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The Cairnwell Trio - easiest 3 Munros EVER!

PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:52 am
by GillC
This was my first walk with an organised group. Id signed up as was finding getting out harder with no transport of my own, so, Joined up online to the Glasgow Hillwalking Group. Arranged a lift with another 2 walkers and headed off for the first meet up point in Cumbernauld. Bit of shuffling around cars to minimise the numbers taken and off we headed , 8:00, left Cumbernauld to head up to Glenshee.

Forecast was for improving weather, with chance of high winds and some showers. This was a bit more hopeful than yesterday abandoned trip to Glencoe, mist to ground level and constant rain.

Headed off into what for me, was a bit of an unknown, never having climbed in The Cairngorms before. You head straight out between the buildings of the Ski Centre, following the very well defined path, which can be steep in parts. You are literally in and around the lower parts of the ski runs, with snow fences, chair lifts etc all around. On arriving at a point on the path where the fences stop, the first and lowest of the days 3 Munros, Carn Aosda, is signposted off to the left. On taking this turn, we had risen out of the shelter of the hill and the wind was incredibly strong and gusty. But after a VERY short scramble to the cairn, I was informed that this was the top. This HAS to be the easiest Munro EVER, think you must be around 600mtrs before you actually start climbing, it actually felt like a bit of a cheat. Only took about 30-40 mins.
Top of Carn Aosda

We then carried on, West/S.West over a fairly level shoulder,, dropping no more than around 100mtrs in height then hooked off to the right and along the Creag a Choire Dirich. This was a lovely walk with fantastic views down the glen to the south, (Allt a Choire Dirich river) The sun had come out and it was a lovely day.
View down to the Allt a Choire Dirich river
Enjoyed talking to different members of the group, swapping stories and taking pics.
View from the ridge

From the head of the Creag you look over to an obvious headland, Carn nan Sac and we headed off in that direction. Its a bit off the direct route but with an established cairn and great views, worth nipping off to spend a moment or two enjoying the surroundings.
View to Carn nan Sac

Having to double back only slightly, you can then clearly see the rising ground heading up to the cairn of our 2nd Munro of the day, Carn a' Gheoidh. Just off Carn nan Sac we settled in the shelter of a large rocky outcrop for some lunch. Nice and sheltered from the strong winds. Thankfully, only the odd light shower of rain up to now.
Fleeting glimpse of the sun

After lunch and a couple of group pics, we headed up over land to the top of Carn a' Gheoidh, the tallest of the days trio at 975mtrs.
Top of Carn a' Gheoidh

Another easy top under our belts, we headed back down the way we came, past Carn nan Sac and heading directly back over the Creag a Choire Dirich where we could clearly see the path we would take to our last Munro of the day, The Cairnwell. Topped with various radio masts/buildings.
View to The Cairnwell top

There is a very obvious turn off the path to the right and you continue along the side of the hill, at times steep with rocky scrambling underfoot, but nothing too tricky. You reach a broader path, passing the top machine shed of another of the ski lifts. Its then a good butt-building climb up to the top. :lol:

I had been walking with Mary and at this point and we were appalled to see we were only second last, but on reaching the top and looking down,,the group was still coming, but spread over quite a distance, most having been out of site as we had been looking back..... what a relief!! :shock: Munro number 3, 933mtrs and my 19th to date.
Its a strange place, with a building, very tall radio mast with the strong wind whistling through it, the cairn is a strange pile of rocks, with a wooden box on top, with even more rocks and topped with electrical equipment. Couple of pics taken.
The Cairnwell 'Cairn'
The rain had come on by now and was pretty constant, so those who had made it to the top headed down, passing the trailers, meeting them with some encouraging shouts of "nearly there, dig in"

You pass the top of the chairlift just below the summit then a bit further on, theres a clear drop off to the right and a good path descent. Back down to the car park, prob about half of the group still behind me. Time for a chat, quick change then off to the pub at Spittal for a meetup. This was a good time to really sit and talk to the people you met 'in passing' throughout the day. Headed off about 5pm for the 2hr journey home.

All in all,, an easy 3 hills, good company and certainly got the cobwebs blown away. Roll on some winter walking now.

Re: The Cairnwell Trio - easiest 3 Munros EVER!

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:46 pm
by skuk007
Nice report Gill, 4 hours to bag three can't be bad.

With a 40 minute walk to Carn Aosda maybe I should leave this to be my last Munro, that way I might get some of my couch-potato family to come with me. :)

Re: The Cairnwell Trio - easiest 3 Munros EVER!

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:10 pm
by pollyh33
Great report Gill.

Not bad weather. Did these three with my daughter and it rained all day and we saw very little from the summits!! :(

Thanks for posting photos to show us what we missed :D

Re: The Cairnwell Trio - easiest 3 Munros EVER!

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:04 pm
by GillC
Thanks guys, Skuk,,if your looking for quick volume,,,the Carn Gorm Horseshoe, 5 Munros in 6.5 hrs...(mind you, I was being frog marched that day lol) Photos as ever, never quite capture the fantastic views but it was a great day out and nothing too strenuous. G

Re: The Cairnwell Trio - easiest 3 Munros EVER!

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:20 pm
by morag1
A nice walk Gill but can't believe you climbed 3 Munro's in such a short time :o

Very interested in your comments about joining a club and sharing travel costs as I have been thinking the same thing myself. As petrol gets more expensive it makes sense for walkers to pool cars or hire a minibus.

Re: The Cairnwell Trio - easiest 3 Munros EVER!

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:29 pm
by GillC
Thanks Morag, honestly,,its a bit of an easy day. Youre pretty high above sea level before you actually start climbing. The group thing is good, if you usually go with a friend, maybe both go with the same group then its not so daunting. Will defo do it again. Next trip on public transport, early bus to Arrochar for another route up the Cobbler. enjoy!

Re: The Cairnwell Trio - easiest 3 Munros EVER!

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:37 pm
by ChrisW
Good stuff Gill, they are easy but still really enjoyable....specially if the cafe is still open when you come down :wink: :D