Snowy Ben Avon & Beinn a'Bhuird
by RTMcB » Wed May 02, 2012 10:24 pm
Route description: Ben Avon via Gleann an-Slugain
Munros included on this walk: Beinn a' Bhùird, Ben Avon
Date walked: 28/04/2012
Time taken: 10.5 hours
Distance: 39.4 km
Ascent: 1677m7 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).
Excellent forecast meant we had to get out and up some Munro's! Driving north through Glen Shee, a wee sprinkling on snow was visible on the Cairnwell 3 circuit and to the east on the Glas Maol circuit. We thought it wouldn't be too bad further north. First mistake.
First task was to pitch the tent at the Invercauld campsite in Breamar. I overheard one bloke at reception saying it was "fresh" last night - second mistake - then site warden informed me the ducks were back with their ducklings but we had planned for this - earplugs.
Back on the road turned off 100m too early. Third mistake - ended up at the rear of Invercauld House. No sign of a "walker carpark" so out of there and back on road to find proper parking.
This would be a long route, so we brought the bikes to use on route out and on the return. Although for most of this route we had to carry the damn things I had to fix my front brakes cos they were binding too tight. As we set I asked SMRussell to test her gears, but in true OH style she just rolled her eyes and continued on her way - unbeknownst to her she was in the highest gear. She would regret her eye-rolling for most of the cycle out
Fourth mistake turning left before reaching Altdourie cottages. This was due to ourselves and another party confusing each other with which route to take. Track under the bikes didn't feel right and when Breamar Castle came into view it was time to start question our path. Rather than retrace our cycle we cut across a field over some barbed wire fences (careful with our sensitive bits ) and up a 50 degree slope with the bikes! The proper tarmac track was a relief to see. We hadn't lost too much time. But we were quite knackered.
Cycling up towards Slugain Lodge we meet a party of 3 blokes who had wild camped near to Clach a'Cleirich. They had turned back due to waist deep snow! It had taken them 30 mins to do 100m into the Glas Alt Mor. Great, coupled with the tiredness, this report put a downer on my aspirations for the day ahead. We headed on anyway, thinking if it were too bad we could still turn back.
Fifth mistake taking the low path into the Fairy Glen and onto Slugain Lodge - not great with bikes. Although, on the return the high road wasn't much better to cycle on. We made it out of the glen to find a great track interspersed with drainage ditches. I went over my handlebars on one of these, then my chain came off and SMRussell whacked her "Govinda-Jaya-Jaya" (as she put it at the time) on the cross beam
We locked up the bikes at the foot of Creag an Dail Mhor. A good call as the path ahead wasn't the best. We caught up a with a group of 3 blokes with 2 lovely dogs. They were taking a breather before attempting the snowy bit. The snow wasn't initially as bad as we had been told. It was knee deep but with the trail already broken it was ok going. That was until we reached the point were they had turned back, at the top of Clach a'Cleirich. From that point on it was a case of one step, shift weight onto leading foot, leading foot falls through light crust into thigh deep snow. Grrrrr! It took us an hour and a half to do the 2 km up to the Sneck. I was puffed out and ready to head for home but SMRussell, always full of beans, was keen to crack on to the summits.
50 mins later we were on top of Ben Avon's fantastic Tor, all covered in snow, not at all icy. Perfect views to Lochnagar and Bynack More 20 mins from Ben Avon we caught sight a yellow Sea King MR chopper. It circled Ben Avon's summit twice then made a bee-line for us! MR dude gave us a wave, we gave him a thumbs up, then they shot off into the coires of Beinn a'Bhuird, then departed to Cairn Gorm.
Progress to Beinn a'Bhuird was swift. Passing a bit to close to Squareface for my liking but we were following in footsteps that were maybe 1-2 days old. Thankfully those who bagged B a'B before had dug out the cairn, plus 3 sets of footprints signposted the summit nicely, thank you! Only from the summit did the view to the west open up, it was pretty breath taking, a snowy winter coat on all the hills!
We headed due east to get off B a'B, with SMRussell engaging in a little bum-sliding, then retraced our steps and cycled back to car without incident. Just about a 1 km form the car we disturbed 3 stags and 4 does in a field. They crossed our path and headed off into the trees. That truly was the icing on the cake.
Made it back to Braemar for 21:30 to find that nowhere was selling hot food. Thus, dinner consisted of swift pint of Tennents (for me) and an IPA (for her) and 2 packets of crisps. Back to campsite to find a layer of frost on the tent, even with 2 sleeping bags it was coooold. Finally got to sleep at 4am. We didn't fancy continuing our bagging weekend so headed for home - with two cases of saddle sore!
by GariochTom » Wed May 02, 2012 11:17 pm
by SMRussell » Thu May 03, 2012 8:53 am
RTMcB wrote:we brought the bikes to use on route out and on the return. Although for most of this route we had to carry the damn things
Fifth mistake taking the low path into the Fairy Glen and onto Slugain Lodge - not great with bikes. Although, on the return the high road wasn't much better to cycle on.
Aye. If anyone thinks of doing this route with bikes unless you're an experienced mountain biker (unlike us) it would be best to ditch the bikes at NO123951 before Slugain Lodge. Both the low road to the lodge and high road over the lodge will involve pushing the bikes rather than riding (particularly the low path) and the well made path on approach to the main ascent is fine but the drainage ditches are a real pest.
It is certainly worth taking bikes though - the cycle back was braw and the hills themselves were grand!
by tamw51 » Thu May 03, 2012 9:48 am
by Johnny Corbett » Thu May 03, 2012 10:53 am
by Fudgie » Thu May 03, 2012 10:59 am
by sneachda » Thu May 03, 2012 11:53 am
I was wondering if you could help me? Do you have a higher resolution image of the photo you have labelled "View east from Ben Avon" (it's near enough west BTW). What would be even better is if you had a photo looking into Garbh Coire, possibly from when you passed close to Squareface. I am thinking specifically of Stob Coire an t-Sluichd. I'm keen to see how much snow was there.
Many thanks in advance.
- Posts: 5
- Joined: May 3, 2012
by SMRussell » Thu May 03, 2012 12:37 pm
sneachda wrote: What would be even better is if you had a photo looking into Garbh Coire, possibly from when you passed close to Squareface. I am thinking specifically of Stob Coire an t-Sluichd. I'm keen to see how much snow was there.
Unfortunately a snow flurry struck while we headed up from the sneck past Squareface so the camera was safely tucked away from the elements and was not taken out again until Ba'B summit. However, the photo "View north from the Sneck" offers some insight. Have attached a few other snaps which could also help.
- The Mitre Ridge1
- The Mitre Ridge2
- Stob an t-S1
- Stob ant-S2
by sneachda » Thu May 03, 2012 12:43 pm
Thanks for posting the extra pictures - they are really helpful.
- Posts: 5
- Joined: May 3, 2012
by Alastair S » Thu May 03, 2012 1:01 pm
Doing these two without a MTB really knackered my knees for weeks and finally prompted me to getting one. The ride out may be hard going but it really pays off on the way home.
by RTMcB » Thu May 03, 2012 1:59 pm
Real shame we didn't get enough rest in order to do our planned walk on Sunday, Beinns Bhreac, a'Chaorainn, & Mheadoin from Derry Lodge. Maybe this weekend if the weather looks ok.
by skuk007 » Fri May 04, 2012 10:38 pm
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