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Christmas Day on Dùn da Ghaoithe

Christmas Day on Dùn da Ghaoithe


Postby Christo1979 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:31 pm

Route description: Dun da Ghaoithe, near Craignure

Corbetts included on this walk: Dun da Ghaoithe

Date walked: 25/12/2018

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 19.9 km

Ascent: 1095m

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I'd been planning to escape for Christmas for some years, but 2018 was the first year I actually managed to do it. I'd opted for Mull because it's a place I've visited several times (before getting more serious about my walking) and yet never really explored - especially near Craignure. I was just about the only guest staying in Craignure, and I decided that Dùn da Ghaoithe would occupy my Christmas Day walk. After all, from Oban just the day before, I'd seen glorious colour, cloud inversions, clear skies on the summits, and there was no wind or rain - for just about the first time since I started visiting this part of Scotland. It was all going to be perfect, right? :lol:

ImageAn early start on Christmas Day by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

I made a fairly early start on Christmas Day, and followed the A849 out of Craignure, past Torosay and turned off onto the track near Upper Achnacronish. It was raining, and it was also a little misty from the outset, so I started to doubt if it was going to lift at all today. Up past the Bird of Prey centre, and it was over the high stile at the ford.

ImageHigh Stile near Upper Achnacroish by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

I did, of course, had my map and compass with me, but since the path all the way to Maol nan Uan is an excellent vehicle track to the two radio transmitter stations, I was hardly going to get lost :lol: The higher the track took me, the thicker the mist became, the windier it became, the more I started to laugh at my naive hope for inversions and views :lol:

ImageRadio Mast in the mist by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

At the second transmitter station it was balaclava, gloves, and outer shell on. Visibility was awful, but I plodded on up the broad ridge, past the lochan, and then up the steep grass slope until I reached the cairn at 757m. By this point I could see nothing, and the wind was howling. I seriously contemplated calling it a day, but felt secure enough and was confident I wasn't going to get lost on a walk like this, so carried on.

ImageAscending just past Maol nan Uan by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

If this was a narrow ridge walk, I would have eaten my words and turned back, but it's more of a broad 'ridge' and so I never felt too uncomfortable. It took a lot longer to get to the summit than I imagine it usually would, and the views were non-existent, but I felt a tingle of excitement and a sense of achievement at having gotten up another Corbett, and at having braved the odds :clap:

ImageIt's all about the views by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

I didn't hang around, and made my way straight back. I did stop near the first cairn once again, to have a celebratory mince pie, but found cake-hole access rather tricky :lol:

ImageMince Pie on Dùn da Ghaoithe by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Returning to the second radio mast was quite an adventure. It was remarkably (and surprisingly, looking at the lay of the land)
awkward to stick to the route I had come up the hill, and I kept on checking my bearings as I was sure I was constantly veering onto the steep slopes that lead down into Gleann Lirein. I kept pausing, questioning, checking, and wondering how my normally accurate bearings could be so wrong. After what seems like an age, and some odd traverses of the steep grassy slopes, I gained where I wanted to be and there was the mast just metres in front of me. For the rest of the (easy) walk back down, I cursed my map reading fail. Later I had a conversation with an old gent in Craignure who walked Mull a lot back in the day, and he told me about magnetic rock on the island. I'd heard that Ben More can be a bit cheeky with your compass readings, but hadn't thought that it would be an issue on Dùn da Ghaoithe. Comments would be welcomed - maybe it WAS actually just me being rubbish with the compass that day? :(

Eventually, I got back down to the little outcrop overlooking the Bird of Prey centre, and had a rest. Just time to actually see a little view and enjoy a hot drink before the light faded and I spent an extremely quiet, comfortable, luxurious Christmas night at the Bunkhouse.

ImageHaving a break near the end of the walk by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Last edited by Christo1979 on Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Christo1979
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Re: Christmas Day on Dùn da Ghaoithe

Postby Sgurr » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:38 pm

The summit of Ben More Mull has some VERY funny compass readings. We had quite an argument there about whether it was from the pole in the shelter or the rocks, but as it continued down the ridge, I think it was the rock. You may well have been victim of the same effect. We have also stood on a ridge coming down Glamaig in Skye and seen the compass needle swing round 180 degrees in 5 paces. Do you have a smart phone? If so there is a Grid Reference app you can get GR, so you can keep checking if you are worried. Not nice to find yourself going down the steep way when you took all precautions to avoid it.

Nice report.
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Re: Christmas Day on Dùn da Ghaoithe

Postby PeteR » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:21 am

Well done.........I've always fancied escaping up a hill on Christmas Day, but I'm told by MrsR it's anti-social :roll: So this year I quickly got trollied and then fell asleep...... :lol:
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Re: Christmas Day on Dùn da Ghaoithe

Postby Christo1979 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:20 pm

Sgurr wrote:The summit of Ben More Mull has some VERY funny compass readings. We had quite an argument there about whether it was from the pole in the shelter or the rocks, but as it continued down the ridge, I think it was the rock. You may well have been victim of the same effect. We have also stood on a ridge coming down Glamaig in Skye and seen the compass needle swing round 180 degrees in 5 paces. Do you have a smart phone? If so there is a Grid Reference app you can get GR, so you can keep checking if you are worried. Not nice to find yourself going down the steep way when you took all precautions to avoid it.

Nice report.


Thank you :) I agree it's not a nice feeling when the main tool you rely on to keep you safe is being 'tampered' with by nature. At the same time, how exciting! Thanks for the tip re GR - I do use an iPhone and so far have used the OS Maps app which generally keeps me on the straight and narrow but can be slow to update your position. I'll definitely take a look at GR :)

Thanks for your comments on my posts, and a happy new year to you. I have made several resolutions to get out more than I did in 2018 and am looking forward to a great year's walking. My mind boggles when I look at your hill tally on your profile - I'm in awe of you walkers who can cover so much territory :shock:
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Christo1979
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Re: Christmas Day on Dùn da Ghaoithe

Postby Christo1979 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:26 pm

PeteR wrote:Well done.........I've always fancied escaping up a hill on Christmas Day, but I'm told by MrsR it's anti-social :roll: So this year I quickly got trollied and then fell asleep...... :lol:


Thanks :) I can certainly recommend it. I escaped to Mull for 24-27 December, and felt like I had the run of the whole island :lol: I relate to the comments about it being antisocial, though - it was only because I didn't have family commitments and friends were away that I managed it this year! Happy New Year, and here's to a year of great walking :)
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Christo1979
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Location: Gateshead

Re: Christmas Day on Dùn da Ghaoithe

Postby Anne C » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:13 pm

What a shame you didn't get the views! :( Interested to read about how you got on with that walk - tried it once and ran out of time and had to go back; didn't realise it was quite so long. Must be tremendous vistas on a clear day.
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Anne C
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Re: Christmas Day on Dùn da Ghaoithe

Postby Christo1979 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:50 pm

Anne C wrote:What a shame you didn't get the views! :( Interested to read about how you got on with that walk - tried it once and ran out of time and had to go back; didn't realise it was quite so long. Must be tremendous vistas on a clear day.


I agree, it's longer than you think. I must return to Mull and climb the Dùn again - and pray for some views :lol:
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