Monday 26 November 2012

Beinn Udlaidh and Beinn Bhreac-liath

Monday 26th November

A round of two snow covered Corbetts from Glen Orchy

Distance: 14km; Ascent: 960m; Mostly overcast, but sunny later; with Colin

We had toyed with the idea of bagging Gairich above Loch Quoich today, but decided that would leave us with too long a drive home afterwards.  Therefore instead we opted for a pair of pleasant sounding Corbetts above Glen Orchy.  By the time we had packed up and driven down from Roybridge, it was 9am by the time we set off walking from near Invergaunan in Glen Orchy.

Looking down the Allt Ghamhnain valley towards Ben Inverveigh
A rough vehicle track headed through the forest close to the Allt Ghamhnain, which made for relatively easy going through the forest plantations.  Our plan had been to strike uphill once out of the forest so as to gain the north ridge of Beinn Udlaidh.  However when we reached this point, the route of ascent didn't seem too appealing and there was also the added problem of a newish deer fence with no certainty of a crossing point further uphill.  Therefore we instead continued along the rough track through a large area of recently planted trees, with the aim of heading uphill once we left the deer fence enclosed area.  It was pleasing to see that the newly planted trees were a mixture of different species and not just regimental rows of pines!

New tree planting
Southerly edge of the new deer fence in Coire Ghamhnain
It transpired that the newly enclosed area extended somewhat over a kilometre further up the coire from the edge of the established woodland, so that by the time we had got to its southerly end the most obvious route up onto the hills was simply to head up the slopes of the coire headwall to gain the bealach, so this is what we did.

View from the bealach
Loch Tulla from the E ridge of Beinn Udlaidh
By the time we had reached the bealach we were well above the snow line, and also now exposed to a bitter wind, but there were some excellent views to the south east from here.  We headed up the east ridge of Beinn Udlaidh, carefully picking our way through a couple of steeper rockier sections, to reach the summit plateau, which was in the cloud.  We reached the large cairn at around 12:30pm, which was surrounded by a few random abandoned bits of old machinery.  We stopped here in the shelter of the cairn for a bite to eat before heading a hundred metres or south southwards to visit the true summit of Beinn Udlaidh (Corbett, Marilyn).

Abandoned machinery near the summit of Beinn Udlaidh
By the large cairn on Beinn Udlaidh
True summit of Beinn Udlaidh
Due to the wind, we didn't linger at the true summit for long and soon we were descending back down to the sunny bealach, with excellent views once we dropped below the cloud.

Semi-frozen lochan in the bealach
Beinn Udlaidh from the ascent of Beinn Bhreac-liath
We began the ascent of Beinn Bhreac-liath and were soon back in the cloud trying to find the summit of another plateau.  We found two small cairns around a hundred metres apart and visited both of them to ensure that we had visited the summit of Beinn Bhreac-liath (Corbett, Marilyn).

On the summit of Beinn Bhreac-liath
The NNW ridge looked to be a pleasant route of descent on the map, so that is the route we took.  The first couple of kilometres were very level and so we remained in the cloud, but once we started to descend there were excellent views across to the Black Mount.

The Black Mount from the N ridge of Beinn Bhreac-liath
At around 3pm the sun finally managed to appear between the clouds, but it was not for long as around 30 minutes later it set behind the north shoulder of Beinn Udlaidh; however there were some good views.

"Self Portrait" on the N ridge of Beinn Bhreac-liath
Sunset from the N ridge of Beinn Bhreac-liath
Soon we were below the snowline and descended in the dusk to Invergaunan and beyond to the road.  We returned to the car at around 4pm and drove south happy after a fantastic four days hillwalking in the Highlands.  I shall have to plan another trip back there in the New Year!

N.B. 13/02/13 - Post date updated to actual date of walk, i.e. 26/11/12 (from 31/12/12) 

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