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Topping up the sun tan.

Topping up the sun tan.


Postby Guinessman » Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:51 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Hope, Ben Macdui, Cairn Gorm, Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach, Carn Ghluasaid, Sail Chaorainn, Sgurr nan Conbhairean

Date walked: 20/10/2015

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Got a 4 day pass on Monday and after checking the weather for the Highlands the East looked favourable so decided to head up initially on the Monday evening to the Braemar area and get onto Lochnagar. Ironically I had been due to go this way in a backpack for 12 days starting on 30/09/2015 but had to give it a miss due to man flu. I had done Lochnagar in 2011 but inexplicably hadn't done the second munro of Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach despites it ease from the plateau. Parked in a lay by on the road down Glen Ey from Glenshee in the campervan and kipped overnight. Parked up the next morning in the car park (£2.50 ) giving access to Loch Callater and began the walk in, about 3 1/2 miles to the loch. I was passed on the way by several estate vehicles none of which stopped so I presumed I was OK for the day. Got to the lodge and took the stalkers path which starts just left of the fence/gate of Loch Callater lodge circumnavigating initially Creag an Loch before climbing higher and rounding Carn an t-Sagairt Mor. The weather had been good to start but began to cloud over but without rain. Continued on to the plateau on easy paths.

View down Loch Callater towards Jocks road

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Cairn Bannoch starting to appear through the clouds.

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The Stuic through the clouds from Lochnagar summit

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Looking back to Lochnagar from the Stuic.

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After getting onto the plateau the path onto Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach is easy, about 200 feet of easy angled ground. I then continued onto the lochnagar summit of Cac Carn Beag via the main path before returning back to the car park via the same route. About 14 miles all in.

Wednesday 14/10/2015.

Had driven around from Braemar the previous evening to the Aviemore area because I knew I would be heading north and wanted to half the journey. Parked up in the sugarbowl car park on the road up to the ski car park, overnight in company with two other vans. It will probably be the last time I use the car park due the pay and display. Drove up to the top car park in the morning. I intended going up into the corries and up onto Ben Macdui which I,ve been on countless times but this time via the Fiacaill buttress which I hadn't done before . Walked from the car park on the path and took the first offshoot on the left that heads into the corrie. I then headed off the path and the shoulder of Fiacaill Coire an t Sneachda and continued up the ridge towards the buttress. Continued up the rock, there is a bypass path cutting up through the scree but decided to continue on the rock which was safe enough with big footholds and handholds despite being greasy. Topped out and went onto the top of Cairn Lochan. Rather than drop down I continued straight across open ground to Lochan Buidhe to join the Macdui path. The weather by now had closed in and stayed throughout the march over to Ben Macdui. Got to the top and stayed there on the summit with another walker for 30 minutes waiting for the clouds to clear without luck.
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Going down towards Lochan Buidhe the weather started to clear and I took this zoom view of Braeriach as I walked and the cliifs of Carn Etchachan. The weather warmed up and the sun was out and I was down to a T shirt. The intial plan had been to drop down from Ben Macdui to the car park but because of the weather change continued onto Cairngorm via the well worn path across the plateau and joined the tourists (must be school holidays ?) on the summit before dropping down the shoulder of Sron an Aonaich

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Looking across Coire an t Sneachda

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Thursday 16/10/2015.

Had made the long drive up to Altnaharra to do Ben Hope. Had been here in August this year to do Ben Hope but was put off by road closure signs at Altnaharra and at Tongue. Having done a bit of research about it I now knew I could drive to within 2 miles of the normal start. Parked up overnight just past Vagastie on the Altnaharra road and kipped overnight. For the first time there was a frost on the van and a covering on the inside of the windscreen. Drove to Altnaharra and saw the road closed signs still in place before driving and parking 100 yards south of the broch just south of Altnacaillich. The bridge here is still being worked on, you can ford the river but I didn't fancy it. I then road walked the 2 miles from there to the start of the signposted Ben Hope path, where the path cuts up through the small cliffs and more or less follows the line of the burn until you get higher and goes up and up the shoulder of Ben Hope with no difficulties. For the second day in a row I was down to a T shirt.

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View east from the summit of Ben Hope.

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View down the northern cliffs of Ben Hope.

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Having not seen any stalking activity decided to make a day off it and continued around the corries to the spot height of 718 and then down Creag Riabhach before joining the path by the burn at Allt na Caillich which took me straight back to the van

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View across to Ben Loyal

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Friday 17/10/2015.

Initially the forecast for the west had been poor for the second half of the week but a check revealed the high pressure staying in place so I drove down to Kintail and parked below the Loch Claunie dam to kip overnight. The temperature overnight dropped well below freezing resulting in frost inside the van and a temperature inversion which stayed in the glen till around midday. Parked at Lundie and initially joined the old military road and quickly climbed above the temperature inversion. Above the inversion it was about 10 to 12 degrees warmer and I was down to T shirt again. I then made the way up Carn Ghluasaid by the excellent stalkers path which climbs up the steep hillside with ease and joins a shoulder leading onto the flat plateau of the summit. . From Carn Ghluasaid continued onto the 998 height of Creag a Chaorainn and around Glas Bealach before going to the top of Sgurr nan Conbhairean. I then followed the north ridge from Conbhairean up the 1002 top of Sail Chaorainn. Undecided about the top I also ascended the 1001 top as well which is an interesting 10 minute ridge walk which would good under snow. I then returned back in the direction of Conbhairean and took the contouring path to reach the descending ridge to Drochaid an tuil Easaich before dropping down the ridge all the way down to the road and walking a mile to the the van. Apart from the initial part of the day I had been in t shirt all day long. fantastic weather for mid October.

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Sgurr nan Conbhairean from Carn Ghluasaid

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Back to Sgurr nan Conbhairean from Sail Chaorainn

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A'Chralaig from Sail Chaorainn

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Time for home and I headed for the Glen Nevis campsite to stay overnight and have a few beers in Fort William before heading back.
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Guinessman
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1078
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Re: Topping up the sun tan.

Postby dav2930 » Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:46 pm

An enviable 4 days and a substantial addition to your considerable Munro tally; compleation not so very far off!
Ben Hope has always seemed a mysterious mountain to me, maybe because I've never been quite that far north - a nice one to have done along with the Cluanie and Cairngorm ones. Great report and photos. :clap:
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dav2930
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Re: Topping up the sun tan.

Postby Guinessman » Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:30 pm

Thanks for that dav ,hopefully I,'ll get them finished by September next year. Ben hope is quite an interesting mountain. Straight up and down would be too short a day, I was on the top in 1hrs 55 mins, but make a day of it and it's better. On a good day the views are awesome, probably because it stands on its own and you can appreciate it's shape and size.
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Guinessman
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1078
Munros:282   Corbetts:52
Grahams:27   Donalds:89
Hewitts:143
Wainwrights:214   Islands:15
Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Location: NW Durham

Re: Topping up the sun tan.

Postby Silverhill » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:57 pm

You travelled the length and breadth of the country these 4 days, what a trip! :clap:
The Fiacaill route you took for Ben Macdui looks very good. 8) I must check it out some time.
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Silverhill
 
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Re: Topping up the sun tan.

Postby Guinessman » Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:46 am

Thanks for that silverhill, did about 850 miles, everyone one of them worth it!
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Guinessman
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1078
Munros:282   Corbetts:52
Grahams:27   Donalds:89
Hewitts:143
Wainwrights:214   Islands:15
Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Location: NW Durham

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