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Ben Alder on the spur of the moment

Ben Alder on the spur of the moment


Postby ridgerunner » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:45 pm

Route description: Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil from Culra

Munros included on this walk: Ben Alder

Date walked: 23/03/2012

Time taken: 4 hours

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I have never set off on a walk for any hill so unprepared.
Was up in Pitlochry all week enjoying low level walking and doing up our holiday house when wife stated her sister wanted her company for a day in Perth and i would have Friday all to myself.
Fandabbydozey!
I had planned to do Ben Alder circuit later on this year but as the weather had been so brilliant on Thursday , i decided to give it a go on Friday as the weather looked almost as good , despite having come without a map,compass, backpack, GPS , gaiters, crampons, hat or gloves.
Wife not happy about this but i said i would only do it if i could see thee hills clearly when i set out [smallish walkers' white lie].
Managed to buy the last OS map for that region in the local bike shop and decided to borrow my wife's hat and dainty backpack and use my cycling gloves and an unmatched pair of walking poles. Luckily i had already brought my bike up and had a reasonable pair of Brasher boots.
Couldnt believe it when i woke on Friday to a blanket of mist. Still i thought it would be fairly local and decided to set off at 9. Heading up Drumochter Pass and if anything thicker but the second over the top , blue sky and great vision and 6 degree c warmer.
Parked at the level crossing just south of Dalwhinnie station and got the bike out the car ,stuck the front wheel on and set off up the private road into the wind. Very good surface but the wind made for hard work and took 70 min to stop about 200m upstream from Culra bothy. The views were great and really looking forward to the walk despite some thin cloud forming at munro level..
Had decided to do an anticlockwise circuit of Ben alder and Beinnn Bheoil as most people seem to do , via the Long Leachas.
Followed the excellent narrow path to near the Allt a bhealaich bheithe but i couldnt see any obvious path on the other side or way down to the stream. So lost a fair bit of height crossing and took about 5 min finding a way across without getting wet feet. Then found faint path on other side alongside tiny stream heading into Coire na Lethchois then turning sharp right to reach the second notch up the Long Leachas. There was still a path to follow up the ridge with some very pleasant scrambling .
However when i got to the top of the scramble [ where there is a very helpful small cairn to aid navigation in descent] the cloud had become quite thick and i entered it at the level of the Short Leachas. No path any more. This is when i should probably have turned back due to lack of kit , but as there was a very prominent wide snow cornice curving all the way along the cliffs , i decided walking parallel to this would make navigation very easy. And this worked until i was only a very short distance from the summit and the snow then became more widespread..Having found the summit in the cloud i then decided it would be foolhardy to continue and not very pleasant either so retraced my steps and spent a lot of time looking into the valley below where great slabs of cornice had shatttered.
Descended the Long leachas which was bathed in sunshine again.
Saw a walker coming off Beinn Bheoil , the only walker i saw all day!
Luckily i had not hidden my bike as i would probably have forgotten exactly where it was.
Despite it being slightly downhill and downwind , it still took 60 min to return to my car but i was freewheeling a lot and enjoying the scenery.
All in a great day in the hills probably made more enjoyable by being totally unprepared.

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

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ridgerunner
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Re: Ben Alder on the spur of the moment

Postby skuk007 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:08 pm

Well done for snatching the opportunity to get out in the good weather, quite a brave thing to do without the knowledge you've got the usual kit with you.

How was the Long Leachas? Easy in ascent and descent?
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skuk007
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Re: Ben Alder on the spur of the moment

Postby ridgerunner » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:14 pm

I like scrambling and found the long leachas very easy and most of it can be avoided if desired by following a path..
I am nowhere near as happy downclimbing , but really enjoyed scrambling down this ridge.
From what i could see of the short leachas , it looked like the best bet for a sporting ascent.
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ridgerunner
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