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Meall a'Bhuachaille - how to start season with a bang!

Meall a'Bhuachaille - how to start season with a bang!


Postby BlackPanther » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:21 pm

Route description: Meall a' Bhuachaille circuit, Glenmore

Corbetts included on this walk: Meall a'Bhuachaille

Date walked: 14/01/2012

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 10.5 km

Ascent: 650m

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At last, at last, after weeks of waiting for the right weather here it came! Wind gusts dropped, clouds disappeared uncovering blue sky... Well, temperature dropped as well, but for the sake of getting cloud-free summits I was ready to put up with some cold :lol:
As both Saturday and Sunday looked good, we planned our first Munro walk in 2012 for the latter day, and on the first one we opted for something shorter yet with good views. Meall a'Bhuachaille, a Corbett on the edge of the main bulk of Cairngorms, offers such an opportunity. Not only it's a fantastic viewpoint, also the route to it takes you through lovely woodland with the little lochan, An Lochan Uaine, being the main attraction of the walk-in. We know this area quite well, having wandered around Glenmore Forest a few times before. We have already climbed Meall a'Bhuachaille (summer 2008), so this jaunt wouldn't improve our statistics, but I wanted to taste this hill in winter conditions.

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We parked by the Reindeer Centre and started our walk by following the tourist's path along the narrow road to Glenmore Lodge:
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Clouds were low on the Cairngorms when we arrived but we hoped that, as the forecast suggested, they will soon burn off. Meanwhile we enjoyed our stroll, taking a short break by the green lochan:
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New stairs have been built recently:
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And a better viewpoint, slightly higher on the slopes surrounding the lochan, is currently under construction:
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We left the little magical lochan behind and continued walking along the Ryvoan Pass. A short glimpse behind revealed thick cloud still lingering...
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...but the slopes of Meall a'Bhuachaille bathed in sunlight!
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Ohhh, I felt so excited looking up! That little fluffy cloud around the very top will probably disperse by the time we get there...
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We reached Ryvoan Bothy. Here the track splits and to climb the Corbett one has to turn left and take a steepish path up the slope. The path is clearly visible behind me and higher up to the left:
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North and east looked extremely bright and cloud-free:
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Carn Bheadhair to the east:
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And the nasty cover from the Ryvoan Pass was slowly disappearing, as Kevin assured me it would:
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Soon the cloud was almost completely gone:
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It was time to tackle the slopes. I read somewhere that climbing uphill with a small rucksack up to 3kg burns 420kcal per hour. Well, in this case all the sweat and pain would be rewarded :lol: :lol:
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Looking back down the slope, Ryvoan Bothy to the right:
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The path is kept in good condition, the steepest parts strengthened by rocky steps:
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Soon we emerged from around the corner and now we could see the summit area, not much snow around the top but the nice clear sky looked promising:
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The path, though well constructed all the way up to the summit, was now quite icy so we had to watch every step:
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Almost there...
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Just amazing weather, after so many gloomy, dark, depressing weeks, Mother Nature was smiling at us! My heart was singing!!!
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The Cairngorms smiled, too! Here, Bynack More (to the left) and more distant Ben Avon (the latter one still on my to-do list):
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Geal Charn and the more pointy shape of Ben Rinnes just behind it. Both are Cobetts, easy to climb, good for winter walking:
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Enchanted by the surrounding landscape, with my mind lost in the distant views, I didn't even notice when our climb was over and we landed at the summit cairn. It was slightly misty, that naughty little fluffy cloud still hanging about. Kevin posed for his cairn picture:
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A quick look back the way we came:
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The sun shining through the haze:
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It turned out that a bit of a cloud in the mountains can be an advantage, it can induce a nice surprise called Brocken spectre:
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We stayed on the summit for a while, waiting for the views and we were lucky, the mist slowly dispersed and here they were, The Cairngorms in full glory:
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Creagan Gorm to the NE:
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Summit pano:
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The views were now so much better than during my first visit here. It was a very hot summer day and in hazy air, even the Cairngorms looked blurred:
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Summer pano of Loch Morlich:
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... and summer view of Creagan Gorm:
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Eventually we headed down the eastern path. Here it was even trickier to keep the balance on slippery, frozen steps:
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As we looked around, we noticed that clouds formed interesting shapes above the high mountains:
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Bynack More one more time:
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We reached the bealach and I so didn't want to go home, the day was absolutely g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s!!! I nagged Kevin to prolong our jaunt and visit the summit of Creagan Gorm. He agreed - hooray! I run up the slope and in next to no time I was looking across the bealach to the eastern side of Meall a'Bhuachaille:
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Posing with the summit cairn of Creagan Gorm:
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Views from this lower top are splendid as well, here are The Cairngorms again:
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View north with Loch Garten in the center stage:
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Looking further east along the ridge:
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My favourite photo of the whole day:
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The sun was slowly beginning to set and with Loch Morlich reflecting the cloud, it all felt a bit spooky:
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Again a trip down the memory lane, the Cairngorms in 2008:
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It was time to head for home and hot dinner. We descended back to Glenmore Forest and through the woods back to the car park. I was so happy just thinking about the very next day and looked forward to more mountain adventures!
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Sunday trip didn't disappoint me. Even though we picked a circuit of three easy Munros, it still delivered us a lot! Great views, some bum-sliding, icy climbing, a misty detour... But all this will be described in my next post :D Meow!
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BlackPanther
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Re: Meall a'Bhuachaille - how to start season with a bang!

Postby Ranger » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:28 pm

Nice report, the photos of Loch Morlich and the person next to the cairn are fantastic :thumbup:

Slowly, surely, I'm overcoming the bitter jealousy towards the 1000s who enjoyed stunning climbs over the weekend, after I spent 9 hours in the fog on Strathfarrar :? :D :lol:

Wish I'd left a few Munros in the east to do! 8)
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Re: Meall a'Bhuachaille - how to start season with a bang!

Postby Alan S » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:30 pm

Nice pics 8)
I like you favourite photo of the day :D 8)
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Alan S
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Re: Meall a'Bhuachaille - how to start season with a bang!

Postby Steve B » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:23 pm

Great pictures. Looks like you had a top day out. I have only been in the Cairngorms a couple of times. Need to make up for that this year I think.
Steve B
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Re: Meall a'Bhuachaille - how to start season with a bang!

Postby dooterbang » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:04 pm

Is that a dooter "bang" :lol:

Did this last winter with Monty, Mountainstar and Danrun.

The Green lochan is lovely - nice photo you got.

Glad you waited for them views.
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dooterbang
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Re: Meall a'Bhuachaille - how to start season with a bang!

Postby ChrisW » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:12 pm

Great report BP, love the photos too, what a fantastic day in the hills. I bet you are glad that Kevin agreed to visit the summit of Creagan Gorm and prolong the joy :D
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