Date: Saturday 30th November to Sunday 1st December 2013
Start: Old Bridge of Tilt Car Park
Weather: Intermittent cloud
Time taken: 17 Hours 8 Minutes
Ascent: 1853 metres
Accompanied by: Emma, Kev, Milo and Inca
Munro: An Sgarsoch (1006 metres)
Munro: Carn an Fhidhleir [Carn Ealar] (994metres)
Corbett: Beinn Mheadhonach (901 metres)
t was four years when I had met up with a group from the WalkHighlands forum for a day two excursion to the Tarf (Hotel) Bothy. On that occasion we knocked off two Munro’s; Carn a’ Chlamain and Beinn Dearg. This trip was a little more adventurous. The plan was to park the car at the Old Bridge of Tilt Car Park, hike in to the Tarf Hotel via the Corbett Beinn Mheadhonach then the following day hike over Carn and Fhidhleir and An Sgarsoch then head back out to the car. Additionally, Emma and our two dogs were accompanying us so it had all the ingredients for a great weekend.
We met Kev and 9.30am and headed up the wide track that leads into Glen Tilt. We made good progress and within an hour we had crossed the River Tilt at Gilberts Bridge and was heading up the southern shoulder towards the summit of Beinn Mheadhonach. It was a little unclear where the actual summit top was but as we were heading directly over the top so this made little difference. From here we headed straight towards Loch Mhairc where we would then continue north-easterly to the Tarf Water and follow this to the bothy.
Unfortunately, the terrain from the summit top was rugged and progress was slow. Additionally the dogs had got the scent of deer and were pulling hard. So there was plenty of tumbling over and cursing! At 4.30pm we hit the Tarf Water and with an hours walk to the bothy we arrived just as it was getting dark. The Tarf Hotel had been renovated since my last visit and was spotless inside. We settled down for the evening, made some food and got the fire roaring with 20kg of coal we had humped in between us. As usual, Kev had brought a selection of malts to sample (even Emma got involved!) and by 9pm we were settled in bed ready for an early start the following day.
We were up at 5:30am and by just after 7am we were heading north towards the Allt a’ Chaorainn towards the col between Carn and Fhidhleir and An Sgarsoch. First thing was a traverse of the Tarf Water. Kev opted for a bare foot approach but my boots leaked anyway so I just waded through. It was ice cold and by the time I reached the other side my calves were numb! From here we headed straight up alongside the Allt a’ Chaoraian for 5km to the col. It took a little over one hour and forty five minutes but the terrain was tough and it felt longer.
By the time we reached the col, Emma had a blister and morale was sapping a little. In hindsight, I think it would have been more sensible to head up onto Leachdann Feith Seasgachain and follow this onto the summit plateau, that way avoiding the peat bogs. One advantage of hiking to the col was that we could leave our bags and whilst we climbed Carn an Fhidhleir becauase we would be retracing our steps back to the col in order to climb An Sgarsoch. It took ninety minutes to ascend to the summit and descend back to the col (with some fun bum-sliding back down) and unfortunately a view from the summit was blocked out by the clag. There was some signs that the cloud was lifting however so fingers crossed that things may be better on An Sgarsoch.
It looked a tough climb to the summit of An Sgarsoch but we were able to pick up a path and we able to make the three hundred metre climb to the summit in just over half an hour. The cloud was drifting in and out and when it did clear, the views the northerly Cairngorms was amazing. We followed the summit plateau towards Carn Greannach and then followed the Feith nam Fuarn down to the Tarf Water. Once again it was a tough slog over rough terrain and I think we were all glad to back at the water where at least we would have a decent path to walk on.
Once again Kev opted for the bare foot traverse across the water but my feet were so wet by now it made no difference so I just waded in. Once across we rang out our socks, ate the last of our food and set off for what can only be described as a mind numbing marathon back out to the car. In fact the hike out was 21km, so it was just a half marathon but it felt like a marathon! Typically we would have been running this so progress would have been reasonably fast but the views in the Glen were amazing and the dogs were having fun so it was not too bad to be walking. It was dark when we got back to the car however and we were all tired but I had nailed two tough Munro’s and had a great weekend so cannot complain!