Thursday, 19 August 2010

Two nights around Beinn a Ghlo

Click on images to make them bigger.

Feeling a bit jaded I managed to get two days off work. The forecast was good so Saturday at 2 pm found me parking beside Loch Moraig above Blair Atholl.

The path up Carn Liath is quite obvious from the car park. I am not very familiar with Scotland so had rung about deer stalking and have to say the answer was not particularly helpful. Based more on the fact that there were other cars parked and that they don't shoot on a Sunday ( the following day) I went ahead. So two hours later I was on the summit and for all those people who haven't already asked, no its not snow its quartzite boulders.

The light was disappointing for photography but the beautiful ridge beckons you on to the two munros for tomorrow.

In the event I camped just above the col on the shoulder of Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhaigan (BCC). The wind dropped and the midges came out forcing a retreat into the tent. Later I looked out to see herds of un- shot dear on the summit ridge silhouetted against the evening sky.

I awoke on Sunday to sunshine and no midges.

After traversing BCC and descending to the col I was on the summit of Carn nan Gabhar by 10 am.
I decided to press on instead of reversing my tracks and ended up descending steep slopes above Loch Loch. Cool name, if it was in the Lake district some pratt would call it Lake Loch Loch.
(eg. Lake Windermere , Lake Ullswater etc.)
Heading for a gill I stopped for my dinner , again herds of deer were in all the hollows on the fellside.

After dinner I had a paddle in Loch Loch then walked out along the east shore. There were two landrover loads of folk having a barbeque at the southern edge. Weren't very friendly when I shouted hello.
By the time I had walked around to upper Coire Laggain I was hot and tired. I pitched the tent besides a beck coming down from Airgiod Bheinn. There were more than a dozen ruined shielings here and the place was very atmospheric.

And boy oh boy did those midges go crazy when the sun went down.

I did not bother trying to make tea or eat breakfast next morning but just packed as much as I could in the tent , put on the net and headed out into the mist. As long as you keep moving they can't get you. I headed for the car and hopefully a breakfast in Pitlochry.

I thought they might stop serving breakfast at 10 am so just went into the first cafe I came to in Pitlochry. Full Scottish ? asked the lass. I' m thinking what could be the difference between full Scottish and full English ? I can now tell you : at least £5 dearer (£11.50) undercooked bacon, cheap poor quality sausage, and toast that must have been re toasted as it was as hard as iron.

Lessons learned: lighter less bulky tent needed as this item of equipment weighs at least twice as much as anything else I carry, Innov8s work brilliantly in Scotland ( a ML training instructor told me they wouldn't) , you don't need fancy expensive socks as I just wear ordinary grey nylon ones the same as Ray Jardine, and finally don't go into the first cafe you come to no matter how hungry.


Mike Knipe said...

I camped at the exact spot of your second night a few years ago. It was April, though, so there were no midgies. Your video of the midgies is a bit scary!

afootinthehills said...

Interesting post. Funny how several TGO Challengers cross Scotland quite successfully in Inov8s and chris Townsend wears little else, but an ML instructor doesn't think they work in Scotland.

I live in Scotland and of course they work, as do most trail shoes!

Greg said...

Thanks Mike, I got away with a few bites on wrist and feet as I put on shoes.

afoot. Yes I was told not to come for assessment in them. Everything he carried weighed a lot, right down to the full Trangia.

Anonymous said...

A Great trip account Greg but those midges !!

Martin Rye said...

Folks have worn trail shoes in the hills for years. Run over a hill in them with a tent in your rucksack it''s a mountain marathon and fine. Walk in the same kit and its wrong. I have done munros and wild walks galore in Scotland in Inov-8 for the last few years. Bulky solid tents are great for space when you are midge bound in it taking refuge. Also camping high in poor weather they are a great choice. Trading down is all about what you want from getting a light shelter. Great trip repot by the way.

Anonymous said...

Great trip report & photos Greg.

afootinthehills said...

Just re-read your report (with my wife!)and we both think the photos are really excellent. The midge video reminds me of a trip to Glen Affric many years ago when we were besieged by them and we retreated into the rent very early. They sounded like rain on the flysheet!

Shame about your experience of breakfast in Pitlochry. Pity you didn't name the cafe.

The Odyssee said...

Those midge! Thats exactly how we had them in Balqhuidder earlier this year. We couldn't do anything but pack up badly and get moving.

Good post Roger. Enjoyed it.

We agree with all the comments. Inov-8 and others are fine for Scotland.

Greg said...

Afoot and Odyssee, yes this is my first excursion into Scotland in summer for a while. We were sat in a tent in Ullapool a few years back. It had rained for days and the midges were hell. decided on the spot to go to the Pyrenees in summer from then on.
I really enjoyed this short break and was only confined to the tent in the evening so it wasn't that bad.

The Odyssee said...

Sorry Greg, i don't know why i put good post "Roger". It must be the decreasing number of brain cells!...Alan