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Bynack More and Loch A'an route advice

Bynack More and Loch A'an route advice


Postby Choccy » Tue Sep 21, 2021 9:18 pm

Hi all, I'm seeking a little clarification on a planned route for a hike in early November. I've scoured these forums, OS map and Komoot trying to work out as much as possible.

So I'd originally planned to get the train up to Aviemore and stay somewhere on the Sunday night, as the train doesn't get in until 19:30. Then get up nice and early to catch the early bus (05:43) to Glenmore, and then hike over Cairngorm and down to Loch A'an and then onto Beinn Mheadhoin. Hopefully with enough time to return to the Ski Centre for 17:02 back to Aviemore, for another nights stay.

However when it came to booking my train tickets I found that I could get the later (11:30) train instead of the normal early 08:32, at exactly the same price. This got me thinking that if I camped near Loch A'an I would only have a 3 hour hike back to the Ski Centre to catch the 09:22 back to Aviemore, weather permitting of course.

This gives me more scope to put a big day in on the Monday and have a nice early camp near the Loch and see more of the Cairngorms on this side, I've just got back last month from doing the 4000s, with glorious weather. Now I just need to know if my new plan looks doable within 10-12 hours or if there is anything I should miss out. I'm also wanting to give my mountain tent a good outing, as it's not seen any action since its last use in Feb 20 :D :D

New plan is to start early at Glenmore (06:00) and head out towards Bynack More, from there over A' Choinneach, then I'm unsure if I can go straight over to Beinn Mheadhoin or if I'd need to go around the north shore of Loch A'an. If I went around the shore route I would probably set up the tent and walk up Beinn Mheadhoin. Or would there be better spots around Loch Etchachan? Are there any other summits I should be trying to take in within this time frame.

Sorry for such a long winded post, so thank you to anyone that has got this far through it.

Leigh... :) :) :)
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Re: Bynack More and Loch A'an route advice

Postby Scottk » Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:49 pm

I think you would need to go round the loch-it’s probably too steep to go direct!
I would be tempted to cam at Loch Etchachan with the option to bail out to Hutchison’s if the weather turns. Plenty spots to camp but maybe not as nice as Loch A’an.
From Loch Etchachan, Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm are very close. Very little daylight in November (8-4)
Very weather dependent. You might find that Bynack More and Beinn Mheadhoin is enough.
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Re: Bynack More and Loch A'an route advice

Postby Choccy » Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:02 pm

Scottk wrote:I think you would need to go round the loch-it’s probably too steep to go direct!
I would be tempted to cam at Loch Etchachan with the option to bail out to Hutchison’s if the weather turns. Plenty spots to camp but maybe not as nice as Loch A’an.
From Loch Etchachan, Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm are very close. Very little daylight in November (8-4)
Very weather dependent. You might find that Bynack More and Beinn Mheadhoin is enough.


Thanks, that sounds good, I'll give Ben Macdui a miss as I've done that already, my plan is to start an hour or so before first light. I did think that this would be a quite sensible amount of walking, just wasn't sure of the route to Beinn Mheadhoin. I'll not bother with steep ascent and a heavy pack. I nearly made that mistake coming down Ben Macdui to the Corrour :shock: :shock:

Leigh...
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Re: Bynack More and Loch A'an route advice

Postby jmarkb » Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:30 am

If the river crossing is OK (easiest at the Fords of Avon, but even there can be dangerous/impossible after heavy rain), then climbing Beinn Mheadhoin from the NE would be OK. There is a wee band of steep ground below Sron Ghorm, but this can be avoided to either siode. Loch Etchachan is nice spot to camp, but exposed to bad weather and further to walk out from the next morning in the dark.

I would suggest that you go along the N shore of Loch Avon, camp near the Shelter Stone, and then do Beinn Mheadhoin with a light pack, provided you still have good visibility and enough remaining daylight. This also means that you will have been able to recce the first part of the route back to the ski centre, which you will need to do in the dark to catch the bus. Make sure that you can 100% find your tent again if you leave it - a GPS waymark is a good plan.

Your plan is only going to be viable in good weather and with minimal lying snow on the hills. You might get lucky, but it would definitely be worth having some less committing alternatives in mind!
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Re: Bynack More and Loch A'an route advice

Postby Choccy » Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:21 am

jmarkb wrote:If the river crossing is OK (easiest at the Fords of Avon, but even there can be dangerous/impossible after heavy rain), then climbing Beinn Mheadhoin from the NE would be OK. There is a wee band of steep ground below Sron Ghorm, but this can be avoided to either siode. Loch Etchachan is nice spot to camp, but exposed to bad weather and further to walk out from the next morning in the dark.

I would suggest that you go along the N shore of Loch Avon, camp near the Shelter Stone, and then do Beinn Mheadhoin with a light pack, provided you still have good visibility and enough remaining daylight. This also means that you will have been able to recce the first part of the route back to the ski centre, which you will need to do in the dark to catch the bus. Make sure that you can 100% find your tent again if you leave it - a GPS waymark is a good plan.

Your plan is only going to be viable in good weather and with minimal lying snow on the hills. You might get lucky, but it would definitely be worth having some less committing alternatives in mind!


Thanks jmarkb, good tip about the gps marker, I was thinking about doing that for potential spots along the route for any later trips too. I'll definitely have a plan B, and also a plan C, and I'll not take any risks if the weather isn't great. Also still have the option of a day walk over to Loch A'an if it seems too much.

I'm still trying to remember the things I need to take on a winter camp, it's been so long coming. Will stick to the advice and take the north shore route, as I had heard of the trouble crossing the river at Fords of Avon, and it will be a higher crossing at the other end too if there has been rain.

Once again, thanks for taking the time to read through folks.

Leigh...
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Re: Bynack More and Loch A'an route advice

Postby LobeyD » Wed Sep 22, 2021 3:32 pm

Not much to add, but I had to bail out from camping at Etchachan to A'an in July a few years ago due to the wind so A'an is definitely a more sensible camping spot at that time of year.

Also the path from A'an up the coire to Etchachan isn't great, very loose in places. Not ideal, particularly descending, in either the dark or with a big pack.
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Re: Bynack More and Loch A'an route advice

Postby Choccy » Wed Sep 22, 2021 5:04 pm

LobeyD wrote:Not much to add, but I had to bail out from camping at Etchachan to A'an in July a few years ago due to the wind so A'an is definitely a more sensible camping spot at that time of year.

Also the path from A'an up the coire to Etchachan isn't great, very loose in places. Not ideal, particularly descending, in either the dark or with a big pack.


That's great information to know. My tent will hold up to wind quite well (50mph tested), but I'd rather not risk it if I have to, so that is valuable advice. Having an early idea of the terrain will help my decision making too, so I'll try to head up Beinn Mheadhoin as early as possible, without the pack, and with plenty of daylight left.

Always grateful for these nuggets of knowledge, thank you very much LobeyD.

Leigh...
Choccy
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