Extreme Corbetteering…..extremely lazy on Mam na Gualainn. November 2016

Date: Sunday 20th November 2016
Weather: Oooft.
Distance: 8.5km
Ascent: 900m

The forecast had suggested a rather good weekend. We’d seriously considered a high camp but in the end had plumped for 2 day walks. Saturday had been spent in a remarkably cold , foggy icing airflow on Sgor Gaoith infuriatingly close to the sun.

After a warm night’s sleep we set off from Fort William still unsure of where to walk – in the event we headed towards Glen Coe and when we saw clearer skies we opted for Mam na Gualinn.

Parked just east of Callert House (NN 097 604) with space enough for several cars.

Not much to say route-wise – there is a path running uphill to the bealach between Mam na Gualainn and Tom Mheadhoin. From the bealach head east up to the summit of Mam na Gualainn. One of these days we’ll do the traverse of the whole ridge to Kinlochleven but today was not that day.

The sun began to give notice that it had risen not too long after we set off.

Garbh Bheinn:

There are nice views south climbing the 450m to the bealach up a boggy path.

Loch Leven and the Pap:

Eventually we climbed high enough for the sun to break over Bidean nam Bian.

Sun breaks over Bidean:

Then we were washed over by cloud, a little concerning given the previous day’s frustrations. Met Office and BBC had suggested nearly unbroken sunshine all day so weremained hopeful.

Having left the bealach we utilised a broken trail in the snow to ease the effort of ascent. The sun began to be visible again through the cloud. As with the Saturday we then began to get some decent fogbows.

Fogbow appears:

Fogbow:

Fogbow pano:

A fogbow (or Brocken) means that sunshineis trying to get to you, another 50m of climb and we were above the cold flow of fog and into warmer sunshine.

Emerging into sunlight:

H above inversion:

The fog layer was a little undulating so we were returned into fog a few more times. Fingers were kept crossed that this was not a rising or expanding layer of cloud.

Another fogbow pano:

Out above the cloud again and there were some great hills on view, snow-clad above the clouds.

Beinn a Bheithir:

Bidean and Fiannaidh:

H and Bheithir:

Eventually on the ascent the slopes of Mullach nan Coirean of the Mamores comes into view.

Mullach nan Coirean appears:

….and once again into fog.

Back into fog….

…and out again:

Carried on uphill at a slow pace – hills were appearing just above the clouds to the W and NW and it would have been rude not to try to put names to them.

Up the fenceline:

Eventually up to the summit and an ill-deserved prolonged break.

Spent about an hour taking in the views and having an extended lunch break. One of those great days when the sun feels warm and there’s no wind to chill.

The Pap, Fiannaidh and Bidean:

Mamores from the summit:

H and Garbh Bheinn:

K and the fence:

View south:

Had a few fly pasts by a pair of ravens. Unlike the bold ravens of the Big Bookil these 2 were rather leery and kept a distance from us before heading off to settle on the 755m top.

Raven:

Ravens:

Beinn a Bheithir was looking rather fine.

Beinn a Bheithir:

The hills to the west and NW were not sticking up much above the inversion from our lowly 800m vantage point. Garbh Bheinn of Ardgour was intermittently visible and Ben More (Mull) emerged once. Off to the NW Gulvain was more apparent and a few undulations in the inversion uncovered the Skye Cuillin.

Skye Cuillin:

There were rather tasty local views to hold the attention.

Glencoe ridges:

It was too good to just head down into the murk so we frittered away an extra hour or so by wandering through the deep snow to the 755m top and back again. The raven pair retreated further east to Beinn na Callaich.

Bheithir from 755m top:

Bheithir and Gualainn:

Mist lapping Beinn na Caillich:

Then back to the summit before regretfully heading downhill.

Mamores from summit:

Beinn a Bheithir from summit:

Downhill at a snail’s pace – no real wish to leave.

Descending:

As the sun was dropping the snowscapes became more interesting with shadows.

South view:

Beinn Sgulaird:

Hills up towards Gulvain and Gairich were visible up into the NW Highlands – so many hills must have had a great day.

NW Highlands:

Shadows:

The towering Bidean nam Bian is more visible from the west shoulder of the hill. Wonder how many folks were up there.

Bidean nam Bian:

Approached the cloud layer at about 500m, by this point the sun was heading down towards Beinn a Bheithir.

Lumpy snowscape:

The Graham to the west was alluringly clad.

Tom Mheadhoin towers:

Into the cloud layer….temperature dropped markedly and we were looking wistfully back to the snow slopes going gold and then pink.

Leaving the sun behind:

Given the forecasters promising a blue sky day it would have been an irritating day for a low level walk – grey and gloomy.

A gloomy day below:

Splendid day, decadently lazy transformation of a 4 hour walk into a nearly 8 hour crawl. I always said that a good time for a given walk was all the time you have available.

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