A training run on Geal Charn

View to the other bridge and hills beyond


Area: Glen Albyn and the Monadh Liath

Munro’s: Geal Charn (Monadhliath)

Date walked: 29/09/2011

Time taken: 2.07 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 650m

The Route


Well it was Thursday and I had some work to do in Inverness. It was possible I would be finished early and with the weather forecast reasonable it was looking like a training run up Geal Charn was on. It would only add about 20 miles to my journey home so it would be a shame to miss it. As I drove North through the forecast sunshine  . What sunshine. It was raining at Drumochter and there were huge black clouds in the sky. Is this what an Indian summer looks like I thought to myself. Well pushing any thoughts of a hard run up the hillside to the back of my mind I got on with the job and finished around 1415. The weather in Inverness was not bad but as I drove south more and more clouds filled sky. As I approached the Newtonmore turn off I pulled over into a layby and had 10 minutes of shut eye. The weather was not looking good. I was finding it hard to find some motivation and could just as easily continued down the A9 towards home when I took a quick look at WH on my IPhone. I noticed Steven65 had posted on my “Two munros from Fersit” report stating what a good time I had done. Well I did jog a fair bit of the way when I done those two. Its strange how a simple statement can motivate the mind and that was it. Thanks Steven.

The Walk

I was now fully charged up and ready to run hard. So on passed Newtonmore and Laggon, along the side of the reservoir, where a couple of fishermen were chancing there luck, and 4kms later I arrive at the car parking area just beside Garva Bridge. Its now 1555hrs. There are quite a few cows/bulls around grazing and a couple start walking over towards me but soon lose interest and get back to cutting the grass.

I rapidly get changed into running vest and lightweights with a very light pack and I am running over Garva Bridge by 1603. After a couple of hundred meters I cross a steel bridge with some earthworks with what looks like Pylon building going on. There is a small track leading of the path to the left and this follows the burn Feith Talagan for approximately 3 kms. After about 800m I climb the fence using the small stile and continue on my way.

I lose the track and just head east up the gently climbing hillside and regain the track after about 1km. The track then crosses the Allt Coirenen Deareag and continues up the hillside. I again lose the track and head directly North east up the heather clad hillside for a further 1km and find the track again. A nice game of hide and seek this is turning out to be. Its now basically a matter of entering the clag and continuing in the same direction for a further two kms to the large summit cairn. There are a couple of small hillocks to ascend and descend but only a matter of a few meters on each ascent.

I have been jogging when I could and walking hard up the hillside and I reach the summit in 1hr 13mins. I stop for 5 minutes for some water and to put on a long sleeved top because there is a slightly cold wind blowing. I am sure I can hear what may be a helicopter but maybe it’s a brain hallucination. So on my way again retracing my steps. I follow the track, out from the cairn, which appears and disappears but as I start to descend the track becomes quite clear. Due to the fact it’s a bog. As I start to descend the ridge the Search and Rescue helicopter appears from the hillside to my left and crosses my path about 1km away. I struggle to get my phone out to take a few photos and just about capture it before it becomes a dot on the horizon. I now run down the hillside. Its amazing. With red walking poles in each hand I am running down the hillside barely touching the ground as if I am floating above it. Its an awesome feeling and is just wonderful. So difficult to describe. The boggy path disappears as I float down over the heather, cross the burn and find the track again. This time I follow the track all along the burn back to the steel bridge and over Garva bridge to the car. There are four cyclists just past the car checking there maps and they are on there way again heading to Laggon. Its now 1810 and I am quite pleased with that effort. My gps track stopped just before the steel bridge at 2hrs and 3 mins but it only took 4 mins to get into this point so it was four minutes to get back to the car. I strip of completely, not a pretty site, in the unseasonably warm evening and have a good wash down before putting on dry clothes. By this time the few native animals I met earlier had told there sisters and brothers about me and they were all coming to take a look. So much so that I had to sit in the car with the cows and bulls surrounding me for 10 minutes. Well they must have hated my jokes because after I told three jokes the larger animals started meandering off and four more jokes later the path was clear  . Home James.

I know running in the hills isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and times don’t matter to others but tis the way I like it.

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