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Best laid plans and all that ... a day out on Glen Ey

Best laid plans and all that ... a day out on Glen Ey

Postby PeteR » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:07 pm

Route description: Beinn Iutharn Mhor and Carn Bhac, Inverey

Munros included on this walk: Carn Bhac

Date walked: 26/09/2011

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A week late, but then that seems to be the way with me recently with my reports

The plan - Drive up the Braemar nice and early and tackle An Socach via Creag an Fhuathais and then trot across to Carn Bhac and tick that hill off the list too. Potentially a long day, but I had it in my head that I wanted to walk the full length of the An Socach ridge to the summit. And Beinn Iutharn Mhor had been tackled previously when I did Glas Tulaichean earlier in the year, so didn’t fancy the bog trot I’d heard mention off in route descriptions.

The forecast - not too bad, with the suggestion of improving conditions during the morning. A tad windy though :lol:

Chances of cloud free Munros - 80%, so looking good as it had been lower than that for this area earlier in the week.

The outcome - didn't go to plan, the weather wasn't that good and saw sod all from the summit :shock: :? :lol:

Nevertheless, despite some mixed feelings about how the day had panned out I still found enough to enjoy to recommend Glen Ey to others and to suggest I'll return on a better day to deal with the unfinished business :)

Parking up at Inverey and things didn't look too bad. Weather was overcast, but I remained hopeful that MWIS would see me right. While I was setting up a chap turned up with his dog and set off just ahead of me. Very lively and excitable. The dog that is :lol: :lol:

The walk into Glen Ey was very pleasant. Especially the early part where the track undulated along quite nicely without being too much effort. Nice autumn colours as well 8)
Early view into Glen Ey

The bridge over the Ey Burn

Autumn colours in Glen Ey

After the initial section of track things settle down and it's a straightforward walk from then on in :D

At the Auchelie ruins the chap with the dog left the track to the right, and so I assume must have been taking an alternative route to Carn Bhac before tackling Beinn Iutharn Mhor.
Auchelie ruins

Sadly the chap didn't have his dog on a lead and being the lively sort it was charging all over the place. As I was carrying on my merry way to consider tackling An Socach it was a bit of a surprise when I discovered I had apparently adopted a walking companion :shock: Seems the dog had lost his (or her) dad and thought I would do. I then spent a few minutes trying to explain to said animal that, despite the fact they might well be great company, they weren't mine and their dad was "over there" (as I pointed vaguely in the area where the chap had set off). Apparently dogs don't understand English :lol: :lol: The animal just stood there looking at me and wagging his (or her) tail. In the end the only option available to me was to ignore the animal. So I did :lol: And eventually it got the message and charged off in the direction that I had vaguely been pointing in earlier :lol:

Once I had rid myself of the stress of the dog it was then a case of looking at the weather. Approaching Creag an Fhuathais and from what I could see the weather wasn't improving.
Creag an Fhuathais

If anything the cloud seemed to be getting lower. So it was decision time. How much did I fancy what looked like a steep climb up onto the ridge to then spend my time being clattered by strong winds with zero views. The answer was “No, I didn’t” :shock:
Instead I decided to head along the glen to the ruins at Altanour and head off up to Carn Bhac first. Then, if the weather had improved I would attack An Socach in reverse from my original plan.

The final section of the track leading to the ruins added interest after the fairly flat approach in the middle bit.
Beinn Iutharn Mhor from Ey Burn

Glen Ey and boulder

And then I was at the ruined Altanour Lodge. A very picturesque setting and the sheep seemed to be enjoying the accommodation too 8) :lol:
Altanour Lodge

From this point I wasn’t sure what to make of the walk up to Carn Bhac. I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as a bad hill walk, but the approach to Carn Bhac seemed to be doing its best to prove otherwise :( :shock:

Even the arrow pointing the way toward the hill seemed embarrassed :lol:
It's this way.......ssh!

It was as if the arrow was saying “Sshh, don’t tell anyone, but there’s a Munro up there, but it’s really ugly!”. Even the burn coming down off the hill had more of a whimper than a roar
Burn en route to Carn Bhac

And as for Carn Bhac itself! Even it was hiding itself away :(
Shy Carn Bhac

And then there was the path. Well, it was sssshocking! One hell of a bog trot. Suddenly I wasn’t enjoying the walk so much. And looking over to An Socach suggested I wouldn’t be heading up there anytime soon!!
Brooding An Socach

I kept plodding on up to the hill, following the bog sodden path. A couple passed me coming down the hill. They seemed happy enough. Maybe they were glad to be heading off the hill. Or maybe........perhaps......could this be my lucky day........could there be a bar on the summit :D :D Here was hoping.
Plodding up the final pull to the top and the mist started to lift a little and all of a sudden a rock pile of a wall appeared as it out of nowhere.
Carn Bhac headwall

It was weird too. A perfectly straight line between the grass I was walking on and the rock pile I was heading on to. Even the summit seemed condemned, if nothing could grow on it!! Little chance of the bar I was hoping for then.

Heading up on to the rock pile I reach the plateau and my first thought was “Where’s the @!$@ing cairn then?” :lol: :lol: I couldn’t see it anywhere. But a few steps in and there it was. No bar though :lol: :lol:
Pint of Harvey's nplease .... oi where's the bar?

On the summit it was a bit windy. Well, it was very windy. And cold too. So a quick text to MrsR and I was offskie........

Although I was knocking a trip up An Socach on the head for today I was wanting to extend the walk a little if I could. So I decided to head back over the minor ridge of Carn Creagach and Creag an Lochain and then drop back down to the Glen Ey track at Auchelie.
Route extension (or should that be replacement?)

Ok, so it’s not a Munro or a Corbett or anything else, but I’m glad I took this little detour :D I kept some height and got some pretty nice views back to Carn Bhac and across to the brooding An Socach, as views further afield (even if I couldn’t tell you what hills there were).
An Socach

My alternative ridge route

And views

The wind had picked up nicely too. I was getting a right good battering :lol: :lol: :lol: And the hill was covered in good old quartzite which in the damp conditions was a bit slippery to walk on. All of which made it slow going, but I didn’t mind as I had rediscovered my enjoyment of this walk after the disappointment of Carn Bhac.
Heading down off Creag an Lochain I aimed down the broad easy ridge toward the footbridge near Auchelie. I managed to spook a fair few mountain hair on the way. They were certainly well camouflaged in the heather. Not sure which was more surprised......me or them :shock: :shock:

The view back down Glen Ey was worth it though
View down onto Glen Ey

And the other way

The glen of bridges!!

Back on the main track and I decided a detour to see the Colonel’s Bed would be in order. I would have liked to pick my way all the way down to the river and to see the bed itself, but the rocks looked very wet and slippery and I didn’t fancy turning his bed into my grave :shock: :shock: So instead I satisfied myself with a view looking down from on high.
Near the Colonel's Bed

The Colonel's Bed

After that it was a simple walk back to the car and off home. Stopped off in Braemar for chips on the way home and by the time I was driving back over the Devil’s Elbow it was fair lashing down.

So, although the weather hadn’t played ball and I hadn’t tackled An Socach because of that, the walk itself had ended up much more enjoyable than I had expected once I had only Carn Bhac on my list and on balance I was still glad this had been the choice I had made on the day :D :D
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Re: Best laid plans and all that ... a day out on Glen Ey

Postby pollyh33 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:55 pm

Excellent Plan B Pete.

Really amusing report as always!!!! :lol:

Loved it!
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Re: Best laid plans and all that ... a day out on Glen Ey

Postby PeteR » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:12 pm

pollyh33 wrote:Excellent Plan B Pete.

Really amusing report as always!!!! :lol:

Loved it!

Thanks Polly. I'm not sure there will be much humour from this weekend's walk though, when I write it up (hopefully tonight) :shock: More of a lesson in what not to do when hillwalking. Wish I'd had a Plan B for that one too :lol:
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Munros:282   Corbetts:152
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Sub 2000:158   Hewitts:3
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Re: Best laid plans and all that ... a day out on Glen Ey

Postby ChrisW » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:42 pm

Great report as always Pete, those colours in Gen Ey are beautiful. Shame the day didn't work out as you planned but at least you still got a good wander out of it - after all that's what this is all about.......Now I want to see the one from this weekend :shock: :lol:
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