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Beinn a'Ghlo avoiding the C-19 crowds

Beinn a'Ghlo avoiding the C-19 crowds


Postby jackfrost » Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:11 pm

Munros included on this walk: Bràigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, Càrn Liath (Beinn a' Ghlò), Càrn nan Gabhar

Date walked: 11/07/2020

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 42 km

Ascent: 1232m

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With the 2nd weekend of the Phase3 lockdown restrictions easing and a fine forecast, the hills were going to be busy. AJ hadn't climbed Beinn a'Ghlo before but rather than following the traditional guidebook route from Loch Moraig, we started from the private road-end at Straloch off the A924.

There's plenty of parking just off the road near some recycling bins here https://goo.gl/maps/HQgKZaCrrCUciWo1A


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



The private road (tarmac for 7km) leads to Daldhu passing a couple of gates and cattle grids up Gleann Fearnach. At the fork we took the left branch onto the Land-Rover track which we followed for another 5km. A bit rougher and some pushing required for the old yin:

P1140117.JPG
The track up Gleann Fearnach


We dumped the bikes at the shieling marked as 'Bothan Ruigh-chuilein' on the 1:25K map in a beautiful grassy meadow with Loch Loch just about visible to the north. The shoulder of Carn nan Gabhar (3rd Munro) shadowing from the north-west. This allowed us to choose our descent route for later in the day.

We headed west on the excellent fast footpath for another ~4km before we were SW of Carn Liath. Crossing the valley floor and the shallow Allt Coire Lagain, we became aware of a few folk on the new tracks coming off the main mountain. Then a short-eared owl flew up from the heather, a bit of a surprise.

We followed the new track that climbs into Coire na Saobhaidh until about 500m, due east of the Carn Liath summit. After a quick bite to eat, it was time to face the big climb of the day, 475m straight up. Although the terrain was easy (short heather, some solid scree), it was unrelentingly steep and we found it tough going.

P1140120.JPG
Tough ascent to Carn Liath, zoom in to see old yin


Finally the summit cairn loomed into view, along with 8 other walkers eating, drinking and taking selfies. There was a strong westerly wind blowing over the summit dome so we hid in the lee of rocks by the trig point to put on some more layers. Then we joined the conveyor belt along the traditional guidebook ridge. Fortunately the summits are well spaced so we didn't encounter any others until the final peak (though we could see them).

P1140127.JPG
Looking back to Carn Liath from Breagh Coire Chruigh-bhalgain


At the Bealach an Fhiodha we met another walker who had given up for the day to wait for her husband who had gone on to the third Munro, Carn nan Gabhar. She told us the car park at Loch Moraig had been full, with cars being dumped on the verge. On our ascent up the third Munro, we met dozens of other walkers on their return from the summit, about to start the long trudge back east.

P1140136.JPG


The summit boulder field was a bit painful but we were glad for the break. Finally, it was time to descend back to the bikes 700m below. Steep, but doable. However not recommended in winter conditions.

The cycle back to the road was great fun, mostly free-wheeling. What had taken almost 90mins on the way in, took 30 out.
jackfrost
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 315
Munros:282   Corbetts:190
Fionas:38   Donalds:61
Sub 2000:40   Hewitts:22
Wainwrights:25   Islands:39
Joined: Oct 31, 2011

Re: Beinn a'Ghlo avoiding the C-19 crowds

Postby rustille » Sun May 16, 2021 1:49 pm

1_PANO_20210515_160949.jpg
Summit overview looking back towards carpark
***BEWARE***

I followed this route yesterday and it took 11 hours total, not the 7.5 hours the author of the post indicates. The total ascent is also much more than 1232m, this figure is laughable. I haven't checked my gpx log yet, but a quick estimate would be 2,300m total ascent!

I have done almost 50 Munros, I'm moderately fit and a good mountain biker and I rate this as one of the hardest days on the hills I've ever done.

Neither the first ascent nor final descent are on actual trails. We were lucky it was dry whilst we attempted these, it would be impossible on wet rocks and foliage. Besides the gradient, the terrain is full of opportunities to break your ankles with. There is a lot of loose scree to add to the danger factor.

The statement that the cycle in took 90 mins and the return one just 30 mins is completely wrong. The land rover track is undulating, not a steady climb or descent, it is therefore almost as hard on the return journey as the outward one. I strongly suggest taking a pannier bag with goodies to eat once you return to your bike.

Now to the good bit, once up at height, the views are breathtaking and the descent/ascent between summits very enjoyable, but note there are drops of around 700m between each Munro, you will therefore be doing a lot of climbing over the course of the day.

I rate this as an extremely difficult day out, we were lucky to avoid rain and cloud while at high level but this would only add to the difficulty. If you intend to attempt this route, plan for a long day and only attempt it in dry weather.
rustille
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 3
Munros:60   
Joined: Jun 2, 2010

Re: Beinn a'Ghlo avoiding the C-19 crowds

Postby rustille » Sun May 16, 2021 4:36 pm

I am unable to edit my earlier post, but I've now had a chance to review my GPX data, I can add the following:
    Total moving time 8hr 24 mins, that's still longer than the 7.5hrs quoted in the original post.
    Total ascent is 1,601m from the carpark.
    Cycling distance is 12km each way.
    Total distance including cycling 40.9km
I attach a copy of my GPX record for reference, note we decided to do the route anti-clockwise, and having completed the circuit I think that's the better way to do it.


150521.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

rustille
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 3
Munros:60   
Joined: Jun 2, 2010

Re: Beinn a'Ghlo avoiding the C-19 crowds

Postby jackfrost » Wed May 19, 2021 1:05 pm

Hi @rustille thanks for your comment. I'm sorry my times, distances and elevation numbers didn't match your experience. Maybe the US Military were skewing the satellite data that day :? . Here's my GPX timings:

01:24:06 Cycle In
05:41:39 Walking (elapsed)
00:45:59 Cycle Out

I think that's ~7hrs 50mins total. Maybe that's what I meant in orig post.

I've got an ancient MTB with a single working brake, yet found the cycle not too bad - there's 14km of tarmac! Regarding the tougher walking terrain, I did say that in my report that we were not on paths for those sections. I would definitely not be doing that descent in winter conditions.

Hope you have more fun on other hills but always remember the warning at the foot of the Walkhighlands page:

Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.
jackfrost
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 315
Munros:282   Corbetts:190
Fionas:38   Donalds:61
Sub 2000:40   Hewitts:22
Wainwrights:25   Islands:39
Joined: Oct 31, 2011

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