Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Corbett Bagging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Corbett Bagging. Show all posts

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

TGO Challenge 2019 - Day 5

Date: Tuesday 14 May 2019

Route: Coire Fhiuran to Bridge of Gaur Guesthouse

Distance: 21 km (Cum: 100)

Ascent: 750 metres (Cum: 4350)

Time taken: 8.3 hrs including 2.5 hrs breaks

Weather: sunny and warm, slightly hazier than previous days

Clear overnight but not cold or windy. Our lovely spot could be desolate in bad weather. But not today.

The sun had dispersed any condensation long before I put a brew on at 6.45. A leisurely breakfast and packing saw us leave this vast expanse that we were sharing with a large herd of deer, at 8 am.

We spent the morning wandering along a broad ridge that traversed the summits of Meall na Fèithe Faide (826 m), Meall Buidhe (907 m), skirting Gleann Daimh to Creag Riabhach (779 m), Meall Cruinn (830 m), and Meall nan Aighean (790 m), which we reached at 1 pm.

During the morning herds of deer had punctuated the horizon; mewing birds were the only sound apart from the grunts of the deer and the chirp of the wheatears.

There were no proper paths. Just deer trods and a mysterious and very rough Land Rover track that led puzzlingly from nowhere to nowhere. Perhaps used for stalking, but would they airlift the Land Rover in? Good heathery going was interspersed with peat hags and well constructed cairns.

From our lunch spot we descended to (with difficulty locating it) pick up a narrow path that led to a track and a couple of ladder stiles over deer fences. From there the easy route down to Bridge of Gaur was punctuated only by a call to 'Control' and a long chat with JD.

The hospitality from Eddie and Heather at the Bridge of Gaur Guesthouse was excellent as always. Sabine arrived as we were enjoying 'beer o'clock' in the garden. So we are three Challengers here tonight. The weather and the company are wonderful. Beer, wine, and a fine meal have all 'flowed'.

Today's pictures:
Early morning at camp
One of many summits
Bridge of Gaur (2)

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

20 to 22 April 2019 – A Trip to Scotland

This posting is by way of a pictorial overview of last weekend’s ‘Parcel Delivery Trip’ in preparation for the TGO Challenge in May, as mobile postings only work with a maximum of five images.

If you click on any one of the pictures, you can scroll through good resolution versions without being subjected to my commentary.

Starting with a parkrun in Penrith on Saturday morning got the trip going efficiently on a quiet motorway. Some 378 runners and walkers took part in the regular 5 km event. I had a good run () then met with Mike P for half an hour or so, taking delivery of a package destined for a B&B in Blair Atholl.

Polly’s boot was full, but she wasn’t heavily laden as:

1. Our fairly southerly Challenge route doesn’t fit with the routes of other local Challengers, and
2. Certain individuals had failed to get their acts together.

After dropping off my first parcel at some dubious looking accommodation in Bridge of Orchy, I headed up through Glencoe and on to a fine welcome from Ali and Adrian in Newtonmore, the destination for several more packages.

En route, and as usual, I paused in front of Buachaille Etive Mor. The poor air quality and lack of a good zoom lens led to this very average depiction of the mountain that greets those entering Glencoe.

A bit closer, the hills above Glencoe Mountain Resort still hold enough snow for a few metres of skiing…?

Saturday's mobile posting is .

Overnight rain didn’t clear the air, so on Sunday morning, after dropping the Blair Atholl parcel off, my cross country route to Bridge of Gaur offered only hazy views towards Schiehallion.

After a pleasant interlude with Eddie and Heather, whose fine accommodation on the Challenge will make up for any Bridge of Orchy deficiencies, the drive beside Loch Rannock was a pleasure. Here’s Schiehallion from another angle.

It’s a pleasant view up Loch Rannoch from Kinloch Rannoch, where the next two pictures were taken in opposite directions from the same spot. The bird life and red squirrel life beside Loch Rannoch was nothing short of ‘rampant’, and that adjective could also be applied to the loch side campers.

More country lanes saw me through Strathtay, with a package dropped off at what looks like a nice B&B (Dundarave), then on to the Clova Hotel, recipients of my final package. Clova Hotel, at the head of a long valley, is the antithesis of a run down hotel. Today it was smart and vibrant, welcoming all comers. It’s pictured in the distance below. I hope we get this sort of weather on the Challenge!

Polly’s load, apart from a bag of boots and the survival kit that goes everywhere, was now dissipated.

I’d booked into a Travelodge in Dundee by 4 pm, allowing plenty of time for a walk into the town centre. Desperate Dan was marching along in roughly the same place as last time I was here.

The Caird Hall and town square were looking splendid on the warm afternoon sunshine.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go into the new V&A museum. That’s a pleasure for the future, but the new museum building, next to the dock in which the magnificent vessel ‘Discovery’ lies, is a truly magnificent structure.

Dundee is a city on the ‘Up’, and visitors arriving by rail can’t help but admire the new station.

Strolling back up a hill to my lodgings, I passed a small park bordered by and containing a series of brightly coloured mosaic squares.

Sunday's mobile posting is .

An earlyish start on Monday got me to a small lay-by at the head of Glen Ogle by about 8.30. The sun was shining on another hazy day. About 50 metres from the start of my walk I crossed a bridge over the disused railway line that now houses a fine cycleway.

My path was supposedly alongside a wood. The remains of it can be seen on the last but one picture. The wood has been felled, and not yet replanted.

Beyond the vague path beside the debris from the wood was a tussocky wilderness, with no particular objective visible. Hard going for a while. Despite it being Easter Monday, there wasn’t another soul on this hill.

As I rose steadily, the view across Lochan Lairig Cheile to Killin and the Tarmachan ridge slowly improved.

Eventually the northern ridge of Creag Mac Ranaich provided easier ground for the final stroll to the twin summits of that mountain. Those summits can both be seen in the picture below.

Not knowing which summit was the higher, I strolled over to the far top, which I now discover is one metre lower than the first, 809 metre, summit that can be seen across an unseen void in the next picture.

Looking the other way, there was a good view of Meall an t-Seallaidh, which we climbed last September on .

Back at the main summit, another view towards Killin, this time with snow streaked Meall Ghaordaidh on the left of the picture (click on it for a better image).

I then wandered down to a minor protuberance, at 772 metres, shown on the right of the next picture.

From here, a good view down Glen Kendrum to Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin – Cary’s final Munros, and (below that) back up to the summits visited on today’s walk.

A straightforward walk down, with care needed over some rough and steep sections, brought me to this view of the felled forest and the lay-by in the distance where Polly was patiently waiting before continuing on this round trip of over 900 miles.

Here’s my route – 8 km with 500 metres ascent, taking three hours, with the second picture showing it in a wider context.

I got to Bacup by soon after 5 pm. Jessica kindly shared her Easter egg with everyone, after Kate had supplied some tasty spaghetti bolognaise.

An enjoyable trip, despite quite a lot of driving. Monday's mobile posting is .

PS I hope someone appreciates this (though of course it's mainly for my own record), as 'Blogger' has been particularly obtuse this morning in its unwillingness to accept anything drafted in Open Live Writer. And it used to be so easy... Any experts in switching to Wordpress out there? I'll pay good money!

Monday, 22 April 2019

Creag Mac Rànaich, and an Easter egg

After breakfasting on some of the pile of provisions sourced last night, I enjoyed a scenic drive to Lochearnhead, then up to the head of Glen Ogle.

There's a small layby near a bridge over the disused railway that now serves as an excellent cycle track. Boots were donned - just as well, as despite the dry weather it was squidgy in places, and tussocky. I headed over the bridge and up beside a felled forest. Slow going due to the pathless, tussocky terrain, but only 4 km to the summit. On the way up there were good views to Lochan Lairig Cheile, with the hills beyond Killin melting into the distance. (Top picture.)

The northern ridge offered a pleasant approach to the 809 metre summit. In fact there were two summits. Not knowing which was higher, I went to both of them, the rare 'selfie' being taken from the furthest (but I suspect lower) top.

Views were cloudless but very hazy. The third picture is looking back to the summit ridge from an outlying protuberance of 772 metres which I visited on the way down.

There was nobody else on this hill on this Easter Monday. All I saw on the 8 km, 3 hour excursion with over 500 metres ascent, were a mountain hare, grouse, and numerous small birds like wheatears and stonechats.

There followed a five hour drive to Bacup, including rather longer than desired on the M6 in Lancashire. More the fool me for attempting to travel on a Bank Holiday.

Anyway, I got there in time for a plate of spag bol, and a share of the family egg.

And that's it for this trip...

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Cary’s Final Munro, or two – plus a Corbett


Friday 21 September 2018

Claire from SWOG arrived on time at 1 pm for her lift up to Callander with me and Sue. Luckily the Skoda’s coolant remained where it should be. We refuelled at Tesco in Carlisle, where two pots of tea and a slice of Victoria sponge cost about the same as a Swiss cup of coffee.

Arriving at the Trossachs Tryst bunkhouse at 6 pm, we dumped our bags and set out for dinner at the nearby Lode Inn at Kilmahog. Luckily Sue and I were the only people stupid enough to walk to the pub, where an immediate choice of food was needed as they were expecting a group of 30 a bit later and they couldn’t accommodate a further nine at the same time. So Nigel kindly zoomed back down the road and picked us up. But not before we had savoured the delightful evening light in the direction of Ben Ledi.


The fish and chips were great, and others enjoyed their haggis. (Haggi!)

Meanwhile, back at base, a selection of folk were arriving to celebrate Cary’s final Munro, to be tackled the following day.

Saturday 22 September 2018

It soon became apparent that this was not to be a ‘normal’ (in my experience) final Munro outing. For a start, Cary was starting with another hill, the Corbett – Beinn Each (813 metres) – by way of a warm up for climbing Stuc a’Chroin, a Munro. That was to be Cary’s penultimate Munro. His final Munro was to be Ben Vorlich, a hill that towers above Lochearnhead.

‘Normal’ would comprise everyone accompanying Cary on a fairly easy walk to the top of the final Munro, whence a party involving champagne and cake and lots more would take place. Today just 13 of Cary’s guests saw fit to set out with him, a further 8 taking their own easy route up Ben Vorlich. Others seemed unaware of the etiquette and failed to take part in very much at all, though Sue and Jeff did find a parkrun.

It was a lovely day spiced with occasional rainbow illuminated showers. Had we not been driving in convoy to start the walk at NN 582 136 at around 8.50, we would have been tempted to pause at the head of Loch Lubnaig to admire some magical reflections in the loch.

Eyebright and Tormentil were hanging on with Buttercups and Lady’s Mantle to provide a bit of colour to supplement the various shades of brown adopted by the season’s fungi.

Mark chose a fine position on the summit of Beinn Each from which to savour his customary snooze.


After the easy path up Beinn Each, the route got rougher. Had Phil continued, the planned rendezvous on Ben Vorlich would have been delayed. So he headed down with Shirley, leaving their boys in Cary’s tender care.

So just 12 of us made our way to the summit of Stuc a’Chroin (975 metres), where Mark enjoyed another brief snooze. Others present were Sue, Helen and Harvey, Graham B, the boys – Jonathan and Michael, and Cary’s friends Andrew, Arthur and Pete. We lazed here for some time as we were ahead of schedule. A large herd of red deer was observed far below, but no ptarmigan were seen today, although a hare or two may have been glimpsed, and there were plenty of crows/ravens in attendance.

With Ben Vorlich lurking in the distance beyond a precipitous drop, there was still some way to go.


In view of the potentially tricky descent from this summit towards Ben Vorlich, Cary dutifully looked after the boys by following me around an alternative and much less exposed route to the north. Six of the party took the exposed path, which would be easy in ascent, and the six of us who took the alternative longer but quicker path arrived back at the ridge just as the others reached the same point.

The final ascent to Ben Vorlich was straightforward. Nigel, a Munroist himself, had successfully guided his team of eight to the summit well in advance of the 2.45 rendezvous, and everyone was in position with their walking poles raised in honour of Cary as he lumbered into view at around 2.30.


There was a fine view back to Stuc a’Chroin, from which the precipitous descent is shown just to the left of Sue’s head in the next picture.


We spent some time in a sheltered spot below the subsidiary summit, but eventually the sound of clinking wine glasses in Callander drew us towards the easy stroll back down to Loch Earn.


Sue and I had provided shortbread and cake, but apart from that this was a bizarrely teetotal and scantly catered party despite conditions being more suited to a summit party than on many of the ‘final Munro’ bashes I’ve had the honour of attending.

Pleasant woodland accompanied us at the end of the day.


No worries though. Cary had organised a party at the bunkhouse later, so once we got back we could imbibe to our heart’s content in the warmth of our home for the weekend. Tea, beer, wine, and lots of tasty food and desserts. The cake, sadly not captured on film by me, was a luxurious affair courtesy of Cary’s daughter, Clara, who wasn’t present to receive the accolades attributed to said monstrosity magnificent construction.

The evening concluded with bizarre party ‘games?’ suited to infantile children. This bemused a minority who looked on in puzzlement.

Today’s walk turned out to be about 16 km in length, with around 1300 metres ascent, taking about 8 hours. A fine route. Well done, Cary.


Sunday 23 September 2018


Ground mist soon cleared. There would have been great early morning inversions from higher up. It was a lovely day for a walk, so something of a puzzle that so far as I’m aware only nine of the thirty of us actually went for a proper walk. Graham and Anne headed up a Corbett, and seven of us, me, Sue, Helen, Claire, Harvey, Arthur and Pete parked up at Lochearnhead and headed up Glen Kendrum towards the two Corbetts – Meall an t-Seallaidh and Creag MacRanaich. The plan had been to go up both of them, but I’d underestimated the time that would take. By the time we reached the col between the two hills, all on a good track, we had already covered 8 km.


Another 2 km took us over rough ground with a vague path, to the summit of Meall an t-Seallaidh (852 metres). The summit is at the far end of a broad ridge.

A leisurely stop for lunch in the lee of the cool breeze, with fine views towards the previous day’s route, was savoured by all of us. Had Mark been there he might even have admired the view from his position of slumber.

The trig point formed a good ‘tripod’ from which to record everyone in today’s team.


Cloud formations enhanced the view to Loch Earn, where sailing boats were enjoying the breeze.


By the time we got going again and regained the col between the two hills, after meeting the only two people we encountered all day, a lone greybeard and a young lady in yellow, it was 2 pm. Arthur and Pete had to be down by 5 pm in order to get their lift to Glasgow Airport. Going up Creag MacRanaich and getting back to Lochearnhead by 5 was possible, but may be excessively energetic, and Sue, Claire and I would get home late. So we all took the sensible decision to leave the second hill for another time and descend at a leisurely pace. The views would have been similar, and our approach meant that we could enjoy a half hour break a couple of kilometres down the track, which we retraced all the way back to the car park.


There were superb views across the Glen to yesterday’s three hills, seen here lined up on the horizon.


Harvey, Claire and Helen also stopped to collect fruit from a tree laden with sloes.

We were back in Lochearnhead, absorbing the aroma of freshly cut grass on a fine late summer’s day, at about 4.30, where Arthur and Pete’s lift was waiting for them. We had walked over 19 km, with 800 metres ascent, in about 6.5 hours, rather further than the previous day. There were no recriminations about missing out the second hill.


Helen and Harvey were reunited with their bicycles at the bunkhouse, from where they were to move to a B&B before cycling back to Glasgow the following day to get the train home. Then Sue, Claire and I admired the harvest moon as it rose whilst we travelled south in the gathering gloom, stopping at Annandale services for a McDonalds supper whilst watching the local swans, ducks and heron prepare for a cool night outside.

We were home soon after 10 pm after taking the Warburton Bridge (no toll at this time of night) route as the M60 was shut.

Altogether, a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. Thanks go to Cary, and his able assistants – Penny and Rowena – for organising it so efficiently.

There’s a slideshow, 85 images, here. It’s the first time I’ve used Flickr for this purpose and I can’t work out how to display captions. Maybe I will have done so by the time you read this…(I can’t currently get this to work at all.)
[Some guidance on how to display a full screen, with captions, would be appreciated. Or even how to produce a slideshow of any sort now Picasa is defunct.]