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A big 'un around Moine Mhor

A big 'un around Moine Mhor


Postby joenorris » Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:58 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Bhrotain, Monadh Mor, Mullach Clach a'Bhlair, Sgor Gaoith

Date walked: 24/08/2011

Time taken: 9.5 hours

Distance: 38.2 km

Ascent: 1964m

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One of my big routes I had planned for the summer was to complete eight of my remaining Cairngorms (the four in this route, plus Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochan Uaine and Devil's Point) in a big two-day trip, with a wild camp somewhere near Loch nan Stuirteag. I was hoping to get out to do this on Thursday and Friday (25-26th), however, the increasingly pessimistic forecasts for those days made me change plans. It was then that I decided to tackle the four most westerly of the group, Mullach Clach a'Bhlair, Monadh Mor, Beinn Bhrotain and Sgor Gaoith, from Glen Feshie.

On the drive up the A9 (which still manages to be clogged up with lorries at 6am!) low clouds on the Drumochter Munros painted an ominous picture. However, by Dalwhinnie, a bright blue sky could be seen to the NE. Setting off at 8am from the carpark 1km N of Auchlean, I followed various paths along the Glen, eventually cutting E after the first main body of forest. The terrain here was deep heather, so it was difficult work. However, I soon found myself walking on short grass near the top of Meall nan Sleac, with stunning views down into the enormous Coire Garbhlach.

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Meall nan Sleac from Glen Feshie

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Back down into Glen Feshie from Meall nan Sleac

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Coire Garblach

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South across Glen Feshie

Once at this top, an enormous bulldozed track led almost to the first summit, Mullach Clach a'Bhlair, which I reached by 10am. From here, I could see most of the day's route ahead - across Moine Mhor to Monadh Mor (and Beinn Bhrotain hidden behind it), and then back across to Sgor Gaoith to the North.

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Across Moine Mhor from Mullach Clach a'Bhlair

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Towards Monadh Mor from Mullach Clach a'Bhlair

Moine Mhor is quite an exceptional place - an endless plateau of hummocks and lochans. With views over to Braeriach, Cairn Toul and Sgor an Lochan Uaine, the atmosphere was something else. However, the large bulldozed track (which, I admit, is helpful for easy route finding) does scar the landscape somewhat. I followed this all the way to Tom Dubh, then, after a fairly difficult (but still manageable without getting wet feet) river crossing, picked my way through some scree up onto the N ridge of Monadh Mor.

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Braeriach from near Tom Dubh

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Sgor Gaoith from near Tom Dubh

This was my first time in the cloud today (I reckon it was probably sitting just above 1000m), so the expected views over to Devil's Point and the others were disappointing. Or non-existent. However, having followed a clear path down to the bealach en route to Beinn Bhrotain (which, again, was shrouded in cloud) I caught a glimpse of the sparkling rocks of Devil's Point.

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Devil's Point from the bealach

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Beinn Bhrotain N crags

The ascent of Beinn Bhrotain, across a large boulder field, took me back up into the cloud again. I will have to return at some point, as I imagine it could be potentially be a great view point - towards the Tarf and Tilt hills, Southern Cairngorms and the Lairig Ghru bunch. Returning to Monadh Mor, after a total of five hours walking so far, I could see exactly the route to Sgor Gaoith. Braeriach, Cairn Toul et al looked tantalisingly close on the descent of Monadh Mor, but I knew that, realistically, they were not a feasible option! Another day, perhaps.

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Braeriach, Sgor an Lochan Uaine and Cairn Toul from Monadh Mor

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The route ahead - Sgor Gaoith from Monadh Mor

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Braeriach, Sgor an Lochan Uaine + Cairn Toul from Tom Dubh

Descending to Tom Dubh, I cut off the main bulldozed track at a cairn to the E of a 957m bump. This track led South of Carn Ban Mor, with a cairn marking the point at which to turn North towards this top. From here, it was a simple matter of following a clearly marked path up to Sgor Gaoith.

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Sgor Gaoith crags + Loch Eanaich

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Braeriach and Loch Eanaich from Sgor Gaoith

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Braeriach and Loch Eanaich

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Towards Sgoran Dubh Mor from Sgor Gaoith

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Towards Monadh Mor from Sgor Gaoith

Despite the fantastic views across to Braeriach and Loch Eanaich, it seemed that the clouds were beginning to close in, with the already freezing wind picking up, and a few showers moving across the plateau. From here, I headed back to the path S of Carn Ban Mor, and followed it all the way back down to Glen Feshie. There were two JCBs and a team of builders rebuilding the path down into the Glen - quite a location for the day job.

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Looking S down Glen Feshie from descent route

Eventually I reached the car after 9.5 hours - the 1km walk back along the road to the car park seemingly much longer than it was in the morning. Still, as it turned out, I had just beaten the weather. On the road back past Loch Insh an immense flash-flood style storm engulfed the road.

All in all, this was perhaps my favourite walk of the year so far. Moine Mhor is an extremely captivating place, even if the huge tracks take away from the potentially remote feel of the area. Although the Eastern summits were shrouded in cloud, I was fairly lucky with the weather, only being rained on lightly twice. The walk had a bit of everything - Glen, plateau and peak - so I'm delighted I decided to change my original plan.

Still, I think I might have a few days off now.
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joenorris
 
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Re: A big 'un around Moine Mhor

Postby gammy leg walker » Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:11 pm

Big big day you had there joenorris,did Mhondh Mhor & Beinn Bhrotain from Glen Feshie 2 weeks ago,so the round you did is some walk well done.
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gammy leg walker
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Re: A big 'un around Moine Mhor

Postby monty » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:43 pm

Excellent report Joenorris,
Thats a route I hope to do soon. I have been waiting for the rain to stop :lol: :lol: Cheers
monty
 

Re: A big 'un around Moine Mhor

Postby joenorris » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:31 pm

monty wrote:Excellent report Joenorris,
Thats a route I hope to do soon. I have been waiting for the rain to stop :lol: :lol: Cheers


Yup it's well worth doing, I was pretty lucky with the weather - it could potentially be pretty miserable up on the plateau in the clag. Forecast looks shocking for this weekend as well. I look forward to reading your report when the rain subsides though!
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joenorris
 
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Re: A big 'un around Moine Mhor

Postby Johnny Corbett » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:57 am

Yip that was a big 'un Joe and in a very good time, with fine weather as well to allow you to see some lovely views and get good photos.
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