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50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy


Postby SMRussell » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:43 pm

Route description: Carn na Caim and A'Bhuidheanach Bheag, Drumochter

Munros included on this walk: A' Bhuidheanach Bheag, Carn na Caim

Date walked: 25/03/2012

Distance: 19 km

Ascent: 824m

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As mentioned in "50+ at 30" Parts 1, 2 and 3 at the end of March my other half (RTMcB) turned 30. To celebrate we spent four days bagging 10 Munros:
Day 1: Creag Meagaidh circuit (http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=20068)
Day 2: Three Monadhliath Munros (http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=20088)
Day 3: Bynack More & Cairngorm (http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=20172)

Day 4 arrived. We were heading home via A9 to bag an oozy-woozy double to the east on route; Carn na Caim and A'Bhuidheanach Bheag. One problem - we dreaded the A9 :shock: . Back at the start of the snow season last year we'd headed out to bag the 4 western Munros and while munching on mini stollen slices on Geal Charn we weren't to know that it would all ended in stupid decisions, lost maps, confusion, a missed summit and admitting we were lost only 30mins shy of sunset - thankfully informing EwaMH and agrubb of our circumstances (just in case), RTMcBs "calm on the outside" demeanor, and a phone signal which finally provided us with a map that hike ended better then it might have. I should also thank the farmer who drove us up the A9 to our car - that man will receive a bottle of wine when we return to bag Sgairneach Mhor. So the A9, ain't our favourite place.

The night before we'd checked the route and I distinctly remember stating "we'll know we're in the right place cause we'll pass a snow gate and Dalwhinne" and RTMcB agreed. However, as we drove down that dreaded road for reasons neither of us will ever understand we parked up at the layby for Meall Chuaich. We hadn't passed the snow gate we were looking for, we hadn't seen Dalwhinnie Distillery and we certainly hadn't headed south of the Dalwhinnie turn off. Yet there we were, booting up at the wrong layby :oops: . The words "going through a gate onto a vehicle track, passing under the pylons" from the WH description was in my head. The thing is to get on to the MC walk you do the same thing (except the gate is locked). Once away from the road we realised things weren't as the should be. RTMcB decided we should head south for a bit along the track to see what we could see. Soon we could see Dalwhinnie Distillery. We really were in the wrong place and the depths of our stupidity became thoroughly apparent once we were heading south down the A9 towards the proper start. We've decided that the A9 is some kind of paranormal activity hot-spot like the Bermuda Triangle. I vow never to spend a night in Dalwhinnie and I fear for what could happen when we do attempt to bag Sgairneach Mhor or Meall Chuaich :shock:

Anyway we got there in the end and headed up in baking heat. By the time we got to our first summit Carn na Caim it was evident that our usually speedy pace wasn't with us - the previous 3 days had taken their toll a little bit. One thing worth a mention is fence posts. The WH description mentions the fence posts which aid navigation to Carn na Caim but neglects to mention the handy line of fence posts which lead the way directly to A'Bhuidheanach Bheag - always handy in poor conditions. As we sat at the trig on A'Bhuidheanach Bheag sharing a large pork pie and sipping brandy we found ourselves contemplating whether we should bag the other 936m point. We decided yes. But after only 20 metres decided no :lol: and promptly headed back along the fence posts.

Heading down the track from the quarry was a painful experience - our feet and knees were really starting to ache and the intense heat of the day wasn't making it easier. But soon enough we were back at the car and heading home (with me sipping on the remains of the brandy and able to take in a lovely view to Carn Liath (Beinn a'Ghlo) as we passed in the car). Must admit these two Munros weren't the most exciting but a good shout for tired legs and would probably offer a great day out under snowy conditions - although I could imagine them being a little problematic in poor visibility. But they're in the bag and probably won't be revisited.

11 Munros had been climbed (as we did Cairngorm twice) over four days in great conditions and despite the "Moan-dhliath" experience those four days had been ace :D . Thankfully we could still walk that evening as we carried all our things up three flights of stairs to our 3rd floor flat. The pain of our final descent was far from our minds which were far too full of fun good memories of the last 4 days. The following morning I felt up to do it all again but alas the real world called :(
25.03.12 A550 2.jpg

25.03.12 A550 3.jpg

25.03.12 A550 4.jpg

25.03.12 A550 18.jpg

25.03.12 A550 22.jpg

25.03.12 A550 28.jpg
Last edited by SMRussell on Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby ChrisW » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:12 am

Another cracker SMR, this had me laughing so much because I've done exactly the same thing, but convinced I was in the right place I wandered far and wide before I finally admitted my own stupidity :lol: Great that you got these in without the curse of the A9 striking further. Lovely photos of the (surprisingly) snow free horizons :D
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby EwaMH » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:05 am

Nice clear views you got here!

And I wouldn't worry about Meall Chuaich..the trickiest thing is finding the layby and you know exactly where that is now! :P
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby Steve B » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:59 am

Good and fun reports from your week.
Happy birthday to the other half and well done to the both of you on a good haul of summits.
I always find that the first km is the critical part of any walk, at least for me, as it often involves tricky route (or layby) finding until on the hill itself. Then it all becomes clear (ish)!
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby SMRussell » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:50 am

ChrisW wrote:Another cracker SMR, this had me laughing so much because I've done exactly the same thing, but convinced I was in the right place I wandered far and wide before I finally admitted my own stupidity :lol: Great that you got these in without the curse of the A9 striking further. Lovely photos of the (surprisingly) snow free horizons :D


:lol: :lol: Excellent - good to hear we aren't the only people to have done this. I'm sure the curse of the A9 will strike again but we were glad of only one hiccup this time! The weather was great for views - really hot though. I had my buff wrapped around my face to avoid the lobster look.

EwaMH wrote:Nice clear views you got here!
And I wouldn't worry about Meall Chuaich..the trickiest thing is finding the layby and you know exactly where that is now! :P


MC looks to be a ridiculously easy hill but I'm sure the A9 will find some way to mess with us :shock:

Steve B wrote:Good and fun reports from your week.
Happy birthday to the other half and well done to the both of you on a good haul of summits.
I always find that the first km is the critical part of any walk, at least for me, as it often involves tricky route (or layby) finding until on the hill itself. Then it all becomes clear (ish)!


Cheers Steve - it was his "best birthday yet" apparently :D Some hills have a way of been elusive - we've only missed a summit once (Sgairneach Mhor - during the fateful day I mention in the report) and hopefully that'll be the last missed summit!
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby Fudgie » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:55 am

For that time of year you got wonderful weather to walk in. All those hills in such a short period of time is a great achievement :thumbup:
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby Frigate » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:45 pm

All the lay-by's are numbered south to north, may help in fututre trips
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby SMRussell » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:37 pm

Fudgie wrote:For that time of year you got wonderful weather to walk in. All those hills in such a short period of time is a great achievement :thumbup:


Cheers Fudgie - our legs and feet certainly felt the effort on the way down! We'd walked up and down 84km over 4 days and despite the pain of that last ascent we'd certainly do it again.... I'm not sure whether we're right in the head! :lol:
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby SMRussell » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:40 pm

Frigate wrote:All the lay-by's are numbered south to north, may help in fututre trips

Aye cheers :thumbup: We'd already realised we should have considered that! All part of the learning experience :D
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby dooterbang » Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:37 pm

Well done on 4 fab days that had everything regarding emotion and conditions - great way to spend a 30th Birthday.

I did same for my 40th last year in Ullapool...but i sneakily fitted it into 1 report :D
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby simon-b » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:38 pm

That's the Sunday the clocks went forward isn't it? Maybe that lost hour's sleep slowed you down a bit too.

And it certainly was hot! I drove back home on the A9 myself that day, but no time for a last walk when home's Yorkshire. It was already amazingly warm at Drumochter Pass summit when I drove over quite early in the morning. So it must have been hot work on those hills!

You did well to get those views, it was so hazy driving past Stirling it was almost like fog.

And well done on reaching 57 Munros.
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby kevsbald » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:51 pm

Fabbydoo. Hill fever strikes again!
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby SMRussell » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:55 am

dooterbang wrote:Well done on 4 fab days that had everything regarding emotion and conditions - great way to spend a 30th Birthday.
I did same for my 40th last year in Ullapool...but i sneakily fitted it into 1 report :D

To be sure! Oi now - I feel I've done well by the walks in giving them their due attention in single reports. Have seen your report for your 40th - jolly good show old boy :lol:

simon-b wrote:That's the Sunday the clocks went forward isn't it? Maybe that lost hour's sleep slowed you down a bit too.
And it certainly was hot! I drove back home on the A9 myself that day, but no time for a last walk when home's Yorkshire. It was already amazingly warm at Drumochter Pass summit when I drove over quite early in the morning. So it must have been hot work on those hills!
You did well to get those views, it was so hazy driving past Stirling it was almost like fog.
And well done on reaching 57 Munros.

Cheers Simon. It was indeed that Sunday and you may be onto something there with the lost hour.

kevsbald wrote:Fabbydoo. Hill fever strikes again!

Its not a fever, its a chronic condition!
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby dooterbang » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:51 pm

SMRussell wrote:oldboy
Ah now thats a fine film :D
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Re: 50+ at 30 Part 4: A9 idiocy

Postby SMRussell » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:57 pm

dooterbang wrote:
SMRussell wrote:oldboy
Ah now thats a fine film :D


Attempting to be 'down with the kids' I see. True sign of a fogie :lol:
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