1st walk of 2011 (and a very long time!)
by Driver84 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:42 pm
Route description: Stuchd an Lochain
Munros included on this walk: Stuchd an Lochain
Date walked: 29/01/2011
Time taken: 5 hoursRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
So here we are 2011! Hopefully this year will start and continue the way 2010 had but the 'commitment' won't faulter, this walk was the first Munro since July! when I had done Schiehallion.
We had attempted this one back in Novemeber, the day after the snow 1st started to fall and caused the widespread halting of life as we knew it...
That day we abandoned our trip just north of Aberfeldy, on the B846, as we were the only 'car' on the road. This time however there was no snow, apart from a light dusting that was falling as we drove over the Lawers region coming out at the Bridge of Balgie - a drive that was half an hour longer but 15 miles shorter. Got to think of the fuel now!
On the drive towards Giorra Dam we were met by this fine fellow enjoying breakfast!
Over the undulating road we reached the parking area and started suiting and booting and were soon followed by another couple of cars. The plateau was covered in cloud as were the surrounding summits, but the weather had promised it would clear. Here's hoping!
From where we parked we headed down towards the bridge that crosses Allt Conait and clambered over the locked gate, and followed the road up to the dam and further along to the boathouse. We passed the small cairn indicating the start of the track that leads up the ascent, but to be honest we weren't sure if it was a track or a dried water-way, so we continued to the back of the boat house and started our ascent.
It was pretty tough going and certainly steep in places and made somewhat difficult by the sporadic patches of ice: some of which visable, some hidden by a light dusting of snow.
The lack of being out in the hills for 6 months was showing. but we pushed on taking often, but short breaks to help us adjust.
Not before long we were now level with the cloud base that was hovering over Lochain an Daimh whish was rolling in from the north, and we had reached the first fence post at Coire Bán. With this we now followed the line of posts which lead us 887m height that's at the interception of Creag an Fheadain and Coire Bán.
The cloud was beginning to thicken but we could still see over Coire un Duich to Srón Chona Choirein.
The ground was covered in compacted, very hardened snow that was overing some grip but not a lot, with slips only occuring on the occassional exposed rock.
The cloud had well and truely rolled in now and though visability ahead was poor, we could see through the bottom of the cloud and make out Lochan nan Cat below us.
As we kept to the fence posts, ensuring a wide bearth from the cornices we found ourselves at the bottom of what we correctly assumed was the final stretch up to Stuchd an Lochain. There was so much cloud it looked as if this climb just disappeared into space! As we started clambering our way up kicking and punching snow holds the cloud thinned a little and showed us how little distance we had to go to the summit, knowing it wasnt a false top. Within 10 mins from starting the final stretch we had summited where the obligatory summit pics were taken before we dropped down some rocks out of the wind and had lunch.
Not two mins after our initial descent had begun, the cloud cleared showing us Glen Lyon, and the cloud covered summits of the Lawers range in front of us. The Loch was now visable to us, and we could look over and see Meall Buidhe. We stopped again, out of the wind and took in the views that had opened us to us.
The descent on this hardened snow was going to be fun. With a full view in front of us, and a gradual run out, the ice axe came out and down I went on my ass, using the axe for braking.
The walk back on the now cloud free plateau was certainly more enjoyable. We were hoping and praying that cloud would blow off the summits in the Lawers range and gives us stunning view, so we hung around at the top of Srón Chona Choirein, but it never happened although views of our summit were now available and continued on our descent.
This time we followed the fence posts passed where we joined them and looked for an easier way down which we found. Perhaps partially steep but a disticnt lack of snow and ice. We stopped and sat at the top of some crags and enjoyed the views over the calm, tranquil Loch until the roar of a prop plane came flying down the Glen, over the dam and continued west over the Loch.
Continuing with our descent we fell upon the track and followed it down from here, carefully treading our way over the frozen patches and about 15 mins later we were off at the cairn (at the start, which we didnt think was the track) and decided to walk onto the dam to see what views were available down the loch.
Another 10 mins from here and we were back at the car, with not quite enough time for tackling Meall Buidhe.
by ChrisW » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:35 pm
by Graeme D » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:37 pm
by Driver84 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:30 am
Cheers guys! was real good to be back out even though it was a bit of a slog. And, I can't complain about the weather too much either, that's only the second time I've been out and not had 'decent' views.
Aye, I quite licked the plane in the loch maself, even more chuffed that I managed to get the plane itself in the pic. Managed to snap two pics of it before it went out of view, but the roar of the thing was unreal.
by Merry-walker » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:45 am
by Driver84 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:35 pm
It might not be the most technically descriptive but I try my best.
by iainwatson » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:55 pm
i was on the same hill that day.......may possibly have met you on the summit?
by Driver84 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:50 am
Might have done aye...
Were you up there with another lad?
by iainwatson » Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:21 pm
by Driver84 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:35 pm
Well, pleasure to have met you!
How did the rest of your day go?
by iainwatson » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:56 pm
we only did the one that day,had been over on the other a few weeks before hand,the walk back to the car was fairly good as the weather had turned and the sun came out
Walkhighlands community forum is advert free
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?