Archive | Summer Hill Walking

Carn Gorm to Creag Mhor (Meall na Aighean), Glen Lyon

We headed up to Glen Lyon yesterday to do the four munros accessed from Invervar. We’re starting to run out of new hills to do close to home, and this was one of the biggest days left to do.

It began to shower as we parked up, and not long into our initial ascent of Carn Gorm, the heavens opened and the waterproofs were on! However, the rain did clear up in the afternoon giving us a nice day out.

We found and collected loads of blaeberries, and even saw some cloudberries (normally we only come across the leaves), but sadly they weren’t ripe so we are yet to taste them!

Approaching the summit of Meall Garbh
Carn Gorm from the descent of Creag Mhor (Meall na Aighean)

Wild Camping, Ben Macdui

Keith and I spent Tuesday and Wednesday this week in the Northern Cairngorms preparing for our ML assessment.

Coire an t’Sneachda

Tuesday was a lovely day, beaming sunshine with great views. We spent the day practicing our micro-navigation on the plateau, and then set up camp near Ben Macdui. Not long after the tent was pitched, the rain started! Good timing.

Our Campsite

We cooked dinner (risotto and sausage), had a short nap, and then headed out into the rain for some night nav practice.

On Wednesday morning we woke up to the sound of the rain lashing down on the tent! We hid inside until 11am when it started to ease off, and then spent the remainder of the day practicing more micro-nav before heading home.

Braeriach to the Devil’s Point

On Tuesday morning we headed into the Cairngorms to spend a couple of days bagging hills.

The first day consisted of Braeriach along to The Devil’s Point. We parked at the Sugarbowl and then headed up through the Chalamain Gap and into the Lairig Ghru. Went up onto Braeriach via Sron na Lairige, and practised some micro nav in the mist. MWIS claimed that rain was ‘unlikely’ – but actually we got rained on for 2.5 hours up on the Braeriach plateau…and no view what so ever.

View over to Braeriach from Angels Peak

 Once we reached Angel’s Peak (Sgor an Lochain Uaine) though, the weather had cleared and the day was pleasant after that! After 11 long hours we had dropped down back into the Lairig Ghru, past the rather busy Corrour bothy, and found ourselves a nice little bivi spot.

Ben Macdui

Carn a’ Mhaim from The Devil’s Point
Night time view from bivi spot
Wakey Wakey :)
Cairn Toul
The Devil’s Point

By Wednesday morning we were so tired so our plans to head up onto Cairngorm plateau fell through and we just walked the Lairig Ghru. Lovely weather and views though!


Two Days in Ben Alder

Ben Alder Bike Circuit – 53km

On Friday, after sleeping in three hours later than planned, we headed up to Ben Alder area with all our overnight gear to spend a couple of days based at Culra Bothy. 
The cycle in was much harder than we had imagined. Simple land rover track, but not so simple with a massive pack to carry! Not to mention the heat – a balmy 18 degrees or so. I felt like a proper girl on this trip – I took THREE pairs of shoes for two days. Flip flops for the bothy – essential, my five ten biking shoes as I didn’t like the idea of cycling in my walking boots (and my pedals would probably have shredded the soles anyway), and finally the hill boots. However, the suffering was worth it as my five tens were soaked through in bog by Friday night so I was glad to have some dry boots for Saturday morning. 
We also lugged several locks for leaving the bikes unattended at the bothy – will never take the risk of ‘The Beast’ being stolen. 
Landy track cycle in
Approach towards the bothy
The cycle in took us just over 2 hours, with a break for some food and shoulder resting. We reached the bothy at 3pm. 
We left loads of stuff, packed up our day sacs and headed off to do the Ben Alder bike circuit:
Green = Rideable, Red = push/carry
It starts off with some nice single track up a valley for about 4-5 km. There are some drainage ditches to negoitate, a couple of which we got off the bikes for as they were quite wide. Also a few stream crossings, but it was rideable until the very end when you reach the steep ascent. The steepness only lasts for about 500m or so, and I’m sure some of the super fit xc lycra riders would manage to cycle, but we just pushed.
View to the East just after leaving the bothy
Heading up the valley
Some sweet big mountain single track
We were then at the first Bealach looking at a nice long descent ahead of us. Some awesome cross country riding was had, a mix of up and down, but all fully rideable (with the exception of a few stream crossings).
About half way along, I managed to put a hole in my tyre – another expensive day out!
My successful tyre boot. Made out of inner tube and gaffa tape
This lasted for about 8km, until Ben Alder Cottage (rumour has it this bothy is haunted? – I didn’t go inside) then the grueling 2km hike-a-bike begins.
The hike-a-bike was pretty horrendous actually, especially as our shoulders were killing from lugging all our kit into the bothy earlier in the day. The path wasn’t very well defined at all – infact we are both really surprised its even shown on a 1:50,000 map as paths like that normally aren’t. Thats if you call it a path. It was a mix of bog, boulder field and heather. 
The guidebook told us that it was ‘an hour of hard work’, but it actually took us 2 hours. Pretty hard going! 
Here we go!
Happy faces at the top
Was it worth it? Well I think ‘possibly one of the best descents in the country’ may be a bit of an exageration, but it was good fun. We couldn’t ride along side the loch as it was super boggy…it would go after a long dry spell though which would probably add to the quality of the descent.
All in all it was an amazing ride in good weather and the struggle to carry the bikes was worth it. We got back to the bothy about 9.30pm, so the circuit from bothy to bothy took us around 5 hours 30 minutes. We fuelled up on the overly priced Mountain House dehydrated chicken tikka, which was rather minging and tasteless, but good enough when you’re starving.
Bothy life
Here is a video of most of the biking action:

Ben Alder Bike Circuit, 5.7.13 from GetOutAdventures on Vimeo.

The Aonach Beag Four 

On day two after not much sleep thanks to the snorey man next to us in the bothy, we headed up the four munros on the Aonach Beag ridge. 
Ben Alder in the morning sun
This began by walking along the same valley we cycled yesterday, but then contouring round the southern slopes of Sron Ruadh and up onto the ridge between Aonach Beag and Beinn Eibhinn. From the bealach the entire ascent was pathless and hard going on the knees and ankles! 
Plane crash remains
 We came across the plane crash remains (above). Apparently been there since 1942. More info: here.
Keith enjoying the view from Bealach Dubh
Single track from yesterday – scarring on the hill (left in photo)
View from Aonach Beag summit
We continued along the ridge towards Carn Dearg (the fourth munro) before descending down yet another pathless slope to the bothy. 
Carn Dearg in the distance
Keith and some cool looking chasms in the background
Final summit cairn (Carn Dearg)
Hill fog closing in
Culra bothy and lodge
We got back to the bothy at 5pm, packed up our stuff and cycled back out to the car. The cycle out only took 50minutes (there’s less up on the way back). 
An awesome two days in the mountains :)

Stuc an Lochain with Lilly

On Tuesday we took our westie, Lilly up Stuc an Lochain in Glen Lyon. This hill is rather easy for munro standards, as you park the car at 400m.

Last year we took her up Meall Bhuide, another munro on the other side of the road which she loved. Stuc an Lochain was a bit harder going for her though – a much steeper rockier ascent. We had to lift her over a few big rocky steps that were double her height, but other than that she did awesome and her mini legs took her all the way to the summit :)

The summit of Stuc an Lochain
Lilly on the summit cairn :)

mmmm shortbread!

Lil slept the whole way home and was rewarded with a nice big chunk of raw sirlion steak. nom nom :D