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My First EVER Winter Munro & A Perfect Round Of 4

My First EVER Winter Munro & A Perfect Round Of 4


Postby prophetofdom » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:05 pm

Munros included on this walk: Bynack More, Cairn Gorm

Date walked: 12/02/2012

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 29 km

Ascent: 1496m

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Woke in the bothy at 8am to the surprise of a very sunny day and a correct weather forecast (both rare!). Leapt out of my sleeping bag and tried to pack, breakfast and prepare as quickly as possible but it was nearly 10am by the time I left.

However the cairngorms are latticed with great tracks and within 30minutes I was approaching where Bynack Stable once stood and a braw new bridge stands to cross the Garbh Allt that flows out of Strath Nethy.

Next comes the climb and the elevation and in the strong sunshine and windless conditions my winter attire was proving far to much and soon my bag was bulging with unnecessary and removed garments. Maybe I just walk to fast uphill when I should be pacing myself a wee bit better but I am just so anxious to get to the top and sped as much time as possible on the top in the heights. So much so that within an hour I was past the 818m marker and heading towards to pointed top of Bynack More over a dusted snow surface and nice firm snow with rime ice clinging to the rocks.

Reaching the crags the snow was a little more packed and the angle a lot steeper so my speed eased a little bit but I was still scrambling to the top just after midday after being embraced by a brocken spectre as light mist swirled around in the sunshine.

I popped out between a couple of rocks right beside the cairn and gleefully announced to a couple of walkers who had been just ahead of me that this was my first winter munro, and the entered into a brief discussion on to why I couldn’t really count it since it wasn’t really a winters day. No ice axe, no crampons and not really much snow. However the walkers already at the top declared that since it wasn’t summer, it was a valid winter munro. I was going to claim it anyway but in real Cairngorm winter conditions, with the gear I own and can afford, I wouldn’t be here. Although the Corbetts I climbed last week had much more snow than this munro a full 200metres higher.

After soaking in the glorious wide views and the beautiful sunshine I headed along the ridge towards the wonderful rock formations of the Barns of Bynack which peculiarly each had a solitary Ptmarigan sat on the top in it’s snow white winter plumage.

On days like this you wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else and when you’re up and strolling along the tops the living is easy. Down and across and with in no time at all I head reached my second top of the day, that of A’Choinneach which I am told was once classified as a munro. So I make that two for the day. And still the sun shone, and not a trace of wind. How lovely to enjoy lunch and a hot brew on a summit completely at your lesuire. Warm, comfortable, endless views and ample time. Paradise.

With an astonishing lack of commitment I considered my onward route, which I was unwilling to start due to the sun and the fact that it meant heading down into the glen.

From the summit the obvious route was to wind down over some charming landscape, gently brushed with snow (I was beginning to finally fall in love with the Cairngorms) to the saddle with wonderful views of the frozen Loch Avon and then follow the Strath Nethy back to Bynack Stable, Ryvoan and then Glenmore. However I noticed that the path west of Bynack More would stay higher and would only be a couple of km’s extra.

Then I noticed the summit of Cairngorm and for someone who had never taken a winter munro before and with still 4-5hours of walking light left the possibility of climbing a 4000ft Munro in winter was a tempting proposition.

I headed down to the Saddle still undecided but when I arrived and saw some walkers heading down further into the strathnethy I really didn’t fancy following them. It was then I noticed a rising path climbing slowly on the other side that wasn’t to steep and didn’t have a really large areas of snow and lead gradually up to Cnap Coire na Spreidhe. I looked closely and saw that I would be able to climb on rocks and heather for a large part and only small areas of snow needed to be traversed and all the snow today had been very firm. That was enough, pack on back and off we went.

It was a lot less fearful than it might have been and within the hour I was standing on the top of the Cnap looking across Strath Nethy to the hills I add been on this morning as some mist swirled in over the mountains causing large rainbows or broken spectres to shine brilliantly, but alas not brilliantly enough for my camera to satisfactorily capture. I thought this might also have been a munro but it turns out it isn’t but none the less it was still my third top of the day with the Cairngorm to crown possibly my finest day in the hills ever.

In the mist I headed off Cnap Coire na Spreidhe on a compass bearing that happily was directly towards the sun which I was confident would burn the mist away again shortly. This it did and when it lifted I found that my compass bearing was excellent and I was on a direct line for the large cairn and the weather station.

My fourth top and second munro was reached just after 3pm and from here down was the only way ahead so I sauntered around the summit for ages milking in the views from all directions, delirious with joy and happiness at such an unexpectedly delightful day of walking. Didn’t think on Friday I would be able to climb a winter munro without crampons and here I was on my fourth of the day.

Those of you who have been on the Cairngorm will know of the horrid line of cairns and fences that ‘escort’ you from the cairn and back down which I made good efforts to avoid. Ironically, since that path is so tramped by folk it actually sported the most gnarly and treacherous ice I had seen all day so I had good reason to avoid it.

The peace and serenity of the day was quickly evaporating as I suddenly emerged at a throng of end of the day skiers waiting on the funicular rail home and – almost drunk from the sudden activity – I passed the action and snuck down through the gully down to a very busy car park and as soon as possible left the noisy, smelly, dirty road and returned to the peaceful pine clad forests of Glen more and walked 5-6km through the forest walks and eventually back to the car at Glenmore for a well earned cup of tea.

Quite a Fabulous day
Attachments
IMG_8094.JPG
Looking Down Ryvoan Pass From Bothy
IMG_8101.JPG
View Of Meall A Bhuachaille from Bynack Stable
IMG_8103.JPG
Approaching Bynack More
IMG_8117.JPG
Saltire in Blue Skies
IMG_8132.JPG
View Above Saddle Of Loch Avon
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Celebrating A Round Of 4 On Cairn gorm
IMG_8166.JPG
Broken Spectre

WinterH.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

prophetofdom
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Re: My First EVER Winter Munro & A Perfect Round Of 4

Postby malky_c » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:26 pm

I can't believe how good Sunday was 8)

That's a good round for your first winter hills - certainly much more interesting than plodding up from the ski carpark (which is what I seem to do most of the time). The ridge which carries on north to Stac na h-Iolaire is another good way of Cairngorm. Must do it in some good weather sometime.
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Re: My First EVER Winter Munro & A Perfect Round Of 4

Postby Johnny Corbett » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:25 am

Well done on your first winter Munros and an interesting way of doing these two :D
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Re: My First EVER Winter Munro & A Perfect Round Of 4

Postby ChrisW » Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:58 pm

What a great walk PoD, glad your first winter Munro(s) went so well and wish you many more that are as good if not better :wink:
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Re: My First EVER Winter Munro & A Perfect Round Of 4

Postby quoman » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:32 pm

Nice read there
The weather was excellent on sunday i was up glenshee the same day just like you didnt want to leave the first summit, well done on your first winter munros.
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Re: My First EVER Winter Munro & A Perfect Round Of 4

Postby pollyh33 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:46 pm

Oh didn't you do well!!! :clap:

Loved this report :D :D

Isn't it fantastic when unexpected opportunities present themselves??

We get so used to having to cut back on our original plans because of circumstances that its a joy to hear of walkers not only achieving their original goals but surpassing them too!!! 8)

As for it being your first ever winter munro? Of course it blooming well was!!! :evil: Ignore those damp squibs!!

Looking forward to your next report :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: My First EVER Winter Munro & A Perfect Round Of 4

Postby prophetofdom » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:54 pm

Johnny Corbett wrote:Well done on your first winter Munros and an interesting way of doing these two :D


Thank you, "an interesting way" - although it really was an off-the-cuff route designed to stay high and avoid strath nethy
prophetofdom
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Re: My First EVER Winter Munro & A Perfect Round Of 4

Postby prophetofdom » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:57 pm

pollyh33 wrote:Oh didn't you do well!!! :clap:

Loved this report :D :D

Isn't it fantastic when unexpected opportunities present themselves??

We get so used to having to cut back on our original plans because of circumstances that its a joy to hear of walkers not only achieving their original goals but surpassing them too!!! 8)

As for it being your first ever winter munro? Of course it blooming well was!!! :evil: Ignore those damp squibs!!

Looking forward to your next report :thumbup: :thumbup:


Many, many thanks Polly. such a lot of wonderful smilly faces in your reply. And Thank you for your kind words. I notice we both have compleated 62 Munro's each so far. Wonder where are next will come from.

Thanks also for marking my report great - it is so pleasing to see it being enjoyed by others :D
prophetofdom
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Re: My First EVER Winter Munro & A Perfect Round Of 4

Postby PeteR » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:00 am

Really enjoyed this one :D :D Some excellent photos there :D I just can't believe the good weather I've missed recently. You certainly had a day of great sun and great views. I still have these two on my radar and your report has certainly whetted my aspetite to get back out this weekend :D :D
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Re: My First EVER Winter Munro & A Perfect Round Of 4

Postby pollyh33 » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:39 pm

prophetofdom wrote: I notice we both have compleated 62 Munro's each so far. Wonder where are next will come from.




Hi P.O.D.

Oh I hadn't noticed your tally!

Jings the pressure is on me now to keep up :lol: :lol:

Hopefully heading to Bynack More on Sunday with Gammy Leg Walker et al, so your report timing is so helpful-cheers :clap:

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