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Blown away by Tulloch - 1 Nov 2013

posted 6 Nov 2013, 14:52 by DMC Webmaster

Yesterday was a day to measure all other mountain days in terms of weather! We stayed overnight in Tulloch Station then the plan was to get up early and do Beinn Chlachair, Geal Charn and Creag Pitridh. All started well and we cycled in. It was great to revisit the Lochan Na Earba again. It's such a pretty corner with the peaceful loch split in two by long term pile up of erosion and the sandy beach. There had been huge amounts of rain so the run out from the loch must have been two to three metres deep.

 

We dumped the bikes then started to climb feeling optimistic as the claggy cloud had lifted slightly. After a while we started walking on rice crispies - grass with icy snow, then it was icy snow with a bit of grass, then just snow, then fresh knee-high drifts and a couple of thigh high drifts. The mist had returned. Andrew remarked how dark it seemed. Looking up we could see rocks sticking out but looking down there was nothing as all the rocks were covered in snow and there was nothing to distinguish cloud from solid ground.

 

We reached a wee nose of rock which signalled the start of the corrie down to our right. The wind had picked up and the precipitation grew fierce. We were walking more or less blind except for Andrew's gadgets. Luckily the blast pushed us towards the rather elusive summit. It was clear that following the route back towards the col was a bad idea, not simply because we wanted to bag at least this Munro but also that we would not have been able to walk back against what was now a blizzard. Eventually we found the cairn where there was just enough shelter to take a compass reading. North east took us straight down and off the mountain. Minutes later we were clambering down over snowy rocks on a steep but fairly sheltered slope. After the blizzard above even the prospect of having to cross the bog below was not unattractive.

 

Back on the bikes and away from the lee-side we were chased down the hill by the gale. The lochan had become a raging sea and it was a battle to stay upright. I looked ahead to see Andrew on the bridge just inches from the edge and desperately leaning into the wind. I just managed to see him safely on the other side when the wind picked me up and threw me off down the embankment. I tumbled down in what felt like slow motion and saw the bike coming down on top of me. I couldn't get up for a moment while I reoriented myself but there were no injuries. Struggled to push the bike over the bridge and the rest of the downhill cycle was just great fun in the rain, even with freezing fingers.


 
Berenice Hunter

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Jon Bowyer,
18 Nov 2013, 00:42
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Jon Bowyer,
18 Nov 2013, 00:42