On Thursday we did the Carn Mairg four from Invervar in a less-than-favourable forecast of 50 mph SW wind and rain all day, let alone low cloud. It was one of those days when you get the hills to yourself, and actually the wind wasn't anything like forecast, more like 15mph, so having expected the worst, we had a really enjoyable day. When the visibility was poor, we just followed the old fence line predominantly, (though I was glued to the map of course), and it just added to the atmosphere.
It was pleasing that the belligerent North Chesthill estate had removed the 'Walk Elsewhere' sign, as at least the stag culling has ended. The main issue now is the awful mess made by the clear-felling on the wood just north of the houses, but once past that, the estate signage is actually helpful, much as it pains me to say so. We did see a very large herd of deer, so the estate still has plenty! ;)
We had a dusting of snow on high, and even a frozen runnel which shows winter is well on its way. The descent is down the delightful Roinn na Creige ridge, with the beautiful glen coming out from under the cloud in its autumn russets and browns, and then back through the devastation to the road.
A splendid evening was spent in the Bridge of Lochay hotel, which I heartily recommend for their food, welcome and lovely rooms. We had a cracking breakfast before we set off in the crisp morning light up the glen for Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich.
These two require a big old effort, and we decided than rather take the guidebook route, we would cycle to Batavaime before starting the ascent. The track is good, but muddy, and we were saturated before we even started, (and even worse on the return, plastered in mud)!
The glen has a lot of fencing for both stock and deer that has to be negotiated, and a new track not on my maps from just west of Batavaime up to the higher track. From there, a faint path can be taken to a gate in the deer fence, and then a rising traverse along Sron nan Eun can be made. I climbed it direct on my last few visits according to my log, but it looked uninviting today to say the least. I was younger then!
Once the ridge was gained, there is a decent path to summit, today covered in rimed grass and a delicate snow carpet. The summit was clear, though we didn't linger due to the biting wind. The descent goes initially N to avoid the crags, then E to the boggy bealach, before a steady plod up to the high point of Stob an Fhir-bohge, and then on to Beinn Heasgarnich itself. By the time we got there, the weather was closing in, and as we descended the gnarly but easy ground East of the ridge, heading straight for Batavaime, it started to snow fairly briskly. We were glad we weren't still high and walking into it, as we suspected a fella who had been behind us was, but when we emerged from the clouds, we could see him just ahead, having wisely turned back after one summit. We chatted, and he had had enough for the day, given the cycle out still to do.
So another 6 chalked up for Paul, who isn't counting, but is on 67 ;)
Now I'd better go and get my filthy kit sorted for the Himalayas..............