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Beinn a' Ghlo - The wrong way round

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:18 pm
by Steve B
I had been thinking of this route for a while but could not work out why the long walk out was not done as the walk in. It seemed easier to me to have the longish walk at the start of the day as it would help my legs get warmed up and enjoy the walk through an environment, the attraction of which may be diminished by fatigue. In addition the walk at the end of the day was going to be shorter.

The chance came when dropping Brenda at Edinburgh Airport at 05:00 on Sunday morning. I thought I may as well carry on up the road and use the day. The weather forecasts were far from encouraging but I figured I could give it a go and see what happened.

A quick coffee and a roll from the garage in Pitlochry sufficed for breakfast, there was not going to be much open at that time, parked up and walking at 07:00. On the way up the road from Blair Atholl there were a couple of Roe Deer, Hares and a Buzzard. A good start to the day.
1 - Start of the walk looking to Carn Laith.jpg

The view at the start did not look encouraging but the hope that the odd break in the clouds coming up the A9 would be a good omen the resolve was still there.

Bullfinches were seen almost as soon as passing through the gate to the track. This was followed by the usual Wheatears, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. A pair of Curlews circled around me calling, I must have been close to a nest sight I assumed. 2 smallish herds of deer were seen, the latter running around and eventually all leaping over a fence.
2 - The rain comes on quite soon.JPG

3 - Deer before they took fright.JPG

The rain came on as did the waterproof and continued on and off until well up towards the bealach under Carn nan Gabhar. There were a number of Grouse, some with young, disturbed on the path that lead over the shoulder of Beinn Bheag.
4 - On the path with Airgoid Bheinn in the cloud.JPG

5 - On the shoulder of Beinn Bheag looking back to the track.JPG

I also came across a strange plant growing in the middle of the path. It only stood about an inch high and the small red flowers were 3mm across at most. The only place I saw it on the walk.
6 - Strange red flower in the path.JPG

The path up to the bealach was pretty boggy in areas due to all of the recent rain, the idea of undertaking that at the end of the day certainly did not appeal.

7 - Looking towards the Allt Bealach An Fhiodha.JPG

8 - Looking back towards Beinn Bheag with CL at back.JPG

Eventually up to the bealach and a fairly easy pull onto the first summit. The last 150m were in the clouds. A stop at the cairn to eat something and 'admire' the view. It took about 3 hours to get here from the start. On the way down there was a Mountain Hare and a Ptarmigan to be seen.
9 - Summit of Carn nan Gabhar.JPG

10 - The view to the trig point.JPG

11 - Looking over Bealach an Fhiodha to BCCb.JPG

12 - The bealach and Airgod Bheinn.JPG

13 - The 1016 hieght looking to BCCb.JPG

It was about an hour across to Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain (BCCb), with the waterproof going on and off a couple of times. Views across the rest of the route were an encouraging prospect for the rest of the day. I stopped on the summit here to have a brew, eat and rest for a while. I had seen no sign of anybody so far but thought I saw a figure briefly on the ridge below Carn Laith.
14 - The view to Carn Lath.JPG

15 - The summit of BCCb.JPG

16 - The view back to Carn nan Gabhar.JPG

17 - Looking over Beinn Bheag and the route in.JPG

As I descended to the bealach between BCCb and Carn Laith the sighting was confirmed by a guy running up the hill. I am always astounded by these people, it is all I can do to get one leg in front of another sometimes!
18 - A clear path to Carn Liath.JPG

An easy walk up and across to the summit of Carn Liath was almost in blue skies and starting to get hot. Looking back at the route so far was fantastic, and the views into the Cairngorm proper. Unfortunately I do not know there area well enough to identify them.
19 - Looking back over the route just short of the summit.JPG

20 - The day layed out before me.JPG

21 - Summit of Carn Liath.JPG

After another rest on top it was time to descend. I was suprised how steep this was and again pleased with my decision to do this route the wrong way round. I passed a couple of people on their way up, it did not look any fun.
22 - The steep descent and the start of the walk by the Loch.JPG

The rain came on briefly getting back to the start but this did not diminish what was on of best days on a mountain for a long while (but I always end up thinking that, there is no such thing as a bad day on a mountain).

If anybody is wondering which way to do this I would strongly recommend this way.

Re: Beinn a' Ghlo - The wrong way round

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:26 pm
by rockhopper
Nice one Steve - that's a bit different and certainly seems to have worked for you :D Interesting comparison of the long walkout against the scree/loose descent of Carn Liath. :D

Re: Beinn a' Ghlo - The wrong way round

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:01 am
by monty
Good report Steve. Interesting to do the walk out first :lol: I have to admit i would rather get the ascents out of the way on most walks. However a nice take on a good walk. :D

Re: Beinn a' Ghlo - The wrong way round

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:35 am
by dooterbang
did this the normal way and ran the long "walk out".

Would do it your way just to bound down the scree.

Nice report.

Re: Beinn a' Ghlo - The wrong way round

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:35 pm
by Steve B
Thanks for the comments guys. I would recommend it as a route.
Been away with work most of this week and looking forward to the weekend in the hills.