The hills at Drumochter get a bad press at times but being in the mood for something not too strenuous, I decided to go for the two hills west of the A9 in this area that I hadn't done. Their neighbours Geal Charn and A'Mharconaich had been climbed in March in conditions that deteriorated into a complete white out so with a favourable forecast for yesterday, I was keen to see what I had missed.
The usual traffic problems held me up on the A9 but I made it eventually into layby 79 which was quite busy and in no time at all, I was ready to go with the path ahead and my three targets for the day being quite clear.
Udlamain 1 by Liam McFadden, on Flickr
I charged up the track at a decent pace (passing someone coming down who had been out since 6 ) and was going at such a rate that I missed the point where WH suggest you head up the hillside towards the 902m point. I found a point to leave the track and then started to ascent what felt like an ever steepening slope as my stomach tried to have a full blown conversation with me. I sat down amongst the heather and greedily inhaled a sandwich that definitely hit the spot.
After plodding up the steep slopes I eventually made it on to slightly flatter ground and knew that I had less than 100m to go so it gave me a bit of a boost. I arrived at the summit to find it empty and I sat in the shelter and took in the fantastic view of the Ben Alder range which lay before me. At that moment the plane passing over head moved out of earshot and I was left with nothing but silence. A wonderful feeling but also an indicator of how isolated you can be in this country despite being only a few miles from the A9.
Udlamain 2 by Liam McFadden, on Flickr
Udlamain 3 by Liam McFadden, on Flickr
Udlamain 4 by Liam McFadden, on Flickr
I reluctantly left this oasis of tranquility and headed for the bealach that separated my present location from Sgairneach Mhor and I was surprised at how quickly I reached it. Two groups of three were going in the other direction but they were taking a longer way up so I didn't get a chance to speak to them.
Udlamain 5 by Liam McFadden, on Flickr
The ground looked quite boggy from above but thankfully it proved to be nothing of the sort when I got down there and I was soon marching up the hillside in the direction of the summit. Well, I did go off course a wee bit whilst following a path but I soon corrected that and made short work of the distance I had left. After the wonderful view from the first summit, the view from this one wasn't as exciting but it was still another Munro in the bag and I still felt a sense of satisfaction.
Udlamain 6 by Liam McFadden, on Flickr
I spoke to a couple of people here going in various directions and stood for a few minutes taking pictures before I decided to crack on. Having come all this way I wasn't going to miss out on the Sow of Atholl and duly set off in it's general direction. Shortly after leaving the summit I had look back at Coire Creagach which still had some patches of snow on it although there wasn't much left.
Udlamain 7 by Liam McFadden, on Flickr
I left the faint outline of a path and headed down for the low point behind the Sow and after negotiating some boggy ground whilst following the odd track, it was time to start ascending again. I followed a few paths which were intermittent and switched off enough that I ended up parallel with summit albeit about 30 metres below it Again, I arrived on to another flat summit although I had different views this time with the A9 going in both directions and A'Bhuidheanach Bheag directly in front of me as well as the 3 munros which were now behind me.
Udlamain 8 by Liam McFadden, on Flickr
Udlamain 9 by Liam McFadden, on Flickr
I was slightly hungry at this point and knew that a bottle of irn bru and a packet of crisps awaited me in the car so I decided there was nothing for it other than to go straight down the front (well, almost) The usual grouse flew out of the heather at a couple of points but thankfully not close enough to induce a heart attack
Upon my arrival at the car my goodies were devoured whilst I looked back at the route I had taken in the 5 and a half hours previously. People can call these hills boring but the day is only what you make of it and I really enjoyed myself. I'm following in my late fathers footsteps as he was close to compleating all the Munros so I found it quite fitting that I should spend Fathers day out on a hill.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.