Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Monday, 11 May 2009

TGO Challenge 2009 - Day 3 - Lochan a Mhaim to the east ridge of Gulvain (NN 020 881) - Here Comes Summer!

Distance walked: 19.8 km
Metres ascent: 1495
Time taken including 1 hour 50 min stops: 10 hrs 35 mins
No of Challengers encountered: 0 (possibly saw 3 in the distance)

A mountain slyly hid us from the sun this morning. A sunlit alp about 5 metres from us for an hour before we left was even somewhat annoying. But we couldn't have pitched there and our spot was idyllic. Overnight rain had made the ground even more soggy, so our little patch of grass was a real 'find'.

Starting in sunshine at 7.50, we enjoyed over an hour of solitude before meeting a couple of TGOC rejects "we were too far down the reserve list" doing the increasingly popular Cape Wrath Trail.

Before that we had spent some time crossing Allt Coire nan Uth. I was sure Alan Hardy (our trusty vetter for the second year running) had said there was a bridge, but we couldn't find it and eventually managed to hop across some slithery rocks a few minutes upstream.

Today was our third day of more or less (apart from the start out of Inverie) constant sloshing through bogs. So I'm pleased to report that apart from slight dampness on one sock, the Asolo Fugitives, whilst looking absolutely sodden, have kept my feet dry and are dry inside!

Sue hasn't been so lucky with her new Hanwag boots, which are seeping a little. But hey, the ground has been WET.

We enjoyed several 'fly pasts' of geese today. Could it be the same flock - some 200 strong?

You can just see the geese in the upper picture; below you can pick each one out (or even count them!)

A cuckoo showed itself, swooping between tree top perches whilst taking a break from blaring out its greetings. The sun beamed down all day.

Sue passed some time with her fluffy friends

Lizards came out to sun themselves. Frogs lazed amongst the wood anemones, recently hatched crane flies blustered in the grass, and red deer watched us disdainfully. As did the little bird (perhaps a dotterel) whose nest I discovered in the grass.


We needed t-shirts and sun tan cream for most of the day.

We were glad to reach the track at Upper Glendessarry, but not so impressed with the imposing new building at Glendessarry. A blot on the landscape, surrounded by 'Private - Keep Out' signs.

There were a few people on the Glen Dessarry path, but we met nobody else all day after turning up Glen Pean at 11.40. The path down to the bridge was exceedingly boggy, and the bog only subsided slowly as we climbed south above Gleann Cuirnean to a sunny lunch spot with fine views, at a 450 metre col.

Our lunchtime view towards Streap and Sgurr Thuilm

On the way up we spotted three backpackers heading down the glen from the south west. Could they have been Challengers?

Gualann nan Osna was ascended over rough ground. The terrain, with peat hags interspersed with rocky outcrops, reminded me of some of the remote Corbetts I'd tackled on my first Challenge two years ago.

Beyond here, at nearly 4 pm, we commenced what may be this trip's most brutal ascent. Pathless and relentlessly rough and steep - 500 metres ascent in 1.25 km - up the NW face of Gulvain's south summit. It was hard going, but rewarded with fine views to Ben Nevis and beyond - the high mountains all laden with snow. Looking back, the Knoydart peaks were crystal clear, with the Outer Hebrides showing clearly beyond the rocky ridges of Skye and Rum.



Once the south summit had been reached, it was a short walk to the north (Munro) summit, where we savoured more fine views.


On descent, we found no need to go all the way down to our planned camp.

In fine weather this flat dry spot just below the ridge will be a superb place to spend the night. It is eerily quiet after the last two noisy nights (wind, rushing water). Our water source today, a spring about 50 metres away, cannot be heard from here. There's just the occasional tweet of bird song as dusk turns to night.

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3 comments:

Cheap Postcard Printing said...

Such wonderful sights! I would have loved to see the 200 strong flock of geese. A sight to behold, I'm sure. Thanks!

Alan Sloman said...

It's good to see a Nallo pitched properly - I saw so many on the Chally this year looking a complete shambles!

Same I suppose with the Aktos...

I'll get my coat.

Phreerunner said...

After your harsh critique of Mr Poucher's technique at NWB last year, we take extra care when pitching if we know you are in the country!

(Actually there was no wind that night, so we just threw it up...)