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Cairnwell Trio

Cairnwell Trio


Postby spiderwebb » Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:22 pm

Route description: The Cairnwell Munros

Munros included on this walk: Carn a'Gheoidh, Carn Aosda, The Cairnwell

Date walked: 17/12/2011

Time taken: 5 hours

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The day was set and the invites had gone out and confirmed Louise, Stuart and Monty would be joining me for the Cairnwell 3. :D

I’d originally picked these as a relatively easy 3 in the haste to try and reach triple figures by the end of the year. I know these get a bad press due to the ski development, but the advantage of course being the high starting point, so I plotted the route intending to start up Cairnwell from the car park.

For anyone worried about these 3 not being the true Munro’s we all like to do, due to the aforementioned development, I can only suggest visiting in winter as hopefully the following report and pics will prove this is still a fine walk.

Having picked these, as you do from a large Munro map on my wall with straight line roads (well it isn’t a road map), I hadn’t realised actually how far away these were from Muir Of Ord ! So it was a 0430 alarm for me and out the house by 0520 to pick up Louise to arrive at the car park for 0900 ! I woke before the alarm anyway, its an age thing ! The good old satnav was used to navigate there, easier in the dark and apart from Billy Connolly telling us to bear right down a dead end road on route we arrived in good time.

As soon as I got out the car and saw the Cairnwell I had second thoughts about my idea to crack this one first….what was I thinking ! I know, its the plotting the route in the comforts of home with a few drams…idiot ! :lol:

Booted up and ready to go we met up with Stuart and Monty at the café. Monty in ski attire (romper suit) as he was doing the round on skis…uphill stuff I thought,,impressive !

Monty suggested climbing Carn Aosda first and after my doubts when first seeing Cairnwell, I didn’t speak against it, just have to remember to follow my GPS in reverse order.

Its quite a surreal start with all the activity and buildings etc. but we were soon climbing at the side of the ski run up Aosda, and despite a couple of humps where it steepens, we were quickly up to the top of the ski tow, but not before a brief encounter with the ski patrol, who having apparently watched us climb all the way up, decided when we were only 20 yards from the top, to point out we should be walking in single file being it was a ski run….coming from London I had a few choice words going round in my head, but with a few nods and words from Monty we proceeded the last few yards. Leaving the skiers behind and into the wind the short ascent from here to the first summit of the day ! Some wind !

Final ascent Carn Aosda.jpg


Summit Carn Aosda.jpg
3 happy bunnies !



On descent I decided this was to be a balaclava, goggles and full mitts day and once changed off we went to descend in a SW direction to gain the intervening ridge between Cairnwell and Carn a’ Sac, without descending too far to avoid losing height and also running into the loch !

Edge of Corrie at start of route towards Carn a' Gheoidh.jpg


Snow cover was mixed, one minute hard enough and another crunch straight through, this was the story for much of the day. On the descent I thought this will be where we lose Monty as his skis kick in and he glides effortlessly down, but this was where he gave us his first demo in falling with style ! :lol: Now I’ve only been skiing once (and what a laugh it was too – never laughed so much on a weeks holiday) so I’m no expert but I do recall the hassle it is to get back up with two 6 foot planks on your feet ! Unfortunately Monty timed his falls (and yes there were a few more – sorry Monty) whenever we all had out cameras tucked away.

Gaining the ridge was where the wind kicked in, and boy some wind. I didn’t appreciate the windchill at this point as we were all suitably clad in goggles etc. and whilst walking keeping warm, you tend not to notice, and watching the spendthrift across the edge was quite a sight. As we progressed blue sky appeared above and the day was looking promising, as per the forecast I might add.

This part of the walk, as soon as you head away from Aosda, it is truly wild and your focus being ahead you can forget about the intrusions behind you, and apart from two other souls we saw as we approached Carn a’ Gheoidh, we saw no one else.

En route to Carn a' Gheoidh in background.jpg


Views now opened up all around and thankfully with goggles one could face the wind and appreciate the wild beauty around us.

Panoramic view north.jpg


The final slopes of Carn a’ Gheoidh appeared before us, coming up quicker than I thought they would. The snow making distance deceptive as it had looked a good way off initially. With Monty leading the way, I hadn’t had to resort to map or GPS and just as well as map would probably be in Edinburgh by now !

Only one close encounter as Monty lost a glove but Stuart chased off after it in the direction of the corrie to our left, and managed to get it ! I recalled the contours of the corrie from the map and its pretty steep but thankfully, and I don’t know how given that wind, it couldn’t have gone far.

The final push up Carn a’ Gheoidh passed fairly easily, but the wind picked up and we huddled behind the summit cairn, as we witnessed the other two souls mentioned earlier put up just in front of us with their ‘shelter’, some sort of bivouac that flapped about considerably in the wind…god knows how you put it down without sailing off into the oblivion.

This was where the windchill was fully appreciated, despite being behind the cairn, most of the fingers on my right hand went numb in the time it took me to eat my pineapple chunks :( ! I tried putting on my other gloves/mittens but only managed the left and had to endure it to stuff the food down and get the mitt back on pronto. Apart from some coffee, which didn’t pour out properly as in my confusion I was pressing the wrong bloody button, I decided not to bother with anything else to eat !

So we ddn’t hang about here and although the wind was still with us, it decreased slightly once we descend from the summit, Monty giving another demo of falling with style on the descent !

Carn a' Gheoidh looking back.jpg


Back along route to wards Cairnwell seen on right.jpg


Carn an Sac from across the corrie.jpg


View back along route.jpg


The walk back along the ridge/corries was excellent, views all over and some impressive photo stops were had by all en route, target now the Cairnwell. Apart from the intense pain in my right hand as blood flow returned after its numbing on the summit Jeez it hurt !!! mittens did their job though, this section is suitably long enough to enjoy the relative wilderness before reaching ‘civilisation’ at the top of Cairnwell. Certainly sufficient to return to one day, in winter of course. :D

We had a short stop, on route, actually out of the wind for some grub. Incredible what a difference it makes when you find a spot out of it !

Respite from the wind below Cairnwell.jpg



At the top of the Cairnwell ski tow, Monty departed us to make use of the run back down after removing his ‘grips’, which had enabled the uphill progress during the walk, clever stuff !

Then there were 3, so Louise, Stuart and myself continued up the short ascent to the Cairnwell, masts and all, one section of snow here suitably hard enough for crampons but being short lived they stayed in the sack.

View west from Cairnwell summit.jpg


Now I’m not one for man made objects on top of mountains, apart from the odd trig pillar, and I think nature agrees as it attempts to shroud these objects in ice possibly to hind their presence. The resulting effect is almost a thing of beauty with the ice formations and we found ourselves photographing it ! It also has its uses in it that it gave us respite from the wind again before we made our way off down the summit.

Ice formations Cairnwell summit.jpg


Cairnwell summit happy bunny.jpg


Summit photos taken, easier than those on route, couldn’t have the mitts off long enough for photos much of the way, we set about the descent.

Retracing our steps slightly off the summit and then a right turn between ski runs, with no skiers (the lift was not in use), ice axes in hand in place of poles now, I’d remembered the steepness viewed at the start. However, it wasn’t too bad and the snow still soft enough for good foot landing. God so glad we didn’t come up this way though ! Crone The Stows what was I thinking !

We took the opportunity for a bit of self arrest practice. Although it was difficult to induce a suitable slide or maybe when I practice I just can’t get it together…certainly could last March when I needed to do it for real !!

Apart from landing one leg up to my bits (you get the picture !) in the white stuff, which took some time to extricate myself much to everyone’s amusement, the descent was pleasant with cracking views across the road and we soon found ourselves at the car park. Chill factor kicked in pretty quick once down, presumably as the hard work was over, so a quick change out of boots and off for a warm drinkies in the café and chat about the day. Sometimes the civilisation is a good thing !

Descent route to the right of the chair lift.jpg


P1000313.JPG
Back at the car park and now for coffee !


I guess we all wonder why we put ourselves through all of this, I certainly do. The reasons are many, but not least the big grin I have on my face at the end of a day like this (and during of course), a grin which follows into the next day as I write this report. :D :D :D

When your up there, only the basic fundamentals matter, food, shelter, friendship. When your walking into a 40-50mph wind, together with the chill factor, you can forget about the financial crisis, euros (don’t pay much notice of these anyway) cost of Christmas, will I pass my job interview on Tuesday, and all that other stuff. Its an opportunity to chill out (literally), and enjoy a gorgeous day, in beautiful surroundings with 3 strangers (at least at the start), now friends and the urge to want to do it all again soon. By the time I've done another 20 I'll be wanting a cast of about 50 with me !!

I’ve done much of my hill walking on my own, I still enjoy that from time to time, but you cannot beat a day like this, you certainly can’t beat nature but can at least be a part of it.

The best till last :D :D I’ll finish by thanking Louise, Stuart and Monty for a cracking day with plenty of laughs, merry banter and I really enjoyed your company and look forward to doing this again soon ! The only shame was we couldn't finish the day in a goob pub round the fire with a few sherberts and drams....maybe next time :D :D Happy days.

And if Hill Loving Lady is reading this we did miss you ! but sometimes you just gotta do the stairs :D :D
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spiderwebb
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby quoman » Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:52 pm

Hi spiderwebb
Looked like you had a good day out wi your new mates excellent report a was up there begining of the month but not as much snow as you had but had the strong winds as well .
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby monty » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:38 pm

Excellent report Spider,
It was good to meet up with you, Stuart and Louise. I was in two minds whether or not I was going to ski all morning or join you for the round but since none of you had bagged these three i decided to come along as your gaurdian angel :lol: :lol:

The weather was not the best with very strong winds for most of the time on the plateau and spindrift sandblasting the face as we progressed. Not to mention the windchill. The views of seemingly snowstorms in the Cairngorms to the north were incredible with dark foreboding skys.

Thanks to Stuart for retrieving my glove as without a second pair (not required) in my backpack I would have had to call it a day

I thought it would be obvious that I was practising my falls and self recovery whilst I had company :roll: :roll: :lol: :lol: Actually I make a point of falling even if there is no snow :D I am of course the spinners, rubberband man :lol:

Shame I missed you guys for coffee. I got changed once I had descended and waited in the cafe for 30 minutes. I may have just missed you guys but I thought that you may have headed off once you got back to the car but we'll meet again, don't know where..... :lol:

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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby dooterbang » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:12 pm

Great report.

how did you manage with Monty and his blistering speed , i remeber the days he walked with a younger crowd :lol:

Some nice photos.

Did these in winter too.
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby Hill-loving lady » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:30 pm

Looks fantastic Spider. The pics are superb and it sounds like you met some great new folks.

Next time the stairs can bleeding well wait I think!!! :(
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby spiderwebb » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:59 pm

Cheers guys.

Dooters, I seem to keep finding young blood to walk with ! That Monty didn't reveal his age, but going faster uphill on skis than all of us, I did think what have I let myself in for !! I was hoping he was walking with a younger crowd !

Louise and Stuart had the right pace for me, although was concerned about Louise, she looked at bit sleek and fit to me !

Stuart (S999) had the right colour hair as me ! :lol:

HLL yep the stairs can always wait...remember there was only one person that got all his jobs done by Friday.....that was Robinson Crusoe ! :lol:
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby Tomsie » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:41 pm

Another good report Dave, looks like a good day ye had.

Best of luck with interview on Tuesday.

See ye in the new year.
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby scoob999 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:46 pm

hey spider
I have no hesatation in marking this as a great report, and not just because i was there :D
will have to walk with you more often to save me writing a walk report myself:lol:
up untill now i have done most of my walking on my own "no mad pals :lol: " but i'm still smiling and laughing at our day out yesterday. thank you all
Attachments
IMG_0547.JPG
if only all phone masts looked like this
IMG_0545.JPG
monty on his arse, the only intentional time all day
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby rocket-ron » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:07 pm

cracking pictures dave looks like you had a fab time
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby scoob999 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:10 pm

i decided to come along as your gaurdian angel
Where were you a few weeks ago!! a long story :lol: :lol: :lol:
still no mastered this quote thingy yet :(
Last edited by scoob999 on Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby Louise » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:12 pm

[quote="spiderwebb"]

I guess we all wonder why we put ourselves through all of this, I certainly do. The reasons are many, but not least the big grin I have on my face at the end of a day like this (and during of course), a grin which follows into the next day as I write this report. :D :D :D

The only shame was we couldn't finish the day in a goob pub round the fire with a few sherberts and drams....maybe next time :D :D Happy days.


Totally agree!

Great report Spider, took me straight back there although bit warmer sitting in front of the fire haha.
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby Louise » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:22 pm

spiderwebb wrote:Cheers guys.

Louise and Stuart had the right pace for me, although was concerned about Louise, she looked at bit sleek and fit to me !:


Haha - impressions can be deceptive Monty but thanks :lol: :lol:

monty wrote:
It was good to meet up with you, Stuart and Louise. I was in two minds whether or not I was going to ski all morning or join you for the round but since none of you had bagged these three i decided to come along as your gaurdian angel :lol: :lol:

I thought it would be obvious that I was practising my falls and self recovery whilst I had company :roll: :roll: :lol: :lol: Actually I make a point of falling even if there is no snow :D I am of course the spinners, rubberband man :lol:



thanks Monty, it's always good to have guardian angels lol - and as for your timing on falling down, well that was fantastic - cameras were away ever time ............ or so you thought haha. Well done Stuart on capturing a moment lol :lol: :lol:

s999coob wrote:
will have to walk with you more often to save me writing a walk report myself:lol:


Pictures are the answer :D :D
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby spiderwebb » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:37 pm

Cheers Guys,

S999 we'll have to team up (with anyone else of course-numbers growing !) as we both need 6 to each reach a target ! :D As for talking maybe we need intercoms ?? Like you did much of mine on my tod, but now methinks this will be limited to whenever no one else can make it, as it was a good laugh. Like I said check out my Munro map, plenty to do down your way...well plenty to do full stop, getting carried away as I near 100, my wall chart has so many blanks ! but thats a good thing,

Rocket Ron and Tomsie, twas a good day, think the wind was just a bit more forceful than our last outing but defintiely had more chill too it. Tomsie thanks for the good wishes for Tuesday, although after days like this I ask myself do I really want to work !! :lol: Hope the wife don't see this !
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby Liathach » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:01 pm

Bivouac shelters are well worth while when there is no natural features to give shelter on very windy conditions. Just need to sit on appropriate bits to keep flapping to a minimum.
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Re: Cairnwell Trio

Postby spiderwebb » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:41 pm

Liathach, thanks, definitely going to look into them, not something I'd seen before...well heard of but wouldn't have thought possible to use on such a day, but clearly they are as long as you do as you say and hold on.

Other priorities like sorting out the boot laces, their forever coming loose, too thin methinks. Flat ones on other boots seem to be better.
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