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The Cairnwell 3 - Not half as bad as expected!

The Cairnwell 3 - Not half as bad as expected!


Postby ChrisW » Thu May 19, 2011 10:40 pm

Route description: The Cairnwell Munros

Munros included on this walk: Carn a'Gheoidh, Carn Aosda, The Cairnwell

Date walked: 19/05/2011

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 11.5 km

Ascent: 775m

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Having read so much negativity about these hills I had crossed them off my 'to do' list, but then I read a TR by PeteR and his commentary and pics left me reconsidering. So right off I need to say thanks PeteR, I'm with you on these three, so it was that I arrived in the car park today and found myself looking at A Wainwright and his wife Betty as they watched the showers blow by.
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I had already felt the chill in the air as I got booted up so it was on with the fleece and the jacket and initially the hat too, I started by crossing the road and passing the cafe, walking around the back of the buildings I am immediately ascending.
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I would agree that this section may not be the most aesthetically pleasing.....but it's an experience
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it's quite an enjoyable ascent even though you are straight at it with no time to warm the leggies first, it's a bit on the steep side in places, but in no time at all you are well on the way
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the ascent is so short that there really isn't time to get tired before you are at the top, which I did not think would be the case when I stood at the bottom looking up Image

so in considerably less than an hour I'm grabbing my first summit shot
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the views from Carn Aosda are great and with my back to the chairlift I could be anywhere
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I waste no time standing around and set off in the direction of Carn a Gheoidh with the Cairnwell standing proud to the left it looks quite a walk to my next target across Loch Vrotachan
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the loch as a good ripple from the blustery wind and I can still feel that chill even after my ascent
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looking over to the Cairnwell the towers and wide rugged track do make it look a little untidy, but not terrible....not from here anyway
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right now I'm heading this way but as someone once said.....I'll be back
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a short sleet shower reminds me of the temperature and my thin summer trousers do there best to hold off the wet, as the showers are travelling in the opposite direction to me they pass quickly. I confess I considered sitting in this wee hole on The Coolah when I saw another shower approaching but carried on as the showers passed so quickly
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looking back I seem to have covered the 3.5k from Carn Aosda in no time at all and away to the right horizon even the towers on The Cairnwell are small enough not to matter
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it's a short ascent to the second summit of the day and the sky has cleared to allow some nice summit pics
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best get this one in just so we all know I was there
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I've got to say, over here on Carn a Gheoidh this is far from the terrible place indicated by some,I appreciate that the western munros are incredibly beautiful (and plentiful) and perhaps when compared these may be found wanting.... but they are far from terrible. Put the full wet gear on whilst on the summit and then set off again for the dreaded Cairnwell
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just a small bump to negotiate then round to the right for the third munro of the day
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OK I confess this is bloody awful Image

and it gets no better from the other side Image

I took my summit pic here (well past the summit cairn) Image

because the summit cairn looks like this
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there are still a few good views to be had from here but you do have to look away from the hut of despair
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it's pretty much a direct descent from here, over the edge and away, though it is steep and I wouldn't want to do it when its very wet
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half way down and I can just see my car in the car park
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my last look over the hills before I reach the car park and change my boots, still in good time to get in the cafe and fill up on coffee and cake
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So, there it is - the dreaded Cairnwell - nothing like I expected and really enjoyable, and what a short wander for 3 munros :D
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ChrisW
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Re: The Cairnwell 3 - Not half as bad as expected!

Postby rockhopper » Thu May 19, 2011 10:48 pm

nice one chris and I'd agree it's not as bad as some make out - you do get some nice views from Carn a Gheoidh :D
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Re: The Cairnwell 3 - Not half as bad as expected!

Postby LeithySuburbs » Thu May 19, 2011 10:54 pm

Chris, you're not alone in thinking these hills are given an unfairly bad press. Yes, the initial ascent and final descent is not great on the eye but it kind of helps you get the head down and get up there as quick as possible. The plateau is enjoyable and the view W from Carn a' Gheoidh is no bad at all :) .

Perhaps we should make an effort to find a better route for these hills :silent: - perhaps from the Baddoch Burn?...
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Re: The Cairnwell 3 - Not half as bad as expected!

Postby ChrisW » Thu May 19, 2011 11:12 pm

rockhopper wrote:nice one chris and I'd agree it's not as bad as some make out - you do get some nice views from Carn a Gheoidh :D


thanks rockhopper I thought so too - I reckon LeithySuburbs is on to something .....

y LeithySuburbs on Thu May 19, 2011 10:54 pm
Chris, you're not alone in thinking these hills are given an unfairly bad press. Yes, the initial ascent and final descent is not great on the eye but it kind of helps you get the head down and get up there as quick as possible. The plateau is enjoyable and the view W from Carn a' Gheoidh is no bad at all .
Perhaps we should make an effort to find a better route for these hills - perhaps from the Baddoch Burn?...


That might make a really good route Leithy, ascend Strone Baddoch along the ridge line and over Carn Chrionaidh and up to Carn Aosda, then The Cairnwell and last to Carn a Gheoidh then drop down to the track that runs along Baddoch Burn and a steady wander out....I reckon that's only about 10 miles and much more scenic :think:
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Re: The Cairnwell 3 - Not half as bad as expected!

Postby ken reid » Fri May 20, 2011 12:44 pm

I did these the outher way round in winter and thurely enjoyed them if you look past the oveious huts and masts on the summit then as you have seen the views are great.
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Re: The Cairnwell 3 - Not half as bad as expected!

Postby jimandandrea » Sat May 21, 2011 7:40 am

You are cooking on gas now - three Munros in a day :thumbup:
although you are going to have to explain to me how Alfred & Betty managed to get there as I thought they haunted the Cumbrian fells!?
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Re: The Cairnwell 3 - Not half as bad as expected!

Postby ChrisW » Sat May 21, 2011 9:05 am

ken reid wrote:I did these the outher way round in winter and thurely enjoyed them if you look past the oveious huts and masts on the summit then as you have seen the views are great.


Couldn't agree more Ken - certainly an easy 3 with worthwhile views from the summits :D

by jimandandrea on Sat May 21, 2011 7:40 am
You are cooking on gas now - three Munros in a day
although you are going to have to explain to me how Alfred & Betty managed to get there as I thought they haunted the Cumbrian fells!?


To be honest they are probably the easiest 3 munros available :lol: as for AW and Betty - I can't help, in fact I had the same thoughts as you.....but someone on here will know :wink:
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Re: The Cairnwell 3 - Not half as bad as expected!

Postby mojomcl » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:40 pm

Brilliant report, thank you x
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