Archive for the ‘glen orchy’ Tag

Rain!   13 comments

A short post entirely in proportion to the amount of time we spent outdoors.

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The forecast was biblically bad. Heavy rain from the previous night, all through the day and into the following night. Not a day for high mountains (although a couple mad fools took on a Corbett and got a soaking). We opted for a short walk around Glen Orchy just to make sure we had some fresh air and exercise.

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The rain was as heavy and persistent as promised “near-incessant rain almost everywhere” was the MWIS forecast) That at least meant that the waterfalls on the the River Orchy were very impressive (the one above is the Eas Urchaidh). We kept the good humour going as best we could but in all honesty it was as miserable a day as I’ve been out in since my Dartmoor soaking a couple of years back.

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We had a plan to follow an easy forest trail into the Caledonian Pine Forest Reserve around a lake, and back down to the Glen. We had one very soggy river crossing and then came across this ford on the Allt Coire Thoraidh!

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I imagine in normal weather it would be a rock hop across. Today it was completely impassable and had you fallen in you would have been very lucky to survive. We poked around for a bit looking for anywhere to cross but it was pretty obvious our route for the day was over. On the way back the soggy crossing we’d managed before was now wider and wetter. At least everyone’s feet were equally wet!

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We walked up this track a couple of years back in the Beast from the East, walking alongside the Allt Broighleachan. I barely remember it but today it was a deafening torrent!

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Back at the car the Orchy had risen several more feet while we’d been out. Where the were rocks and falls was now just once crashing torrent water. I thought I had a comparison photo from when we crossed earlier. Unfortunately one of my friends thought it would be a laugh to bounce the bridge while I was leaning over to take the photo and it came out rather blurred – lucky I didn’t drop my phone. Funny eh!

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The river Orchy is a big one but I’ve never seen it even remotely this high in numerous visits over the years.

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The forecast for the next day, whilst better, was still not terribly encouraging but we were hopeful and we had a nice hotel bar to relax in.

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Corbett Bagging in the Wind   17 comments

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The rest of the party joined us late Friday night and the usual protracted planing session took place on Saturday morning to decide where to go. There seemed to be a consensus that the high mountains were out of the question as the winds would be vicious and the cloud base down to around 800m. Time to bag a Corbett and luckily the area around Bridge of Orchy has plenty.

We chose Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh further down Glen Orchy. I was pleased as I’d never been down the Glen before and was looking forward to some new terrain. The first obstacle was the fact they were building a new bridge and the diversion involved walking several miles back up the Glen to where the hotel was and several miles back again! Very helpful – not! A bit of subtle moving of site fencing (the bridge was pretty much complete) and a short trespass through the “no go zone” as referred to on the signs and we were back on track

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The weather looked a little better than the previous day. Snow was still falling gently and it was bitterly cold but the sky was noticeabley brighter with odd clearer (albeit very small) patches of blue sky and scant sunshine

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I normally hate forest tracks but this one was rather pleasant and scenic and mostly a path rather than a track. It gave a nice warm up as it steadily climbed towards our goal

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At the edge of the forest we found a very nice and sheltered spot in the trees for first lunch. We figured there would be little chance for further stops higher up and our return route would bring us back here for second lunch later

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From here it was 400m of relentlessly steep ground. Snow covered grass at the bottom becoming icier as we climbed

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The snow was hiding the watery ground beneath which of course was now solid ice. For a short stretch it became unnerving so ice axes were unclipped and crampons donned

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From here to the summit ridge was steep hard snow. Perfect for practice walking with the metalwork. In places the slopes were steep enough to need front points for security. Great fun

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You can tell from the broad smiles in these photos that we were all enjoying a chance to walk in proper winter conditions immensely

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As the slopes eased we had our only proper burst of sunshine for the weekend. Grins grew broader

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The slope may have eased but as we reached the ridge the weather hit us hard. The wind was pushing us around like rag dolls and it was difficult to walk in a straight line. My face was scoured by ice and snow and it was bitterly cold. I was loving it!

The summit scene where I found the courage to expose my hands and take a photo

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We didn’t hang around and plunged back down towards the forests. It was amazing just how quickly the wind dropped as we descended from the ridge

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These slopes were the only ones where we found any significant accumulations of snow with some very deep drifts

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Back to the welcome shelter of the forest for another late lunch

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Sometimes a long return walk can be bind but I really enjoyed this one. The views were pretty fine and the provided a nice sheltered route

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9 miles, 2,500 feet of ascent Summit achieved and another Corbett ticked. I think I only have a couple of hundred left now!

Bheinn Mhich Mhonaidh

Back to the hotel for another cheeky post walk beer before a grand 3 course meal, stories old and older and falling asleep in the residents lounge. Party on!

Posted March 8, 2018 by surfnslide in Scotland, Walking, Western Highlands

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