Like a poor man's Danny MacAskill

Route: Carn na Saobhaidhe, via Dunmaglass

Corbetts: Carn na Saobhaidhe

Date walked: 19/05/2017

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 28km

Ascent: 680m

A spate of jobs in the highlands was coinciding with a quintessentially fine May - for the third time in a fortnight, an opportunity too good to miss :D

One of the remotest Corbetts, Carn na Saobhaidhe (Hill of the Fox’s Den) is the highest point amidst miles of featureless moorland that characterises the Monadhliath range. I'd looked across to its barren plateau slopes on my very first solo excursion (from southern England by way of the Caledonian sleeper to the Newtonmore Munros), which only heightened the sense of loneliness I associated with it.

An early drive over the Lecht, under sunny skies ever infilling with high cloud, brought me to Dunmaglass, where I parked under a tree that buzzed as host to unseen bees. Cycling to the hill offered to tame the nine miles of glen and high moorland in which the summit was enclosed. Therefore a six hour hike, which my time could ill afford, would - punctures aside – be avoided.
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No sooner was I off along the estate road when a 4x4, a long cloud of dust in its wake, become first of a dozen such vehicles to pass me during the day. I soon realised this was the principal access to a vast wind farm development located in the heart of the Monadhliath landscape. A site office worthy of a housing estate was passed before the ascending track, widened to carry giant turbine-bearing lorries, reduced me to a bottom gear, 4mph crawl - the price of remaining defiantly in the saddle. More vehicles with flashing orange lights passed me until, with some relief, I branched onto a track sign-posted “no access to wind farm”. I picked up speed dropping down to a river ford, refilling my water bottle, before struggling for traction on the steepest grind of the day - the high cloud and breeze welcome at least for nullifying the sunshine.
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I emerged from the confines of the glen onto open moorland and, one inevitable wrong turn later, joined a more rustic track meandering beside - and often through - the sedate Aberchalder Burn. Skeletal white stumps, remnants of the ancient Caledonian forest, protruded from deep within the peat flanks that bordered my route.
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Near the 700m contour line I paused at a newly-built timber building, beyond which I yielded and pushed the bike towards the final slopes. Emerging from another deep trench of peat, the gradient eased allowing a final 100 yard cycle to the modest summit cairn – my prize for 2 hours and 9 miles of endeavour. :D
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Beyond the barren surroundings, and the eye-sore wind farm to the north east, the horizon was a litany of west highland peaks, from Ben Klibreck to the snow-mottled Nevis giants. I'd preferred to have lingered longer in that remote spot, but, grapes and malt loaf (my new favourite for the hills) consumed, after 20 minutes enjoying the solitude I set off - with a little trepidation - on the return journey.

It was soon apparent this would be no effortless glide. As much time was spent defying gravity - clinging onto brakes to avoid being bounced off – as embracing it, on the tear-inducing faster sections. Lacking suspension my hybrid mountain/road bike passed the juddering on to my arms with generosity. Only having rejoined the wide construction road, at a 15 mph speed-limit sign, did I dare release my grasp on the brakes, albeit on the straightest sections only. Without a helmet I was taking no chances on the loose, skiddy gravel surface. I reached 37 mph en route to the lower glen and, after 40 minutes from the summit, the van. My working day was resumed with a few extra memories from the typical 9 'til 5 to show for it
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Comments: 2

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Attachment(s) Corbetts: Geal Charn (Dorback)
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Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Mid Hill (Mainland Orkney)
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Attachment(s) Corbetts: Beinn Iaruinn
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Attachment(s) Grahams: Geallaig Hill
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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Munros: Meall a'Bhuiridh
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Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Brimmond Hill
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Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: Too many
Place: Too many
Camera: Panasonic Lumix
Ambition: Enjoy the wilds

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 61
Grahams: 12
Donalds: 1
Wainwrights: 2
Hewitts: 6
Sub 2000: 14

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Trips: 3
Distance: 59.7 km
Ascent: 2770m
Corbetts: 4


Trips: 1
Distance: 9.5 km
Ascent: 900m
Munros: 1


Trips: 4
Distance: 18.2 km
Ascent: 1510m
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 2
Sub2000s: 1


Trips: 1
Distance: 5.3 km
Ascent: 440m
Munros: 1


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Distance: 8 km
Ascent: 900m
Munros: 1
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Trips: 13
Distance: 191.1 km
Ascent: 15635m
Munros: 24
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Sub2000s: 1


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Joined: Dec 20, 2010
Last visited: Aug 14, 2017
Total posts: 232 | Search posts

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