Could Cairney come a cropper on Carn na Caim? #141
by GillC » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:59 pm
Route description: Càrn na Caim and A'Bhuidheanach Bheag, Drumochter
Munros included on this walk: A' Bhuidheanach Bheag, Càrn na Caim
Date walked: 04/04/2015
Time taken: 7.5 hours
Distance: 19 km
Ascent: 824m1 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).
With initially a solo outing intended, my brother soon agreed to come along, then quickly changed his mind (WHY does he keep doing that then going off on his own lol ) Davy Sothern also signed up to tag along for a couple of repeats for himself. The met app forecast he had seen was for Fog Fog and FOG, so not wanting me to be up there on my own,, the gallant gent came along to make sure I got home to make Johns tea
After a slight mishap, where I missed the meeting point (Tiso) in Perth (its one of those places you just pass, not look for lol) and an impromptu meeting with Bod and Val in same car park, we headed up the A9, almost missing layby 87 on the North bound road too, not getting off to a good start here lol.
Booted up, smirry rain falling and off just after 10am. Not many pictures today, not a lot to see
The track up is easy enough going but pretty soon we found ourselves walking on the edges and off on the heather as the path itself held more snow than the surrounding area. Bit of a lung buster this as it just goes up and up with a couple of direction changes. We could see 2 figures a way ahead on the path, resting almost as often as me
Davy had done these two before, with Tomsie and he suggested we do the same route, with A'Bhuidheanach Bheag being the first target and C na C last. Agreed on this and headed on up to the top of the T section.
The quarry here is all but under full snow, with small sections of quartzite showing through. Just here, we met up with the two figures in blue. Fergus and Duncan from Edinburgh. Visibility was by now, pretty much down to 20 yards and they were pondering their map and compass. Having realised they were not heading for C na C, they were checking their route to the Southern Munro when we came along. They were considering turning back to call it a day but Davy offered to have them tag along with us, hey, we have View Ranger and a mobile phone you know!
So, for the rest of the day, there were 4.
Visibility from here on was non existent, as close to whiteout conditions as there could be, but thankfully without the wind/snow fall.. Very disorientating not being able to work out what was ground, snow, empty air, sky, quite dizzying at times but on we plodded. First sign of anyone else on the hill was a lone figure off to our left, quick wave and a shout to thank him from breaking trail and we were off again.
The snow was knee deep in some places, others only a few inches but with more or less full cover and only the odd rocky section sticking up, we were able to follow on previous footprints, stopping intermittently to check both map and View Ranger. Met up with 2 guys who had camped up here overnight,, , chatted with them about their plans for Beinn a'Ghlo tomorrow and their hitchhiking plan to get there. Moving on, we didn't exactly stick to the WH route, bit more direct I think, cutting straight over instead of the dog leg towards the summit cairn of A'Bhuidheanach Bheag.
Out of nowhere, the trig appeared. Must have been about 12:50pm so nearly 3 hrs to here, snow and chat slowing us down a bit. Couple of pics and then a bite to eat. We were soon joined by a group of 3 who appeared via the WH approach.
Headed off after 10 mins or so. Up until now, despite obvious conditions, the wind etc had been light and frankly, quite mild but for a short spell, it seemed to freeze up, frozen nostril syndrome ain't pleasant lol. Gloves, hat, hood, the lot came in to play as we headed off, didn't take long to warm up again, gloves off, hood down etc. Had my sunglasses on for pretty much 90% of today, not sure if they helped but even with no sun, the glare from the snow was sore on the eyes. (ended up looking like a panda with white eyes and red face lol)
Coming off and heading back to the T section, as ever 4 hrs or so of rigid winter boots started to numb my feet, this normally happens just before the numbness wears off and the pain sets in. I'd already put on some compeeds as my socks were rubbing (too big) and by the time we reached the T and started off for Carn na Caim, the pain had set in on the balls of my feet. Started walking funny, much ouching, swearing etc. This is just not going to go away.
Soldiering on 'til about half way to C na C, I decided 'no more!' ditched the boots and thick socks, donned light socks and my Scarpa hill shoes. Discussions around this ended with, as long as I keep moving, feet will be wet, but shouldn't get too cold. ANYTHING was better than the pain. Bearing in mind, we were still in full snow, I did wonder how I would cope with slipping etc. but couldn't take any more in the boots.
Pretty quickly, feet were wet, but the initial temperature change didn't really affect me. Just happy to be skipping along, and with Davy commenting that I was no longer walking like id S**t myself, I happily plodded on. The visibility here was a little better than earlier and we could see the fence posts sticking up through the snow for about 50 yards ahead. Some only showed a few inches above, was the snow really that deep here?
We met the 3 from A'Bhuidheanach Bheag on their return path , shortly before I changed my shoes, then another couple came out of the mist, they must be either only doing 1 or were now off to the 2nd hill now. They didn't comment on my poor choice of footwear lol.
Reaching the cairn, the last 20 yards or so were just water and slush, so soggy, soggy feet, but again, not cold.
Here I was, Munro 141, half way round, deep snow and I'm wearing trainers lol
Time for a few pics, and off again. I was certainly managing fine in the light footwear but that was down to soft snow and slush, any ice and I would have come a cropper. (hence the title )
There was once a film, with John Voigt, ending with him standing on top of a train, disappearing into a snow blizzard, well watching Davy, Fergus and Duncan ahead, that's what this felt like, no blizzard here, just WHITE!
Wee regroup at one of the fence posts, let the boys move on while I enjoyed (ahem!) the view !, then back off down to the quarry and the right turn down the hill.
Had a chance to chat to Fergus and Duncan on occasion, about their exploits, with their aim to do 12 Munros a year, they were enjoying their outings for the sake of it,, not just counting balloons.
Picking up the descent path, again sticking to the side lines due to deep snow on the path itself, we pootled our way down. The cloud and mist was thinning and the sky brightening and all of a sudden, the westerly hills on the other side of the A9 appeared. Brilliant white patchy snow with the sun shining on them. Gradually, bits of blue sky appeared in the distance and the Dalwhinnie Distillery, shining almost as brightly as the snow. The A9 now in full view with the path before us now visible all the way down to meet it.
Clearing the snow line I actually managed to get into a wee trot downhill, couldn't have done that in my boots lol.
Nice bend in the path and time to take off jackets, hats etc. and enjoy the last saunter down the path.
On a clear, snow free day, I would have hoped to get these two in around 5 hrs, but what with the inevitable foot issues, snow and nav checks, we got back to the car some 7.5 hrs later. Although, myself , Fergus and Duncan both agreed, we wouldn't have done them at all if it hadn't been for View Ranger, sorry, Davy.
Quick cheerio to the guys and back to the car for some dry socks and shoes. I'm SO glad I put the wee trainers in my bag, I seriously doubt I would be able to complete my 141st Munro if I hadn't.
Big thanks to Davy for helping me out today and for the wine gums, they make all the difference.
Roll on the next 141!
by Tomsie » Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:49 pm
Look forward to walking on some of the next 141, least you'll get views with me
by ceaser » Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:00 pm
Tomsie wrote:Well done on the half way mark.
Look forward to walking on some of the next 141, least you'll get views with me
don't believe a word of it Gill , when me and Tomsie did these 2 , we had worse visibility than we did on Saturday ....well done on reaching the 141
by Sick Kid » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:56 pm
And don't worry about feeling like an eejit in trainers and deep snow, we were doing the very same at the weekend
by Beaner001 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:03 pm
Haha, runaway train is a belting movie
by pollyh33 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:46 pm
A smashing report despite the weather, the pain, the navigation........but not the company!
Good to know I'm not the only one who picks up random blokes on hills!!!
Congratulations on reaching 141, looking forward to long sunny days with you mopping up the next 141!
by GillC » Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:08 am
Yes Polly,,really beginning to wonder if "These Boots were (really) made for walking?" lol Maybe I should stick to the fair weather stuff or very short days lol.
Looking forward to yomping over the rolling Gorms this year too,, with a wee desire for the South Shiel Ridge too lol
by SecretSquirrel » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:20 am
Congratz on reaching the halfway mark
by GillC » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:25 am
by Graeme D » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:42 am
by spiderwebb » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:37 pm
by GillC » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:03 pm
Walkhighlands community forum is advert free
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?