Sunday, 26 April 2009

Beinn A' Ghlo, I've only myself to blame.

It was never going to be an easy start to the day I'd planned. After being led astray for a few pints the night before and then packing after I got home from the pub (makes for a more interesting lunch!), I grabbed a few ZZZz's and was away sharpish up the A9. The forecast didn't worry me but I wasn't left feeling very optomistic. In the end I was pleasantly surprised though, I even had the sunroof open at one point!

I arrived at Blair Atholl and made my way up the single lane road, stopping on the way to take photies of some "Coo's", to find the car park at Loch Moraig full. I squeeeeazed the car in, donned my boots, shouldered my pack and set off.

Leaving Loch Moraig behind it wasn't long before Carn Liath was rearing up with it's badly eroded path snaking up it's front. At this point my spirits were dropping, fast. I knew I wasn't feeling fit and the route up Carn Liath was beginning to look like a long steep, hard slog. I had a big day in front of me with another two Munro's to go.

The path was rough with lots of loose boulders and the angle only let up a couple of times for short sections before going straight back to the relentless uphill struggle. I struggled to catch my breath the whole way and drank more water than usual, it was hot though and I was probably a little dehydrated from the night before.

Eventually with a steely determination (probably just stubbornness really) I reached the summit and enjoyed the expansive if somewhat hazy view.

I heard voices and it wasn't long before a young couple appeared behind me full of joy. I never caught their name's but I believe it was her first Munro. I'm not sure if it was the excitement of reaching the summit or not but she looked in far better spirits and just generally fresher than me. I decided to push on, leaving them to have the summit to themselves and was promptly rewarded with one of those 'quick! where's my bloody camera!' moments. I'd disturbed a pair of Ptarmigan who ran directly in front of me searching for cover. For those who think we're mad, this is exactly why the effort is worth it!

They're in there, I promise!

Can you see them now? Even zoomed in they are hard to spot.

Feeling better I strolled over the pleasant ridge of Beinn Mhaol before dropping down and climbing the slopes of Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain.

During the ascent of Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain I realised that I was very low on water and started to ration what I had. I'd need to make a detour to find some more. It fired home just how easy it to get dehydrated on the hill and how quickly you deteriorate when you are. Fortunately it's an easy problem to overcome and that doesn't mean lugging 3 litre's around in a bladder. After a quick look at the map I decided to hit the summit, where I met a very pleasnt lady by the name of Colette, and head over to Glas Leathad when descending into the Col to pick up water at one of the Allt Fheannach tributaries.

I refilled my bottles and popped in a 'juice biscuit' otherwise known as Nuun. I had a Honeystinger gel and a big drink, sorted! I hit the slopes of Carn nan Gabhar with a renewed vigour and it wasnt long before I reached the top to meet Colette again. I hung about for a blether and put the stove on for a brew. I was just pouring my hot chocolate when the couple I'd met earlier appeared. We all sat together gabbing about hills and maps etc before heading off our separate way's.

I headed back down to the Col and followed the Allt Bealach an Fhiodha then contoured round the base of Beinn Bheag and across the heather before picking up the track, back past Carn Liath and on towards Loch moraig and the car.

A grand day oot, if it was hard it was my own fault but it was well worth the effort!


  1. Ah man, everybody's been in the mountains this week but me I think.
    Good stuff there. I like the looks of them hills, I'll really need to get up there and get away from this worrying west coast bias I seem to have developed.
    Juice biscuits are king!

  2. Not everybody. I didn't get further than the tulip fields.

  3. Your as good at that as I am! We should start a book like Where's Wally, Spot the well camoflaged bird/animal. It seems no matter how far I zoom in or how clearly I can see the animal through the lense it's really tricky to see & has to be pointed out in the photo!

    The mountains look lovely, haze & all :)

  4. Aye it was a cracking day even if I suffered and it was hazy. Spring has definitely sprung, you can smell it in the air.

    How d'you fancy a Cairngorm wildcamp this weekend PTC*? if it's nice I may even bring the Tarp.

  5. Nice one mate.
    Good to see it in the light and without snow !

  6. I was actually thinking of coming back when its covered, I reckon it would take on a whole different character then!


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