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One Cairn-well done trip!
by BlackPanther » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:20 pm
Route description: The Cairnwell Munros
Munros included on this walk: Carn a'Gheoidh, Carn Aosda, The Cairnwell
Date walked: 15/01/2012
Time taken: 5 hours
Distance: 11.7 km
Ascent: 676m5 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Weather looked good. As we approached Braemar, familiar shape of Lochnagar appeared on the horizon:
We arrived at the ski center with a bit of a delay. Not a great amount of snow around, bust we still saw a few skiers - and other walkers tackling the steep side of the Cairnwell:
Carn Aosda from the car park:
The Meall Odhar ski slopes:
We paid a short visit to Mr & Mrs Wainwright...
...and got on going. It looked a piece of cake to start with, but soon we experienced one close encounter with hard, slippery ice. These slopes can mislead you as very easy, but they hide nasty surprises. I thought about putting my crampons on, but Kevin suggested that we stay on softer vegetation. It was a good idea - walking on the heather was much easier...
...and as we gained height we got our first views of the day, across to Meall Odhar and Carn Aosda:
Junior skiing school in action :
As we reached the ridge of the Cairnwell, close to the very summit, suddenly we were surrounded by true winter wonderland:
Looking across Choire Dhirich to Carn na Sac and Carn a' Gheoidh just behind it:
The ridge between The Cairnwell and Carn Aosda:
Distant Cairngorms somehow hazy:
Patches of low cloud formed here and there, especially in the south-east, but general conditions were excellent:
We walked quickly to the summit area of The Cairnwell. Such a sad experience... This hill has been scared for life, and my summit picture is the best evidence:
I did my best to take some interesting snapshots of the "summit equipment". Here, one of the masts:
The only thing missing is a flying saucer in the sky
Having said all that, Cairnwell is a nice viewpoint in all directions:
We left the summit eventually - it was just past twelve and we slowed down to enjoy the beautiful scenery, to take more pictures...
Looking back to the Cairnwell:
Sadly, snow fences still spoil the views here:
We decided to go to Carn a'Gheoidh first and leave the easy Carn Aosda as the final Munro of the day. Many other walkers had the same idea, as shown by plenty of footprints in the snow:
We turned west along the ridge of Creag a'Choire Dhirich, towards the col at 808m:
I tackled the slope with a big smile!
Another glimpse back to Cairnwell:
Panorama from one of the minor tops along the way:
We took our time stopping at every possible lump and bump for photies, at some point I noticed that all the other walkers overtook us, but we still calculated we had enough time to get to Carn a'Gheoidh and back before the darkness came...
One of the viewpoints:
We reached the two little lochans half way along to the Munro summit. They were frozen solid:
Weather was still good enough and mountains looked simply stunning in their white coats:
Approaching the summit of Carn a'Gheoidh. Some mist began to gather around...
In less than 30 min, grey cloud arrived from SE direction, spoiling views a bit:
After a final short and steep climb up icy slope we reached the summit of Carn a'Gheoidh. The cloud was still hanging about so not much of a view from here, but I didn't complain, it was still a fantastic day!
After a short snack break it was time to depart. We waited a bit longer, hoping for the mist to disperse (as it did the day before on Meall a'Bhuchaille) but no such luck this time. Eventually, with crampons on for safety, we run down the side of Carn a'Gheoidh to retrace our steps back to Carn Aosda. In next to to time we dived into the thick cloud covering the plateau...
We walked, laughed and discussed menu for our dinner, and suddenly - ooops - the plateau ended and we were standing over some high, steep cliff.
"Hey, wait, that was not supposed to be here" I scratched my head "We took the wrong way!"
"Yep, we did" - Kevin consulted map and compass - "It looks like we wandered off to the top of Carn na Sac."
I looked over his shoulder to the map and agreed with him. We still could see zilch but we were pretty confident we guessed our position correctly. It wasn't the first time when we misjudged our direction in misty conditions...
To go back on track we retraced our steps for about 200m and then turned NE towards Carn Aosda. Soon we emerged from the cloud (somewhere on the ridge of Creag a'Choire Dhirich) and we saw that we were exactly where we thought we were So trouble avoided this time and a point scored for us (especially for Kevin, he's the main navigator). Nevertheless, this little incident shows with clarity that even so-called easy hills can be a deadly threat if underestimated.
Out of the cloud at last:
The top of Carn na Sac and the cloud that misled us:
We passed the frozen lochans again...
...and crossed the plateau towards our last Munro of the day. The sun was about to set and surrounding mountains changed colour to slightly pinkish...
I took my crampons off and sped up to finish our trip before it got dark...
... and as I walked quickly across the icy stream, suddenly my legs were in the air and I was staring in the sky . Luckily nothing was hurt but my pride!
Kevin laughed a bit and helped me to get up - then we noticed that there were other witnesses to my unfortunate bum-slide:
I hope the don't tell anyone!
As soon as we reached the final slope and we found a wide track, the rest of the climb was a formality. Sadly, the very summit of Carn Aosda was misty, with the setting sun shining through:
Kevin by the summit cairn:
Finally we descended the bulldozed track don to the ski center and we were back in the car with about 30 min of daylight to spare. I was more than happy - I guess one couldn't demand more adventures from one of the most boring Munros in Scotland A great day out and more experience gained! Meow!
The only unhappy participant of this whole trip was our car, which ended up in a garage on Monday morning. She will have her gear box put apart... but she's going to make it.
by quoman » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:36 pm
yes your right the winter is the best time to do them shame about the car.
by Steve B » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:12 pm
by ChrisW » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:48 pm
by PeteR » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:03 pm
by LeithySuburbs » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:37 am
by jmarkb » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:07 pm
LeithySuburbs wrote: Approach them from Gleann Taitneach or the Baddoch Burn and they are still mostly wild and free of ski junk
Did these from Baddoch back in the Autumn: the N ridge of Carn Aosda is really nice, and the track along the Baddoch Burn makes for an easy return. The Cairnwell is still a horrid mess though: perhaps one of the only hills where some cloud is actually a good thing???