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Ah Pook Was Here

Ah Pook Was Here

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:57 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a' Choin, Ben Vuirich, Carn na Drochaide, Monamenach, Morrone

Date walked: 18/08/2019

Distance: 63 km

Ascent: 3360m

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Random title, random hills this week. Allison had been out at a gig (James @ Princes St Gardens) on Thursday night, meaning that we couldn't leave til Friday morning. I'd taken the opportunity to see "Once upon a time in Hollywood" on opening night at the local cinema - good film, but not something to watch late at night if you want to get some sleep :wink: Anyway, I picked her up around 9am on Friday - we were both tired. Something near at hand seemed reasonable for today - I'd selected Beinn a'Choin in the Trossachs. My plan had been, like last time, to do a circuit of Coire Arklet, but I couldn't see a spot to get parked on the narrow road - last time the verge vegetation had been low, not wild. Also, timber lorries are using the road at present, with resulting deep muddy churned verges. And it was so busy with tourists in cars, probably coming from Inversnaid Hotel. We drove past Garrison and parked in the car park over the weak bridge, leaving a little walk back to Garrison (could have parked just past the hostel at Garrison actually, where there's RSPB visitor parking). There's a sign at the start of the walk saying the route is closed due to landslips - however this refers to the Great Trossachs Path, nothing to do with the route up Beinn a'Choin.

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

We kinda followed the WH route, which I had on my GPS, trackless, wet hillside, boggy swamps (this was to be a theme) and deer fences, though fortunately with gates. Slow as a wet weekend, we paused beneath Stob an Fhainne for something to eat. Rain soaked us, mist obscured us. Onwards to Beinn a'Choin, weaving in and out of the crags. Nice antler left on the summit cairn. We continued on to Maol an Fhithich, a solitary Simm left over from a romp I had a few years ago on Beinn Chabhair, doing a line of Simms - couldn't quite make this last one. It involves more than 150m descent (then re-ascent) and was quite a steep little fellow. Back up to Beinn a'Choin - decided to follow the suggested WH route down from Bealach a'Mheim - no path here and a really unpleasant struggle through a new tree plantation, with lots of deep holes full of water hiding in the undergrowth and general tussocky awfulness until the track is finally reached. For a walk of 12k or so it took a very long time indeed.

ImageP8160002 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8160004 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8160005 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8160006 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8160007 by Al, on Flickr

We would have stayed in the area as we needed to do Stob a'Choin and Beinn Stacath, but since camping isn't possible thanks to the bylaws, we elected to go elsewhere. I'd thought we could do Ben Vuirich, left over from last weekend, then hit some short hills in the southern Cairngorms. On reflection I thought we'd be better leaving Vuirich for the Sunday in case there was stalking on. So I set off to drive to Braemar. Which is quite a journey from Inversnaid! Only about 20 miles less than if I'd left from home and all on smaller twisty roads. Mind you it was good driving when you weren't stuck behind maggot-vans or "19" tourists going at a dawdle. Fortunately we had our tea in the car before we left, at around 6pm, as we didn't arrive at Linn of Dee til almost 9.30. Dusk was falling, the little spot we use for camping had a new row of porta-loos in front of it. Convenient :roll: Midges were out in force - although it had been a very windy day in the hills, the car park seemed to be completely sheltered. Many managed to get inside the tent with us, which made for an uncomfortable night.

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

Saturday - we'd start with Carn na Drochaide from Linn of Quoich, then do Monamenach. Allison had the option of adding Morrone on the way down to Glen Isla if she wished as I'd done Morrone twice. We drove along to Linn of Quoich and got ready to set off, chatting to a couple of guys with a small dog who were off to do Beinn a'Bhuird (would have been a very blowy day up there). I'd drawn a shorter route than the WH one, but was taken aback to discover the bridge at Allanquioch had disappeared - we tracked up into the forest then down to the footbridge as is outlined, I see, in the updated WH entry. Rather than head along the road, we took a track which ultimately ends at the south top of Beinn a'Bhuird - I'd not noticed this route before...anyway, we cut up the hillside onto Carn na Drochaide at a cairn, about 510m elevation and took a stalkers' path first to Carn na Criche then to the summit. A much more pleasant route in my opinion than the WH one and track all the way. We returned by the same route, though one could have cut straight down through the heather.

No drochaide!
ImageP8170008 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8170009 by Al, on Flickr

Carn na Drochaide from Carn na Criche
ImageP8170011 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8170012 by Al, on Flickr

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

Made the car just as a heavy shower passed through, had our lunch and Allison decided she would do Morrone after all. I took the old road south from Braemar, past the golf club, which passes right beside the track going up Morrone - there's space for one or two cars to park at the start of the track. Up and down in under two hours - lots of people on the hill today.

ImageP8170013 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8170014 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8170015 by Al, on Flickr

It's mushroom time of year again...
ImageP8170016 by Al, on Flickr

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

We drove on to Glen Isla, for Monamenach. Parked as we did last time just before the bridge on the track after the lodge at Auchavan. Once again it was a case of track all the way to the top. Legs were feeling it at the end - mind you it had been twenty-seven kilometres today, despite it being broken down into three short hills. At the summit, good views across to steep sided Glen Isla and the East Glenshee Munros. Back down to the car - I had intended to drive to Monzie and camp there in preparation for Ben Vuirich tomorrow, but we found a nice spot in the trees near the bridge and decided to rest here instead - much nicer than the spot I had in mind at Monzie. There was the biggest fire-pit I've seen (I still think it's mental to light a fire in a forest, whatever precautions you take). Needless to say we didn't make use of the fire pit, simply got the stuff into the tent, enjoyed our tea (mushroom soup, dahl & rice and cherry pie & custard) and settled down for sleep. No midges tonight as a stiff breeze was blowing right into the trees.

ImageP8170017 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8170019 by Al, on Flickr

Deep dale of Glen Isla
ImageP8170020 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8170021 by Al, on Flickr

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

Sunday morning brought rain and dreichness. We were up just after six, breakfasted and away to Monzie, where we arrived around eight. One camper van there in the rain. The lady inside expressed her surprise that we were going out walking in these conditions. To be honest, neither of us was especially keen - Ben Vuirich stuck in the collective memory as a hard hill, given that we'd done it in snowshoes one fine winter's day. Well no snow today, but plenty of rain. The streams that run across the track were swollen and deep, not a good sign, given we had a river fording to do at the end of the walk. I put that from mind as we walked down to Shinagig and found the track that leads towards the Simm of Meall Breac. A buzzard mewed, fifty feet above us, enjoying the strong wind, then twitched his tail and sped off southwards. A heron flapped laboriously by. Wet and boggy, peat hags. Top of Meall Breac and we can just see Loch Valigan through the mist - make for the south end of that before heading up Ben Vuirich. We pause for an early lunch making use of the emergency shelter to keep the rain off while we ate.

Lovely morning
ImageP8180022 by Al, on Flickr

Wet track
ImageP8180023 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Meall Breac
ImageP8180025 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8180029 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8180034 by Al, on Flickr

Meall Breac
ImageP8180035 by Al, on Flickr

Bright orange ghost...
ImageP8180036 by Al, on Flickr

The next section up to Ben Vuirich was slow and wet, many peat hags and marshes to negotiate. At the summit trig we took a bearing for the final Simm of Stac nam Bodach, from where we'd be able to regain the track. Quite a few deer on the hillside here, not too arduous an ascent. The track made for easier walking, although it did go uphill in places. The river fording was quite fierce - strong current and water up to our knees - we held onto each other's rucksack straps and went across together, using two poles in one hand. Given that we were already saturated from all the rain today, the extra wetness didn't really matter much. The streams crossing the track had grown too - the deepest one had risen to submerge all the stepping stones, so that was another wade before returning to the car. But when you are soaked to the skin you can walk along with a devil-may-care attitude to further puddles :lol:

ImageP8180037 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP8180038 by Al, on Flickr

Stac am Bodach
ImageP8180039 by Al, on Flickr

River crossing - Allison emptying her trouserleg
ImageP8180040 by Al, on Flickr
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