Being at home this weekend, I decided to walk the local (ish) Corbett of Carn na Drochaide. I set off about 10.30am, not worried about the late hour because the best weather was meant to be later in the day anyway. The traffic along the North Deeside Road heading west was desperately slow though – about 35 mph average. I realised the Balmoral 10K was on and all the traffic turned off eventually at Crathie for Balmoral Castle. It was 12.30pm by the time I parked up at Linn of Quoich, 2 hours later. This would normally have taken me 1 hour 20.
For my final day of the Easter weekend I just wanted an easy wander before heading home. Again, looking for any slope other than an east due to the avalanche forecast, I chose the Corbett of Beinn Dearg in Glen Lyon that looked like a good choice. I wasn’t based too far from here at Loch Tay and the drive over the pass is spectacular. I always love Glen Lyon – I was last here last autumn, probably at its most beautiful. It really is such a bonnie glen and well worth even just driving down in the car.
I parked up at the Meggernie Estate carpark near the war memorial at Innerwick, crossed the bridge and headed along the track east of the burn, Allt Ghallabhaich. This track is a right of way to Loch Rannoch, about 6 miles away.
Sunday morning was beautiful on the high banks of Loch Tay. A slither of cloud had nestled above the loch and the hilltops were peeking above. My choice of hill today was the Corbett, Meall nan Subh along from Glen Lochay and it looked like near perfect conditions for a fine, scenic walk in the hills.
I stopped in Killin on the way to call Ally from a payphone and let him know my route, and made my way down the wee road along Glen Lochay. This eventually turns into a private estate road with a few gates – a road I drove over last year in Bertha thinking I was taking a short cut from Stronuich Reservoir to Killin, having no clue of either the state or the status of the road. It was the scariest road I’ve driven on in Bertha, with massive potholes, steep zig-zags, huge gates where I had to stop the van and screech open, all the while it was absolutely stotting it down with rain. I didn’t want a repeat of that! I parked at the walker’s carpark just before a farm instead and opted to walk up the road. The carpark was packed out as expected on a beautiful Easter Sunday.
With a mixed forecast and dodgy avalanche risk on all east facing slopes, I was still determined to get away this Easter. 4 days off! Unfortunately, Ally had double-booked so I was on my own again. Following the weather meant Perthshire was probably the best bet so I spring-cleaned Bertha and headed off on Friday – which was a minging day by all accounts. Dinging doon as they say here. The journey took forever – I’d opted for the A90 (via Glenshee or A90 is a similar time from mine) but got caught in the bank holiday traffic and it took me a whole 4 hours to get down.
This pair of Corbetts lie north of the Invercauld estate near Braemar. I’d been to a wedding ceilidh the night before, plus the clocks went forward overnight losing me an hour, so after approximately 4 hours’ snooze I was very tired but still keen to get going. At 7am I sleepily made my way along the very quiet North Deeside Road to the walker’s carpark at Keiloch.
I don’t know what I was thinking when I made a hair appointment 3 months ago for the middle of Saturday afternoon. What a weekend wrecker! Luckily Sunday was by far the finer day. The Met Office forecast was full sun and low wind over the north and east but MWIS was forecasting winds of 45-50mph and likelihood of snow with appalling visibility for the Cairngorms / Southeastern Highlands and worse everywhere else. Ever the optimist, I went with the Met Office forecast (but took lots of spare clothing just incase)!
I had a hard time making a decision this weekend. Ally was working over the weekend and I really wanted to go off somewhere in the Bongo. I looked at my options in the east for hills I hadn’t climbed yet. I’m not averse to climbing the same hill again at all, but having climbed most of the Munros in the east / Cairngorms I wanted new routes and hills. Plus, Cairngorms are generally a long walk in and there’s only so much daylight. I noticed Monamenach, a Corbett in Glen Isla. It seemed close but far enough to justify a one night trip, and also I’d never been to Glen Isla.
Corbett – Sgorr na Diollaid
Ally was away this weekend, doing some practice for his Summer Mountain Leader assessment next year. I considered whether stay at home and do some local walks or go further afield. I followed the weather forecast all week and when it looked like the north-east was going to be hit with heavy rain all weekend and further west looked drier for a change, I decided to take the opportunity to go west to explore some hills. I also thought it would be good to be in a campsite this time, taking into account the long, dark evenings and cooler weather. This way I could hook up electricity and have a light on in the van, plus enjoy a hot shower. The trouble is, most campsites are closed this time of year for the season. One I found open was the Cannich campsite (http://www.highlandcamping.co.uk/) which helped me narrow down my options even further. The campsite is very close to the beautiful glens of Glen Affric and Glen Cannich, and also not too far from Strathfarrar and Strathconnon.