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The Cairnwell Three.... almost four!!!!!

The Cairnwell Three.... almost four!!!!!


Postby neilfowlie » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:55 pm

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

Date walked: 24/04/2011

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 12.3 km

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Trying to decide were my next walk would take place was quite easy. When I climbed Mount Keen, my first Munro, back in September last year I decided that I would set myself a target for 2011. After looking at my Munro Map I could see that there was 22 Munro's in the south Cairngorms which was in easy travel of Aberdeen via the A90 and A93 roads. After doing Lochnagar and Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach with my brother I really fancy completing the other 3 White Mounth Munro's with him. Beinn lutharn Mhor, Carn Bhac, Glas Tulaichean and Carn an Righ I have thought about trying a "bike and hike" with my mate for these two walks. Mayar and Dreish I was leaving to walk up with a work colleague. So that really meant Glenshee was about my only target. I had climbed Carn Aosda back in December so it made sense to complete The Cairnwell Three. The night before I was looking at the map to see how I would attack this walk. Noticing that An Socach wasn't too far away I quite liked the thought of completing four Munros in a day. How hard could it be....
I left the house just after 6am. It was foggy in Aberdeen but by the time I was driving past Kingswells the early morning fog was behind me with blue skies in front. I stopped off at the Queens View on the B9119 (NJ 523 062) to take this picture of Lochnagar which I had climb just the week before.
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Lochnagar from beside the Queens View

I got to the Glenshee Ski centre a little pasted 8am. I had decided to walk up a foot path that run up the side of the chair lift just south of the centre. It started to cloud over slightly but the weather report had stated this with little chance of rain. This walk I feel sometimes puts people off because of the skiing development but the views that started to open up behind me as I climbed The Cairnwell were excellent and well worth it. Don't get me wrong though as you have to look past the chair lifts and path erosion to see the sights. The path I was on would take me almost all the way to the top with a short walk up a gravel track once I had reached the chair lift hut to the spoilt summit of The Cairnwell and its radio masts. This is an eye sore but again looking past the ski development the views are great.
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The chair lift

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Carn Aosda

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Looking over towards Carn an Tuirc with snow still on the summit of Cairn of Claise to the right

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First glimpse of Carn a' Gheoidh

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The not so attractive Cairnwell summit

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The north Cairngorms from The Cairnwell summit

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Looking down towards the Spittal of Glenshee

With my first munro of the day bagged it was now time for my second, Carn a Gheoidh. I found this part of the walk exceptionally good. A straight forward walk with beuatiful views of Loch Vrotachan and the North Cairngorms. The path forked in two just past two small "ponds". Keeping to the right would take me to Carn a Gheoidh but I took the path to the left to reach Carn nan Sac and after a quick photo rejoined the path heading west.
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Carn a' Gheoidh with Carn nan Sac in front

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Loch Vrotachan

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Allt a' Choire Dhirich

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Carn a' Gheoidh from one of the small ponds

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Sgor Mor

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Carn nan Sac, 920mtrs

The path by now for me seemed to fade in and out but with Carn a Gheoidh straight in front of you it was hard to go wrong on a clear day like it was. As I approached the summit I was quite supprised by the stony terrain but with my second munro bagged it was time for lunch. As I sat in stone shelter I looked over towards An Socach and the 5kms that sperated us. It was time to get going again. With no path or track to follow I found it hard going for some reason walking over this stoney come heather terrain. It's not like this was my first time going "cross-country" but by the time I'd reached Baddoch Burn I could really feel it in my knees something that bothers me from time to time when I do my walks. This I believe is down to playing football most of my life. It's the first time I have failed to complete a summit but I've always said I wouldn't take any chances when out walking, especially when I'm by myself. An Socach will still be there tomorrow.
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The approach on Carn a' Gheoidh

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A stoney terrain of Carn a' Gheoidh, 975mtrs

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Looking back...

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An Socach

After calling off An Socach I decided to head for Loch Vrotachan. With no path again to follow it was thick heather and patches of peat bog to negotiate. This put a wee damper on things but I put it down to "one of those things". About an hour later I was standing on the west bank of Loch Vrotachan with a cracking view accross the loch and Carn Aosda in the background.
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Looking down Baddoch Burn

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thick heather and patches of peat bog

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Looking east accross Loch Vrotachan

The walk around the loch wasn't the easiest either which was a shame. At the "boat house" it was time for a sandwich and to take the weight of my feet. I thought to myself after failing to reach An Socach I still wanted to complete three Munros today then why not revist Carn Aosda. The old knees were still acting up but as I reached the gravel tracks back at the ski centre the summit wasn't far at all. Just one last push. The top looked completely different this time around (I suppose a few feet of snow will do that) and after a few more photos I started to descend towards the carpark.
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Looking west accross Loch Vrotachan

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Why not make it three. I'm so close.

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Carn Aosda, 917mtrs


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neilfowlie
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Re: The Cairnwell Three.... almost four!!!!!

Postby ChrisW » Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:36 am

Great report and pics Neil, shame about missing An Socach but as you rightly say - it will be there tomorrow (I really liked An Socach) the Cairnwell three "the hard way" might have been a better title for this one :lol: . Great effort anyway, particularly the steep descent down Carn Aosda with dodgy knees :D
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Re: The Cairnwell Three.... almost four!!!!!

Postby neilfowlie » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:49 pm

ChrisW wrote: the Cairnwell three "the hard way" might have been a better title for this one :lol:

Superb Chris. Like your style :D. I'm hoping to do An Socach in a couple of weeks time. I was thinking of doing it with Carn Bhac and Beinn Lutharn Mhor. Have you done either munro before?? Can you recommend???
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Re: The Cairnwell Three.... almost four!!!!!

Postby pollyh33 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:41 am

Enjoyed your report Neil. It was a fair old trek you managed. I bet those sandwiches tested great!! :D
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Re: The Cairnwell Three.... almost four!!!!!

Postby ChrisW » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:31 pm

neilfowlie wrote:Superb Chris. Like your style :D. I'm hoping to do An Socach in a couple of weeks time. I was thinking of doing it with Carn Bhac and Beinn Lutharn Mhor. Have you done either munro before?? Can you recommend???


Sorry Neil I did An Socach as a 'stand alone' and have not done either of the other two so can't be of any use at all, sorry :D
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Re: The Cairnwell Three.... almost four!!!!!

Postby neilfowlie » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:52 pm

ChrisW wrote:Sorry Neil I did An Socach as a 'stand alone' and have not done either of the other two so can't be of any use at all, sorry :D

Aye, nae bother Chris. It looks like a good approach to An Socach following the Baddock Burn ( I'm guessing that was the way you came in :think: )
Here's hoping I get out to do the three and I'll let you know if it was a good idea or not :)

pollyh33 wrote:Enjoyed your report Neil. It was a fair old trek you managed. I bet those sandwiches tested great!! :D

If I remember rightly they were cheese and ham with a hint of salad cream..... superb :D
Thanks, it was a fair old trek. Like Chris said I should have called it The Cairnwell three "the hard way". It must of put a good hour or so onto my journey but I suppose I got to see a bit more of the landscape :lol:
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