Not Gooey (Beinns Bhreac & a' Chaorainn)
by Alastair S » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:31 pm
Route description: Beinn a'Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac
Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chaorainn (Cairngorms), Beinn Bhreac
Date walked: 13/01/2012
Time taken: 8.4 hours
Distance: 30 km
Ascent: 993m12 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).
With just 3 Cairngorms to go I was looking to get the best out of the remaining of my local hills and it turned out just fine. Another middle of the night alarm and I was on my bike in near pitch darkness for the by now familiar ride up to Derry Lodge at 6:56. Only being night-time it wasn't so familiar. But the track was snow & ice free and I was pulling into Derry Lodge less than half an hour later. I needed my head-torch to get sorted for the transition to walking but five minutes up the Glen Derry path I dispensed with it. Still an hour to dawn so I guess I was roamin' in the gloamin' (sorry!)
Derry Cairngorm Pre-Dawn
Taken 10 minutes before sunrise on the slopes of Bienn Bhreac (at an altitude of 730m).
Beinn Bhreac Sunrise
Around 850m and the sun puts in its appearance. The hill with the transmitter atop is Morrone.
A couple of rocks mark the way off the main path to Beinn Bhreac. The wee path was pretty soggy to start with and then icy - so walked most of the way in the heather to the side of the path. Patchy hard & icy snow from 800m but further up it was just a few centimetres of fresh powdery stuff. Topped out at 9:10. Got out my wee anemometer thingy: minus 3 with a steady 15mph breeze, giving a wind chill of around minus 10. So it was on with another layer and out with the flask.
Sunny Beinn Bhreac
View south from the summit of Beinn Bhreac, taken at 9:39, an hour after sunrise. This smaller cairn is about 50 metres south of the summit cairn and seems to mark the outlines of what was a large stone shelter. Lochnagar on the far left.
Sunny Beinn Bhreac #2
Another from the summit of Beinn Bhreac, looking south.
Beinn Bhreac Panorama
View west from the summit of Beinn Bhreac. Encompasses around 120 degrees. Click the link for a full sized version (goes for the next pano too).
As you can see from the [Photoshopped ] photos it was a wonderful day. With the frozen ground I made a beeline for Beinn a' Chaorainn. Really easy going over the first k. By stomping along you could just get your heel into the patchy snow. A bit slower through the frozen & extensive peat hags. This must be a real bog hell any other time of year.
Craig Derry Panorama
Taken about a third of the way between Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a' Chaorainn with the latter being the hill on the far right of this panorama. This view encompasses around 170 degrees, with north to the right.
This is a view up the upper reaches of Glen Derry with a bit of Derry Cairngorm on the left (with some of Ben Macdui behind it) and Stob Coire Etchacan (a bit of Beinn Mheadhoin) to the right - and lots of frozen peat hags to the fore.
Ben Macdui From Beinn a' Chaorainn
Starting the fairly gentle climb up to Beinn a' Chaorainn with (from left to right) Derry Cairngorm, Ben Macdui and Stob Coire Etchachan for company. The tracks on the snow are those of a mountain hare.
Derry Cairngorm From Beinn a' Chaorainn
From the same spot as the previous shot but looking further south. Beinn a'Ghlo hills on the far horizon.
The direct route was also mainly on rocky ground as opposed to a large snow sheet further to the east where there is a shallow corie. Did think about donning my crampons but the slope was fairly shallow so I didn't figure I'd come to harm if I did slip so I just got the old ice axe out. On the way down I did end up on my arse once but didn't slide anywhere - so I've still to do a self-arrest in anger. Ran out of puff on the way up despite the easy going so needed a wee stop for some sustenance before topping out at 11:30.
Rime on one of the rocks in the summit cairn on Beinn a' Chaorainn. The sun was out hence the bare patch on the right.
Beinn a' Chaorainn Cairn
View north east from the summit of Beinn a' Chaorainn. The lower slopes of Beinn a' Bhuird to the right.
Ben Macdui From Beinn a' Chaorainn
With the summit cairn of Beinn a' Chaorainn to the fore.
Taken between Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a' Chaorainn and looking towards Ben Macdui.
For my route back I'd decided that if it wasn't too windy I'd keep high and made my way down to the west of Beinn Bhreac (Coire an Fhir Bhogha). The wind had dropped away almost completely by now so I stuck with this plan. This route has a number of advantages and one disadvantage. On the plus side I won't have to worry about the crossing of the Glas Allt Mor, no knee sapping steep descent to the Lairig an Laoigh but best of all the prospect of great views along Glen Derry. The disadvantage was more peat hag hell - well it would have been if it wasn't frozen but it was still harder than a nice path down in the glen. The hagginess lasted to just past the Craig Derry bit and there was even a path or two for bit of the decent. The heather got a bit thick around the 650m mark so I then angled straight down to Glen Derry & its nice path.
Glen Derry Tree
View up Glen Derry with Beinn Mheadhoin at the far end. This was taken at around 580m which is pretty much the top of the tree line in these parts.
The iciest bit of the day was the kilometre after crossing to footbridge to the west side of the glen but I survived this and was back on my bike by 3pm and back to the car 20 minutes later. I was expecting to be at least an hour longer. All in all another great Cairngorm day.
Flickr set over here. One or two from the latter part of the walk still to be added.
by quoman » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:43 pm
by Johnny Corbett » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:39 pm
by Steve B » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:53 pm
Some advice. When you mention the photos are photoshoped, what exactly have you done to them? Would love to be able to gain the same effect on some of mine (if I ever get out when the day looks that good)!
by gammy leg walker » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:43 pm
May need to stop being a dinosaur and learn from the master.
I f you dont mind me asking,how long do you reckon this round would take on foot.
by Gman27 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:09 pm
by Alastair S » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:26 pm
gammy leg walker wrote:I f you dont mind me asking,how long do you reckon this round would take on foot.
You'll probably need to add about an hour & a half. It took me 1:10 to walk back from Derry Lodge in December. I'd just double that for both ways as you'll be fresher on the way out so that will probably cancel out the slight uphillness. It took me 25 minutes to cycle up & 20 to get back down again - so 2:20 minus 45 gives 1:25. Add 5 minutes for some refreshment
Steve B wrote:Some advice. When you mention the photos are photoshoped, what exactly have you done to them? Would love to be able to gain the same effect on some of mine (if I ever get out when the day looks that good)!
Most the time I balance out the foreground & the sky and then apply sharpening. The latter is dead simple but the balancing can be a bit more time consuming, usually needing layers and/or layer masks. I use the affordable Elements version of Photoshop - around £60. I wasn't till I got myself a book about how to use it that I got anywhere so I'd definitely get yourself a book if you do get Elements. I also shot in RAW which gives you further control over the exposure when you get back home.
by LeithySuburbs » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:51 pm
Anyway, a cracking report and worth the wait as usual .
by malky_c » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:56 pm
Some weather that. I miss the south side of the Cairngorms - I've hardly been round there since I've been in Inverness. On the bike before 7 though - a masochistic streak
by Bod » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:57 pm
by mrssanta » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:02 pm
by Steve B » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:19 am
Thanks for the info re: photoshop, will be looking into that. I have enough trouble finding time to download, reduce the size and get a trip report out. Will need to find more to play with some of these effects.
by kevsbald » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:24 am
by Irene4k » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:28 pm