Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Grey Corries

At the end of June I managed to travel upto Scotland for five days, over a period of five days we managed to walk over five munros. Although the weather was quite cool it was excellent for walking, it was on the last two days that low cloud spoilt the views and sent a little rain. Here are some details of our daily outings showing the summits and maps with added green spots to indicate the routes we followed.

Mon 24th June

Stob Coire an Laoigh  OS Grid reference NN240725
Stob Choire Claurigh  OS Grid reference NN262738
Stob Ban    OS Grid reference NN266724

This was really our main day our objective was to walk the impressive summits forming the Grey Corries.
In particular we looked forward to a good ridge walk.

We followed the track from Corriechille lodge we were chatting rather a lot and missed the turning for the disused tramway! Instead we carried on up the track until we arrived at a rather haunting figure carved from wood known as the Parson. The Parson is supposed to bring good fortune to mountain walkers. Realising our mistake we retraced our steps and reached the turn off for the disused tramway path. It is possible to drive a car up the track from corriechoille lodge and park at the turn off. The walk along the disused tramway was fascinating, the tramway was used to  service the Aluminium smelter at Fortwilliam

We started out a little misguided but with the luck of the pastor, things could only improve!

 The old tramline

The quartzite cliffs of the Grey Corries

Stob Ban in the distance from the summit of Stob Coire a Claurigh

The clouds gathered as we proceed along the ridge, we were spared the rain but presented a rainbow.

Happy with our day of fine summits we descended to the bothy in Lairig Leacach and sat a round for a while before starting the 5 mile return to the car.

Tues 25th June

Sgurr Choinnich Mor NN227714
Bright and sunny this was a relatively easy day perfect for following on from our previous day.

A small crowd of people enjoying the wire bridge near the Steall hut.
The Steall falls
The summit of Sgurr Choinnich Mor.
Looking east along the ridge to the Grey corries.

The water carved and curvy rock formations
A Scottish wild orchid

Wed 26th June

Beinn a Chlachair NN471781
Geal Charn NN504812
Creag Pitridh NN487814

Setting off from a parking area on the A86 we headed along a trackway to attempt this group of three summits. As we approached Beinn a Clachair, known as the stone masons hill was covered in a crown of cloud. We walked along the Allt Corie Pitridh, crossed the burn and headed south and up the slopes of Beinn a Chlachair. The main summit was quite interesting and as we crossed the broad ridge we encountered a couple of people who told us about their rather cold night bivvying out on the mountain.

The ridge ends with rather an abrupt and steep section of ground there was an easier descent which headed North and we picked through this relatively steep section of rocks and grassy ground with care. From the valley there was a well defined path which we followed to the summit of Geal Charn. By now the weather hat brightened up and it was a most pleasant day. We followed the path around onto the final summit which was Creag Pitridh.

The broad summit ridge of Beinn a Chlachair
Beinn a Chlachair
Lochan na h-Earba

Thurs 27th June

Stob a Choire Mheadhoin NN316736
Stob Coire Easain NN308730

This day started out quite dreary and misty but we were quite fired up and had already had 3 excellent days. Besides, we had decided not to be soley fair weather munro baggers. We parked the car at Fersit and started by following the track which proceeds along the side of loch Treig. Not far along, was another track which goes up fairly steeply up the hill side. Through the mist we could see curious looking monuments on the Meall Cian Dearg, these are the objectives to make for as we attempt to gain the main ridge.

Once on the main ridge we continued steadily through the mist to the summit of Stob a Choire Mheadhoin we continued through the rainto the summit of Stob Coire Easain. The descent route was quite interesting because it commenced from the col between Mheadhoin and Stob Coire Easain. It was rather steep but we were able to easily pick out a well defined route. As the mist cleared we enjoyed the views of Coire Laire and the surrounding mountains of  Sgurr Innse, Cruach Innse and Cnapp Cruin. These mountains are not on our Munro baggers list but they do look most inviting. 

The misty summit slopes of Stob a Coire Mheadhoin

Once again as we returned to the valley the weather brightened and it was quite a pleasent eveniing. We finished our route by walking along another section of the old tramway.

Fri 28th June

Beinn a' Chaorainn  NN386851
Beinn Teallach NN361860

This was a day of rain but it certainly did not stop us from having fun! Once again we ascended through the mist and rain to our first summit. Descending Beinna Chaorain via its north westerly ridge was a little confusing it was quite broad and very easy to follow the wrong line down. Eventually through the mist we spotted the cairn that had been marked on the map, this was a welcome site. At this point we had also taken advantage of a GPS to ensure that we were exactly where we thought we were.

The second summit Beinn Teallach started with a rocky ridge and by this point the weather had eased up somewhat. Once again the cloud cleared a little, there was a pattern here.

We had enjoyed five excellent days out on the hills and by the end of it we felt rather fit too, good preparation of our respective planned adventures.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dark Peak 50 Mile Classic: Part 2

In fine conditions I commenced with the second part of the 50 mile challenge, this section goes from the summit of the Snake pass (OS Grid reference SK086927) and finishes at the long pole car park of the Longshaw estate (OS Grid reference SK266787). I was dropped off on the Snake Pass at around 9am. The route followed was the Pennine way on to Bleaklow heading eastwards to bleaklow stones and then further east to the wild lonely moors which are the source of the river Derwent.  The route then heads south to Back Tor and Derwent Edge. The maps which follow, show the route as a red dotted line.

The route from Wain Stones becomes quite rough when it swings around north on the final section to Swains head. It is wise to keep to the higher ground and not to drop in to Swains Greave. Continuing easterly across Featherbed moss and Howden Edge the route was easy going and just a little squelchy underfoot. I stopped briefly at the fenced off ancient  burial mound on Margery hill.

The section from Margery hill to round hill became very uneven underfoot. There were many groughs to cross. At first, a leap would carry me across but the groughs became wider and deeper and it was necessary to go all the way to the bottom of the grough and slither up the steep crumbly sides. My pace dropped significantly as the groughs sapped my energy!

On a previous visit I had found that  I  inadvertently dropped into the start of Abbey brook which is clearly shown on the map above. Today I kept to the higher ground but it was quite rough underfoot, eventually I got to the marked footpath with its fine stone slabs. Earlier on I had met a few people but now I was coming across more smiling faces on this beautiful sunny day. I finally arrived  at Back Tor, there was quite a gathering of people I had arrived into popular territory!
I jogged steadily down to Moscar House and then started the gradual climb up to Stanage end, my energy levels dropped. I could not manage a jog but I plodded steadily. The route proceeded along Stanage edge to the jangling sounds of climbing tackle. I carried on to Burbage car park, there were crowds of people and I was tempted to stop for an ice cream! Finally a run through the Longshaw estate lead me to its southern corner just past Little Johns well. Its a route of great beauty and wonderful contrast from the loneliness of the remote moors Beaklow to the Buzz and excitement of people enjoying a magical day out in the Peak district.

This 27 mile route took me 8 hours,  I managed a steady jog across the easier terrain but across the rough peat groughed moorland it was a yomp. I tracked my progress on mapmyrun which demonstrates how unfit I am! After a 24 hour rest I enjoyed an excellent cycle ride with my children and I feel fit to go again!

Last week we had visited the wheelchair rugby national championships in Doncaster and cheered the teams. We met Aaron Phipps who plays for the South Wales Pirates and coached the Southamton Sharks. Before one of the matches Aaron provided Louis and Keisha some excellent coaching in supporting the teams and during the game Louis did a fine job in supporting the Pirates. Aaron told us about the high jinx at the closing ceremony of the paralympics. Another conversation with his wife revealed his determination   in his preparation for last years paralympics. It was excellent to meet one of the paralympians in person, inspiration for us all.