Friday, August 12, 2016

deep gyhll stunner

We had been planning this Ghyll scramble from the beginning of  our holiday in the lakes and on the last full day (Friday) we accomplished it. It was 9 and a half miles and some of these miles were very hard as we were walking up across heather and many other plants for around a mile to exit the beck and climb onto the ridge. Today we planned to go up Haycock via Deep Gyhll and then come back down along another ridge of Haycock.

After we had walked around two miles we got to a bridge and the bridge was where we got are first view of the beck we were going to scramble up (Deep Ghyll). From here we could see how steep it was, though we had already looked at the map, and that it would be hard work leaving the river.

Here is another picture of the river as we crossed another bridge. The path that we were following then was hard to keep track of as their had been floods at the start of the year , however we still managed to find it.
In this picture you can see on the left where we walked up onto the ridge leading us to Haycock which was our summit of the day. From here we could see that near the top would be really misty and the visibility wouldn't be very good.
We had to check the map to check that this was the right Ghyll and that we had left the path at the right point. We put our waterproofs on and set off up the river. Unfortunately for me i fell in a few times. :)
This is me in the river as we had just entered the deep waters of the gyhll .
Here is my dad standing with his feet covered in water! :)
I am now standing in the chill of the water. It was absolutly freezing and i hoped to have a hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream, when i got home.
Here is another view of the river, you can see in this picture that the ground wouldn't be to pleasant to  walk on, fortunately we made it, even in the bad visibility.

In this picture you can see Ennerdale water which we walked around a bit to get to this point. you could see the waters all the time until we got high enough when there was to much mist and fog to see it down below.
This is a view from when we were walking up cross country in the heather and the bilberry plants.
This picture was taken near the top of Haycock we thought it was funny had the sheep was pink. He must have got extra paint on him when he was being marked by the farmer.
Here is another picture of the pink sheep and his friends! Haycock isnt a major mountain but its 2618 feet.
This is a picture from when we finally got our visibility back and you can see Ennerdale water in this picture.
This is me walking back i dared myself to jump in every puddle i see.
This was the best puddle to jump in, however my waterproofs got soaked. I really enjoyed this day out , because it was lots of fun scrambling up the river and walking through powerful waves.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Cairngorm Challenge

It is good to attempt to climb the Scottish munros by different means and styles. One on my Munro bagging friends is leaping ahead! This motivated a need to seek new tactics for attempting to keep up with our current pace of Munro bagging. I have started to run some ultra trail marathons in the peak and Lake District. A little research revealed to me that there is a round of all the Cairngorms, known as the Rigby round. The challenge here is a 74 mile circuit of the Cairngorms in under 24 hours. As I had already completed a number of summits I decided to split the mountains I had not attempted into two groups, East and West. Both days were 43 and 31 miles respectively and required an early morning start.
For the first day I attempted the east group of Braeriach, Sgor Gaoith, Mullach Clach a Bhlair, Monadh Mor and Beinn Bhrotain. I was dropped off at 6am at the Sugar Bowl car park on the road to the Cairngorm ski centre. On the walk up Braeriach and rising above the mist bathed environs of Aviemore the experience was magical.
Cairn a Mhaim (left) and Cairn Toul (right) with the Devils point showing itself in the middle.
The ridges of Cairn Toul and Angels Peak looked fabulous, on a future visit to Cairn Toul I'd like to try the fabulous  North East ridge of Angels Peak. This was a group of mountains which were most enjoyable. With fresh legs, gaining the summit of Braeriach, I viewed the summit of Sgor Gaoith and began to appreciate the scale of the challenge ahead! Before gaining the slopes of Sgor Gaoith, there was quite a lot of rough ground to negotiate. Once on the ridge which linked with the rounded slopes of Mullach Clach a Bhlair the going was easier. There was track which lead from near the summit of Mullach Clach a Bhlair, however the distances to Monadh Mor and Beinn Bhrotain were significant! Time was marching on and the cloud started to build in the sky. The climb of Beinn Bhrotain was somewhat arduous the reward made it worthwhile when I looked back at the fabulous glens around the Devils point, I had completed the days challenge and I was very happy. The sky looked increasingly angry Cairn Toul and Angels peak were bathed in thhe cloud. I comfortably made may way back from the Corrour Bothy which is just over 9 miles from the Sugar bowl car park. At this point in the day energy levels had dropped to the extent that I walked most of the Lairig Ghru. I was conscious of the fact that I wanted to attempt the eastern group of munro's so a decent recovery was required.

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The support team needed a break! An attempt on the eastern group would require an early start too! I was quite fatigued the following day but two days later I was prepared to attempt the eastern section.
The eastern section comprised Beinn a Chaorainn, Beinn Bhreac and Beinn Avon. Beinn a Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac are quite a reasonable day the addition of Ben Avon made this a 32 mile  challenge. I was dropped off at the Corrie Cas car park for the ski centre at 6am. The first part of the journey was to climb up over the Cairngorm and drop down to the Saddle with the fantastic view of Loch Avon and Creagan a Corrie Etchachan. From this point I headed down Glen Avon to the shelter after a chat with a group of young people staying in the shelter I waded across the river and headed along Lairig an Laoigh to the col leading into glen derry. Although the paths were very wet they were typical highland quality trails. I followed the south ridge onto Beinn a Chaorainn. So far this all felt quite reasonable for Beinn Bhreac  it was necessary to head south east across a very rough and boggy bealach and then head back north to gain the line of hills connecting Beinn a Bhuird and Beinn Avon.

Although I found the ground hard going underfoot. When planning this route I really questioned the viability of attempting Beinn Avon, although I was making reasonable progress the reality of this challenge was looming 5 miles in front! With patient and steady progress I traversed the shoulder of the north top of Beinn a Bhuird, I was my way to Beinn Avon!

It was a wonderful journey climbing over the rounded top near Cnap a Chleirich and crossing the deep pass known as the Sneck which was mildly difficult due to some loose scree. The final slopes of Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe (the name of the summit of Bheinn Avon) beckoned. Many of the hills around here have granite rock structures which look like barns! I had an enjoyable scramble over the barns on Bheinn Avon. It was good to meet  a couple of walkers who had climbed from Braemar.

So I'd now completed all the Cairngorms, two excellent days, now twelve mile's on tired legs awaited. The weather brightened for my return walk I took a slightly different route dropping into glen Avon from coire Ruaridh a pleasent descent.

As forecast the approach to the saddle was welcomed with quite a heavy shower of rain. I climbed back over the Cairngorm and jogged back down the easy path from the Ptarmigan back to my awaiting family.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Cairngorm Adventure - Bynack Mhor

This was my 2nd Munro (Bynack Mhor.) I new it was going to be a good day, after all its the bigger the better. The plan was to go to Bynack Beg, from there Bynack Mhor, onto the saddle and up to the top of Cairngorm and down to the car park.

Here we are just walking past a loch along the path we found some deer traces, therefore we guessed that the deer had been walking along this path to.

 Walking along the same path, further along, I thought that the view was beautiful.
When we got further along this path we had to cross a river. Looking at the map before hand we thought that the river would be quite thick and deep. Though the river wasn't any of those, however it was fun to cross and leap to the other side.

In this picture we've already crossed the river and are heading towards Bynack Beg.

I love looking at the tiny lake on the bottom left of the picture.

The clouds were very interesting in this picture as the black clouds were mixing with the white clouds.

Here I am at the Barnes of Bynack heading towards A'Choinneach and from A'Choinneach, heading towards the Saddle.

A close up of the Barnes of Bynack.
Photo shoot
A wonderful view
Heading towards the Ptarmigan for a hot chocolate.  You can see that on one side the clouds are sunny and the other it is black clouds.

You can see Loch A'an in the middle of this picture. We are just heading towards the Saddle in this picture.
A close up of Loch A'an.
I really enjoyed this walk. The walk ended up as 10.75 miles this was one of the longest walks i've done.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Cairn Toul, The Angels Peak and Devils Point

Our holiday in Aviemore started with excellent weather and after an excellent day on the Cairngorm we decided to embark on an ascent of Cairn Toul, Angels Peak and Devils Point. The weather so wonderful that we had a difficult choice to make between this route and a climb on Ardverikie wall  (UKC guide). It's always a tricky decision when you're bagging Munro's! This 22 mile day out needed lots of energy and early start. The mountains looked fabulous, eager
 we left the sugar bowl car park on the road to the Aviemore Ski Centre. Our first objective was to head to the Lairig Ghru we reached this major pass via the narrow and rocky Chalamain gap.

We were soon walking along the Lairig Ghru in the early morning light with splendid views of the Devils point and the slopes of Carn Toul. Enjoying the call of the amazingly camouflagued Ptarmigan.

As we neared the pools of Dee it was soon time to head  into the allt a Garbh Choire. Instead of dropping down we contoured around the hill side cross country. The going was rough, typical of the highlands and energy sapping. In hindsight we should really have lost height and walked along the valley of the allt a Garbh Choire.

The views of Carn Toul, Angels Peak and the Dee valley were magical, our plan was to ascend the Angels peak via the scramble on it's north east ridge.
The colours of the beautiful flowering Lichen were so translucent. We soon arrived at the river, with lots of snow melt the rivers were quite full we paddled across the river and had lunch on a rock as our feet and legs dried in the sun.
Our next objective was to ascend to Lochan Uaine and commence the climb onto Angels peak and Carn Toul.

The scrambling was fun amidst the granite were some interesting outcrops of a sandstone not dissimilar to the Torridonian variety. We soon arrived at the icy waters of Lochan Uaine. There was a problem, it had taken us a lot of time to reach this point. A scramble would be time consuming, we ascended the North ridge of Carn Toul. I went ahead along the ridge to Angels peak and used a contouring route to arrive at the col between Carn Toul and Devils point, here I met Gordon.

The ridge continued easily along to Devils point there were fabulous views it was wonderful to be here.
The descent to the Corrour bothy was OK, here we had a good rest and chat with people staying at the Bothy before starting our 10 mile walk back.

As we wandered down the Lairig Ghru the sunset and we viewed the distant lights of Aviemore. The walk through the boulder strewn Chalamain gap was challenging in the darkness. We arrived back at a crazy time, it was great to have food at our holiday cottage thanks to Amanda and Fran.