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A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun


Postby jupe1407 » Tue May 31, 2016 8:16 am

Route description: Glas Tulaichean and Carn an Righ, Spittal of Glenshee

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Iutharn Mhor, Glas Tulaichean

Date walked: 28/05/2016

Time taken: 26 hours

Distance: 23.51 km

Ascent: 1125m

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Since I got into hillwalking in 2012, a wild camp is one of those things I've planned to do, but never really got round to, mainly due to laziness and the thought of carrying a ridiculously heavy pack many miles into the middle of nowhere. However, the fates would align at the weekend, with a forecast of excellent weather at high level and also having nothing better to do.

I also mentioned this to Anne who was extremely keen, meaning that only serious injury, death, or a catastrophically poor turn in the weather would get me out of this. I was committed. The initial plan was to head up to Linn of Dee, and walk to Derry Lodge. Depending on how we were coping with the weight of the packs, we'd either camp there, continue up to Coire Etchachan or perhaps even head up Beinn Breac and down off Beinn a'Chaorainn into Coire E to camp up near the loch.

Anne was a bit concerned about the distance, and ultimately it made sense to look at an "easier" option. The first one that sprang to mind was Loch nan Eun from the Dalmunzie Hotel in Glen Shee. I'd previously walked Glas Tulaichean and Carn an Righ by the standard route, and bailed on adding Beinn Iutharn Mhor due to an oncoming rainstorm. I did however pass Loch nan Eun and remember a grassy little promentary which looked a great camping spot, and had wanted to try it ever since. This trip would therefore handily kill two birds with one stone as BIM was only a couple of miles from the campsite.

We duly rocked up at the Dalmunzie Hoel, paid for parking and headed headed up the tarmac road, cutting off at the sign for Glen Taitneach.

Image Heading to Glen Taitneach John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

There's about a mile of grassy, but easy to follow path, which leads to a fairly rickety bridge, something which Anne, who isn't keen on water, or bridges, didn't find amusing :lol:

This then leads easily to a landrover track, which makes for easy progress, even with massively heavy packs on. It's a beautiful glen and a thoroughly enjoyable route. It was nice to walk it again without being drenched by two hours of heavy rain :lol:

Image Glen Taitneach by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

The land rover track continues for a couple of miles, then there's a choice of following it across the Allt Easgaidh, or taking the rougher hillpath which keeps to the north side of the river. After stopping for a refuel, we took the path. Again, this section was great, cracking views and a real sense of peace and quiet passed the time really quickly. We were having a great time.

ImageFutile Attempt at Avoiding Sunburn by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

We continued up, enjoying the sound of rushing water and nothing else, stopping for the occasional photo and just generally loving being out.

Image Tributary Burns by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Image Back down Glen Taitneach by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Image Anne enjoying the scene by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Finally we neared the loch, I nipped down to a waterfall to fill a spare bladder with water for our camp and we eventually reached Loch nan Eun, and followed the path easily to the grassy spot, which pleasingly, no one else had camped on.

Image View from Camp Spot by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

After pitching the tent and sorting out our gear, we sat on the shore and enjoyed the views of our remote lunch spot. We then decided that as it was only 2:30pm, we could tackle Beinn Iutharn Mhor which was under two miles away, though over a fair bit of pathless terrain, and if time permitted, also Carn an Righ. After a boggy walk round the loch, we made our way through peat hags and followed the burn up to the bealach between Mam nan Carn and Beinn Iutharn Bheag. In hindsight I could have cut uphill much earlier and also dropped too low to traverse Mam nan Carn without significant height gain to the bealach, though neither of these were at all problematic.

Image Heading to Beinn Iutharn Mhor by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

There was also a fine view down Glen Ey to a distant Altanour Lodge, where I had been a month earlier to climb Carn Bhac (another scorcher of a day).

Image Glen Ey by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Once at the bealach, the remaining ascent of around 120m or so is pretty straightforward to the quartz-capped summit dome. The summit view is a fine one, giving great views north to the high Cairngorms, west to Carn an Right and Beinn a'Ghlo beyond, and south towards Glas Tulaichean. Not only that, but BIM has a beautiful long and curving summit ridge to it's other top.

Image Anne on BIM Summit by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Image BIM's graceful summit ridge by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Image Back to Glas Tulaichean by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

We had a chat at the summit re our options on adding Carn an Righ. It was now 4:30pm, I reckoned it would take us three hours to summit CaR and return to camp, so although plenty of daylight, it sounded more appealing to head back to camp and take it easy, rather than knacker ourselves and feel rushed, so we returned via the outward route, though this time keeping higher and dropping off Mam nan Carn earlier. This gave us a great view of Loch nan Eun from above.

Image Loch nan Eun by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

The descent and return to the tent was reasonably easier thanks to drier than usual peat hags, and set about preparing our dinner, which came in the form of Mountain House Spag Bol, which was more than decent. Anne was knackered and went for a lie down in the tent, I was content to just relax and enjoy my surroundings. It was impossible not to really. As the later evening light came, I wandered around to the head of the loch and got a couple of shots down Glen Taitneach.

Image Late Evening Light on Glen Taitneach by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Eventually it was time to attempt to get some sleep, which was tricky. I've never been a good sleeper in a tent. Some people count sheep, I tried to count the inordinate number of insects crawling around the inside of the outer shell instead. An unpleasant but successful tactic as I eventually crashed out. I was woken at 3:00am by grouse (do they ever shut up?) and after the eternal camping struggle of warm comfy sleeping bag versus desperate need for a "single fish" I eventually unzipped the tent at 4am, somehow getting out without letting dozens of forky-tails into the inner shell :lol:

It was quite a good decision as I was met by this scene:

Image Pre-sunrise sky by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Anne stuck her head out of the tent and after approximately 3 seconds of discussion we decided to get up and get some sunrise photos. The loch was flat calm and bizarrely we weren't being annihilated by midges. I also decided to make breakfast, which consisted of a couple of McVities Breakfast Biscuit, some absolutely awful porridge and a coffee. We had a wander round, taking photos of the Loch and its surrounding hills bathes in glorious early morning light.

Image Reflected Sunrise by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Image Our Wonderful Tent Location by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

We had a wander back round to the head of the loch, where the views across and back to our tent pitch were sublime. There wasn't a sound (apart from bloody grouse).

Image Golden Reflections by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Image If Carlsberg did pitches... by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

With a slightly heavy heart it was time to pack up the tent, always a spirit-crushing task, even more so when all the gear has to be carried another few miles, over another munro :lol:

However, walking with views like these wasn't really a hardship. Once we got going we felt surprisingly half decent, considering all the walking yesterday, and five hours of broken sleep. We made steady progress, traversing the slopes of the un-named 858m point, managing to avoid the boggy bits, and being treated to some tremendous early morning views.

Image Carn an Righ & Beinn a'Ghlo by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

This traverse took us to the bealach between the 858m point and the initial climb towards Glas Tuliachean. This was again OK at steady pace, with only one stop due to Anne's sunburn from the day before. She'd been fried and didn't want to risk wearing a her short-sleeved baselayer so borrowed what I thought was my long sleeved spare. It was in fact the same one I'd worn all yesterday and slept in. Oops :lol:

Image 858m point and Loch nan Eun by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

There was a brief respite at the top of the first ascent, and even a slight height loss :thumbdown: We stopped here for another refuel before tackling the next, steep-looking section of ascent. Again though, this didn't prove a problem and we soon got towards the top.

Image Anne take a photo of our camp spot by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

The remaining ascent was much easier angled after a pleasant stroll along the ridge above Glas Choire Mhor. Anne went ahead to the summit to claim her second well-earned munro of a fantastic weekend.

Image Anne summits Glas T by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Again it was nearly flat calm at the summit, and an absolutely glorious morning. We lingered here for quite some time.

Image Trig on Glas T, with Loch nan Eun just visible by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

After hanging about for a while, soaking in the views (and getting more sunburn), we decided to make our descent West-ish before cutting down onto the great long track, a seemingly endless trudge in baking hot sun which eventually comes down to the ruined Glen Lochsie lodge.

Image Heading for Home by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Image The long, long track out by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

We were both beginning to feel the weight of the packs now, Anne's feet were hurting and my shoulders weren't massively enjoying this part either. I think these things always feel worse when you know you're getting towards the end of a walk. I'm sure my pack felt heavier, probably on account of the large number of insects which were still no doubt trapped in the tent :lol:

It was quite a relief to reach the lodge. The walkers we encountered on the track down to the lodge were the first people we'd seen since yesterday afternoon. We sat here for half an hour just relaxing and cooling our weary feet in the burn running by the lodge in the Glen Lochsie Burn. It was absolutely freezing, but extremely refreshing and heaven on tired feet.

Image Trying to Cool Down by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

Image Glen Lochsie Lodge by John-Paul Bell, on Flickr

It was finally time to get going again and try to knock off the last 3 or 4 Km back to the hotel car park. We decided on the main track rather than the railway line as the recent weather meant river levels would be quite low. However this didn't stop Anne falling on her a*** on the last one. I decided not to take a photo of this in order to survive long enough to write this walk report. I decided not to faff around rockhopping on the crossings, my decision to wear a quickdrying pair of trail trainers meant I could happily just walk through and my feet were relatively dry within minutes.

Eventually we arrived back at the car after an absolutely brilliant 26 hours. Our first wild camp had gone as well as we could have hoped and it certainly won't be our last. I'd thoroughly recommend Loch nan Eun as a wild camp spot, it's got a perfect location by an attractive wee loch, fairly easy access to nearby munros and fine sources of running water nearby. Time to start planning the next one....


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jupe1407
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby PeteR » Tue May 31, 2016 12:57 pm

A superb introduction to wild camping JP.
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby Jaxter » Tue May 31, 2016 1:21 pm

Aww lovely, what a view! You always get good pictures but your sunrise shots are special :)
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby jupe1407 » Tue May 31, 2016 9:19 pm

Jaxter wrote:Aww lovely, what a view! You always get good pictures but your sunrise shots are special :)


Thanks Jackie, nothing beats the "Alpenglow" morning light. Just a pity it happens to be around 4am this time of year :lol:

PeteR wrote:A superb introduction to wild camping JP.


Thanks Peter, it was a hugely enjoyable experience. I saw yours on FB, that looked an epic :clap:
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby kev_russ » Tue May 31, 2016 10:42 pm

Braw 8) barry wee tent the Banshee eh :)
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby jupe1407 » Tue May 31, 2016 11:53 pm

kev_russ wrote:Braw 8) barry wee tent the Banshee eh :)


Cheers Kev

Yeah, it was an absolute steal at £70-odd quid a couple of years ago :lol:
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby dogplodder » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:32 am

Those early morning shots are sublime - and you weren't eaten alive while you got them! :D
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby jupe1407 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:28 pm

dogplodder wrote:Those early morning shots are sublime - and you weren't eaten alive while you got them! :D


Thanks Dogplodder. The lack of midge hell was both pleasing and somewhat unsettling. Ideal conditions for them as well :lol:
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby simon-b » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:29 pm

Great pictures, JP. I remember passing the lochan nearly four years ago; a beautiful spot.
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby Graeme D » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:32 pm

Ah you're a wild camper now JP! No looking back. And it all started not far from where I did one of my early wild camps. I remember asking a DofE candidate (direct entry to Silver level) a few years back if she had any previous experience of wild camping, to which she replied "Yeah, at T in the Park". :lol:
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby past my sell by date » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:47 pm

Great report and stunning photos. But with modern equipment - yes I know it's not cheap but it can last a lifetime - you can camp for one night without any great weight. I normally choose my weather at this time of year and bivouac - 6Kg in sack - but even if you add a tent my brilliant Saunders Spacepacker is only 1.9kg (between 2). I planned on camping near Loch nan Euan on a TGO trip a few years ago, but sadly we never got that far :(
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby jupe1407 » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:18 am

simon-b wrote:Great pictures, JP. I remember passing the lochan nearly four years ago; a beautiful spot.


Thanks Simon ... It is indeed a beautiful wee spot, and Glen Taitneach in the walk-in was also superb :D


Graeme D wrote:Ah you're a wild camper now JP! No looking back. And it all started not far from where I did one of my early wild camps. I remember asking a DofE candidate (direct entry to Silver level) a few years back if she had any previous experience of wild camping, to which she replied "Yeah, at T in the Park". :lol:


She makes a fair point there :lol: But yeah, right into it after such an enjoyable first attempt. I want to try a couple of summit camps/bivvies before the year's out. I might even get out this weekend if this bizarrely good weather continues!

past my sell by date wrote:Great report and stunning photos. But with modern equipment - yes I know it's not cheap but it can last a lifetime - you can camp for one night without any great weight. I normally choose my weather at this time of year and bivouac - 6Kg in sack - but even if you add a tent my brilliant Saunders Spacepacker is only 1.9kg (between 2). I planned on camping near Loch nan Euan on a TGO trip a few years ago, but sadly we never got that far :(


Yeah I'm looking at ways to trim down the weight, including replacing some of my kit with quality, lighter components. I've got a Vango Banshee 200 which does a fine job, however with two sleeping in it, space is extremely tight and condensation is a bit of an issue :lol:
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby past my sell by date » Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:35 pm

[/quote] Yeah I'm looking at ways to trim down the weight, including replacing some of my kit with quality, lighter components. I've got a Vango Banshee 200 which does a fine job, however with two sleeping in it, space is extremely tight and condensation is a bit of an issue :lol:[/quote]

The Saunders Spacepacker is a brilliant two man tent - everyone I've met who has one raves about it The tent hangs inside the flysheet: it has four possible entrances (always one in the lee) and two huge bell ends. I normally cook in one and store all the gear in the other. The tent also has gauze windows on both sides - so no condensation problems.
I used to have an Icelandic Special sleeping bag (1.5kg) , but a goose down equivalent weighs only 450g. Likewise lightweight thermorests weigh 350gm. And if you're just out for just a single night in summer do you REALLY need hot food?
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby jupe1407 » Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:11 pm

past my sell by date wrote:
The Saunders Spacepacker is a brilliant two man tent - everyone I've met who has one raves about it The tent hangs inside the flysheet: it has four possible entrances (always one in the lee) and two huge bell ends. I normally cook in one and store all the gear in the other. The tent also has gauze windows on both sides - so no condensation problems.
I used to have an Icelandic Special sleeping bag (1.5kg) , but a goose down equivalent weighs only 450g. Likewise lightweight thermorests weigh 350gm. And if you're just out for just a single night in summer do you REALLY need hot food?


A hot cup of coffee is an absolute essential for me in the morning :lol:
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Re: A First & Memorable Wild Camp @ Loch nan Eun

Postby spiderwebb » Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:29 pm

Wonderful pictures JP.

I did the four a while back and recall at the time thinking what a beautiful spot that Loch would be for a camp. The round itself was pretty good too as with so many of the less spectacular hills (being polite :wink: ) further detailed investigations or alternatives routes can make fro rewarding trips like yours. Great stuff :D :D
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