200th on Gulvain

Munros: Gulvain

Date walked: 13/12/2015

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 20km

Beep beep. Alarm started going off just before six, and eventually we managed to pull ourselves out of the warm bed after the snooze button took a few hits. We got on the walking gear, bumping into one another in the small room, before heading down to the kitchen. With the rucksacks packed the night before, it was only the flasks that had go in before sitting down to some breakfast and reflecting on how the legs are after Saturdays walk on Sgurr nan Coireachan, more stiff from the cycle than the walk itself and of course this was to be Gills 200th munro. :D

We drove from Corpach west along the A830, until the turn off for Strontian A861, just after you turn left there’s a small car park on the right hand side. So parked up and head torches on, we got the bikes ready for the cycle in which the hands stuck to from the ice. A snow plough passed along with a van as we got the bags settled on the backs, it was still dark with some stars shining. At around 7.30am we made our way back over the main road then left towards the houses then right over the small bridge and left through the gate sign posted for Strathan 10m.

The track runs alongside the Fionn Lighe which we could hear, but only see if we shone our torches to the left, the light from the torches was like thousands of little stars reflecting off the ground and tree branches. It started rising gently to around 80mtrs before dropping again as you head across the bridge over the Fionn Lighe and into the wooded area through Gleann Fionnlighe. Plenty of yellow eyes looking back at us when the torches drifted away from the track, luckily it was only deer. Crunching the wheels through the iced puddles was good fun at this time of the morning, well wrapped up with only a slight cold breeze on the face from cycling, only stopping to open a couple of gates. The further up the glen we got the puddles started getting harder and more of a chance of slicing the tyres now or sliding off onto the side verge, we decided to ditch the bikes after about forty minutes just before the forest ends. We could just about make out where we will make our way up Leac a’ Chaiginn from here. So with torches away, bikes locked and stamping on the concrete like ground away we went.

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Bike stop

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Icy Path

The deer were now visible on the hillsides and plenty of stags among them, probably the most I’ve seen together in one area. At some points we came away from the track and onto the grass sides as the frozen puddles and even just lightly covered sections with ice in places made it difficult to cross. We passed an old but large sheepfold then not far from here the path splits which we took the right path to take us onto the hill path, around here was also tricky with the burn that runs over the track frozen solid, it was now just before 9.00am.
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It was a bit of a slog as soon as you hit the soft snow losing the main path and then re-join it again further up and as no one else set off before us we had to break trail in the deeper stuff unlike the day before when we had four others in front. But the views were great with the sun now starting to shine on the hill tops of Sron Liath to the west,

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Meall Onfhaidh on the east and the Ardgour peninsula to the south, stunning, this gave plenty of photo opportunities.
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Nevis to left & Pap of Glencoe to right.

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Icy path.

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Loch Garry clouded over

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Nevis zoomed

At 11am we were at the trig point of 961mtrs, with views in every direction and even Skye and the Rum Cuillin making an appearance, smashing.

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Looking towards Gulvain the ridge looked steep and quite a distance away, after a few more photos here and pointing out different hills, we made our way towards the ridge.

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Gulvain from trig.

The first section we went down was the trickiest. I opted to come slightly away from the path and onto the soft snow to get down, then it was the walk along the ridge. No need for crampons or axe at any time as any icy parts could easily be walked around.

We hit the Gulvain top around 11.30am and soon had the insulating jackets out as the wind picked up slightly not too much but the wind chill was cold. We took loads of photos, before sitting down for some lunch and doing the usual of pointing out the hills places we have being, then some more photos, in case the first lot weren’t good enough and of course the summit photo on the big cairn before leaving.

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Looking back over to the trig point it looked further away but not as steep this time and probably took less time by some minutes. Having another short stop back at the trig, the view walking off was incredible looking Ben Nevis all across to Glencoe, Glen Etive and the southwest. We took a more direct route down instead of our diagonal path on the way up, crossing over out boot prints several times. The breeze was gone again, so we stopped to lose a few layers and have a drink and trying to make out where about the bikes were in the distance.

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View off

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As we got back to where the path split earlier the ground had softened a bit but care was still needed, as some parts were still frozen solid. Back on level ground, we talked about what it might have being liked to live and work there.

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Old Bulidings

On left we watched the waterfalls and still pools of the river, then a fox ran up along then side of the bank, this fox was either well fed or had a heavy winter coat on it, very different looking to scrawny ones here.

Back at the bikes we got the buffs and gloves on for the cycle out, and one last look at Gulvain.

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Last look at Gulvain

As it was still bright we could see some old buildings and some not so old on the way out that we could not see earlier this morning, even the deer were still at the same spot looking back at us. The rise after the bridge being the hardest part of the cycle after two days on the hills, but it’s a free wheel down to Drumsallie and back to the car.

Well done to Gill on her 200th :clap: :clap: :D .

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Interests: Walking, Running
Activity: Walker
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Mountain: Beinn Eighe
Place: Cairngorms Strathcarron
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