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Overnight bothy bike/hike adventure

Overnight bothy bike/hike adventure


Postby jimbell21 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:16 am

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dearg (Blair Atholl), Carn a'Chlamain

Date walked: 27/06/2019

Time taken: 6.2 hours

Distance: 57 km

Ascent: 2310m

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Thursday 27th June 2019

Given the amazing weather forecast, combined with the fact that I was working all weekend, I planned to do an overnight bike/hike to Beinn Dearg and Carn a' Chlamain in between my shifts. The forecast was brilliant, so I turned up at work on Thursday morning with my mountain bike and overnight gear ready to go. Leaving Dalgety Bay about 4pm, I arrived at the Glen Tilt car park around 5.20pm, unloading my gear under a roasting hot sun and a temperature of 23 degrees! I shouldered my overnight bag and jumped on the bike, making fairly slow progress up the track towards the bothy and Beinn Dearg itself. What a day though!!

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To the bothy and Beinn Dearg

After around 40 minutes of sweating and cycling, I reached the short descent to the bothy and dumped my bag inside. The place was empty and absolutely immaculate inside, a very welcoming place to be.

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Allt Scheicheachan Bothy

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Home for the night

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The faithful steed

Jumping back on the bike, about 10kg better off, I kept cycling a short distance up the track until it forks off to the left for Beinn Dearg itself. I had planned on carrying my bike up the first section and cycling all the way to the summit, however the heat beat me and I really couldn't be arsed with the faff. Walking seemed a far more pleasant option! The hill path is good and it took me no time at all to hike up to the summit, reaching the summit cairn just after 8pm. What a clear view I had to myself, not a cloud in the sky and zero wind. Just brilliant!

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Still roasting on the summit at 8.30pm

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Beinn a Ghlo over the shadow of Beinn Dearg

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Faffing about since there was nobody about...

Being in absolutely no rush, I stayed on the summit for about 40 minutes, sunning myself and enjoying being on the summit of a Munro after completing my day's work at 4pm. I was starting to get slightly peckish however, so started my descent, still without a breath of wind or another person within miles it seemed. I reached the bothy again not long after 9pm and fired up the stove for some chicken tikka!

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Just as I was about to tuck in to my dinner, a couple wondered down the track to the bothy, looking a bit weary after the long walk up the track in the heat. Chatting away in the evening light, we both had our dinner and turned in for the night. I set my alarm for 5.30am, as I had the small matter of climbing Carn a'Chlamain in the morning and then driving home to get to work in time for a 3pm backshift!

Waking up the next morning, I cooked a quick porridge breakfast outside the bothy and was packed up and back on the bike by 6am, looking forward to the predominantly downhill ride back to the car park. What a morning it was too! Not a cloud in the sky, however the A9 corridor was still covered in mist below.

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It never took long at all to reach the car, and my total moving time for the Beinn Dearg 18.5 mile section was 3hrs 20mins. Wow what a difference the bike makes on these hills! Dumping the overnight bag back in my car, I set off again for Carn a' Chlamain with my light cycling rucksack. Even at 6.30am, it was already warm, albeit I had descended into the mist of the valley again, which was much cooler. The track towards Carn a'Chlamain was a delight as soon as I escaped the mist once more...

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Cycling through the forest towards the rifle range.

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Stunning early morning views

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Heaven on the bike


It's a long track to the base of the actual hill path, I certainly would not like to walk this one all the way, despite the valley track being very scenic indeed. Of course, I never saw a soul all morning again. Again, I really should have been riding up this hill to enjoy the superb descent all the way from the summit to the valley floor....but i couldn't be bothered as it was already hot. I had time to walk it, and really enjoyed the hike up the track. About half way up, I passed a girl camping with just the flysheet on her tent. Having a brief chat with her, she had walked in during the night and set up camp about 1am! Fair play.

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Mist still lying in the valley

Although the summit always looked quite far away, it's amazing how quickly you make progress and within no time really I was approaching the summit.

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Carn a'Chlamain with Beinn Dearg visible to the left in the distance.

At 8.30am, less than 2 hours from leaving the car, I was standing on the blissfully quiet summit of Carn a'Chlamain. Nobody around and again not a breath of wind. What a place to be in the morning! Having a few scooby snacks, I took in the views for a good half an hour, which were dominated by the Cairngorms to the north and Beinn a' Ghlo to the south.

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Cairngorms under a clear blue sky

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Toastie at 8.30am, yaaassss!

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Towards Beinn a'Ghlo

After reluctantly peeling myself away from the summit, I started back down the hill at a fair speed, suddenly with the idea that I would have time for a bacon roll and a coffee somewhere before driving home! I passed a couple of early morning bikers and hikers along the track back to the car, but felt fairly smug that I had the summit totally to myself in such great morning conditions! Jumping back on the bike, the pedals were mashed back to the car park about 10am. This hill makes for such a brilliant bike/hike, thoroughly enjoyable all round.

Launching the bike and bag back into the car, I wasted no time in driving to Ballinluig services for an outdoor table, coffee and bacon roll, trying to pretend that I wasn't going to work as soon as I got home!

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Oh yes!

What a brilliant wee adventure I had to myself. Two munros and an overnight adventure ticked off without the need for a day off work. I might have been fairly tired working on Friday evening, but it was so worth it! A very special wee trip.

Elapsed time - 16hrs 40mins.
Moving time - 6hrs 20 mins.
jimbell21
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 9
Munros:130   Corbetts:17
Grahams:4   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:15   Hewitts:4
Islands:10
Joined: Feb 19, 2018
Location: Dunfermline

Re: Overnight bothy bike/hike adventure

Postby Colin1951 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:20 am

Great story about two great (with a bike) hills. I can recall the white-knuckle descent back down from the end of the track to the Shecheichean Bothy on a fully-rigid early-90’s bike! You’ve given me the notion to revisit these two.
Colin1951
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 31
Munros:214   Corbetts:16
Grahams:4   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:1   
Joined: Nov 9, 2010

Re: Overnight bothy bike/hike adventure

Postby Sack the Juggler » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:27 am

Great report, and nice to see a bike in the frame for a change. I have just ordered an electric mountain bike as my knees are not as great as they were so it makes cycling up the tracks too difficult for me (ok, and I'm too fat!).

I might get out for a weekend bike camping on the hills after I have got used to it.
Sack the Juggler
Ambler
 
Posts: 371
Joined: Aug 8, 2018

Re: Overnight bothy bike/hike adventure

Postby jimbell21 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:55 pm

Thanks Sack the Juggler. Loved taking the bike for these two hills, adds a bit more fun and variety into the mix. E-bikes are a game changer, had a shot of one once and was blown away with the ease you can go uphill.

Colin1951, descending the bothy track with no suspension gives me the shakes!! Your wrists and hands must have been ruined. We take for granted modern suspension and bikes in general. Cheers!
jimbell21
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 9
Munros:130   Corbetts:17
Grahams:4   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:15   Hewitts:4
Islands:10
Joined: Feb 19, 2018
Location: Dunfermline

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