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Merry Cromdale!

Merry Cromdale!


Postby BlackPanther » Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:29 pm

Route description: Creagan a' Chaise, Cromdale Hills

Grahams included on this walk: Creagan a' Chaise

Date walked: 22/12/2019

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 574m

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Usually, we are so busy in the last days before Christmas and no way we can find time for hillwalking, but this time we somehow managed to squeeze in a "just-before-Xmas" outing to a local hill. Well, maybe not as local as it could be (still an hour drive from home) and not much of winter wonderland atmosphere (blame the mother nature, not us!), but good enough to leave us hoping for more!

We had already climbed the Cromdale Grahams, combining them in a nice approach from the east. Today, we planned only to visit Creagan a' Chaise, so we picked the advertised WH route from the village of Cromdale. It's a good way to do just the southern of the two Grahams. Of course, we wouldn't be ourselves if we didn't go a little bit off piste :wink:

Track_CREAGAN A CHAISE 16,2KM.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


We started from Cromdale with the first rays of daylight. There's a good car park in the center of the village:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 001.JPG

We followed a minor tarmac road (waymarked as it's part of Speyside Way) past Lethendry and Claggersnich (which I kept pronouncing "let-hendry" and "clangers-snitch", much to Kevin's amusement :lol: ). The tarmac was covered with a thin layer of ice and a few times we were forced to practice some strange pirouettes to save ourselves from going A over T...
Watch yourself, Panther!
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 007.JPG

Having passed a small forest plantation, we turned right, facing the slopes of Creagan a' Chaise. The track goes past the site of the 1690 Battle of Cromdale. Views were nice already, though everything on this side of the hill was covered in shadows...
On the track to the battle site:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 010.JPG

A good track continues around the top side of Claggersnich Wood. The views becoming wider:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 016.JPG

At the highest point of the track, we located a faint path, following a line of grouse butts:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 023.JPG

The path is boggy in places (mostly frozen today) but as we gained height, we discovered better vistas:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 028.JPG

It didn't take us long to reach the ridge, or should I say plateau, as it's very wide as for "ridge". To the left, Carn a' Ghille Charr proudly presented itself in the morning light:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 032.JPG

We took a short break by the Coronation Cairn and snapped some photos:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 086.JPG

From this imposing cairn, it's almost a flat walk to the summit. We slowed down and enjoyed a nice stroll in the winter sunshine. The best views were to the south-west at the moment:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 039.JPG

...but we hoped for more interesting views from the top, especially towards the Cairngorms.
Shame we didn't encounter much snow. There was one large patch just below the summit:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 097.JPG

We wandered around the flat summit area with our cameras for quite a while, snapping photos and gazing in the distance. The previous time we were on this hill, it was a very windy day and we ran down as quickly as we could :lol: Now, with very little breeze at all, we could spend more time on the top. It was cold but not baltic enough to put us off :lol: :lol:
Panther posing with Carn a' Ghille Charr and Ben Rinnes:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 054.JPG

A few patches of fluffy cloud above the hills of the Lecht pass:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 105.JPG

More cloud covered, or should I say "cuddled" the Cairngorm plateau:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 114.JPG

A couple of zooms to the Cairngorms:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 056.JPG

2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 055.JPG

Zoom to Ben Rinnes. A re-visit to this hill is planned next year, including a little known plane crash site on the northern side of the Corbett.
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 075.JPG

Having reached the cairn, we took off our rucksacks, placed Lucy the Lamb on the cairn, dug up a flask of tea and a box with traditional Polish Christmas cake (poppyseed strudel, my grandma's recipe). A pair of dog walkers with their pooches were on the summit as well and they looked at us suspiciously, as we arranged our picnic by the cairn, then they decided they wanted nothing to do with weirdos and quickly left. God bless them :lol: :lol: :lol:
Me and Lucy on the summit, her 87th Graham:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 064.JPG

The last remnants of snow on the slopes of Carn Tuairneir. Hopefully, there's more to come in January. I don't want another "so-called winter"!!!
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 072.JPG

After a long break on the summit and polishing off the last bits of strudel, we walked back down. We aimed for the coronation cairn, but Kevin had a look a the map and decided, we should go off-piste... of course! He always wants to be original, even if it means swimming in heather :lol:
Looking back to the summit:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 078.JPG

Kevin taking the shortcut:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 132.JPG

We descended along the minor stream, Alt na h-Eirigh and actually, it wasn't bad. Some heather to negotioate, but generally easy going. I wouldn't recommend this approach as an ascent route though. Too overgrown.
We descended back to the Piper's Stone track and followed it back to Lethendry.
The hills of Cromdale from the track:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 084.JPG

On the way donw, we too a short detour to the ruins of 16th century Lethendry Castle, it is fenced off and can only be viewed from outside:
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 137.JPG

The castle was connected to the Battle of Cromdale and is described as "a rare example of a small 16th-century tower". Shame it is in such a state of dissaray, but to be honest, it's not unusual for old listed buildings to look like that. Many of them have been left to fall apart, simply due to lack of funds needed to consolidate them.
2019-12-21 creagan a chaise 135.JPG

More info on the castle and its history here:
https://ancientmonuments.uk/132197-lethendry-castle-badenoch-and-strathspey-ward#.XgJGG_zgqM8

We really enjoyed this "pre-Christmas quickie". Would be better with more snow on the ridge... But I shouldn't complain, as weather was fantastic. We are now planning to return and re-visit the other Cromdale Graham, preferably in more wintry conditions!

Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to visit another hill during the festive holidays (weather looks promising) and for now, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Walkhighlanders from me and Kevin :D
Last edited by BlackPanther on Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3757
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Re: Merry Cromdale!

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:37 pm

Hi BP

This looks like a good wee hill that I wasn't aware of.

How long did it take you (assume you were quicker than you said :lol: :shock: :lol: )?

Hope you and Kevin have a great Xmas.
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Gordie12
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Re: Merry Cromdale!

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:41 pm

Gordie12 wrote:Hi BP

This looks like a good wee hill that I wasn't aware of.

How long did it take you (assume you were quicker than you said :lol: :shock: :lol: )?

Hope you and Kevin have a great Xmas.


Ahhh sorry for the typo! 16.5 hrs sounds a bit slow even for me :lol: :lol:

5 hours it was. 4 hours moving, 1 hour of breaks, including the picnic by the cairn. Good wee hill for shorter winter days.

Merry xmas to you too :D
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3757
Munros:260   Corbetts:172
Grahams:123   
Sub 2000:61   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Merry Cromdale!

Postby Mal Grey » Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:17 pm

Merry Cromdale back at ya! :-P
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Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

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