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second hand foot prints on carn a Mhaim, going once......

second hand foot prints on carn a Mhaim, going once......


Postby paul2610 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:40 pm

Route description: Carn a'Mhaim from the Linn of Dee

Munros included on this walk: Carn a'Mhaim

Date walked: 19/02/2013

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per-frigging -fection - the winds are low and the clouds have taken the day off, nothing but stout steps are in my way to snow laden pristine alpine views. Well that and the prospect of a long drive over hills and passes plus another sleepless night due mostly to being a nutter who lust to see a sunrise upon the munros.

Soooo it was at 01.00 that I left house like a domanic person eager for my hill fix - today that was from the linn of dee, a quaint atmospheric stretch of woodland, deep in the thrones of freezing temperatures (and the best of what the cairngoms has to offer) full of twisted ungodly branches and mounds of heather and berries, or atleast that what it looked like in the darkest hours under my beam of light. More then a few times I swear I saw....something move.....darn hollywood sticking my brain full of vampires and vombies.

Good walk and track along the rustling waters of the "lui waters" as it slivered its course within Lui glen under an open sea of stars glinting and beaming, and a moon of only a mere gibbous of its true self before it vanished from the still crisp air as I neared the lodge, a dark blob of mass amindst the thin pine trunks and sharp points of grass mounds whose frostly strands shone like cats eyes within my light. I almost expected a bearded old game keeper to confront me from the lodge with full bore gun - "your not james" he would say where upon I would reply "No just a hiker looking for the darn bridge" : up and down I went along the waters looking for the frigging thing, not really looking forward to the prospect of wading after about 1/2 an hour until I stumbled upon it directly behind the lodge passed a shed.

Still dark, still following the remnents of hikers foot soles and tracks as I turned left after the foot bridge and made my weary way over the compacted snow and ice they had made along something which I guess would be a proper track without the snow. Round and over bobby traps of black solid ice and not so frozen muddy pits I ventured with the only thing that shattered the glen peace and quiet being the occassional french word or to from me.

The last time I'd walked this side of the cairngorms had been a few years ago, despite that I did think I'd know where the luibeg foot bridge was, not wanting to attempt the ford due to what I expected of the stones, i.e all covered in ice. As it was a cufuddle of tracks, foot and ski's delved along that stretch of the river. I followed the most prevelent one's for a while hoping they'd head towards it, but even after invading the river with my febble light, I could'nt not see hide nor hair of it. And so the advanture and thrill of walking at night entered its wrong turn as I took hope and a pray in hand before stepping out onto the river stones - Am I going to just slip off the stone and fall head first into the cold frijid unforgiving water and be carried, thrashing down its length, my cries dead within its depths. Lord no.....it was only about a foots depth where I crossed.

On the other side, the snow was of such depths now that I did'nt really expect to find a track, so again I followed some tracks for a time, then headed up onto the rising dark mound in front of me which was Carn aMhaim, my destination.

As I climbed, the outlines and forms of surrounding mountains slowly lowered and the sea of stars filled that gap. I had to stop and gaze upon their brilliance and their numbers - many you would,nt normally see near to light sources filling in the gaps between the more well known constallations. In fact it took me awhile to find the sauce pan and the north star, being as they were, surrounded and flooded with hundreds if not thousands of lighter one's plus the milky way stretching from ben macdui to the south where the first hints of a new day were starting to invade the layers of black with pinks, reds and purples - time to move on if I was to see its full power of light on the summits.

Carn a'Mhain has this annoying but common habit of being really steep at its footing before easing off a couple of hundred meters from its summit. It might of been because it was dark or the fact it was covered in that frost harden surface of snow, but about 100 meters from that lovely inviting easing of slope, it got really, really, no I mean really steep. After about 20 minutes of thrashing the hell out of the axe and feet to makes holds, I decided to start using the old indian trick of "findum oldum tracks and useum" i.e use someone else's hard work instead mine. Could be look upon as I cheat but I was on a schedule OK.

Headed over to my right for this purpose as the map showed it was slightly not so steep their and hay-prestow, I found two tracks. They were made by men 7 foot tall with extra long strides but using all of them I got up in record time being only slightly sweaty instead of like a sodden mop.

The rainbow of morning light was pouring on now like a dam had busted or something. I could only see the brighter stars now and I could see my destination and also the whitish (with a mellody of reds and purple) tops around me. It is amazing how quick it can go from the marine sunrise (when the lights starts appearing) to the full blown sunrise (when the sun crest the horizon) and different weather conditions tend to effect its light effects on the land: being as their was no cloud today, that would be quicker, sometimes it feels slower in patchy broken cloud ( where incidently you get the best light shows) to never happening as I discovered a month back on a knoydart summit under a bland dark grey mass of cloud.

The best time to catch this wonderous light show on the tops is between the marine and actual sunrise on days when the weather reports say about 70% and above with few clouds and of litttle wind, which in my experiance is darn too short a time to mess around - find a spot and stay their for about an hour. I made the mistake of having two spots today with a full view of the devils penis being the priority. I could'nt take it from the summit as I would be too far over to catch its south flank, so chose a lower slope.

Now, on all great, fantastic, out of this frigging world sunrise days, their is a shorter period of time when the sun creates shades of so much brilliance, clarity and just speechless wonder on the slopes (more so on snowy slopes) that to miss it is like walking on dog poo - you know the initial damnation with a lingering regret.

It happened today, I spent so much time viewing the wonder of the devils thingy and cooing the white birdies that during the short time it took me to relocate onto the summit, I saw part of the larry ridge glow, right in front of me - Oooh it was like the best chocolate gateau with richest cream and some italian aperitifs sprinkled on top....but in the end I saw it, can't share it but their you go......in the end I still got photos of the entire ridge but just under normal light, but I guess thats just my private reward for being the daft bugger who walked up here and you others a just have to do the same.

Walk down was good, had a really fast nice slide, found the bridge, little as it was tucked away.

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paul2610
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Re: second hand foot prints on carn a Mhaim, going once.....

Postby Phil the Hill » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:37 pm

Beautiful sunrise pics
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Phil the Hill
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Re: second hand foot prints on carn a Mhaim, going once.....

Postby Meatball » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:53 pm

Magic stuff.
Still snow on the path to Derry lodge then?
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Re: second hand foot prints on carn a Mhaim, going once.....

Postby paul2610 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:12 pm

Still snow on the path to Derry lodge then?

- well ye but its more compacted ice and snow with some but way too few patches of gravel - if only hikers would float along the track rather then walk it, then there would be now problem...
paul2610
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Re: second hand foot prints on carn a Mhaim, going once.....

Postby Meatball » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:14 pm

paul2610 wrote:Still snow on the path to Derry lodge then?

- well ye but its more compacted ice and snow with some but way too few patches of gravel - if only hikers would float along the track rather then walk it, then there would be now problem...

Sounds like my biking trip may have to wait a bit.
Cheers
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Posts: 935
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Re: second hand foot prints on carn a Mhaim, going once.....

Postby paul2610 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:23 pm

I'd say give it a few days, or by next W/E it might be gone if this weather keeps up but I found the summits warmer in temperature then glen floor level, so I don't know.
paul2610
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Re: second hand foot prints on carn a Mhaim, going once.....

Postby paul2610 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:44 pm

Here's a photo I took a few years back, quite a few and probably started my sunrise fad - it better explains or shows that magic moment of the bright clear colour that only last a few minutes.

Image
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