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Na Cnapain

Na Cnapain


Postby litljortindan » Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:38 pm

Date walked: 08/08/2020

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 540m

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The Aberdeen lockdown necessitated a re-think of the Saturday morning pre-shopping walk and with there being a Sainsbury's in Nairn and Sainsbury's being my wife's preferred shopping destination I came up with a plan to climb a small hill in Glen Affric.
I set off a wee bit later than planned but was still able to start walking at about 5am. I was slightly confused when I got to the sign for the path to Cougie as I was expecting to see the wide track I'd spotted on Bing maps. I wasn't going to argue with the sign or my map though so off I set for what turned out to be a walk on a path requiring a bit of care rather than the stroll I'd had up to that point.
After a mile I got onto an estate road that took me round to a bridge a further kilometre south. Got to the bridge and did a double take at the alternated planks and gaps, not to mention the extra planks that had been nailed on. I crossed slowly and carefully. Got to the nailed on bits and sped up a bit as I wasn't sure about how I ought to distribute my weight as the extra planks had obviously been added to reinforce the cracked struts beneath. Not very reassuring.
It was warm and windless, the sort of conditions that seem to sap all of my strength, and the midges were out in force so I didn't have a very comfortable ascent. In fact I couldn't even be bothered visiting the main summit.
That lethargy was to cost me a bit later when I made the decision to try for a shortcut rather than working my way round to the stalkers' path which would only have been a further kilometre and a bit.
Initially the descent went fine as I strolled over the subsidiary Meall a' Ghraidh with its fine views up and down the glen. However, my map suggested a possible descent route down a gully at its east end. Had a look at it and whilst what I could see looked ok the walls were steep and I didn't want a difficult descent so I decided to check the northeast slopes instead. Looked ok if a bit steep so off I set.
This turned out to be mistake as, without doubt, this is amongst the worst descent terrain I've ever covered; what seems to be a steep boulder field topped with deep, slippery heather and peppered with holes.
Took me an hour to cover 250m of descent over a distance of less than a kilometre. Every step had to be tested with my walking poles as the ground was so treacherous. I was cursing myself all the way down and was very happy to get back on the track/road for the remaining easy 4km stroll back to the car..

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Narrow path to begin with, following the Allt Garbh and, indeed, almost joining it at points..

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Onto the main track.

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Hmm.

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Midge fodder.

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Looking back up at the descent slopes.

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Descent slopes mid photo.
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litljortindan
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1957
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Joined: Dec 11, 2011

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