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Braeriach, Angels Peak and Cairn Toul from Glen Feshie
by Border Reiver » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:03 pm
Munros included on this walk: Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine
Date walked: 16/07/2000
Time taken: 9 hours
Distance: 36 km
Ascent: 2050m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I left the car near Achlean at about 7.00am on a day that promised good weather and set off up the Foxhunters path. I’d heard that there was a nice waterfall on the Allt Fearnagan not far from the path, so I kept a look out and soon found the narrow path to the falls. I would take a closer look on the way back.
I then set off up the Foxhunters path, stopping to have a brief look at the cleft in the ridge half way up the path.
Glen Feshie from the Foxhunter Path
At the top the view across the Moine Mhor was spectacular - a vast undulating, grey-green plateau, riven by many small streams, dotted with tiny clear lochans and areas of peat hags. It looked inviting enough for further exploration, in contrast to when I crossed part of it one dull March day, when the dense mist, melting snow and swirling black pools made it seem sinister. Einich Cairn and Cairn Toul were amazingly clear and a brief scan of the western horizon told me that it was going to be fine all day, with barely a cloud in sight. It was quite warm by then and I walked on in shorts and t-shirt.
Braeriach to Cairn Toul across the Moine Mhor
Rather than keep to more even ground further South, I decided to wander across to have a look down to Loch Einich from above the Fuaran Diotach. It was worth it for the view over Loch Einich towards Braeriach.
I got out the binoculars to check out the route from Loch Einich up Coire Dhondail, as that was another route I planned to do in the future. From there I followed the rim of the plateau round to the Coire Dhondail path. It was hard going with lots of small streams to cross, each one in quite a deep gully, but some of the window-like views from the gullies down Loch Einich were good.
View of Loch Einich and Braeriach
There’s no path to follow, so it makes it all the more enjoyable when you make all your own decisions. Despite it seeming straight forward on the map, there’s a lot ups and downs in and out of deep gullies and meandering around rocky outcrops. It was starting to get warm by the time I reached the slopes of Einich Cairn, but the water in the burn I followed was sweet and cold.
Moine Mhor from Einich Cairn
On reaching the shoulder of Einich Cairn, instead of following the ridge round to Braeriach, I wandered down to the source of the Dee at the Wells of Dee, had another drink and filled my water bottle. I remembered the night I camped there and was woken during the night by footsteps on the gravel nearby - my heart nearly stopped, but I did have a look out only to see a stag near the tent.
I contoured round as much as possible to Braeriach, easy going on short turf and gravel at first, then boulder fields on the final ascent to the summit, where I had lunch by the cairn, taking in the huge view from Ben MacDhui, Carn a Mhaim, Glen Dee, Cairn Toul, Loch an Uaine and nearer at hand the massive Garbh Coire with large patches of snow around the coire walls.
Cairn Toul from Braeriach
Despite the sunny day and warmth, I still hadn’t even seen anyone. I fancied having a look at where the Dee tumbles from the grass and gravel plateau over the coire edge, so I made my way there.
July snowbeds over the infant Dee
I took a picture of the snow-covered stream, looked up and nearly fell over - about 50 yds away there was a man rolling on the snow-bed, stark naked, a heap of clothing and a rucksack lay nearby. He didn’t see me, so I crept out of sight and detoured around him and his world of snow and cold. If any man on here reads this and realises that it was him - YOU WERE SEEN - but you deserve a medal.
Garbh Coire and Ben MacDhui
After that interesting scene, I decided that I had plenty of time, so made my way over Carn na Criche and Sgor an Lochain Uaine to Cairn Toul where the view was outstanding, with views even as far away as Ben Nevis and I could pick out The Window of Creag Meaghaidh.
Ben MacDhui and Lairig Ghru from Cairn Toul
Braeriach and falls of Dee
At the Cairn Toul cairn I met the only people I was to speak to all day - a couple of blokes from near Glasgow who had a tent down by Corrour. They left to return to their tent and I sat a while looking West, having a bite to eat and picking out a likely route back across the Moine Mhor.
Loch nan Stuirteag, Monadh Mor and Beinn Bhrotain
Moine Mhor from slopes of Sgor an Lochain Uaine, with herd of deer.
Then I descended back to the Sgor an Lochain Uaine col, from where I angle downhill, past a herd of red deer to the Allt Luineag where I came across the first wetness underfoot that I’d seen all day. It wasn’t boggy, just clear, cold water running over the grass. I followed the burn a while then cut across some peat-hagged (but quite dry) ground, passing close to Loch nan Cnapan, then picking up the path back to Achlean at the Allt Sgairneach.
Loch nan Cnapan, with Sgor Gaoith in the distance
The walk back over that part of the Moine Mhor was remarkably dry, so I made good time. At the head of the Allt Fearnagan, I stopped again for a long cool drink and finished off the last flapjack and Mars Bar. It was getting a bit chilly by then, so I put on a shirt and wandered back down towards Achlean and my car. On the way back I diverted to explore the falls on the Allt Fearnagan. They aren’t so much waterfalls, but rather a waterslide and are in a beautiful setting in among the pine trees - well worth a visit.
Falls on the Allt Fearnagan
I think they would be spectacular after heavy rain or during snowmelt. It was about 4.00pm when I reached the car, so plenty of time to drive back to North-East England. It was as good as any day I’d had in the mountains.
by BlackPanther » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:11 pm
by ChrisW » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:18 pm
by Border Reiver » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:27 pm
BlackPanther wrote:Thanks a lot for posting this route. It will be very helpful to me. I have plans for this summer to climb Angels Peak, Cairn Toul and Devils Point in one long walk from Glen Feshie - will be a modification of your expedition, about 33km long
It'll be a great route for you as long as visibility is good and it's reasonably dry, most of the Moine Mhor is reasonably level, without deep grass or heather to slow you down.
Great post, some stunning pics - the falls at the end are beautiful, always find waterfalls difficult to capture - thanks for posting
Thanks, it was perfect lighting for photography - I only wish I had a digital camera back then.
Great report. Thats a big route. never thought of doing them from Glen feshie. It was the usual Chalamain Gap, Lairig Ghru up and back out for me. Superb. Love the photos.
Yes, it's a big route, but I had no schedule other than to finish by dark and I'd done most other routes to Braeriach. A good interesting route is Chalamain Gap, Lairig Ghru, then contour round into the Garbh Coire before ascending up the boulder slopes between The Falls of Dee and Braeriach.
by Paul Webster » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:38 am
by Alastair S » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:36 am
by Border Reiver » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:28 am
Alastair S wrote:Super report and looks like a great route. I was thinking of tackling Braeriach via Gleann/Loch Eanaich (MTB'ing from the Whitewell car park) but this looks like a great alternative.
This route is a long, but superb route for a clear summers day.
I did the Glen Einich route with my Brother-in-law in May 5 years ago and it's a much shorter day. We left the car at Loch an Eilean. The estate roads are good for biking on until the track crosses the river, then they become much rougher with loose stones. The crossing of the Beanaidh burn can be difficult if there's snow melt or after rain, but otherwise, it's a good route. The path up Coire Dhondail is good, but it can be easy to miss the zig-zag that takes you up to the notch in the crags leading to the plateau. My brother-in-law was well ahead of me and found himself on a deer track on some very steep ground near a waterfall. This part of the route would also be difficult if there was any snow left, but usually it melts early here. Good luck and enjoy whatever you do.
by malky_c » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:59 am
I did a route up Glen Einich a few years back, and ended up wandering across the Moine Mhor. It was great: (report)
by Border Reiver » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:09 pm
malky_c wrote:Really enjoyed that - it strung together bits of my favourite days out on the Cairngorms. I like the way you stuck to the edge of the plateau round the head of Glen Einich and onto Braeriach.
I did a route up Glen Einich a few years back, and ended up wandering across the Moine Mhor. It was great: (report)
Thanks, I've read your great report and you've got some very atmospheric photos. I could wander around all day up there. Some people are scared by wide open spaces, but I love them. I've often fancied following the Eidart from The Moine Mhor to Glen Feshie.
by Caberfeidh » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:49 pm
Border Reiver wrote:I've often fancied following the Eidart from The Moine Mhor to Glen Feshie.
I did that once, many years ago when I and the world were young. I set off up the hillside behind Corrour and into the snow-line (it was early April). The snow was waist deep, I remember coming across a strange thing I still can't explain.An area of ground was bare of snow, maybe a circle of six feet across, as though a great big apple-corer had been used to remove a plug of snow.All around it was waist-deep, but in that area was green grass. There were no prints, human or animal, in the snow. I found the Eidart and followed it over the moors down to its confluence with the Feshie.Near the bridge was a small delapidated wooden shack (too delapidated to make a decent shelter).By the Eidart a little way before this was a rectangular stone imprint of where a bothy used to be, presumably of some age, maybe pre-Victorian. A military-built steel bridge like at Luibeg and Corrour spanned the Eidart just before the Feshie. I staggered on down Glen Feshie but could not find the bothy in the darkness and just bivvied for the night. I was probably only half a mile from it!
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by Border Reiver » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:33 pm
Caberfeidh wrote: Near the bridge was a small delapidated wooden shack (too delapidated to make a decent shelter).
I walked the Tilt-Geldie-Feshie route a few years back and the shack was still dilapidated. I spotted the path running up the Eidart and resolved that some day I'd walk it, probably from Achlean and back down Glen Feshie.
by yokehead » Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:44 pm
Caberfeidh wrote:I remember coming across a strange thing I still can't explain.An area of ground was bare of snow, maybe a circle of six feet across, as though a great big apple-corer had been used to remove a plug of snow.All around it was waist-deep, but in that area was green grass.
My suggestions are:
a) The crop circle makers got it wrong
b) It was made by a great big apple-corer
c) Too much malt and resulting spots in the eyes
by LeithySuburbs » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:50 pm
by Border Reiver » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:03 am
Yokehead wrote: The Macdui recollections were a masterpiece of detail and memory!
I do remember walks quite well, but not that well. It's just that if I'm off on a wander that I particularly want to remember, I carry a notebook and pen. The frequent scribbles are easily deciphered if done soon after.
My MacDhui notes were something I'd thought about doing for a while. My eyes and my mind are always working overtime when I'm out and I miss very little, so I had the idea of recording it all and putting my incoherent ramblings down on paper. It was a one-off exercise and it sat on my computer for many years until I came across this site and eventually decided to share some of my experiences.