Hill: Carn a' Chaochain
Date: Sunday 15th February 2015
Company: Just myself
Distance: 14.8km, Ascent: 605m
Time: 4Hrs 20Mins

I set off this morning with a view to driving as far as Cougie for an ascent of Carn a' Chaochain.

The drive as far as Tomich was good. Beyond Tomich there are hundreds of potholes on the unsurfaced road and beyond Plodda Falls there were also numerous sections of road still covered in snow and ice. I therefore drove as far as Garve Bridge before abandoning the car to walk the final section of road. The ground clearance of my car is minimal and the bottom of the front bumper was ploughing through the hard snow and ice. I didn't want to risk breaking the bumper. This added approximately 3.5km each way to the walk.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

It didn't take long to walk the 3.5km along the road from Garve Bridge to Cougie.

Road beyond Garve Bridge:

On reaching Cougie, I failed to find the start of the footpath as indicated on the OS map. I therefore walked back circa 150m along the road to ascend via an alternative faint track.

Alternative 'track' up through the wood:

The alternative track wasn't too bad.

Looking back to Cougie:

Looking across to Glen Affric hills:

Ascent next to fence:

On reaching the top of my alternative track, I had to climb over a six-foot deer fence. Beyond the deer fence the terrain was not particularly pleasant. Much of the snow was too soft to support my weight and I disappeared down holes more than once.

Carn a' Chaochain:

I eventually reached the start of the NE ridge and made my way up on much firmer, easy-angled snow.

Ascending the NE ridge of Carn a' Chaochain:

Despite wearing several layers of clothes, I still felt cold today. The forecast windspeed was 50mph with -17C windchill. This felt about right. It was baltic.

Glen Affric hills:

It didn't take long to reach the first top of the ridge. I then progressed on towards the trig point and then onto the summit.

A cairn at the top of the first section of ridge:

Loch Carn a' Chaochain:

Looking towards summit (left) and trig point (right):

Approaching the trig point:

Ascent towards the summit:

I stayed at the summit literally long enough to take a few photos before continuing back. Today was not a day to hang about. At least the wind would not be at my back during the descent.

At the summit of Carn a' Chaochain:

View from the summit of Carn a' Chaochain:

Looking back towards the trig point from the summit:


Nice ridge (not sure which hill) (zoom):

During the return, I decided to try to pick up the track that I had missed at the start of the day. I found the track and followed it back down to Cougie. This track is much better than the alternative one I had taken earlier in the day.

Track leading back to Cougie:

Descent towards Cougie:

The start of the track that I missed was in fact several hundred metres beyond Cougie, not at Cougie as indicated on the OS map. If you are doing this hill it would be worth walking beyond Cougie to use this track. From Cougie, I walked the 3.5km back to Garve Bridge.