walkhighlands

Late Autumn blue skies on Ben Chonzie and Auchnafree Hill

Route: Ben Chonzie via Glen Lednock

Munros: Ben Chonzie
Corbetts: Auchnafree Hill

Date walked: 08/12/2023

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 21.15km

Ascent: 1085m

Some hills seem to strike a note of disdain by their very mention….Mount Keen, the Geal Charns…and the same with Ben Chonzie. By WH user ratings it is a lowly 220 out of 282. I thought I’d climbed this as a teenager though from my dad’s notes of his compleation it isn’t recorded - though I have no recollection of Mount Keen either despite it being recorded - so this may have been a repeat visit. I did know however that Glen Turret is worth a visit for its own sake, particularly on a bright day, and a route from the dam looked the most appealing.

I was walking with Scott again and we met up not long after first light at the turret dam car park, only a couple of cars there already. It was a fairly cold start and we got moving quickly.

IMG_9456.jpeg


Already the clear skies framed the hills in that late autumn light blue, early sun turning the glen deep orange. It’s easy walking along the side of the reservoir - from Wikipedia, holding about 17 million litres of water - and we made quick progress. On a day like today it’s a great place to be.

IMG_9458.jpeg


Looking back, the sun now making its way above higher slopes and reflecting off the surface of the reservoir, it was starting to warm up with little breeze to take the edge off.

IMG_9461.jpeg


We were soon most of the way along and at the end of the reservoir. Whilst air temps were cold, with the sun beating down and little breeze it was a perfect temperature.

IMG_9470.jpeg


The route to Ben Chonzie heads up via Bealach an gaoith. We took the easy line, steep and a bit bouldery but no difficulties. Further to the left there looks to be a steep grassy route up the shoulder of the crags and there appeared to be (very short) scrambling potential nearer to where we headed up - this was however entirely iced up so left to be explored in future, perhaps.

IMG_9471.jpeg


Some cloud had gathered but impeded the sun little, open views right back down Glen Turret now visible as we climbed up.

IMG_9479.jpeg


Though it felt mild, recent overnight temperatures had been pretty low as shown by the various areas where water seapage had frozen into large icicles.

The ground flattened after a steeper section and we took the turn directly up easy slopes towards the top. The ground was frozen solid which made the route across vegetation easy underfoot.

IMG_9486.jpeg


We reached the top and stopped briefly for excessive consumption of gummy sweets and to admire the views, despite it being a fairly flat plateau, they have good depth.

IMG_9492.jpeg


Ben Lawers appears to have a dusting of white, though most hills nearby other than a touch of frost, seem to have so far escaped the slide into more wintry conditions.

Near the top we saw our first people of the day, a few groups of two people who we assumed came up from Glen Lednock. On the way back retracing our steps a runner was making good speed towards the top.

We dropped down our route of descent and then contoured across boggier terrain, nicely frozen making progress easier than it might be if wetter. It’s a fairly easy climb, though one of those shallow gradients that has me looking at my watch frustrated at only having g gained another 15m of height…

IMG_9499.jpeg


We reached the top of Auchnafree Hill and went to both cairns, the early afternoon (late for this time of year really…) light now taking on a duller more colourful hue.

IMG_9504.jpeg


The land around was now darker with the sun hanging low and we thought about getting our skates on.

We headed straight towards where the terrain drops and picked up the estate track. It’s an easy walk back with little ascent/descent once back down to the dam. Descending we spotted a red kite over head, a lovely site ( I used to see them regularly on my mum’s B&B/small holding near Castle Douglas but that was a fair whack ago).

A pleasant stroll back to cars, we passed a number of people out walking the dog (we assumed) - what a scenic local dog walk the reservoir would be - and were back at the cars with plenty of light left.

Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Inversion and stunning sunny winter on Schiehallion

Attachment(s) Munros: Schiehallion
Date walked: 03/12/2023
Distance: 10.61km
Ascent: 752m
Views: 561


In Defence of the Lammermuir Hills

Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Meikle Says Law
Date walked: 12/11/2023
Distance: 11km
Ascent: 380m
Comments: 3
Views: 533


Quick midweek blast - Beinn Narnain and Beinn Ime

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Ìme, Beinn Narnain
Date walked: 25/10/2023
Distance: 15.76km
Ascent: 1351m
Comments: 1
Views: 359


Return to Black Mount: paragliders, choppers, snipes…

Attachment(s) Munros: Creise, Meall a' Bhùiridh
Date walked: 16/10/2023
Distance: 13.6km
Ascent: 1206m
Views: 320


Beinn a’Ghlo:old man winter, cailleachs and odd coincidences

Attachment(s) Munros: Bràigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, Càrn Liath (Beinn a' Ghlò), Càrn nan Gabhar
Date walked: 14/10/2023
Distance: 22.93km
Ascent: 1608m
Views: 360


‘Adopt a munro’ - taking soil on Buachaille Etive Beag

Attachment(s) Munros: Stob Coire Raineach (Buachaille Etive Beag), Stob Dubh (Buachaille Etive Beag)
Date walked: 10/09/2023
Distance: 9.85km
Ascent: 928m
Comments: 3
Views: 409


Summers almost gone:Creag Mac Ranaich & Meall an t-Seallaidh

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Creag Mac Ranaich, Meall an t-Seallaidh
Date walked: 02/09/2023
Distance: 21.92km
Ascent: 1105m
Views: 344


Am Monadh Dubh: These streaming miles of time and silences

Attachment(s) Munros: Stob a' Choire Odhair, Stob Ghabhar
Date walked: 28/08/2023
Distance: 19.04km
Ascent: 1266m
Comments: 3
Views: 525


Cannich/Affric - Tom a’Choinich and Toll Creagach

Attachment(s) Munros: Toll Creagach, Tom a' Chòinich
Date walked: 13/08/2023
Distance: 17.91km
Ascent: 1097m
Comments: 1
Views: 447

JWCW2014


User avatar
Activity: Walker

Munros: 95
Tops: 39
Corbetts: 4
Fionas: 1
Donalds: 1+0
Sub 2000: 12
Islands: 11



Filter reports


Statistics

2023

Trips: 27
Distance: 439.2 km
Ascent: 29228m
Munros: 50
Corbetts: 3
Sub2000s: 1

2022

Trips: 4
Distance: 106.4 km
Ascent: 5665m
Munros: 12


Joined: May 31, 2022
Last visited: May 16, 2024
Total posts: 429 | Search posts