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Windy Weekend in the Monadh Ruadh

Windy Weekend in the Monadh Ruadh


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:49 pm

Munros included on this walk: Bynack More, Sgor Gaoith

Corbetts included on this walk: Creag Mhor, Meall a'Bhuachaille

Date walked: 23/02/2014

Time taken: 17.4 hours

Distance: 53.6 km

Ascent: 2873m

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We'd arranged to take a friday off from work so had various plans for a three day extravaganza. Until the weather forecast doomed all plans that involved any mountains in the north west...which was where all our plans lay. Onto plan E then...the forecast for the North east was for high winds but not much rain or snow....off we go to Rothiemurchas campsite.

Original plan was to do Meall a'Buachaille on friday to gauge the conditions, Bynack More and Creag Mhor Saturday and finish up maybe on Geal Charn on the Sunday. That would leave Sick Kid on the frustrating 199 Munros. On the drive up the sun was out, the wind didn't seem too extreme, so we decided to hit Glen Feshie and climb Sgor Gaoith instead. I'd done this hill back in September and was a little anxious as I remembered the precipitous drop from the summit to Loch Einich below...with big winds that could be interesting :roll: A very pleasant walk up through the pines along Allt Ruadh brought us to the base of Geal Charn which I remembered with some distaste as a steep heathery slog. Took it a bit slower this time and enjoyed the views. By the time we got to the top, the wind is blasting us - fortunately into our faces rather than from the rear, I'm thinking, less chance of becoming a kite when we get to the top of SG. Battling against the elements we get to the flattish area at the base of Meall Buidhe where we have to put crampons on to stop the wind skiting us along the ice. Snow is crisp and consolidated and we follow several sets of footprints along and up to the top of SG. The wind is actually less strong here, but it's still a very gingerly crawl on hands and knees at the very top to touch the highest point - and remainder of a cairn is well buried under the snow. I'm so anxious about falling through cornice that I don't even take a summit picture shot for SK :shock: We retreat and follow a line along the NW shoulder which I remember as another long slog through heather - this time it's a wheeze - a huge bumslide for over 200m is great fun - although on ridged snow is a little juddery in the nether regions :lol: Back to the track with only a minor amount of wading through soft snow and we're back at the car in under 5 hours. Time to drive along the Feshie road to the campsite.

Pine trees by Allt Ruadh
Image
P1000068 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Geal Charn ahead
Image
P1000069 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Icy tundra
Image
P1000071 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000072 by 23weasels, on Flickr

(Almost a) Summit pic
Image
P1000074 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bumslide!
Image
P1000076 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000077 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000080 by 23weasels, on Flickr

A splendid place this - you get camp in the woods on a floor of soft pine needles 9and occasional less soft pine cones) and you have the advantage of a cracking toilet/shower block. Very nice. When we arrive there's a humongous tent of climbers and us, although a few other small tents arrive over the weekend. We pitch beside a stream which provides babbling and burbling sounds to aid sleep. Pasta and potato scones for tea.

Image
P1000082 by 23weasels, on Flickr

I wake up on the Saturday feeling crap - headache and nausea. Usually such afflictions pass after a bit of walking but today they were with me all day and made me fairly miserable. Winds were strong again, but the sky was blue and we set out with gay abandon to claim a couple more hills. I'd walked Bynack More and returned via Strath Nethy back in September - taking 5 and a half bours, so I was thinking we'd take about 7 or 8 today, even allowing for the addition of a Corbett on the way. That would allow us to get back to Glenmore Lodge, where we'd parked, for a pint and a hot meal. The lack of any snow on the track out from Glenmore helped to confirm this delusion - we'd simply pick up the track after descending from Creag Mhor, head to the Fords of Avon and back along Strath Nethy, simple...

Meall a'Buachaille on the walk out
Image
P1000083 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000085 by 23weasels, on Flickr

No snow on the track
Image
P1000086 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000087 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Cairn Gorm
Image
P1000088 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Towards Bynack
Image
P1000089 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Another view to Cairn Gorm
Image
P1000090 by 23weasels, on Flickr


No problems with the walk out, although the sun on the snow is making my headache worse. As we near the start of the hill proper we decide to take a rest and have some food to manage the steep white pyramid ahead. There's a couple with a pair of black labs also taking shelter in one of the craggy outcrops - they've tried to go up already but were beaten back by winds near the top -the dogs didn't want to keep going. Feeling a little revived by half a sandwich we struck off up the steep shoulder. Great snow for climbing on - firm and crunchy underfoot, brilliant sun overhead, blue sky and pure white snow. After the slope we had to negotiate various craggy knobbles, being wind-blasted the whole time. Finally we get to the summit area, hard to make out which ice-encrusted excrescence is the cairn, but Allison finally gets her 200.

Bynack pyramid appearing in the distance
Image
P1000093 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000095 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Big & Little Bynacks
Image
P1000096 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Frolicking dog
Image
P1000098 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Steep ascent
Image
P1000099 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to North
Image
P1000100 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000101 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000103 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Top just in sight
Image
P1000104 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000105 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000107 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000108 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sick Kid finally gets her 200
Image
P1000109 by 23weasels, on Flickr


We're still doing OK for time - it's about 2.15 - and I think nothing of pressing on with my plan, we set a course down the SE side of Bynack again on fine crunchy snow. The wind is whistling around from the South, blasting a low level snowstorm by our feet. As we get below about 750m the snow turns into that nightmare form of torture where you step then sink up to your knees with each stride. Fortunately turning to go up again onto the slopes of Creag Mhor we regained good snow. This was a relatively easy pull up 200m or so towards a cluster of boulders that had escaped being snow encrusted. My nausea had returned and I wanted to get going. We headed off to the SW past some crags then descended to the invisible "path" running alongside the invisible "allt dearg" - everything under a thick layer of awful soft snow. My snowshoes would have come in ideal - but one pair of snowshoes between 2 persons would hardly have been reasonable :(

Descent
Image
P1000113 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to Creag Mhor
Image
P1000114 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ascent
Image
P1000119 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bouldery top
Image
P1000120 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Crags
Image
P1000121 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View from the top
Image
P1000123 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sickly weasel
Image
P1000124 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000126 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back to Bynack
Image
P1000127 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Still in good snow...
Image
P1000128 by 23weasels, on Flickr



We headed round the SE side of Coire na Coinneach into Glen Avon. Every step was a misery of slump into softness, the blue sky had turned white and, looking up at the unflinching white cliffs of Sron Gorm I finally got a little taste of the Cairngorms in winter. I could imagine being out here, exhausted trudging through through thick soft snow with a blizzard coming on and just wanting to give up. SK took over breaking trail and I silently trailed along behind her just wanting out of this stuff. Did think about gaining some height in the hope of getting onto firmer snow, but lacked the energy to do that. Could see little of Loch Avon - which was covered in snow & ice nor anything other than the outlines of the cliffs around - a disappointment as I had wanted SK to see this view. All we got was bleak whiteness. So on we went - seemingly forever. I hoped that when we got to The Saddle that everything would ease, but it took well over an hour to go the couple of km from Fords of Avon to the Saddle. We did have to gain height to get up there, meeting another walker on the way. Unfortunately, instead of being a nice clear path, when we entered Strath Nethy it was more of the same - soft snow. For about 4 km up the Strath it was like this, with the only change being that as we walked on the soft snow started to have bog underneath it. Even better :lol: In September this had seemed like a lovely stroll but it was far from lovely today. The light was fading, the path squelchy bog with frequent holes to step in, rocks to stumble over, you get the picture :wink: There's a great sense of relief when we reach the track and tramp the last 5km back to Glenmore. The stars are out in a clear black sky. 10 hours of toughness. I'm still feeling sick, we're both knackered and there's no chance of a hot meal the way I'm feeling - so it's back to the tent and bed.

Approaching loch avon
Image
P1000130 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Strath Nethy from the Saddle
Image
P1000131 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000133 by 23weasels, on Flickr

It's a windy night - the gusts are fierce high in the trees, and I wonder - briefly - about the wisdom of pitching a tent in a forest in a storm. A fitful night's sleep visited by many strange dreams and the sound of the stream beside the tent becoming something of a torrent. I'm still feeling a bit iffy but manage a bowl of porridge. We've decided - despite various aches and pains, to get another hill today if we can - don't want Scoob gaining an advantage on the Corbett numbers :D ...forecast was for even higher winds this morning but it doesn't seem that bad to be honest...it's a short trip up Meall a'Buachaille from Glenmore and I reckon we can both manage that...Showers and sun, the waters of An Lochan Uaine gleaming green through the trees. We walk back along the path to Ryvoan bothy, then up the well made path to the top. A few other walkers on the trail, the winds strong and occasionally buffeting us around but no major problems. Good views back down to the Lochan and the track we'd taken yesterday <<shudder>>

We decided on just returning by the ascent route and nipped into the bothy to have our lunch - there were a couple of army guys in who'd been snow holing on Cairngorm the night before. Back to the car and an early trip back down the road. Decided to call into the Tiso in Perth on the way and had something of a mini-WalkHighlands meet - Graeme D and daughter, then Scoob and Fi - had a fine wee natter, didn't buy anything (for a change) and headed home, via a nice meal in Glasgow to make up for the lack of sustenance the night before.

Morning river
Image
P1000132 by 23weasels, on Flickr

An Lochan Uaine
Image
P1000134 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ryvoan Bothy
Image
P1000135 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Meall a'Buachaille
Image
P1000136 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back to Cairngorm
Image
P1000138 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000139 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Track to Bynack
Image
P1000140 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit coming into sight
Image
P1000141 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Top
Image
P1000142 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000144 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ridge to the North
Image
P1000145 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ryvoan bothy
Image
P1000147 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Heading back to Glenmore
Image
P1000148 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1000149 by 23weasels, on Flickr

lessons learned -
1. don't use summer times to calculate winter times
2. just cos the weather forecast says winds of 80-90kph doesn't mean you can't get out on the hills :clap:
User avatar
weaselmaster
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Monadh Ruadh

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:27 am

Nice one and some grand photies :clap:

I ve not been out for three weeks ..... itch itch :roll:

Better out n scratch soon :D
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Collaciotach
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Monadh Ruadh

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:03 am

Great report, and I loved the pix. Envy you being so relatively close to the hills.
When I first looked I thought you'd walked 50+ km, ascended nearly 3000m, all in under 18 hours on one winter day.... Wow! Then I read on - 3 days - OK, that's more human!!!
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Alteknacker
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Monadh Ruadh

Postby The Rodmiester » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:48 am

Good effort on the Saturday, that would have been a toughie! :clap: :clap: it look likes the NE was the place to beat the weekend for the better weather!
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Monadh Ruadh

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:26 am

Well done folks and congrats to the Kid for 200 :clap: :clap: It will be years before I'll get there :lol:

Nice to see the some hills I had done in summertime, covered with snow for a change, especially Bynack More.

Any plans for the last Munro yet :wink: ?
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Monadh Ruadh

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:34 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Any plans for the last Munro yet :wink: ?


We can't agree on this...
I'm favouring Sgurr nan Ceathreamhan which has foiled me twice, whilst SK has tried to get it together to do Stobinien
on more occasions than I can remember and failed for one reason or another...but since I've already climbed Stobinien we couldn't finish together that way...hoping to resolve it one way or the other before the year is out though :lol:
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weaselmaster
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Monadh Ruadh

Postby basscadet » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:48 pm

Oh well done SK.. 200 is a fine achievement :clap:
Sounded braw, even if things didn't go exactly to plan.. Stories of things going to plan are usually dullsville anyway :lol:
Bonny pics :wink:
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basscadet
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Monadh Ruadh

Postby PeteR » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:53 pm

Well done Allison on hitting 200 :clap: I'm finding it's the last 41 are the hardest :lol: (will I ever stand on a Munro again? :shock:). I'm sure you'll be storming along to compleation very quickly though 8)

Some excellent pictures of another epic on great hills :D

Nearly lost my head on the mighty Tinto on Sunday, and that was after the weather had "calmed down", so well done to the two of you getting a full weekend in given the forecast and wind speeds :clap:
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Monadh Ruadh

Postby AnnieMacD » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:06 pm

Fantastic report and great photos. Congrats on the 200th SK :clap:

Did you know your photo is in the MCofS Magazine this month? And a great one it is too - advertising their scrambling courses.
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Monadh Ruadh

Postby Graeme D » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:48 pm

You did say it had been a tough old weekend when I met you in Tiso. Now I see what you mean. Sterling effort though to both of you, and congratulations Alison on the 200th. :clap:
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Monadh Ruadh

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:52 am

[quote="AnnieMacD]

Did you know your photo is in the MCofS Magazine this month? And a great one it is too - advertising their scrambling courses.[/quote]

Yep, that was quite amusing. Was a good course, didn't think we'd get to be 'famous' from it :lol: :lol:
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