Page 1 of 1

Braeriach from Whitewell

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:14 pm
by LeithySuburbs
Sunday 28 July.
Weather - warm and muggy, in cloud from about 1000m but still mild even at the top.

I had planned to do Braeriach from this side when up Sgor Gaoith a couple of months ago and the spell of warm weather seemed a good time to tackle this remote mountain which can be so windswept for much of the year. According to the "path" function on Google Earth, it was 10km to Loch Einich from Whitewell so I brought my bike. This is a fairly brutal cycle - 200m ascent over 10km sounds like an easy gradient but it took me a good 2 hours (including about 20 minutes breaks) and much cursing. The track is pretty rough higher up as well and I fell off at one point due to not carrying enough speed over a particularly rocky part. I parked my bike just short of Loch Einich at the cairn marking the start of the stalkers path up to Coire Dhondail. The sun was peeking through and I had a lazy snack and rest before setting off on foot.

Loch Einich.jpg

The stalkers path is well made and discreet and gains height easily up to Coire Dhondail giving great views back down Gleann Einich. You really get a sense of what a long way in it is this way.

Gleann Einich 1.jpg

My guidebook (The Cairngorms by Cicerone) recommended an easy scramble up the western ridge of Coire Dhondail so I indulged myself in a slight detour to take this in - only Grade 0.5-1.0 with a little exposure as the ridge narrows - great fun!

Coire Dhondail.jpg

At the top I skirted round the corrie rim to rejoin the path where it ended at the start of the climb up to the Wells of Dee.

The cloud was now hovering just above me and I knew the next 4km to the summit of Braeriach were going to test my navigation. The walk up to the Wells of Dee is a featureless climb and it was slow going as I took regular bearings. Visibilty was pretty poor and I was glad to have the extra help from my GPS. It allowed my to be a bit bolder in my walking - going for longer between bearings and reassuring me when my map and compass skills were needed. Only once did I go a bit off line and the GPS allowed me to quickly rectify this. The impressively named Wells of Dee were a welcome sight as I knew I was going the right way.

Wells of Dee.jpg

I followed the stream almost to the Falls of Dee before heading ENE over gentle slopes to the summit of Braeriach, still enshrouded in cloud. Here I met another couple (the first human contact since getting off the bike) and I was glad to have a bit of a chat. It had taken me 2 hours to cover the 4km in the murk (I consider that not bad).

Braeriach summit.jpg

Braeriach 1.jpg
What is this alpine plant up on the plateau?

The return was easier as I now knew the way and, after relocating the Dee burn, I made relatively easy progress. After the Wells of Dee I headed for the rim of Coire na Clach which made for much easier route finding than the outward journey (if I had been thinking a bit smarter, I would have ascended this way following the stream up from Coire Dhondail. I did consider it but stuck to the guidebook route - which goes to show that even so-called experienced walking writers could pick better routes). I returned to the bike about 5.5 hours after leaving it. The return cycle was much more fun and a lot easier - 55 mins non stop downhill 8) .

Re: Braeriach from Whitewell

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:25 pm
by kinley
Nice 8)

Before the Ski road the Northern Corries of Braeriach were the standard approach.

We went up the ridge between Coire Ruadh and Coire nan Lochan earlier this year.

It's a big day however you do it. :D

Your plant is Moss Campion by the way :)

Re: Braeriach from Whitewell

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:20 am
by mountain coward
Where are 'The Wells of Dee' then? Up on the Braeriach plateau? I ask instead of consulting the map as I'm at work so can't;-) They look good. If they're on the plateau, I'll be upset as we went up, after I'd waited years to do it, in mist and saw absolutely bloody nothing! :( We were both pretty upset - I was with my friend Richard at the time. I'd waited until he was with me until doing it as he'd said he wanted to walk it, now I wish I'd gone up on my own on one of the frequent days I was up there in good weather! :(

We went up the 'standard' route from Sron na Lairige and, although we'd wanted to go back down the way you went up via Coire Dhondail and Glen Einich, decided it was too difficult to navigate down to where the Coire Dhondail path started off in the clag so went back the way we'd come. That was in May and there was still so much snow on the mountain we had to cross a narrowish ridge still well-plastered in snow which worried me as Richard has absolutely no winter/snow experience at all. When we passed the summit, we didn't notice it on the way out as the cairn was submerged under snow so you couldn't see it. We found it on the way back.

So I'm glad you submitted this report and photos or I may never have seen the route I'd so wanted to take. Having said that, I'm sure I'll try to do it again sometime when the weather's better...

Re: Braeriach from Whitewell

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:28 am
by LeithySuburbs
In good visibility you could not miss the Wells but, with the dry spell we have been experiencing, they were not exactly overflowing. I made sure to drink my fill (I've heard it doesn't taste so good once the water gets to Aberdeen!).

I approached them from the south so I wouldn't miss them on the north side as I had nothing else to aim for once on the plateau.

Re: Braeriach from Whitewell

PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 9:56 pm
by Jan Vi0la
Thanks for your detailed route and pics, it is just what I needed to plan the same trip this week (June 2021!). You probably found the name of your alpine plant but in case not, it is a Moss Campion, Silene acaulis.