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Beinn Bhreac & Beinn a'Chaorainn

PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:59 pm
by skuk007

Chaorain.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

The weather wasn't looking as bad for my second foray into the Cairngorms. I was hopeful, therefore, that I might get to see some views today. I parked at the Linn of Dee car park (£2 charge all day) and set off on the bike by 07:25. Just 25 mins later, after a pleasant cycle along the good path, I was locking the bike up behind Derry Lodge. There were already quite a few bikes locked up so I wasn't the first out of bed this morning.

I took the good path immediately behind the Lodge, keeping the river on my left, and headed for my first target of Beinn Bhreac. I couldn't see the hill at all from the path due to the thickness of the trees but as the path got higher I caught sight of Beinn Mheadhoin and it's tors far off along Glen Derry.
Looking up Glen Derry

I'd seen reports on here which advised to look out for a small cairn on the path which marked the start of another path through the trees to the open hill beyond. I kept my eyes peeled as I didn't really want to make my own path through these trees. Thankfully 35 mins later there it was.
Cairn showing the way

I couldn't believe how quiet and peaceful it was, and although there were some grey clouds around there had been no rain yet which was a real bonus.

The path went straight for about 50 yards then duly ran in roughly an 11 o'clock direction all the way to the open hill to give me my first sight of the hill. It appeared I was going to be lucky today as the clouds were quite high and the tops looked like they were going to be clear for a while.

The path turned quite boggy once on the hill but I managed to keep following it. It went more around the hill initially than I thought so I don't know if there is a more direct one. As I got higher I tended to leave the path and take a more direct route to a spot between the two tops. Once I reached the top it was a quick stroll to the right along a stoney path to grab my first of the day at 09:50.

I had great views east to Beinne a'Bhuird and Ben Avon where I was in the mist all day the day before. I took in the West Top aswell, just in case, before setting my bearing for Beinne a'Chaorainn. Views to the west towards Ben Macdui were pretty good too.
Towards Ben Macdui

I'd read reports of how far away it looks across the plateau but to be honest it didn't look that bad to me. How wrong I was! The distance is quite deceiving and it wasn't until I reached the start of the ascent up it that I realised how far I'd walked. Before getting to the ascent I'd had to manage the boggy land on the plateau. I tried keeping to the right of the plateau which is meant to be better but with the recent rain I still found myself trying to pick a tussock-hopping route through the black bogs. My walking pole came into it's own here.

I went straight up to the ridge when I reached the end of the plateau and found myself by the Lochan Beinn a'Chaorainn.

I turned left for the summit. I couldn't really see a path early on but as I got higher I managed to find one which took me to the summit cairn by 11:50. I had my lunch here after putting on my coat. It was clear and sunny now but the constant breeze was quite fresh when stopped. At least it was putting the midges off. Great views all around, but cannot believe I forgot the summit cairn shot.


I'd been talking to a guy in the Youth Hostel who had come up from Crewe for the week and was also doing this route today, taking in Beinn Mheadhoin aswell. The down and back up looked a bit much for me so I'd just be doing the two today.

After 25 mins I left for the descent into Glen Derry. The descent from the summit was across boulders initially but once that was cleared it got better. Great views into the Coire Etchachan and the Hutchieson Memorial Hut where there were a few wild-campers.



The guy from Crewe (really should have asked him his name) caught up with me just before reaching the glen. I wished him luck for Beinn Mheadhoin.

Once down on the main path at 13:00 it was a simple matter of strolling along steadily back towards Derry Lodge. I seem to remember the crossing of the Glas Allt Mor coming down the slopes from Moine Bhealaidh needed a bit of care due to the amount of water.

I reached a fork in the path at about 040958. The right path goes over a bridge and eventually returns to Derry Lodge, the left path takes you back along the path past the small cairn which marks the way to Beinn Bhreac.

15:00 and back at Derry Lodge so I took a moment to finish off my chocolate supplies while cooling my feet in the river.

Was glad I'd brought the bike now as the return to the car was much quicker and easier while sat down. Back at 15:40
Had been a fabulous day today with great views wherever I looked. Felt like I'd arrived in the Cairngorms proper now.

Another quick video.

Re: Beinn Bhreac & Beinn a'Chaorainn

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:26 pm
by rockhopper
Good timing - hoping to cover part of this myself at the end of the month and some of your comments will be helpful - cheers :thumbup:

Re: Beinn Bhreac & Beinn a'Chaorainn

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:40 pm
by Graeme D
Glad you enjoyed these two. They get a bad press but they're perfectly decent hills and together they make a fine walk. :thumbup: