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Green welly envy on Mhanach (nothing to do with the shop)

Green welly envy on Mhanach (nothing to do with the shop)


Postby snowdonia7 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:16 pm

Route description: Beinn Mhanach

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Mhanach

Date walked: 22/02/2020

Time taken: 5.1 hours

Distance: 19.1 km

Ascent: 853m

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Once again the necessity to agree a date for a visit to Scotland months in advance didn't look like it was going to work in our favour, with two successive storms and then more poor weather forecast for the time of our visit. Indeed the six hour drive up in driving rain didn't auger well, and the drive along Loch Lomond in the dark trying to avoid the huge patches of standing water was interesting to say the least. The amount of water was particularly troubling given that our intended target was Beinn Mhanach with the 14 river crossings to navigate. I had been watching Walkhighlands in the weeks leading up to the visit, hoping someone might have posted a report that gave an indication as to how much water was along the route. In the absence of a current report walk I looked at all those for the winter months to see if I could find any that gave an indication as to how difficult the route might be following a wet spell. Whilst none of the reports described the river in spate the photos were useful to actually see the topography in addition to what I could glean from the map. My assessment was that even if the river was high it was likely to be relatively slow moving and possibly crossable to mid-thigh level without being too risky.

I was sure that the level would be at least over the top of walking boots and Neil and I discussed options, including walking in wearing wellies carrying walking boots in our packs. I wondered whether the water might actually be higher then a welly for the first crossing, which would have made the rest of the walk in quite uncomfortable. So I opted for a lightweight pair of boots that I knew would mean wet feet on the first bit of water, but would be better to walk in (plus I didn't actually own a pair of wellies!).

So off we set with boots and walking trousers in our packs, waterproof over-trousers covering our legs and me in the lightweight boots and Neil in a fine looking pair of green wellies. Arriving at the first crossing I just sploshed through the freezing water, Neil took his time with the water close to the rim of his wellies, and emerged with dry feet. Of the remaining fords on the way out two, three, five, six and seven are all pretty shallow. Four was not quite a deep as one, but would definitely been over the top of walking boots.

Other than the river crossings the walk in was straight-forward and we were aided by a strong and blustery following wind, which promised to make the return leg a bit more difficult (and was also pretty cold on the back of the legs only protected by waterproofs. However, that was all forgotten as we arrived at the bridge that would mark the start of our climb as we were able to put on dry trousers, socks and boots.

The climb was pretty much continuous and we followed the line of fence posts that runs to the east of the allt. I'm not sure if there is a track as the ground was covered in snow, but the fence is a useful handrail to follow to the bealach between Beinn a' Chuirn and Beinn Mhanach, at which point we headed east for the munro. The wind made progress a little more difficult and when it gusted it was necessary to use the walking poles just to be able to stand still until the gusts stopped, but fortunately the gusts were coming either from the side or the rear, so at least we were being pushed in roughly the right direction.

On reaching the summit plateau the visibility was pretty poor with spin drift being whipped across the ground like a fast flowing river. We saw a small cairn, which had to be the summit cairn given where it was and we lay on the floor on the leeward side. The windchill was really intense (MWIS suggested minus 25) and I didn't want to take my gloves off to try and open the bag my camera phone was in, so for the first time in years don't have a summit photo. We stayed for less than a minute before getting up to head back and as soon as we turned to face the wind we really felt it's full force. Immediately stinging any exposed flesh and struggling to stay upright in the gusts. On the way up we had avoided any frozen ground and didn't put on crampons and as we crossed the plateau Neil stepped onto a large frozen area, when one such gusts struck and he skated backwards about five of six feet.

I was really glad we had our ski goggles as it would not have been possible to open your eyes into the face of the wind. Despite the wind against us, gravity and snow covered ground allowed us to make relatively good time descending and out of the worst of the wind. Indeed, a few moments later the clouds parted and the wind dropped and we had some great views and quickly got our cameras out.

IMG_20200222_112247.jpg
Neil leading the way on the descent


At that time we saw a couple of figures at the foot of the climb and stopped to speak with them as we got near the bottom. We described conditions at the top and continued on our way. At the foot of the climb we once again change into our respective footwear and set off along the track. As expected the wind made the going slower and occasionally needing a good lean forward and hard driving on the legs to make any progress, but still made it back to the car for an overall journey time of five hours ten.

I just hope the weather is a little kinder for our next planned trip to keep alive our plans to compleat at Easter.
Last edited by snowdonia7 on Sun Feb 23, 2020 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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snowdonia7
 
Posts: 177
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Re: Green welly envy on Mhanach (nothing to do with the shop

Postby Grisu » Sun Feb 23, 2020 7:42 pm

snowdonia7 wrote:Once again the necessity to agree a date for a visit to Scotland months in advance didn't look like it was going to work in our favour, with two successive storms and then more poor weather forecast for the time of our visit.

What a shame. That's just the main reason why I don't dare to come over in winter. So far, I was quite lucky with the weather during my summer holidays. But I already had spent a week autumn with no walks in the hills possible - at least not for me on my own.
I wish you good luck for your completion-deadline!
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Grisu
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Location: Ostfriesland, Germany (Eastfrisia)

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