Sunday, December 21, 2008

80. Carn a'Chlamain (192) 18/12/08

In the winter one has to think about the weather a lot because if it turns bad, then it can be quite unpleasant. Therefore to plan to stay in a bothy for two nights is quite an undertaking and one has to at least have some confidence in the forecast. We probably had more confidence than we should have had, but nevertheless it was an adventure. As we set off from Blair Atholl, the clouds gradually gave way to blue sky and our spirits were high. Even with full packs the going was fairly easy for the 8 or so miles up the road in Glen Tilt. We picked up a large amount of firewood on the way to make the bothy a bit cosier. On the way to the bothy we decided to climb Carn a'Chlamain. Above the forest lodge, there was an efficient path that zigzagged up the side and we were soon approaching the gentler slopes near the top. Unfortuantely by this point clouds had rolled in and snow was beginning to fall. Before we knew it, we were fighting our way into the wind and driving snow as we finished the climb. We managed, though, since at least with snow one doesn't get wet and therefore the exertion of the climb kept us warm. The snow eased as we descended north into an eerily monochromatic Glen Tarf towards the bothy. However, the two miles to get there took a lot longer than we thought, since it was over very difficult terrain and we were thoroughly exhausted by the time we arrived. The auspiciously named 'Tarf Hotel' was quite a substantial bothy, but unfortunately there was no dry firewood left there. Despite our best efforts, most of the wood I had brought was wet and after some attempts it was clear the fire wasn't going to be lit. So we ate our baked tatties cold. Still, our sleeping bags were warm and the bothy was well insulated, so it wasn't an unpleasant night. Unfortunately, one look at the sky in the morning and at the river we were going to have to ford was enough to send us walking back out as quickly as possible. A couple of miles from the bothy a storm started and we spent the next ten miles walking into the wind and sleet, which was character building. In future, I think bothies in winter should be a little closer to civilisation.

The Tarf Hotel


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