walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.

"I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

"I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif


Postby Jaxter » Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:54 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Bhuidheanach Bheag, A' Mharconaich, Beinn Udlamain, Carn na Caim, Geal-charn (Drumochter), Sgairneach Mhor

Date walked: 30/03/2016

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 44 km

Ascent: 1967m

14 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Enjoying the use of my Easter holidays, I had another free day. With Hugh yet again shackled to family life, I was out on my own again. Route planning the night before, whilst supervising many kids at their concert, I decided on the West 4 from Drumochter, with a potential back-up plan of Carn na Caim and A’ Bhuidheneanach Bheag if I was feeling lazy or the weather was pants :lol:

I headed off early, hoping to be back in time for work. Arriving at Perth for petrol just before 6, I realised that my waterproof jacket was sat on the back of a chair in the living room as I’d been wearing it around town during Storm Katie this week. Cue panic :shock: :shock: I know some people would have just gone out anyway, especially given that the forecast said 10% chance of rain, but I didn’t think I should be in the hills on my own without the correct kit and really didn't want to become a mountain rescue statistic or worse :( :shock: Driving home for it would lose me 2 hours. I tried Tiso at the next roundabout. Closed. Ditto Aldi and M&S. A quick google brought up a 24 hours Tesco 2 miles away where I purchased myself a kids age 13-14 thin water resistant jacket, the only thing they had. Not ideal but definitely better than nothing. Back on the road and behind schedule I cheered myself up by eating my vanilla sponge cake Death Star for breakfast. :D

Image

I dropped my bike at layby 79, the end point, and continued onto Balsporran. The views were starting to open out, a wee bit of cloud on some of the tops but it looked like it would clear. I booted up, packed my makeshift jacket and set off up the track. My replacement pole had now arrived and I was glad of it as the track turned into a bit of a bog trot. There was no snow on the lower slopes, and although there was a bit of ice, there nothing that would hold my weight, despite my nickname of Bambi :lol:

Boggy
Image

Views opening out South
Image

Snow started to appear just before reaching the remains of Drumochter cairns. I was enjoying my new Platypus water thing as I was able to properly hydrate myself without having to stop all the time. Pushing on, I could see the summit of Geal Charn ahead.

Over to A' Mharconaich
Image

As I reached the top, number 60 for me, I was disappointed by the lack of views but as I was getting my camera out, it cleared and I could see all the way down Loch Ericht, across to all the Alder hills and the rest of my walk today; these hills may be seen as big round lumps by many but there are some seriously cool coires :shock: 8)

Number 60!
Image

Ben Alder and Loch Ericht
Image

Loch Pattack
Image

The route ahead
Image

One more - Beinn Udlamain (L) and Alder etc (R)
Image

I carried on down the ridge towards the now visible bealach with A’ Mharconaich. There were bits of a path here which then joined the track up from Balsporran for a way before branching off up my next target. However there was a lot of snow on this side of the mountain and the path soon disappeared. There were several snow rabbits running around (and evidence of several more) and I followed them for a while.

Image

Looking across Loch Ericht again
Image

Once above the gullys, I branched off left to cut off some of the walk along the flat top, and eventually reached a track leading to the summit. The views from here were impressive too.

Sky cloud and sun combo
Image

The first footsteps!
Image

A bird
Image

Summit of A' Mharconaich!
Image

Beginning to see the crazy coire of Sgairneach Mhor
Image

I headed off across the plateau and kept straight on bringing me down over a few minor bumps before reaching to ascent to Beinn Udlamain. I’d thought that this would be a long slog, and it might have been in the clag but in such gorgeous conditions it was a joy.

Beinn Udlamain
Image

Looking over to SM again
Image

SM again, I loved how this mountain looked!!
Image

Soon I reached the huge cairn on the summit, my highest point for the day and admired the views around. The wind had picked up a bit and the hat was back on but hadn’t quite reached Rab levels of cold yet :lol:

Slightly wonky photo on Beinn Udlamain
Image

Alder hills again
Image

Following the fence posts off the top, I walked down the ridge to the bealach which was extremely boggy despite all the snow. From here I could see no path under the snow and bog so decided to head straight up Sgairneach Mhor. As it turned out I could have stayed closer to the edge as I had a bit of a trek along the top but I’d seen the coire from afar and wanted to stay well away from it! :shock: It was 11.40 and I’d reached summit number 4 – a lot quicker than I had expected! :D I took some photos and took a moment to enjoy the views, wishing I had brought the GoPro as it was crying out for a summit panorama.

Summit of SM. Deserved a wee seat after 4 summits!
Image

Looking back over the Beinn Udlamain and beyond
Image

Treating myself to a coconut macaroon I headed off the summit, again taking care to stay away from the edge of the scary coire with the crazy cornice. As it turned out, I had stayed too far away from it, as I quickly noticed that looking ahead that the valley didn’t match my map. Berating myself for a basic mistake, I quickly traversed round onto the ridge, and surprisingly enough the map now fitted what I was looking at… :lol: Feeling like a fool I set off down sheets of soft deep snow and had a lot of fun running and sliding down this in the sun 8) :D

Heading into the right valley now...
Image

Looking back into the crazy coire. Definitely more impressive in person
Image

I was still toying with the idea of going over the Sow but I was also slightly worried about the river crossing in the valley. Those of you familiar with my recent river crossing history will understand why seeing this bridge from further up felt like fate and the Sow was left for another time.

Bridge of my dreams!
Image

Looking back up at SM
Image

As I reached the track I looked at the time….it was only just gone 12.30. The weather was gorgeous and a plan was beginning to formulate in my mind :o :shock: :D

I usually have a ‘phone off’ rule in the hills, but making an exception as I was nearly down, I phoned someone who always has at least one weather website open at all times…. :lol: He informed me that the weather looked good until 5 and that there was plenty of daylight left. “Is this a stupid idea?” I asked. “Go for it” he said :D For future reference, when I ask that question, the correct answer should normally be “No”… :lol:

Arriving at the layby at 1, I hopped on my bike and cycled the 2 miles back to Balsporran. I was so glad I’d bothered with the bike as walking all that would have been a bit of a pain. Folding the bike back into the car I jumped in and drove 2 more miles up the road to layby 87. Switching over maps (I was so glad I’d come out with a backup plan!) I swigged some spare water from the car and set off across the road and up the vehicle track.

Looking back at the mornings conquests
Image

Image

This track was extremely steep and my legs were starting to complain. Pushing on, I figured that getting up the track was the worst bit and once I was on the top it was a simple ridge walk…. :roll: The track felt like it went on for ever, the sun was beating down and it just seemed to be getting steeper. Nearing the top I bumped into 2 people – the only people I was to see all day! They thought I was insane climbing 6 in one day, and I was beginning to wonder if they were right as my legs felt pretty knackered. :lol:

Pushing on, I could see that Carn na Caim was covered in a bit of cloud while the route out the A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag looked clear and sunny. Given that ABB looked the trickier in terms of navigation I decided to head there first and use the good weather. The track was initially clear but after heading down a steep descent I was into the snow.

Image

Cool snow formation
Image

Ahead was a cairn that looked a bit phallic :lol: There were footprints heading over this and around it, so obviously I decided to go over. Given that I was already tired this was a bad idea, and completely pointless as I just had to go back down the other side… :?

There was another steep up and finally coming over this I could see the trig point a good distance ahead. Dragging myself the final few metres I’d made it. What was more concerning was that I had run out of water :shock: Given that I’d had much more with me than usual it hadn’t occurred to me to fill up from any streams. Rookie error :?

Summit of A' Bhuidheanach Bheag
Image

Can't remember which direction this was!!
Image

Heading back I realised that I needed water so I feasted on snow. I was glad that it had snowed a bit recently as this was fresher and cleaner than it might have been :lol: Stuffing some snow into my platypus in the hope it would melt and become water, I pushed on, wondering if I was going to be able to make it to Carn na Caim... :?

Looking over towards Carn na Caim
Image

I had heard of people getting horribly lost up there, so followed the footprints and then track back to the top of the route down, taking care not to climb over any unnecessary summits this time :roll: It was now decision time – did I have enough energy for Carn na Caim? It looked like the cloud had cleared and I don’t give in easily, so it was a no-brainer really. Also the thought of having to climb that track again was not a welcome one!

Off I went, following the fence posts all the way along. The route in this direction was actually much flatter, although it was a little bumpy there was nothing steep and I was glad that I had saved this until last. As I was approaching the summit, the clag came in and I was treated to traditional Scottish summit views….

Made it!!
Image

Lovely views
Image

Given that it had also started to snow, I beat a hasty retreat back to the fence posts which I stuck to like a life-line as it was properly clag-tastic now!
Image

Reaching the top of the track, it had started to snow more heavily and not wanting to get cold and wet as well as tired, I got out my emergency rain jacket and put it on. It was comfy and fitted pretty well – go Tescos! I realised how little I had eaten today, so munched on some dried fruit and more coconut macaroons as I headed down the track :D Glad of the soft snow to sink into, I made my way down quickly. This descent was a bit of a trial, but soon I came out of the clag, it stopped snowing and I was able to see the views back down to the loch although the mountains had their heads in the cloud :D

Image

This was short lived unfortunately, as it soon started raining :crazy: It got heavier and I had to stop to put on my waterproof trousers (which I had not forgotten!)

Looking up towards Carn na Caim
Image

I eventually arrived back at my car at 6, shattered but dead pleased with myself :D :D Turning my phone back on, I cancelled the evenings work as I’d never get there in time (one advantage of being freelance!), re-hydrated with my flask of tea and stuffed sandwiches down my face.

The weather was now disgusting and it was time to get back down the road before I got sleepy. I stuck the 80s tunes back on headed back to Glasgow after a fantastically satisfying day in the hills :D :thumbup: :D
Last edited by Jaxter on Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Jaxter
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1182
Munros:199   Corbetts:117
Grahams:47   Donalds:45
Sub 2000:53   Hewitts:50
Wainwrights:53   Islands:24
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby PerthAlly » Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:44 pm

Well done Jaxter :clap:

I've done all 6 but on two separate outings. I walked from Balsporran back to my car . It was the longest 2 miles I've ever walked :lol:

I'm one of the idiots who got lost going from ABB to CNC ! And visibility was perfect. I ignored the advice to retrace my steps back off ABB. Thought that straight line would be best. No it wasn't!

Never too old to learn.

Good report Jaxter :wink:
User avatar
PerthAlly
Walker
 
Posts: 369
Munros:128   Corbetts:14
Grahams:1   Donalds:5
Sub 2000:3   
Joined: Jul 23, 2014

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby kev_russ » Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:45 pm

Did you jog over the first 4? :D :wink: Cracking effort.
User avatar
kev_russ
Walker
 
Posts: 388
Munros:152   Corbetts:49
Grahams:22   Donalds:26
Sub 2000:13   Hewitts:8
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Mar 17, 2009
Location: Edinburgh

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby jupe1407 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:10 pm

Well done! :clap:

The track up to the East Drumochters is spirit-crushingly tedious. It was a never-ending plod through deep sticky snow a couple of months back. I've still got ABB to do, but I'm going to shortcut it up from the A9.

The West Drumochter hills are fantastic through, I've repeated all of them at least once, great views down Loch Ericht and across to the Alder hills.
User avatar
jupe1407
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1259
Munros:230   Corbetts:15
Grahams:6   
Sub 2000:1   
Joined: May 15, 2012
Location: Forfar

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby weaselmaster » Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:13 pm

That's a good day out - glad it stayed fine for most of the time you were out.
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1761
Munros:205   Corbetts:205
Grahams:68   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:177   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:17 pm

What an epic! Brilliant report. Loving the A'Mharconaich summit selfie.
User avatar
HalfManHalfTitanium
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 778
Munros:89   Corbetts:10
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Hewitts:148
Wainwrights:103   
Joined: Mar 11, 2015

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby Borderhugh » Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:50 pm

Some great piccies there Jackie. Well done! Looks like another epic. :clap:
User avatar
Borderhugh
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 328
Munros:282   Corbetts:73
Grahams:41   Donalds:44
Sub 2000:13   Hewitts:91
Wainwrights:72   Islands:9
Joined: Feb 4, 2012
Location: Stirling :)

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby Petr Dakota » Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:24 pm

Well done - all of them done ! :clap:
Looks like the Drumochter was busy in the last two days :lol: :D :lol: :D :lol:
User avatar
Petr Dakota
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1133
Munros:241   Corbetts:27
Grahams:7   Donalds:4
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:16
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Sep 3, 2014
Location: North Lanarkshire

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby jamesb63 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:50 pm

Well done you :clap: :clap: definetly had better luck than I had on the west 4 today
no views at all nice to see what I missed :lol: :lol:
User avatar
jamesb63
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 397
Munros:218   Corbetts:2
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Apr 14, 2015
Location: Alexandria

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby Jaxter » Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:07 pm

PerthAlly wrote:Well done Jaxter :clap:

I've done all 6 but on two separate outings. I walked from Balsporran back to my car . It was the longest 2 miles I've ever walked :lol:

I'm one of the idiots who got lost going from ABB to CNC ! And visibility was perfect. I ignored the advice to retrace my steps back off ABB. Thought that straight line would be best. No it wasn't!

Never too old to learn.

Good report Jaxter :wink:

Thanks - yeah I thought it would be a long 2 miles. I can totally see why it's a nightmare up there - so bumpy and lumpy and big! I was so tired I wasn't taking any chances :lol:


kev_russ wrote:Did you jog over the first 4? :D :wink: Cracking effort.

:lol: I always walk fast on my own, but I surprised myself yesterday :D


jupe1407 wrote:Well done! :clap:

The track up to the East Drumochters is spirit-crushingly tedious. It was a never-ending plod through deep sticky snow a couple of months back. I've still got ABB to do, but I'm going to shortcut it up from the A9.

The West Drumochter hills are fantastic through, I've repeated all of them at least once, great views down Loch Ericht and across to the Alder hills.

Aye I remember seeing your pictures - it was partly that that made me push onto CAC - didn't want to have to do it all again :lol:


weaselmaster wrote:That's a good day out - glad it stayed fine for most of the time you were out.

Cheers :D Cannae ask for better really! :D


HalfManHalfTitanium wrote:What an epic! Brilliant report. Loving the A'Mharconaich summit selfie.

Haha thanks - I don't photograph well so tend to go for silly poses :lol:


Borderhugh wrote:Some great piccies there Jackie. Well done! Looks like another epic. :clap:

Always :D Thanks for your encouragement...and weather update :lol:


Petr Dakota wrote:Well done - all of them done ! :clap:
Looks like the Drumochter was busy in the last two days :lol: :D :lol: :D :lol:

Aye - funny as it was pretty much deserted yesterday!! :lol:


jamesb63 wrote:Well done you :clap: :clap: definetly had better luck than I had on the west 4 today
no views at all nice to see what I missed :lol: :lol:

Aye what a shame - satisfying none the less though I would guess? :wink:
User avatar
Jaxter
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1182
Munros:199   Corbetts:117
Grahams:47   Donalds:45
Sub 2000:53   Hewitts:50
Wainwrights:53   Islands:24
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby IdahoGirl » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:28 am

love the photos! Have just checked on the map and that is one hell of a walk. :clap:
User avatar
IdahoGirl
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 11
Hewitts:28
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Jan 29, 2016

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby scottishkennyg » Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:09 pm

Nice one J..looked like a very enjoyable day.. :clap:
User avatar
scottishkennyg
 
Posts: 644
Munros:282   
Joined: Jan 2, 2013

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby ancancha » Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:52 pm

That's a fair amount of ups and downs Jaxter, big well done :clap:
You've really got the mountain bug :wink:
User avatar
ancancha
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 986
Munros:84   Corbetts:3
Grahams:1   Donalds:1
Joined: Jun 30, 2014
Location: Killadysert

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby Jaxter » Sat Apr 02, 2016 9:16 am

IdahoGirl wrote:love the photos! Have just checked on the map and that is one hell of a walk. :clap:

Thanks - yeah was a bit of a trek :lol:


scottishkennyg wrote:Nice one J..looked like a very enjoyable day.. :clap:

Cheers - it was awesome :D


ancancha wrote:That's a fair amount of ups and downs Jaxter, big well done :clap:
You've really got the mountain bug :wink:

Aye, escapism :D
User avatar
Jaxter
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1182
Munros:199   Corbetts:117
Grahams:47   Donalds:45
Sub 2000:53   Hewitts:50
Wainwrights:53   Islands:24
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow

Re: "I've got a really good idea"...Drumochter massif

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:00 pm

That's a lot of walking on a snowy day . Loved the report and the photos!
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 664
Munros:139   Corbetts:20
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Nr. Grantown-on-Spey

14 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Next



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 33 guests
cron