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Discovering there's more to Glen Feshie

Discovering there's more to Glen Feshie

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Jul 12, 2021 8:40 am

Munros included on this walk: An Sgarsoch, Beinn Bhrotain, Càrn an Fhìdhleir (Càrn Ealar), Monadh Mòr, Mullach Clach a' Bhlàir

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgòr Mòr

Date walked: 11/07/2021

Distance: 81 km

Ascent: 3500m

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Another journey back to Braemar, another Cairngorm weekend. I'd worked out a circuit that took us to White Bridge for An Sgarsoch and Carn Ealer, with a clutch of Simms, then head north for Mullach Clach a'Bhlair and over to Beinn Bhrotain. The actual details were subject to variation depending how we felt and how the weather treated us. Forecast was a bit gloomy, when we checked it at Braemar, prior to our walk in, quite a deterioration from when I'd checked it in the morning. Damn...

We drove along to Linn o'Dee yet again - I'd have been better joining the National Trust given the last three weekends' parking fees. Not that I grudge them the £9 for a weekend ticket. Dry but overcast as we walked alongside the Dee, keen to get a few miles into the route before stopping to pitch. Walking down to where the Geldie Burn meets the Bynack Burn we chose a level spot by the water's edge and settled down for a quiet night. A wee it of overnight drizzle and some low cloud when we woke - not the sort of morning to make you spring out of bed exactly.

Love these evening walk ins
ImageF8202DFE-216A-45A6-80C6-039F17CB0493_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image9F8A8CDD-C658-45C7-99DE-014600A80CAE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

As we set off up the convenient ATV track towards our first Simm, we saw that Ruighe Easalaid bothy looks like it's getting an extra bit (?toilet block) added on. Sadly the good track petered out after reaching Cnapan Garbh and we had to fend for ourselves over marshy ground on our way towards An Sgarsoch. We made the summit without much ado then set off down, down to the bealach with Carn Ealar, losing 300m and encountering some more challenging bog than we've had in recent weeks at the base - my foot swiftly disappeared into one particularly "sucky" peat hag. Onwards and upwards though - we headed up to the 906m top where I departed to do my loop of Simms.

ImageF13B6AAE-D3BC-4AD3-9771-79693D1C3832_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE23E93BB-7C9A-4165-9AAD-39AF1F3EEE46_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

I'd guesstimated this would be about 12k (12.5) and take me around 4 hours (managed it in 3 and a half), although I made an executive decision to cut out Bhraigh Sron Ghorm from my objectives (it would have required 300m ascent alone and can be fitted onto our route the next time we're up Carn a'Chlamain. The others were alright, and provided a pleasant walk along the Tarf Water - plenty of nice spots to camp down here. Back up to the 906m spot then it was time to summit Carn Ealar and head down to the River Feshie, where we planned to spend the night. Fairly good track off the hill, boggier and less obvious in the lower sections, but still a path. Other than two folk we'd seen coming from Carn Ealar in the afternoon, the glen was empty of souls.

Image20BF866B-8A69-4527-AB8D-23641148922B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE8F30F9E-3B4F-4AE6-A5F7-099BA1351E8F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We pitched beside the river again and had a comfortable and dry night, able to keep the tent flap open all night which I always enjoy. A dry morning, but cloud down on the tops and a forecast for rain later in the day. We set off along the ATV track that runs beside the Feshie, opting to cross the River Eidart on the stepping stones rather than divert to the footbridge. We had two options - either head up over open hillside making for Mullach Clach a'belair from Ruighe nan Leum or continue along the track by the Feshie River right along to the bulldozed track past Ruigh Aiteachain. I was glad we'd opted for the latter - never been along this section of Glen Feshie before and it really is worth a visit.

Image7DA1DC9C-E8E8-456A-AD13-98B3FA27CE69_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE42D7C18-1213-40BC-B20E-9A229B82D2CC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The trees begin
Image1B06F504-77DE-4B38-B792-2667DFD68A2C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

It's always pleasant to walk along the side of a river, nicer when the Caledonian Pines start to appear and the impressive, rugged cliffs and ravines on the north side of the path come into view. We had a moment at An Cagain, where the track heads straight into the river. No stepping stones for this one - it would be a wade. Socks and liners off, boots back on, wade and squeeze out the boots on the other side...I'm sitting thinking that we've just crossed the Feshie and we want to be on the north side, not the south side of it...looks at map - hmmm. Perhaps the track shown on the map has been washed away (apparently not, it's there if you look we were told later)....but in any case we had another wade back over the river in a matter of moments following the first - pretty pointless getting re-shod to be un-shod again so soon :lol: Anyway, it was a pleasant diversion and the water was lovely and warm/refreshing to toes that had been crammed in wet boots for a while.

Image6CDBCE70-F733-4B71-A67B-0EC15F662C3A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image9A46E01A-89CA-4035-B0DB-335777F69433_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0CE3C14D-61B3-4713-9ABB-9BAEA88A8BAC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageBE0AA229-B123-4619-82A4-D0E56B34963D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageCA5F6266-9699-4F97-AA16-B3AA13C869CA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageED24748C-E140-41A5-97A8-14FC050D9337_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFF9C44DC-F245-420F-BC66-D90FB38186AC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

"Follow the map, not the track..."
Image3FE4169B-6DAB-44EB-8DCC-20369B25FECD_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageA83ABC7A-B4C3-403A-AD5B-1EE7644DFDBA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We continued along the track, trees closed in on us, waterfalls on either side of the river, more fine looking places to camp, then we took a turn north into the Glen Feshie we were more familiar with from trips down from Achlean. Coming to Ruigh Aiteachean we saw the bothy - raised bed garden and bench outside, huge store of wood - in fact I decided this couldn't be the bothy, it was just too fine. There was an older man in the garden, so we didn't want to intrude in case this was his house. Continuing along the track a bit we found a hanging branch to sit on and have lunch, and whilst we were doing so, the man from the bothy came along - a well spoken Scotsman. We had a blether for a while - I asked if the beautiful bothy was respected by its patrons - he said yes, because the estate encourages families to use it and encourages the rowdier element to get lost. I was sorry that we hadn't had a look inside, as I'd read about the refurb plans some while ago...two toilets and two stoves, plus unlimited wood supply :D

Image0C306FBB-500A-4096-9EE7-C4FB6D49D7C6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageF9DD17B8-E5CF-4530-87D7-37940ED6E199_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image8AC74AE2-A326-4F1B-B473-4C2742B46981_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Best bothy?
ImageF6A6244E-30CB-471D-BA8A-037461132E41_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image00C5FD00-2A82-4BD2-92A3-14CEAE845B4C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Next it was up the bulldozed track to Mullach Clach a'belair, diverting slightly to the Simm of Meall nan Sleac, which is just off the main track and has its own path to the summit. Luxury. As we continued on to Mullach, the rain started to fall heavily, the track quickly filling with large puddles and the clag descending. Typical of these hills in my experience. We got to the summit then turned around, heading for the Top of Meall Dubhag, which we'd seen on the way up, sitting over Coire Gharblach. I'd done this from Carn Ban Mor before and remembered it as a fairly flat stony/grassy wander - but from the track it's a little more involved, including a section of watery bog. And the return to the track was even worse - bog and peat hag after bog and peat hag - it seemed to go on endlessly.

ImageC5D3474A-EFCA-491C-810E-B68E0B7F3461_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageAE2D428F-B95B-497C-9F1E-6E32BEB4831B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Meall Dubhag
Image5C55E3FD-A822-4938-ABF7-CC413928C535_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0F0FF2EF-706C-4C02-AF08-52CB46E6C76A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

When we did make the track we were headed towards Tom Dubh. I was delighted to see the western side of the Braeriach/Carn Toul hills - something I've not seen on previous visits due to clag. I was surprised just how close they lie to our route. The heavy rain had made the Allt Sgairnich something of a torrent, and it was a little awkward getting across. By this time we were thinking of where to camp for the night - we could see black clouds coming in from the south and although I'd have preferred to camp on Monadh Mor, I reckoned Tom Dubh would have to do...We noticed a group of tents down by Loch nan Cnapan and made it to the summit of Tom Dubh, out of sight of them, to pitch. We managed to have our Huel before the rain hit us - and it was heavy rain for most of the night. Despite this, we could hear a snipe calling, close to the tent, during the night.

Carn Toul et al
Image8AC171FE-393A-48D6-A474-710AF6398DA3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image64ACF149-6AFA-4D9D-B441-2A36ABD00B4F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Sgor Gaoithe
ImageF895B018-1849-4345-B277-1D4B342BBFC8_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Before the rain...
Image38ADAA3B-019D-463C-944A-C9A7CB6015EF_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Weather coming in
ImageB9332807-EF6B-4A47-BD07-ED4678EC4BAC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image932D8F93-5201-4A7F-91A8-A2650D5EA830_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Onto Monadh Mor in the morning. It's a bit of a strange name this - "the big hill" - well OK it is big, 1113 metres - but it's surrounded by bigger hills like Braeriach and Carn Toul. Maybe it's Gaelic irony...Whatever, it is an easy enough ascent from Tom Dubh. Clag at the summit...again. Along the path towards Beinn Bhrotain - I'd intended to head for the Simm of Cnapan Mhor, but before I knew it we were heading down to the bealach with Bhrotain and the clag was quite thick - neither of us really fancied clambering about over steep boulderfields in the clag, so I opted to leave that particular Simm to another day. We headed up Bhrotain instead, glad of the path. Off the other side, towards Carn Cloich-Mhuillin, which neither of us needed, but it was easier to use this route off the hill. Descent towards Glen Dee - I intended to head up Sgor Mor, to keep my Corbett numbers up - I suggested that Allison just take the track back to Linn o'Dee, especially as the River Dee looked quite full. Another wade - up to my crotch this time - then steeply up the heathery nose of Sgor Mor. No-one else about. Up to the rocky summit, granite tors, good views to the big hills of Glen Dee and then along the eastern summit ridge, before a rather gruelling descent through bog, marsh, thick heather and electric fences brought me back to the track we'd taken out on Thursday evening. Another 80km walk weekend, even if the weather wasn't as kind as we'd hoped for.

Image72E4786A-BE8B-495A-B6A7-50CF437F3C71_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Sgor Mor from Cloich-Mhuillin
Image922B0BD3-F7B7-4BF1-9020-1D28B23B3CE4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image7B926332-29CB-4511-AF47-7B56AECCB62A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image3318D212-858C-4E40-B206-B86E6D7F8618_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC477FC5E-8CE0-4163-BD4E-BE34E54259B6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFBE3A03D-9D50-4F6C-A9DE-9790B37B5C6E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Summit, Sgor Mor
ImageF5AC9957-2322-4F0D-807E-8ED13CDA77BF_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr
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