Well fellow heid-baggers. This was intended to be an unashamedly deliberate tick-list effort, but I am almost embarrassed to add two peaks to my log on the basis of these ridiculously cheaply won Munros. I set off quite early because the forecast was rain later but apart from that curious shirt-soaking smir one gets in clouds or by living in Glasgow or Seattle, the rain never appeared.
The ‘other’ guide book suggests doing these with a third – a proper Munro Carn a’ Gheoidh and together taking up to five hours. In the event a low cloud hovered about and plunged me into grey for much of the walk. Humming and haw-ing and having identified the correct jump-off point, I decided no. The main reason was I had forgotten my climbing trousers and did the walk in jeans. With no change of clothing and rain forecast, together with no promise of a view – well them’s my excuses.
Now you may recall I is a fat bastard and noting that I took much less than an hour to get atop Cairnwell (much nicer Gaelic: An Càrn Bhailg) and less than two hours for the pair you may decide you too want to move your list up a notch or two for little effort.
As you make the circuit – like a capital G without the horizontal bit – it becomes apparent from the ground beneath and the slightly dilapidated signs that this is not a hill to stretch your route finding – even in the clagg.
Forcing yourself to take Occam’s razor etymologically to the thing you walk along you would have to eschew the word path and settle on road. OK not maybe for your low-rider white Audi with eyelashes, but barely a challenge for any 4x4.
Even the summit of Aosda seems like an afterthought among the detritus of plankers’ paraphernalia. The road becomes a little rougher and takes a boomerang shaped contour. Only a few footsteps halfway along alert you to the fact you are walking past the pimple of a cairn and a brief ascent and 30m takes you to your goal.
Rather than go back to the access road I descended straight down the ski tow and on to the bottom. The chairlift was closed for it being too windy but beware the dummy in the chair. I was suspicious straight away but the lass in the café informed me that dozens of punters regularly report that someone is stranded on the chair.
Maybe I should have been bolder but the psychological barrier of 150 is reached with time for a jaunt round Braemar, Lecht, Tomintoul & Aviemore to circumnavigate the whole Cairngorm park was pleasant enough.
The top of Cairnwell only needs another building to be almost a village. Surely the only Munro with so much on top? There is a large mast with multiple cell antenna and two large skip sized enclosures for all the BTS kit, then another building like a fifties primary school lavvie block housing the kit for the other large mast with multiple VHF antenna and small microwave dishes. These might be for broadband fer the teuchters or even landline transmission; not sure. Ugly as heck the site itself is untidy and lots of crap lying about. Even the cable runs are scruffy and the anti-climb fixings are risible indeed. There is also a wooden howf which had some barbed wire and the remains of a tent in side.
This will NOT be your favourite summit. Maybe 282nd
Still. Tick +tick. Pix are boring too but I’ll add ‘em anyway.
Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.