Beinn a’Chlachair and pals in the haze
Area: Loch Treig to Loch Ericht
Munro’s: Beinn a’Chlachair, Creag Pitridh, Geal Charn
Date walked: 22/04/2011
Time taken: 5.4 hours
Distance: 26 km
I have not been out and about for the last four weeks due to a bad right knee and a persistent cold. So with no training I knew this walk would be tough. It was a last minute selection for various reasons and the weather was good apart from a cold strong wind on the summits. The views were restricted by the haze though which persisted for most of the walk.
I set off from Dunfermline for Loch Laggan at about 0640 and arrived at the car parking area at around 0830. After booting up I was ready with the bike to start my journey at around 0850. I met a young lady who was just setting of to walk some of the hills across the road. She has been watching the website and getting ideas for some good routes.
So down the road and turn left to cross the bridge over the river Spean. Merrily cycling away past the turn off and head up the track into the forest After 5 minutes or so I realise I have made a mistake and turn around and I am soon on the winding road to Lochan na h Earba. I cross the bridge and arrive at my de-bike point after approximately 45 minutes. There is a faint landrover track heading SSW which I follow. The track becomes clearer and bends round to the SE and after about 1km I arrive at a ford. The track continues from here and after about 2km it arrives at Bealach Leamhain but I don’t want to go that way. I now cross the burn and head SSE making a beeline over the pathless undulating heather and up the steepish Eastern edge of Coire Mor a Chlachair. This climb is about 2km and is quite steep in places. I then walk around the head of the Coire over the boulder field to the summit of Beinn a Chlachair. There is a strong wind blowing and it is quite cold so I have to put more layers on and a hat. (I had thought that it was going to be like a summers day today and I might be in danger of getting heatstroke. Not a chance.). There is good shelter by the side of the cairn though so I spend 10 minutes or so refuelling.
I now head back the way I came over the boulder field, which reminds me of the summit of Conival/Ben More which I did not enjoy, and then head NE up and over the spot height at 972m and onwards to the ridge above Bealach Leamhain, a distance of about 2km. I then head down the steep slope to the Bealach picking my way through the crags and down to the track. After walking approx. 300m NW down the track there is another good track going up the hillside. There are a couple of walkers halfway up but I decide to miss the track and head directly up the hillside which will save me 1km of walking albeit walking over undulating heather again. It’s easy enough though and not too steep. After about 1km I am back on a boulder field then after a further 0.5km I arrive at the summit of Geal Charn. The wind has strengthened and is also cold but again there is plenty shelter at the cairn. I meet my first walker of the day here. He has walked in from Dalwhinnie over Ben Alder etc. and is having a good four days in the hills.
After refreshments I now head on my way to the final Munro of the day. I decide to bypass most of the boulder field by heading directly East down to the grass and traverse in a slight curve around the hillside and down to the Beallach below Creag Putridh a distance of about 1.5km. Keeping below the boulder field means I can run this part and it’s good to test the knee and it seems to be working well. It’s now an easy 0.5km steep climb up the path to the summit. With the strong wind there is no point hanging about and I head E from the summit over the boulders and then SE down the grassy/heather hillside for 1.5km to re-join the track back to the bike. And after 30 min’s or so and one head over heals tumble I am back at the car. All in all a good day in the hills.