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A different five Mounth Munros circuit

A different five Mounth Munros circuit


Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Sun Jul 18, 2021 7:35 pm

Route description: White Mounth Munros, Glen Muick

Munros included on this walk: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Càrn an t-Sagairt Mòr, Tolmount, Tom Buidhe

Date walked: 07/06/2021

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I decided this would be a different but interesting way to see the central Mounth plateau. It turned out even better than expected. It's a very a satisfying circuit with varied scenes, near and far, all along the route - and two beautiful but very different glens for the ascent and descent.


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But the day started in an unpromising way. Glen Clova was filled with low, brooding clouds. Despite that, the river below Bachnagairn was still a fine sight.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_6553 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

I then entered the woods of Bachnagairn. This was one of the places I'd looked forward to seeing, and I wasn't disappointed. Stone steps wound their way up through the trees like a mini Fairyland. At one point a cascade fell into a deep slot in the rocks.

ImageIMG_6568 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A few minutes later, I came to the Roy Tait Bridge. The only troll under it was me.

ImageIMG_6569 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

This was the first of three sobering memorial plaques I saw that day - the others being at Davy's Bourach on Jock's Road, and there is another lower down Jock's Road where it joins the main track through Glen Doll.

ImageIMG_6574 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

There was a waterfall just below the bridge - the second photo was the best view I could get of it.

ImageIMG_6572 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_6577 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The upper river, from below the bridge.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Beyond the bridge, I entered the mist. The excellent path wound its way uphill through scattered trees.

ImageIMG_6586 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A wayside plant.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Sooner than expected, I saw the wooden shed where the track from Loch Muick comes up. From here, the path makes more or less a beeline for the summit of Broad Cairn, but I diverged to the right near the top, to get a better view. A break in the mist was beginning to reveal the deep chasm below me. Dubh Loch could not be seen, but its surrounding crags were spectacular.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The mist began to vanish like magic. Beyond Creag an Dubh-Loch, there were tantalising glimpses across the plateau to the faraway snowy Cairngorms.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

As the last of the clouds cleared, I went up to the cairn, revealing a view of Loch Muick below.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Mayar and Loch Esk from Broad Cairn.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A rare effort at a summit selfie. Lockdown haircut by my children.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

It was a pleasant walk across to Cairn Bannoch. The small pointy summit provided great views all round, including the skyline of the Cairngorms on either side of Carn an-t Saigart Mor.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking back to Broad Cairn, with Glen Clova to its right...

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

...across the plateau to Driesh and Mayar...

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

...a bit of Glas Maol, Cairn of Claise and Carn an Tuirc, and Fafernie in the foreground. To the left of Carn an Tuirc is the Cairnwell and Carn a'Gheoidh, and to its right is the Glas Tulaichean-Beinn Iutharn Mhor group.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

...Lochnagar's Cac Carn Beag and Cac Carn Mor high above the Eagles' Rock.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Views of the Cairngorms were superb, like scenes I remember from Arctic Norway.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

the Big Three: Cairn Toul, Braeriach and Ben Macdui.

ImageIMG_6638 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

I set off for Carn an't Sagairt Mor in bright sunshine.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach from the same spot.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

I diverged slightly to the left before the top of Carn an't Sagairt Mor, hoping to spot some of the Canberra wreckage, and almost immediately came across this.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking towards Corrie Kander. This was a place to stop and ponder.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

For anyone interested in this tragic story, a good starting point is Black Panther's TR (https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=98871). My Dad was an RAF pilot in the WW2, so these places are very resonant for me. They're also a reminder that both in the war and in the early Cold War, casualty rates from accidents like these were shockingly high - the origins of Mountain Rescue's association with the RAF. One of these days I'll revisit Carn an't Sagairt Mor via the shorter route from Loch Callater, and hope to have time to find more of the wreckage.

Walking up to the summit, I came across another patch of debris.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The cairn on Carn an't Sagairt Mor, with the two summits of Lochnagar, and Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking down from Carn an't Saigart Mor towards Dubh Loch in its deep basin.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The view south-west from the same spot. The distant peaks are I think Ben Lawers and Schiehallion (at one point, I could also make out the distinctive outline of Ben More and Stob Binnein). The closer hills are Carn a Gheoidh, Carn Aosda with its quartzite screes, Glas Tulaichean and Beinn a'Ghlo.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

It was a short stroll to the two cairns on Fafernie. This is looking south-west from the southern cairn, with Mount Blair in the distance towards the right.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

And back to Lochnagar and Carn Bannoch.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

As conditions underfoot were dry, I decided to descend towards Jock's Road alongside the stream Allt an Droighnean, which flows south from Fafernie. It was a pleasant oasis, contrasting with the stark wilderness all around.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Tom Buidhe and Tolmount beyond the stream.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A closer view of Tolmount and the head of Glen Callater, with Glas Maol beyond.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

This is the view from the path (faint but easily followed) from Jock's Road up onto Tolmount, looking back across the White Mounth. From left to right are Fafernie, Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach, Cairn Bannoch (a small pimple), Lochnagar, Cairn of Gowal and Broad Cairn.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking from the same point towards my descent route - Glen Doll, with Driesh and Mayar in the distance.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

And a closer view of Broad Cairn.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Another little diversion to the right of the path revealed Loch Callater, backed by Cairn Lochan, Cairn Gorm, Beinn a'Bhuird and perhaps part of Ben Avon.

ImageIMG_6752 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A ruined building next to the cairn on Tolmount.

ImageIMG_6756 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

My attempt to make Tom Buidhe look good.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Clouds gathering above the summit of Tom Buidhe, and a last glimpse of the Cairngorms - I think the highest point of Ben Avon may be visible on this picture, left of the summit of Tolmout.

ImageIMG_6761 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

White Water, just below my crossing point. Tolmount is the skyline.

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

For anyone who would like to walk Jock's Road from Glen Doll, and include just one summit, my recommendation would be for the more distant Tolmount, rather than Tom Buidhe. The former is less boggy, has better views and a more interesting summit, and it has a path! However I noticed on the map that, despite its duffer reputation, Tom Buidhe does have a craggy flank ("The Dacies" on the map) above the head of Canness Glen - a place that looks worth exploring.

At Davy's Bourach, with thoughts of tragic events past and present.

ImageIMG_6772 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Scenes on Jock's Road - Craig Maud, Glen Doll and Driesh, and looking behind me at the thickening clouds.

ImageIMG_6782 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Deep in the darkness of the Glen Doll woods I came across a cluster of primroses.

ImageIMG_6794 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Acharn Farm, nearly back to the car park!

ImageUntitled by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: A different five Mounth Munros circuit

Postby prog99 » Sun Jul 18, 2021 9:01 pm

Think folk forget you can access these from Clova. Looks like a nice round, have done something similar. If your keen Lochnagar etc are all doable from there.
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Re: A different five Mounth Munros circuit

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue Jul 20, 2021 12:54 pm

prog99 wrote:Think folk forget you can access these from Clova. Looks like a nice round, have done something similar. If your keen Lochnagar etc are all doable from there.


Thanks! Yes, I'd recommend it - both the approach walk and descent were great, and a nice contrast to the plateau.

One for fine weather I think - not because of navigation, which I think would not actually be difficult except in a whiteout, but because the distant views, especially of the Cairngorms, really enhanced it.

I'd repeat this walk - although next time I might miss out Tom Buidhe...

Tim
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: A different five Mounth Munros circuit

Postby jmarkb » Tue Jul 20, 2021 1:30 pm

Nice report - I have done the reverse (minus Carn an t-Sagairt Mor) and remember it as a good day out. The Glen Doll approach to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe is a lot more satisfying than the usual one from Glen Shee, I think. In fact, the whole area is an odd one in that the best walks and most efficient bagging routes don't coincide much. If you go back to Carn an t-Sagairt Mor from Auchallater, the lower hills on the N side of the glen (Creag an Loch, Meall an t-Slugain etc.) are worth exploring. The "wayside plant" is Dwarf Cornel.
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Re: A different five Mounth Munros circuit

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Wed Jul 21, 2021 6:11 pm

jmarkb wrote:Nice report - I have done the reverse (minus Carn an t-Sagairt Mor) and remember it as a good day out. The Glen Doll approach to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe is a lot more satisfying than the usual one from Glen Shee, I think. In fact, the whole area is an odd one in that the best walks and most efficient bagging routes don't coincide much. If you go back to Carn an t-Sagairt Mor from Auchallater, the lower hills on the N side of the glen (Creag an Loch, Meall an t-Slugain etc.) are worth exploring. The "wayside plant" is Dwarf Cornel.


Thanks jmarkb - good tip re those lower hills. I’ve just had a look at the map and they look interesting.

My original plan didn’t in fact include Carn an t-Sagairt Mor - but then, when I was on the plateau, it looked much closer and easier than I’d expected. That plus the lure of the Canberra wreckage made me decide to include it!

Tim
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