Sgoran Dubh Beag camp. September 2014.

Date: Saturday-Sunday 13th-14th September 2014
Distance: 13 + 7.5km
Ascent: 1200 + 200m

A big high pressure bubble, a fair amount of cloud, recent aurora, a healing injury and a Sunday commitment were factored in to route planning.

Friday evening’s confab at the Castle Tavern in Inverness still had us considering a Beinn a Chearcaill summit camp but the late forecast suggesting the ‘Gorms would be fine saw us head back south on Saturday morning.

Parked up at the Glen Feshie NNR car park NH 852 013 – a nice approach for Sgor Gaoith through Caley pines.

Creag Ghiuthsachan

We headed up Meall Tionail this time – fairly easy terrain. We were hoping to escape the exceptionally thick haze layer but as it transpired we never got high enough.

H climbing Meall Tionail:

Carried on up to the 976m point and then on to the Sgor Gaoith-Sgoran Dubh Mor bealach, noting wells at NN 899 998.

Had some lunch at the Sgor Gaoith summit and then wandered a wee bit south.

Sgor Gaoith:

Carried on to Fuaran Diotach where there’s a spring and a wee stone wall.

Sgor Gaoith:

Fuaran Diotach

Decision time – we’d hadn’t firmly planned a destination. We’d considered going up Braeriach but the conditions and our Sunday commitment made it less attractive. Had a think about sunset/sunrise views, possible aurora views, possible inversion views and water and decided to head back to Sgoran Dubh Mor.

Braeriach corrugations:

Reascending Sgor Gaoith:

Scalloped coires of Braeriach:

Dropped 75m off the SG-SDM bealach to collect water and then up Sgoran Dubh Mor.

Sgor Gaoith from Sgoran Dubh Mor:

The summit of Sgoran Dubh Mor was too rocky so we dropped 100m to Sgoran Dubh Beag to camp.

Scarp at Sgoran Dubh Beag:

The rocky outcrop here has a few Goldie pellets.

Eagle Pellet:

Cloud cover was worrying – as the sun headed for setting it looked as though we were in for clagging as the northerly pushed moisture onto the ridge.

Sgoran Dubh Mor misting:

Sunset was obscured by mist and westerly cloud and we retreated indoors as the moisture collected.

Set an alarm for silly o’clock to inspect the conditions – no aurora but a moonlichd nichd and a creeping inversion to see.

The Scarp tent glows happily in the moonlight.

Scarp in silver:

These are hills roamed by big grey men and other paranormal creatures.

Encroaching spectres:

Ghostbuster Mode:

Enough messing around.
Overnight inversion:

Back to bed – the wind shifted to a brisk easterly and then died out (having shifted to our sheltered south). Up for dawn at 0640.

Pre-dawn tent:

The inversion had started to roll back by dawn, probably due to the shift in wind direction.
Pre-dawn inversion:

The cloud was flowing over the plateau from the south – our other potential camp sites would not have been stellar.

Cloud flow over Braeriach:

The sun hit at 0700.
Dawn tent:

Made breakfast and enjoyed it back in the tent. Back out to pack up.

Interesting cloudscape:

The tent sloth concurs:

More clouds:

Packed up and got ready to leave – a rather relaxed affair given our relative proximity to the car.

Dwindling inversion:

Cloud flow over Braeriach:

Headed back up Sgoran Dubh Mor.

Leaving Sgoran Dubh Beag:

South to Sgor Gaoith looked rather dramatic with cloud.

Dramatic Sgor Gaoith:

H and clouds:

We’d wondered about heating out to Geal Charn but decided to head back down over Meal Tionail and a quick route out.

Meall Tionail:

We do like the Caley pines at the base – full of wood ants and various birds.

Caley pines:

A good crop of fungi brewing this year…should be interesting over the next 4 weeks.

Fly Agaric:

A very, very unambitious trip….but also very rewarding. With Hazel picking back up from her injury we can hopefully expand to a bit more effort, but it’s worth remembering that a good pitch site doesn’t have to be far, far away.

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