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Beinn a Bhuird & Ben Avon from Allanaquoich

Beinn a Bhuird & Ben Avon from Allanaquoich

Postby Philwalker » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:24 pm

Route description: Beinn a' Bhùird

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a' Bhùird, Ben Avon

Date walked: 14/05/2012

Time taken: 12 hours

Distance: 26 km

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I parked in the temporary car park at Allanaquoich, pushed the bike up the small path to join the track above, and cycled the four miles through the Glen Quoich pines to where the Allt an Dubh-Ghlinne joined the Quoich Water. The track went on through the Allt an Dubh-Ghlinne, but I left the bike locked to a tree stump here and crossed to follow it on foot into another Scots pine copse. The track became a path and began to climb steadily through the trees as the rain stopped and patches of blue sky appeared. I smiled at this because the opposite had happened a couple of days before when a blizzard had driven back down off the hill.
Beinn a Bhuird ascent.jpg
The path up to the An Diollaid ridge

This path is excellent and well drained as it follows the easiest line around the side of Carn Allt na Beinne. If it hadn't been such a long day ahead, this summit would have been worth a visit, especially as the sun was now putting in an appearance. The Alltan na Beinne's roar echoed up from the glen below as I crested the ridge of An Diollaid directly opposite Beinne Bhreac across the Dubh Ghleann to the west (see my report on Beinn Mheadhoin).
An Diollaid ridge.jpg
Back down the Alltan na Beinne

The path continued into the snow at around the 800m contour, disappearing not long after. I set the compass to stay on the continuing broad ridge as the snow began to drift in on the now strong westerly.
Visibility gradually diminished as I ascended, and before long I was struggling to see anything other than the odd rock sticking above the ice-encrusted snow. I stopped to don crampons to prevent the Bambi impressions continuing, and headed directly east to find the corrie rims that looked very impressive on the map. The ground suddenly dropped away rapidly, so I crept down into the rocks and found a sheltered perch to have an early lunch, in the hope of the sky clearing and giving me some views.
As I munched on the pasty - well, I am Cornish - the sky above brightened and I glimpsed the Dubh Lochan through the mist below. Sunlight suddenly illuminated a big cornice to my left, and the curtain lifted on a phenominal panorama framed by the cliffs of A' Chioch to my right and the crags of the central buttress forming the double defile of Corrie nan Clach on the left, with the not-so-black Dubh Lochan below. Beyond, the glen of the Glas Allt Mor could be seen, with the Ben Avon plateau wall rising in a mighty upheaval into the dark clouds that still hung there. A Ginsters pasty never tasted so good!
Dubh Lochan fm Beinn a Bhuird.jpg
The Dubh Lochan beneath A Chioch

I snapped away happily for a while, then finished my lunch before climbing back into that biting wind. Dark clouds heralded the arrival of the next snow shower as I followed the corniced edge at a safe distance before heading north to reach the edge of the second corrie, Corrie nan Clach. I was back into a total white-out just as I arrived at a small cairn. I sat here for a couple of minutes waiting for the clearance that arrived on cue to reveal the annoying fact that I had gone too far. I doubled back a little way to see the view, but it was not as impressive as that first corrie, so I carried on across the plateau to the now visible North Top that seemed a lot farther away than the map suggested.
Beinn a Bhuird & Ben Avon summits.jpg
Beinn a Bhuird and Ben Avon from Coire nan Clach edge

I arrived as the sun departed in the direction of Ben Avon's summit, now clearly lit to the east. Beinn a Bhuird's summit rocks were something of a disappointment for such a big mountain, but the views made up for that.
Ben Avon from Beinn a Bhuird.jpg
Ben Avon from Beinn a Bhuird summit

I now continued east before dropping north east then east again over several lumps to reach narrow col of The Sneck, across which lay the massive hulk of Ben Avon. The climb up to the plateau was much steeper than I had expected and, when I looked back, The Sneck was disappearing in another blast of snow. "blast" was what I was thinking at that moment as I set the compass on a direct line to Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuide, the summit tor of Ben Avon, while I could still see it.
Snow Approaching The Sneck.jpg
The Sneck - snow approaching

I had removed the crampons before Beinn a Bhuird summit because the snow had softened; and there was no need for them here either as I waded through the soft snow, keeping away from the edge off to the left that carried broken cornices in places. The sky cleared once more as I approached the big rock stacks and climbed to the top.
Approch to Ben Avon summit.jpg
Approaching Ben Avon summit

Ben Avon summit.jpg
Ben Avon summit

Pools of sunlight drifted past, deliberately avoiding the summit for some strange reason - I had showered the night before, so personal hygene shouldn't have been that bad, should it?
I spent 10 minutes enjoying some cracking all-round views before spotting the blackest cloud yet approaching Beinn a Bhuird to the west. It looked extremely threatening as I dropped from the summit and tried to race it back across the plateau to The Sneck, thinking it could well produce lightning on the tops. Speed was not possible in that soft snow but I made it off the tops just as the first snow started to fall.
Beinn a Bhuird skies.jpg
Beinn a Bhuird across the plateau

I left the col to head south following the Allt Glas Mor through snow to start with, but soon dropping below it onto a reasonable path that descended rapidly alongside the melt-water.
Glen descent from Ben Avon.jpg
Descent from The Sneck

I reached the large erratic named as the Clach a Chleirich (Stone of the Clergyman) where the path dropped beside waterfalls to a crossing at the bottom. It now became an excellent stalkers path that contoured the hillside for a couple of miles, then swung away to the east. My route dropped down right to cross the river. It was now in full spate at the warmest time of the day with the snow melting fast higher up. I walked upriver some way to find a point where rocks would get me more than halfway across: I would then have to leap into the water for two or three steps to reach the other bank.
I judged the depth and current by sticking a walking pole into it. It was a foot or more deep, and the pole swung away rapidly to demonstrate the power of the flow. I looked about for a wider crossing where the current would be less powerful, but gave up and returned to give it a go.
I ran upstream at an angle in what must have looked like a speeded-up Ministry of Silly Walks gait, but emerged on the opposite bank amazed at still having dry feet. Good boots, gaiters, and waterproof over-trousers must have combined to keep the water at bay.
I carried on into the Scots pines of the Quoich Water glen, following the path to encounter two more smaller river crossings before joining a track that led back to the Allt an Dubh-ghlinne, which now flowed with more water, but still presented no problem.
The Alltan na Beinne.jpg
The Alltan na Beinne crossing

The bike ride back was a joy, probably because of the relief I felt at having now completed all of the tougher Cairngorm peaks, and having had at least some good views on most of them.
Another long day that would not have been possible without the aid of the bike to cover those initial miles through that lovely glen.
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Re: Beinn a Bhuird & Ben Avon from Allanaquoich

Postby Johnny Corbett » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:00 am

Still to do these so thanks for the report and agree about using a bike for the long ones when it's possible, it allways good when you spot the bike and your feet are killing you :D
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Johnny Corbett
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Re: Beinn a Bhuird & Ben Avon from Allanaquoich

Postby lochlaggan » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:21 pm

These are my last munros west of the A9 to do, so very helpful report.

Interesting reading.


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