Day 4 Tyndrum to near Lochan Learg nan Lunn
War Pigs - Govt Mule
The photo's on this blog were NOT all mine.
The 4 x 3 resolution ones I got from Martin.
Basically anything with me in is from Martin.
This is a very long blog post...
You may need a while to read it, and that isn't a short while.
We were up and away reasonably early.
Peaks to be done.
This was ideally going to be a hilly day....although....
It was a chiller more overcast day today. Hints of the odd shower in the air.
Starting out with a nice gentle walk along the track South East by the river and then under the road to pick up the track North to Auchtertyre, where the track veers left up a short incline just after the farm
Just up the track we arrived at the gate.
The far side of which were a heard of cows, calves and a sodding great BULL.
Not happy to see us.
The route round was a long long way.
The jump over fence and hang on to barbed wire at the top of as steep bank to the river (suggested by Martin) was a definite - Are you ****ing bonker man moment?
Onwards was the way.................................
So through the gate we went.
I would have taken photos, but being eyeballed by a bloody great big snorting bull requires concentration.
Stealth was out of the question since brushing cattle to one side meant we had been noticed, and PHD don't do a coat of invisibility.
TBH I was pondering on how close my PHD ORANGE coat was to red :-O
We carried on.
There was NO Stampede, which is a lot less than could be said several years earlier when a certain Mr Sloman had panicked a cow over a fence. I can see where the cow was coming from back then.
I'd walked with him for days, I was pondering on stampede too.
But you need to go back to a much earlier Challenge account to find out about that.
We walked on, through the next gate and up towards the bridge with the railway going over it.
This is not exactly easy ground as is the case with most Corbett's
Once up however, the walk over to Cam Chreag along the ridge line is a joy. OK, a bit more ascent and decent, but nice walking. We had intended to then carry on along the ridge over to Creag Mhor & then follow the ridge all the way across to the lochan where we would camp.
The walk over is very pleasant. Longer than it looks.
Watch out for the way the fence has been cunningly left to blend into the edge of the track as a perpetual rusty trip hazard.
The decent off the East Flank of Cam Creag was steep.
It was also very wet and craggy in places, and we were carrying big packs.
It looks very very do-able on the map, and I guess we could have nailed it, if we had made a punt at it.
We pondered a lot about this.
Looking for the easy decent.
In the end, because getting across was more important, we decided against the decent and to carry along the top SE and then make our way down to the Allt Challium and go along the track. Maybe heading back up if a suitable route materialised.
With hindsight looking back now, I wish we had gone for it.
Then again, one or the other of us could have slid down the hill and been a statistic. That we will never know now.
So we headed round and down to Bealach Ghlas-Leathaid
Now as it so happens we met Sue & Heather coming up the very same slope.
They had been well ahead of us, and were going to go up and then across.
We told them about the slope, but they are far harder and braver and more skilful than us.
On the other hand, they had bottled it on the cows and bull and gone all the way round and up the valley, so whose the big wimp now then....
Yes OK, we were....
Parties went their opposite ways, and we headed down, up the river and had a we lunch stop about 2/3 of the way along. It was getting colder and a small shower moved through.
The final bit along the river to pick up the track involved some off-piste slope walking finally dropping down to a small gate, and then the rather long yomp up the LRT.
This was just a bit of a long slog. Not much to photograph here. The other way would have been shorter, but spectacular. BUGGER.
Eventually we hit the road. We could see the bloody great water pipe from the Hydo for miles. It never ever seemed to get any closer.
Just before the road we had a snack and foot rest stop. Bashing tracks in the heat is no joy.
Then it was round the corner and bash up the track.
Starting to look for a place to pitch up.
There were some right by the side of the road, but these were too close and a bit stony.
The ground down by the lochans was obviously wet and marshy.
Discussions or is it slight disagreements took place about what to do.
I was thinking head up to the right and do a higher pitch.
We met a chap on a bike who had been here quite a bit.
He reckoned that it would be too wet, and that much of the time the ground was far too wet to pitch up.
By this time, Martin had headed off deciding he was going to find a spot.
I couldn't exactly stay there, so I followed.
With hindsight, we , meaning he found a slightly sheltered spot by a small stream.
It wasn't perfect, but give the man his due, it would work.
We looked about for a decent bit flat enough to sleep on, but not likely to flood.
It was getting cooler, and a hint or rain in the air.
Time to get the tent up and gear stowed just in case.
Not a lot of partying that night.
Time for music and maybe a movie on the phone.
Day 5 - The Lochans to the Sheilings below Creag Nam Bothan
We woke and headed off reasonably early.
As we were breaking camp, we spotted Sue and Heather coming off the hills and then heading across and up the road. We were not sure if they had spotted us, but we learnt later they had, but we were off the route for them.
We headed back across to the road.
By rights the track (there was no bloody track) but the route ought to go straight up.
So another off-piste wet tough ascent into misty hills took place.
Ain't nothing easy about Corbett's
We climbed our way to the top of the first hill of the day, Meall nan Subh
It was misty and quite windy.
A chill in the air, although the effort meant it was hot work on the ascent.
Coat off for that bit and then on again at the top.
The next few photographs track our route out and across the hills
The weather cleared a bit as we followed the ridge line round as best we could.
This is NOT a track.
In places it is, but in others you just need to follow the geography and avoid the wet bits in the dips between the tops.
What can I say.
This was hard walking at times.
But my oh my, views to die for in places.
It was a day of Scottish weather.
It wasn't warm, but it wasn't bitter.
It was misty at times in the cloud.
It was pretty bloody good though, and we did a lot of tops.
Eventually we began our decent down to the shielings .
I was feeling good.
I was cracking on down hill at a goodly pace.
The weather was cutting up a bit rough though and as we dropped we were getting a bit of a lashing of rain.
In my head I wondered if we should go up.
When we finally got down by the shielings , it was apparent that a lot of the ground was wet.
Pitching up would be hard.
We carried on almost to the road.
Just short, by the river we looked hard for something flattish, but with little chance of water rushing through it if it poured overnight.
It wasn't easy.
Eventually, the best compromise was agreed on.
This gave us water, although with sheep about filtering was necessary.
We pitched up.
short squall showers were intermittent.
Not bad, just bleeding annoying.
This had not been a huge day in kms. Maybe 18 to 20 tops.
But the terrain was not flat, mainly trackless.
The hills were gnarly.
Yep, pretty ****ING ACE day all in :-)
Food prepared, a wee dram and some shut eye was needed.
If today was hard, tomorrow was going to be a lot harder, because tomorrow was all 6 of the Munros on the Ben Lawers range.
We rose early again.
The weather looked OK.
Today we needed to put in a big day to get over the hills.
The forecast for day 7 was going to be SHITE. We were now 1 day ahead of schedule and had been since Tyndrum.
It had worked out perfectly.
Hitting here with tomorrows forecast would have meant no hills, and a really really crap FWA.
All in all then, things were going well.
We nipped across the last field via a small amount of wet ground, it had rained overnight a fair bit, and got to the road, leaving it at the small style just as the road turns right down towards the loch.
From the road initially, there is very little path.
OK, BUGGER ALL.
This is an overland yomp taking a look to see where you want to go to in the next pitch.
Martin and I don't always agree on routes up hills.
He tends to go straight up.
I like to plan small goals and targets all the way up.
So that means we often head up on different routes to a similar goal.
This isn't a problem.
He goes up more quickly than I do on this trip anyway.
He is younger, slightly fitter, and has longer legs.
We arrive together, that's all you need.
Nothing worse IMHO than following someone up a bloody great steep hill.
I've never understood how ramblers do that.
Or those ludicrous great conger groups of people that hit the Lake District Hills every bloody weekend in the summer.
So we made our way up to a common point by our own routes.
This was tough terrain.
You basically just look for the least arduous and difficult route.
I guess that is called experience and hillcraft.
So, that its what we did.
Through the shifting cloud as we climbed, there were some mighty fine views
The weather was clearing
Once through the nasty stuff, we eventually picked up a steep winding small path that would take us to the summit of Beinn Ghlas
This was steep hard work, with the sun beginning to show in places, and a need to remove some layers on the way up.
In fact, I was so hot, I had to remove my shirt to ring it out.
Thankfully no pictures of that.
We climbed on and on, eventually hitting the summit.
Dropping off the summit and down we picked up the long path that eventually tracks up to the summit of Ben Lawers.
Stopping on route to air feet (you have to, how many times do you need telling this), and having a drink.
This is a climb that goes on and on.
We were NOT going to have fabulous views today.
But we were certainly going to do a lot of bloody elevation.
OK. some of these next few pictures may well be out of sequence, they are a mixture of mine, Martins and my phone, plus the fact that blogger doesn't seem to load them in a logical sequence.
If nothing else, you'll get the idea of the terrain.
Maybe next time I'll write it up sooner and remember WTF happened.
From the summit of Ben Lawers, there is a goodly walk round over some other smaller tops to the eventually summit of An Stuc.
Someone appears tired.And then we finally hit the Summit of An Stuc
Well, now, let's talk about the decent off.
Want to find out about An Stuc, go and read Jeremy's blog.
It ain't no picnic.
Jeremy Part 1 Jeremy Part 2 Jeremy Part 3 Jeremy Part 4 Jeremy Part 5
The short pitch just below the summit is
If you go.... YOU ARE GOING TO GO.
At least the snow had gone on this bit.
This was a hands a good idea scramble.
Not long, just enough to stop you glissading into rocks and over a steeper edge.
Was it Fun you may well ask.
|Doesn't look that bad does it.|
That's because that isn't the worst bit.
It was still bloody nasty though.
AND, a lot steeper than it looks in that picture
Quite a nice walk this bit actually.
Met a chap on the way up
And then with the weather temporarily improving, we made our way round and on and on to the last small very different top of the day.
From here it was to be an off-piste decent all the way down to Fearnan
The initial decent is trackless, but easy to see the route, just picking up the best fall line down to try and hit the big forestry track above Fearnan.
Near the bottom there is a faint track that you can pick up.
That's also the last of the photos until later, because about 3/4 of the way down it PISSED DOWN.
And it went on and on.
Eventually we came out of the muddy track that goes through the trees and hit the forestry track.
Turning left I headed up the track.
I walked back towards Martin.
No sign of a track.
Maybe it was the other way.
We needed to get down to the lower road.
We walked about ½ km to the right.
This was NOT going well, and NOT going the right way.
And it was still pissing down.
Tempers were getting frayed.
Well, mine was.
Not with Martin.
Martin did a Viewranger check when his phone eventually behaved.
It's waterproof, but the rain pisses about with the screen something dreadful.
We must have missed it but how?
It ought to be about 200m to the left.
Exactly where I had gone to start with.
I went back slower.
Yep, there it was.
Totally overgrown, and totally inconspicuous.
We made our way down through mud and several bends.
Finally hitting what looked like a trail.
Did people actually come up here.
At the bottom was a gate.
A brand new gate.
And then through the gate, no markings and deep rutted tracks.
It appeared that this new track had been purpose built with the gate to really PISS PEOPLE OFF!
WELL, IT WAS FUCKING WORKING A CHARM!
We fannied around for a while.
Then went back round, through another fence that wasn't marked at all, and down through a field, and came out at another gate.
Heading down a track into the village.
Wondering if anyone ever left by this route.
There was building work going on in several of the buildings.
Looked like new holiday build.
Or maybe this is where they were going to put the bodies of people they lured here, or who had just given up the hope of living and died in misery trying to find that fucking path...
Whatever, we were here now.
We wandered into the village looking for a pub or a shop.
It was as dead as a dodo.
Eventually we came across a nice lady gardening.
She said there was nothing, but there was a pub about 3 miles up the road in Fortingall.
Well we were going that way anyway, so we trudged back up the hill we had trudged down and headed out of town.
I can tell you, with a brief stop for Martin to do repairs to his feet, that was a bloody looooonnnngggg 3 miles.
We got to the pub.
Outside it started to rain.
We were inside.
In a pub.
Who ****ing cared.
The nice bar lady came out
"Did they do food?"
"NOT UNTIL AFTER 7"
I could have wept.
She saw we were broken men.
Tip toeing on the ragged edge.
"I'll see if chef can do you some sandwiches though." she said
I could have kissed her, but now was not the time to get thrown out of the pub.
We sat by the fire, removed socks and nasty wet things and shoes, and placed much nasty wet smelly clothing in the hearth area to dry.
Another beer. it seemed the thing to do.
The fire roared.
Outside it rained.
Would anyone notice if we stayed here?
Did they do B&B.
Martin would hear none of it.
He is a cruel man at heart :-)
We needed to crack on.
Maybe a third beer for hydration purposes.
Martin declined, but I had one anyway.
It stopped raining.
We got gear back on, and with great reluctance headed off up the road to pick up the track towards Schiehallion.
We pondered on maps to find the path.
It may have been the beer, but eventually turning right up a driveway past a farm, where we checked with some people in a Landy, we turned up the track.
It was but a short while later we realised we had missed a right turn.
We took the next one and bundled our way back on course.
We took the left track by mistake.
Cutting back to pick up the bigger track we should have gone up.
Did they send us the wrong way on purpose I ask myself?
Heading out up a gradual incline that never ever seemed to end.
And on and on and ****ING ON.
As we headed along the never ending track, a small group of sheep were in front of us.
They kept going on and on and on, and pausing and then running on the way that sheep do.
There was about 400 sq miles either side they could have escaped into.
There were no fences.
But they kept on running away.
SHEEP ARE SERIOUSLY ****ING STUPID.
Eventually we saw Schiehallion.
TBH it is bloody huge, you can't miss it.
The track dropped down past the bothy up to the right.
"It's locked" said Martin
We'll come back to that statement shortly!
There was one tent.
We made our way down to the path of ground by the river, near the other tent, having gone through some nasty wet stuff.
As we arrived a chap came out.
He was on the Challenge.
Martin will remind me of his name before I write up the next 2 days.
He offered us TEA.
We got tea, had a chat, put up tents, after the normal tent pitch search faff.
I decided by the river.
Martin searched the field to find a place in case the river burst it's banks when the rain came in.
I couldn't be arsed, but looked anyway.
We came back to the first pitch that was were we started, and was flat and by water.
We put shelters up.
The nice chap came with whisky
A proper bloody challenger.
It was late and getting cold, and it would soon be time to turn in.
Apparently his mates were up in the bothy with a fire, and whisky.
It wasn't locked at all!!!!!!
Well, thanks for that info earlier then Martin Buddy!
It was too far to walk back now. :-(
I looked at Schiehallion.
It was big, and it was about 8.45.
"You got a big head torch Martin?"
"The weather tomorrow is going to be shite mate"
"If we go now, we could get over that bugger tonight"
"We'd be down the other side by 11.30 to 12.00"
"What do you say, come on, we could have that, she would go"
Martin declined, and he wasn't going to be budged.
Bloody Younger generation eh... No staying power!
We went to bed.
I say WE!
We had our own tents OK.
Just walking partners alright!
I started a film, or a radio 4 download or something after making food and maybe having a big shot of whisky.
I don't remember TBH.
I woke the next morning.
Schiehallion had gone, and the weather was shite.
We were not going high!