Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Tyndrum Hills: Beinn Dubhchraig (175) and Ben Oss (101)

Walk date: 18/10/08
My Munro #'s: 164 and 165

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
Byn doo-craig - black rock hill - 978m
Byn oss - loch outlet hill - 1029m

Duration - 11:30 - 17:00
Distance - 19.5km
Total ascent - 1649m
Weather - periods of heavy rain, blustery with strong gusts on top giving high wind chill; calming towards end of day.
Team - solo.
Other hikers: many.

Although the season is getting mature, I couldn't help but try and squeeze some more hill action in before it's well and truly over. Contemplating my choices I had initially considered a full weekend away, but given the extreme weather possibilities at this time of year, I wimped out preferring instead to return to a warm house and my own bed. Face it, I'm getting old.

The walk starts out from the car park at Dailrigh on a good farmer's track that follows a single track railway line for a spell. As the railway is crossed by a bridge, a thin path trails off to the right, crosses Allt Gleann Auchreoch and heads up the north side of Allt Coire Dubhchraig toward Beinn Dubhchraig. However, I only know this as later on I took it as a descent route having never seen it on the way up. Instead for the ascent I made for the next footbridge upstream and climbed the grassy slopes on the south side on Allt Coire Duhchraig along very thin but steady trails. The path on the north side is much wider and obvious but my progress down it later on was very slow as at this time of year it had become one huge bog.

Whichever path you take early on becomes academic at the upper forest boundary as the paths meet up. At the junction there's a bit of stream-crossing required but it wasn't too taxing even when in full-flow like today. After the junction the gradient increases as the broad ridge of Beinn Dubhchraig is approached but the path remains good.

As I made my way onto the crest, the full strength of the wind that I had been protected from suddenly hit me in the face. I turned and made my slow way along the short path to the summit, stopping often to steady myself against cold and wet gusts of I would guess up to 60 mph. I was very happy that this was only a two-hill day and that the route to Ben Oss would mean I'd also be protected as I climbed that even higher peak.

A good path leads on toward the mercifully high bealach between the two hills. Once there however, the path should be left and a line taken over the crest of Ben Oss's north eastern ridge. I stayed on the good path too far (I do wonder where it leads!) and had to make an ascent from the south west, although I can't have been the first as I found myself a path there!

I was surprised how quickly Ben Oss was climbed given its extra height but before I knew it I had spotted the cairn before me. Being back in the wind and without any views to savour I merely said hello to it and returned quickly to the bealach readying myself to climb the back of Beinn Dubhchraig again. It was here that a welcomed change in the weather started to develop, with the wind dropping and the cloud lifting suddenly offering great views south to Loch Lomond and north to Ben Ghuirn. I then descended in autumnal splendour with the light and the colours of the trees offering a great panorama. Of course, within ten metres of the car it started raining torrentially again, but that slice of wonder had made the whole day worthwhile.

C'mon, it's still crossable; the upstream bridge:

Looking back east as Beinn Dubhchraig is started:

Beware, there be bog!

The windswept top of Beinn Dubhchraig:

Ben Oss standing proud above Coire Garbh:

Careful how long you stay on this 'good path':

Looking back to Beinn Dubhchraig:

Ben Oss was of course in cloud:

Beinn Dubchraig again:

South over Coire Garbh:

Ben Ghuirn to the north I think!

Coire Garbh and Loch Oss:

Loch Lomond just in view:

Beinn Dubchraig on the return looked so much nicer!

What no handrail? The downstream bridge:

Looking back up the glen once down:

I told you it was wet!

An example of that wind:

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, October 06, 2008

Run Fatboy Run

Well I managed the Inverness Marathon on Sunday; my actual chip time was 4 hours and 45 seconds so I am well-pleased.  Thanks to all who encouraged me along!

UPDATE!  As I am a gadget-addict, I couldn't help but buy myself a Garmin GPS Forerunner 305 training aide to help with the marathon.  This watch-like device gives you your pace and heart-rate as you run along; it also allows you to set a desired finishing time and then gives an alarm if your pace slacks off too much and allows you to run against a virtual partner.

It also comes with some 'training centre' software, but I hadn't got around to using it until now.  It's brilliant!!  Below is a screen capture of the marathon itself, the blue line is my speed and the grey is the elevation!  This should prove quite useful for future runs, and lose me hours on the computer for a change!

Labels: , ,