up “that hill” which was tough work but gave me fabulous views down Loch Ness and out to Meall Fuar-mhonaidh which had some sort of mad inversion going on
ImageLoch Ness



Tom Bailgeann
3.23km
214m ascent
55 minutes

After a few more wiggles and some more hills I arrived at my start point for Tom Bailgeainn – I dragged the bike off the road and headed up the steep track
ImageHeading up the steep track to Tom Bailgeainn

It was an easy ascent on a good track until it flattened out at which point I started getting damp feet – I headed up some burnt heather which had the advantage of being much drier but also a total nightmare to walk on :roll:
ImageSummit ahoy!

Back on the track the going did improve for the final few metres of ascent to the summit where the views were pretty good 8)
ImageEast to the Monadhliath

ImageSummit of Tom Bailgeainn

There was a wee path over to the wee bump just behind the mast – no idea if it’s higher but the views were even better
ImageLoch Ness

ImageLoch Ness and Meall Fuar-mhonaidh

ImageZoomed to the Kessock bridge

ImageLooking to the giant radio mast

Back across to the radio mast and I was off – I thought I would be able to get across the bog without the heather…turns out I was wrong and my feet were soaked…typical :roll:
ImageLoch Duntelchaig

Another Marilyn – Creag nan Clag – actually didn’t look too bad from here….and my feet were soaked anyway, so I thought I might get up there before the weather broke 8)
ImageCreag nan clag

Now my feet were wet I splashed my way back down to the bike
ImageLoch Duntelchaig


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





Creag nan Clag
3.25km
161m ascent
55 minutes

A few minutes of cycling (a steep down, a cattle grid and a steep up :roll: :crazy: ) later, I dumped the bike again and smashed my way through very wet bracken, through a bit of random grass field and picked up something of a grassy track for a few metres which brought me to a fence. It could never be called a path but there was definite evidence of people (or animals) which made walking easier initially through high bracken, then scratchy heather and then really high scratchy heather :roll:
Image

ImageWhat the actual f*ck is this hell

This was uncomfortable and awkward but doable…this was all to change as I reached the steeper section. Here I found myself buried in heather and literally clawing my way up with my hands. It was horrendous. Even worse it was ripping the skin off my legs. Although it felt like an eternity it wasn’t actually that far and at last the gradient relented a little making walking possible
ImageAt last some views

Could that be the summit?! (No, it wasn’t :roll: )
ImageSummit ahoy

The summit plateau at least was slightly easier to walk on – still heathery and tussocky though :shock:
ImageLooking back across the plateau

Actually on the summit now the views weren’t bad
ImageLooking East

ImageSummit of Creag nan clag

I had a halo of flies buzzing around my head – windless is good for cycling, less good for standing around enjoying views :lol: So it was time to go – I managed to pick a slightly better line on the way down to avoid to steepest bits of heather but it was still horrible :shock:
ImageHeading down - what fresh hell is this

ImageTom Bailgeainn & the tip of Loch Ceo Glais

ImageLooking back up

I was very relieved to be back at the bike, but less so to find my water running out rather quicker than I’d hoped….still only cycling left now….. :crazy: As I cycled around the corner I could see up to the cliffs I’d just walked above
ImageThe crags from a bit further around the road

I cycled my way up the zigzags in the road to take me over towards Loch Ruthven and I got great views back to Creag nan Clag
ImageCreag nan Clag from the zigzags

It was at this point that I had delusions of grandeur – the weather looked to be holding and I knew there was an easy path up Stac Gorm to finish on…could I pull off the feat of all four in one day? Looked like I was going to give it a go :thumbup:


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





Stac na Cathaig
4.36km
204m ascent
1 hour

I dumped my bike near the track by Tullich (getting attacked by stinging nettles in the process :crazy: ) and headed upwards….there were cows in both fields. One side completely ignored me and the other side seemed all too interested so I hopped the fence :lol:
ImageA lot of cows

ImageEver get the feeling you're being watched?

Then I scared a flock of sheep which sent the cows into meltdown – they were mooing like crazy :shock:
ImageOne for you Malky ;-)

ImageLoch a Choire

This is where things started to deteriorate….fences happened. I managed to get over a very wobbly barbed wire fence but I then had to cross a ditch – it was full of very high reeds which were camouflaging a very funky coloured moat of sloppy sh*te…. I managed to get across eventually – I was wet anyway (and got wetter in the process) but really didn’t fancy sinking up to my knees in the stuff :shock:

Next was a high deer fence which landed me in a pile of thistles – ouch :shock: I managed to pick my way along another fence which gave me something to hold onto as I smashed my way through long grass, reeds, pools of muck and bits of tree. It was horrific :shock: Then I had another deer fence to climb and as if to add insult to injury I climbed down onto a track (which originates from the road about 400m west from where I started) Doh! But the good news is there was a way through the forest
ImageThis could go horribly wrong!

ImageLet's hope this goes all the way!

It was sloppy work but at least I wasn’t bashing my way through a forest unaided. This brought me out on a firebreak where the ground wasn’t too awful
ImagePhew...

After another climb (legs were starting to feel it) I was on the top which gave me great views
ImageStac Gorm & the top of Strath Nairn

There was even a breeze which got rid of the following of flies I’d picked up at least temporarily!
ImageLoch Duntelchaig

I wasn’t sure which was the actual top so went out to the next bump
ImageLooking back

ImageSun over Inverness

ImageSummit of Stac an Cathaig

I bashed my way back the same way until I reached the track where I happily skipped my way down it until I was set upon by some very enthusiastic dogs near the loch
ImageLoch a Choire

The track deposited me onto the road with a few metres to walk back to my bike
ImageA wee wander back up the road

ImageLoch Ruthven and Stac Gorm


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





Stac Gorm
2.52km
176m ascent
45 minutes

It was sheer stubbornness that dragged me up my last hill – Stac Gorm. The bike was deposited at the RSPB nature reserve parking area
ImageStac Gorm

It was a good path that led me upwards towards a giant boulder
ImageOh what a big...boulder...you have

Looking down Strath Nairn (the prominent point is Brin Rock which looks worth a climb on another occasion)
ImageLooking back

It would be easy to miss the path but it was very good all the way, picking a route through heather and in between rocks
ImageAhead

The wind had completely dropped and there was a multitude of flies and midges out and about for anyone daft enough to stop :lol: Fortunately it was an easy climb and soon I was on the summit
ImageSummit of Stac Gorm

The weather had brightened up again and the views were fabulous
ImageLoch Ruthven

ImageLooking South to the top of Strath Nairn

ImageLoch Ruthven and Creag nan Cathaig

ImageStac Gorm trig

There only so much jumping about to avoid the bugs that I could do so headed back down
ImageHeading down

ImageLoch Ruthven

ImageBack at my boulders

ImageThis would be hellish off the path

Back at the bike I drained the last drops of my water and dug out a packet of dried fruit from the depths of my rucksack – I’d come out expecting a 2-3 hour jaunt rather than an epic undertaking and it was a long way past lunchtime :lol:


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





I could sense the weather coming in and was very aware that I had over 20km of cycling left :shock:
ImageClouds looking ominous

I got most of the way down Strath Nairn before the weather broke – initially a few light showers but as I approached Inverness the rain became torrential :shock: I had to hose down my feet, socks and shoes before daring to enter the house :lol: But definitely worth it – Strath Nairn 4 Peaks Challenge – complete :thumbup: :lol:


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

Last edited by Jaxter on Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Jaxter
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1447
Munros:205   Corbetts:125
Grahams:78   Donalds:46
Sub 2000:117   Hewitts:61
Wainwrights:70   Islands:33
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow/Inverness

Re: Four Peaks Challenge - the Strath Nairn Edition

Postby DizzyVizion » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:13 am

Great pics. But hey! Where's the bike?
Looks like you had a good adventure :D
User avatar
DizzyVizion
Stravaiging
 
Posts: 100
Munros:25   
Joined: Jun 15, 2018

Re: Four Peaks Challenge - the Strath Nairn Edition

Postby Jaxter » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:14 am

DizzyVizion wrote:Great pics. But hey! Where's the bike?
Looks like you had a good adventure :D

In all my excitement I forgot :lol: There's 2 bike photos in the next one, just for you :wink:
User avatar
Jaxter
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1447
Munros:205   Corbetts:125
Grahams:78   Donalds:46
Sub 2000:117   Hewitts:61
Wainwrights:70   Islands:33
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow/Inverness

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