Troisgeach (733m)

Saturday 29th February 2020

Distance: 11kms - Duration: 5hrs 30mins - Group Size: 10

Walk Leader - John

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Last Sunday, on Ben Vorlich, we encountered a moderate 15 to 20cms of snow, today on Troisgeach, a mere seven kilometres north of Ben Vorlich and at only 733m high, considerably lower than Vorlich, we had to contend with snow which at times was knee deep, and a descent that was more awkward and demanding than that on Vorlich; a reminder, that our "little hills" are often as challenging as their neighbouring mighty Munros.

We were snow free on the initial walk up out of Glen Falloch on the good hydro track taking us to the base of the east northeast ridge of Troisgeach. I use the word "ridge" very loosely, as it is an undefined series of humps and bumps with no obvious route ahead. However, the moment we left the hydro track just above Troisgeach Bheag we encountered snow underfoot, which very quickly became a blanket covering the hillside ahead. Route choice was a matter of taking it hump by hump, some rocky, others grassy, but all under an every increasing depth of snow; which at times required a short detour to avoid the deepest sections.

Mist and wind was an added challenge, the wind at times strong enough to whip up the lying snow, blowing the icy crystals onto any exposed skin around your face; a glance at my companions confirmed that everyone had their heads well huddled under their jacket hood, or had even donned their goggles. The photos opposite belie the conditions, being taken at an instant of calm and clear sky, a rarity for most of the day.

On reaching the un-named lochan which lies on a flat plateau some 40 metres or so below the summit, we once again split our party, as we had last week, with five electing to make the steep final ascent to the summit, while the remaining five of us started our descent south into the Lairig Arnan. And, it was quite a challenging descent. Surprisingly for a southern slope, the snow here was even deeper than we had encountered on the ascent. At times we were knee deep and the rocky, uneven ground held the snow in considerable depth. We were on steep slopes, steep enough to have us attempt a "bum slide" with ice axe at the ready, but the snow was too soft, and any "slide" was minimal and just resulted in snow piling up around you; so it was back onto ones feet and a continued struggle to get ourselves down the hillside.

We stopped at one point to re-group, and it was then that the five summit baggers re-joined us, and we continued as a group down the rough hillside until, with some relief, we reached the Lairig Arnan track at the base of the hillside. And just in time; as the weather had been deteriorating, and as we gained the track heavy rain and sleet accompanied us for the remainder of the day, resulting in a very wet return to Glen Falloch.

Nevertheless, a very enjoyable and exciting day on Troisgeach and thanks to all for your company.

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