To the middle of nowhere and beyond - the Tarf Hotel trip
by John Burgess » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:14 pm
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dearg (Blair Atholl)
Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Bhreac, Beinn Mheadhonach
Date walked: 27/11/20091 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Leaving the Bridge of Tilt car park at 7:30 there was just enough light to walk by and soon I arrived at the first of the bridges mentioned by 'eckfaebirkie' in his Beinn Mheadhonach via Four Bridges report. It was reassuring to see that the Tilt, though high, was not in spate.
The next bridge, Gilbert's, was very familiar. I used to bring groups there for their first taste of 'wild' camping.
To my shame I'd never taken the track up the west side of the Tilt from here. It's really pleasant and the third bridge is a rather special place.
With a ridiculously heavy pack I had to drag myself onwards - I had a schedule to keep to. Mind you carrying the coal was worth it in the end.
The ridge onto Beinn Mheadhonach appeared ahead and the walk to the final bridge was delightful.
There were odd fragments of path on the way up the ridge and the heather was not as bad as I'd feared but, unfortunately, the weather closed in and the snow started to fall. After the summit map, compass and pacing came into play to find the spot to leave the ridge and head east towards the Feith an Lochain. Crossing this required a wade but the current was non existent and the bed of the burn fine sand and gravel so it was okay to wade barefoot - something I'm usually loathe to do.
Another compass bearing took me up to the col south of Braigh Sron Ghorm then it was down along the Feith Uaine Mhor to the welcome sight of the bothy.
Why the Tarf Hotel? Well someone carried this sign in and nailed it to the door!
Of course the meal I prepared was worthy of several Michelin stars
I'd brought in a half bottle of whisky to share when the rest arrived. Unfortunately I decided to just try it out - just one to watch the clouds race across the moon. Remarkable how quickly it evaporates in the bothy environment
Up bright and early next day I was headed for the remote Corbett Beinn Bhreac. Keeping beside the Tarf gave relatively easy walking and, before long, I was splashing across the Tarf just past it's junction with the Glas Feith Mhor. From there I headed up Meall Tionail na Beinne Brice (now there's a name for you!) from where I got my first view of Beinn Bhreac.
The walk across to the summit was hard work through bog, peat hag, and crusty snow. The weather on the summit was not exactly photogenic but it was a great place to be. I started wondering - just where is the nearest house (it appears to be Bruar Lodge - about 7kms away) The nearest road - probably where I started the day before at Bridge of Tilt, 15 kms away. And those are as the crow flies. I had a wonderful feeling - I'd hesitate to describe it as loneliness which I can easily experience in a room full of people. Perhaps aloneness might be a better description.
On the descent one of those little meteorological miracles occured and, by the time I was back down to the Tarf, it was a beautiful day.
I bumbled over Tom Liath which proved to be a nice viewpoint - or an excuse to laze in the sun for half an hour
Judge for youselves!
Heading back to the bothy the weather started to close in and I started wondering how the others were getting on. I could see Conlach Mhor but not the peaks they would be coming over.
As planned I arrived back at the bothy and set about getting it shipshape (if Caberfeidh will excuse the term!). Grates were cleared, floors were swept, fires were lit, candles were in the windows and a watch kept. It was dark by now. Then a set of head torches appeared. Is there a better way to meet folk? A classic bothy evening - a fire, a dram, some good 'crack' - that's blethering in North of English so as not to be misunderstood. - lovely.
The next morning a group photo.
We headed back up the Tarf. The only footprints were mine from the previous day!
My goal for the day was the 'ex' munro top, Beinn Garbh. A final entry into section 15 of my 1974 version of the tables. Not that I'm a bagger you understand
Graeme had already been up Beinn Dearg so headed up Beinn Mheadhonach - Kev, Carol, Janet and Darren decided on the Munro Beinn Dearg. They can certainly claim one of the more unusual routes up! Hard work but some moments of magic.
It was a long walk out and the moon was shining before Janet, Kev and I made our weary way down to Old Blair. A long walk out but, to take up a theme from another forum: keep it that way!
by kevsbald » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:27 pm
by John Burgess » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:57 pm
kevsbald wrote:Lovely report John. I do remember you saying you only had two drams of your half bottle and the rest seemed to just evaporate. One presumes the mice were a little inebriated? Or is there more to your slumber of 11 hours!
I blame the mice!
by Paul Webster » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:06 am
by CurlyWurly » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:50 am
by benno » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:44 am
Enjoyed reading your report John, many thanks!
by kevsbald » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:21 am
I'm sure MC may also have a different view on things. As someone once said "Never criticise someone until you've travelled a 1000 miles in their shoes. Then if you want to criticise them, you'll at least be 1000 miles away and have their shoes..."
by Graeme D » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:02 am
Like you, I really liked that section between the 3rd and 4th bridges heading up onto (or in my case, down from) the south ridge of Beinn Mheadhonach. Although scenically qute different, the "feeling" of the place reminded me a bit of the Lost Valley in Glencoe.
by walk aboot » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:28 am
But anyway, a great trip but I was totally knackered at the end, plus going a mile or so out of my way in the dark when I got lost in the forest before Old Bridge of Tilt and ended up going cross-country, fences an' all!
Oh yeah - and I'm sure the guys and gals from the trip will know exactly what I'm listening to while typing this!
- mountain coward
by Graeme D » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:19 pm
mountain coward wrote:Oh yeah - and I'm sure the guys and gals from the trip will know exactly what I'm listening to while typing this!
I do love the sound of Anthrax in the morning!
- mountain coward
by benno » Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:21 pm