Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain (Beinn a' Ghlo)- 1070m
Carn nan Gabhar (Beinn a' Ghlo) - 1179m
Braigh Coire na Conlaich - 835m
Friday 31st May 2013
Weather/Conditions: Sunny in the morning. Always felt like it was about to rain on Beinn a' Ghlo, but ended up being one or two brief showers. Then overcast and brown for the moors across to the bothy.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 19.5km / 1750m / 6h 40m
Accompanying: Alone, night at Feith Uaine with Neil
After the insanity of the Rush gig, (some gig, whoa!), I got home late and didn't get to bed till early. The next morning, Neil arrived at 7am as planned and we left mine two hours later, which tells you everything! We headed to Blair Atholl where I had five Munros on the radar for the next two days, a plan chopped down a bit because Steve asked if I would be able to make his birthday on 1 June. Although I'd first thought it couldn't happen, altered plans made it a possibility at the expense of two Munros; An Sgarsoch and Carn an Fhidhlier. They'd have to be done later.
Neil dropped me at Loch Moraig, and I set off for Beinn a' Ghlo. I think if I'd stayed with my original plan (4 big days away from a road), I might have had a reluctance about setting off. But since it was cut down to two sets of two days, I was quite happy with the situation. Neil and I had arranged to meet at the Tarf Hotel later on - I'd get there over Beinn a' Ghlo, he'd cycle up Glen Tilt and walk in across the moors. (I should point out that the Tarf Hotel isn't actually a hotel, it's just a bothy.)
Beinn a' Ghlo gave me a brilliant crossing, even though the weather wasn't as good as it could be. I always thought it was about to rain, but I got just brief showers. Even with the extra weight of sleeping and cooking gear on my back, I made it to Munro #3, Carn nan Gabhar, in three and a half hours - a good time, all in. There were lots of people doing the round, although I left them when I headed north from Carn nan Gabhar, back down to the gentle slopes of Glen Tilt and across to the moors on the other side. The main feeling was one of being really fit.
From Glen Tilt at 300m, I headed up onto a big rounded hill called Braigh Coire na Conlaich, over 800m high. This area is all huge, rounded heathery hills with streams cutting into the peat. It is quite unique in that it's actually less effort to go over the summits rather than through the watercourses between them. The whole area has got an enormous emptiness and the Tarf Hotel sits square in the middle of it all. For some reason I really felt the isolation this time around. In more remote places, like Fisherfield say, there are towering mountains, lochs and cliffs to give character to the remote peaks. The mountains surrounding the Tarf Water have none of that, just sweeping miles of trackless empty moor, all heather and bog which makes walking those long miles even longer than they would otherwise be. It feels quite enclosed.
When I finally got to the bothy, I had a moment of panic. Neil hadn't arrived, I wondered if anything had happened and I had no signal to find out. I fully expected him to arrive before me by a good margin. But our timing was almost spot on because ten minutes after my arrival, I looked out the front door to see him coming around a bend in the river. Phew!
The bothy was a good night, we got the fire working (for a while...) and I put on a much-needed curry. It was the first bothy of the trip and first of many more.
Braigh Coire na Conlaich
(0.00) 11.30am Loch Moraig
(1.25) 12.55pm Carn Liath
(2.30) 2.00pm Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain
(3.30) 3.00pm Carn nan Gabhar
(4.45) 4.15pm River Tilt
(6.10) 5.40pm Braigh Coire na Conlaich
(6.40) 6.10pm Tarf Hotel