GM/ES-016, Well at least it was a damn fine walk

For an 8 AM departure it had to be worth it. What was on offer was 14.5km (which we managed to upgrade a bit to just over 16km) with over 800m of ascent. AND it started and more importantly finished from a pub with real ale.

The essential route is here: Ben Tirran by Loch Brandy and Wharral, Glen Clova - Route Map but we put in an initial deviation to take in corrie of clova, because its very pretty and then rejoined the path to ascend above loch brandy to the east. It’s a steep walk up the ridge at the right;

but worth it for the views, the tourists can’t resist taking photos

and scaring themselves by looking over the edge

but the views are stunning

Once up on top, it’s quite an easy walk above 800m, but you do hit some peat hags with quite deep streams, some still in winter plumage

attempting to cross that in the wrong place can send you plummeting 6 feet down. Even as it was, near the top, with a fence to hang on to I broke through and my foot went down over 2 foot and that was near the edge.

We were pretty lucky with the weather but you can see the snow showers starting to advance

By the time we got set up on top the wind was pretty strong, as the temperature at the car park was only 3.5C it wasn’t too hot on top but there’s a nice bit of shelter to hunker down in, there are cracking views of Lochnagar to the North

So, the radio. Well all I can say is thanks to the OK and OM community because without their contest it would have been a struggle to qualify the summit. I managed a grand total of 8 qsos over more than an hour. I failed to break through to ha7ul/p on 40m for an s2s but oddly made a qso to a station running only 5 watts /p in cornwall where I couldn’t raise anyone else except gw3xhg. Things were extra complicated due to having no mobile signal at all to self spot with.

By this time I was getting quite shivery despite full winter gear so time to head down, with a wave to the beach:

As we started to head down,we saw that the snow showers had pepped up to the west

But we were still getting away with it
Loch wharral is hugely pretty

The summit is just to the right of here:

Rather than heading down and then along the road as most routes take you we preferred to follow a traverse to pick up the route down by loch brandy, it became apparent that we werent going to dodge the next incoming snow:

and sure enough,we didn’t

It was heavy enough to completely cover our jackets!

But it wasn’t too long lasting and, did I mention that this walk starts and finishes at a pub with real ale?



That’s one unpleasant mountain memory for me, I broke through a similar runnel of snow once and went down three metres. I landed in soft snow and all would have been well but I flexed my knees on landing and bashed one of them on a rock. Things like that make you cautious!

Nice pictures!


Ouch! Can be very very nasty. At worst you can go through then into the stream below and get carried under the snow! Doesn’t bear thinking about. I always treat these snow filled gullies with huge respect…

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I scared myself half to death on Ben Macdui once (mid 1990’s I recall). Crossing a steep but uniform snowslope with no sign of a depression in it that might have sounded alarm bells. It was in early May. All of a sudden I became aware of a strange noise… suddenly realised I must have been walking across a raging stream just under the snow. I stopped dead and gently back tracked. I had visions of being sucked into a stream under the ice and drowning.

I found a higher route across the slope and very carefully crossed where I couldn’t hear the same noise.


This much more recent video taken of a more eroded under ice river tunnel in the Cairngorms.

This one was on Scafell Pike heading down to the corridor - it was quite a tunnel that the stream had cut but my attention was fully taken by using the ice axe to tunnel out with a knee that wouldn’t co-operate! The walk to Brackenclose was purgatory, and I didn’t even get to go to the pub that night! It was still a great day, though…


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The sky was broken the day I did that summit.


Fantastic pics! Sorry you struggled a bit… never can rely on the sky…

Glad to say my worst encounter with a snow-filled gully didn’t get any worse than ice cold water up to the knees. Been extremely cautious ever since never the less :wink:

73 de Paul G4MD

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The walk was so stunning I ended up taking 50 pictures! Not to worry about the sun killing the radio, we’ll be going there again it was such a great walk. I’ve met these gullies before in peat territory, there were a lot of snow filled ones on Monamenach when we did that in February and had to follow one up stream more than 1km before a safe crossing was possible. Like Brian’s they can be 3m deep and even more deadly :scream:

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Another excellent report Andy and some stunning photos. Your account and the pics of the snow that hit you reminded me of when Paul and I activated Queensberry GM/SS-072. We were fortunate - we sat and watched the snow pass us by, about 50 metres away from where we sat operating. :slight_smile:
73, Gerald G4OIG

So, which was the pub? Even if I pass on the summit I might look out for the pub if I’m staying in the area. :wink:

You wont accidentally pass this pub as it’s at the end of a very long U shaped road.

The green marker is where the pub/hotel/cafe/car park is located. The road effectively ends at the pub, the road to Acharn is really quite minor. ISTR there are no passing places along the 3 miles it runs for :frowning:

Sounds like my sort of place. :wink:

Glen Clova Hotel, also has a bunkhouse as well as very comfortable rooms.

How odd, almost exactly the same conditions as when I activated it (there were still dinosaurs roaming then!). I had to go right up to the ridge to miss that snowfield and still nearly lost one of the dogs.