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Tying up some loose ends - Cairn of Claise & Tom Buidhe

Tying up some loose ends - Cairn of Claise & Tom Buidhe

Postby Graeme D » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:12 pm

Munros included on this walk: Cairn of Claise, Tom Buidhe

Date walked: 10/08/2012

Time taken: 4.3 hours

Distance: 16.4 km

Ascent: 940m

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It was the Friday of the Braemar meet and Leithy had gone entirely against convention and organised a stunning weekend of weather. A quick glance out of the window upon waking and I knew there was no way I was hanging about in Perth to do any work today. I was dropping my wife at work, then my daughter chez mes parents, then heading home to finalise packing (i.e. horse a load of gear into the back of the car) and then hit the A93 northbound to Braemar. My original intention for walking today had been to head up beyond Braemar and do a route from Glen Fenzie combining the Graham of Mona Gowan with the Corbett of Morven.

However, it was too good a day to be driving even an inch further than I needed to - far better to spend the time on the hill. Having taken that stance, there was really only one thing for it - to put to right the wrongs of that day back in January when I had to launch a full scale escape from horrendous conditions and zero visibility on the plateau between Carn an Tuirc and Tom Buidhe. I had nailed the former that day and was en route to the latter, intending to then head back home over Cairn of Claise, but of course my plans for the two latter Munros went right out the window as I focused all my energies and reserves on relocation strategies and getting the hell out of there in one piece and under my own steam.

That objective had been accomplished but the unfinished business from that day still rankled, even more given that I had since done Tolmount from Glen Callater but had not had the time to go the short distance further onto Tom Buidhe. Today would be my revenge under blue skies and a blazing sun! 8)

I parked in the gravelled parking area between the ski area and the larger car park by the bridge and headed up the nose of Sron na Gaoithe. It was strenuous work in the sweltering heat - maybe it would have been wiser to head straight to Braemar and aclimatise in a public house! But no, don't be daft G - there are loose ends to be tied up here first.

Busy car park below the steep nose of Sron na Gaoithe

Carn an Tuirc from halfway up the initial ascent

North up the A93 towards Braemar and the Cairngorms

The Cairnwell and Carn Aosda with Carn a Gheoidh and Glas Tulaichean behind

From Sron na Gaoithe across Garbh Choire to Cairn of Claise

Once the wee summit cairn of Sron na Gaoithe is reached, the hardest work is over and it is then a nice wee meandering bimble around the head of Garbh Choire to pick up the old boundary wall which snakes precipitously in places up to the summit of Cairn of Claise.

Down the Sron na Gaoithe ridge to the knobbly summit and Carn Aosda across the road

Carn an Tuirc and a very distant Ben Avon where Dougie, Stu and Paul are grinding their feet down to stumps

Cairn of Claise across upper Garbh Choire

Rounding the head of the corrie and heading for the first Munro summit

Across the wee lochan to Caenlochan Glen and Monega Hill

Follow the old wall all the way to the summit

At this point down in the corrie, I saw the biggest herd of deer I have ever clapped eyes on. In fact, I heard them first. They were making a noise not unlike the high pitched squeeling of porpoises or dolphins and I wandered over to the rim to look down on what I estimate must have been a herd getting on for 500 strong! They seemed either oblivious to or unconcerned by my presence above them and I started trying to do a rough count. I got to 50 and my eyes and head started to hurt so I gave up. Scanning the whole herd it looked like the little corner I had counted made up about one tenth of the whole. :D

Massive deer herd down in Garbh Choire (zoomed)

Herd unzoomed

Zooming in again as they stampede away round the corner

I continued on up the slope towards the summit, passing a solo bloke descending. I asked him if he had seen the deer from on the summit, but he hadn't. I advised him to hurry on down to where I had been standing transfixed and get an eyeful of the sight, as they were moving around the corner and out of sight from the ridge. He seemed a little doubtful, but then I guess I would be too if someone told me there were 500 deer down in the corrie! :crazy:

Distant Beinn a' Ghlo

To the White Mounth and Lochnagar from the summit of Cairn of Claise

Distant Mount Blair across the Caenlochan Forest

The massive bulk of Glas Maol

Summit for myself

From the summit of Cairn of Claise I had a clear view to Tom Buidhe, a rather insignificant looking bump across the flat Ca Whims. I was eager to see if I could conclusively solve the mystery of where I was that day back in January but the conditions were so vastly different in every sense that I was reduced to guesswork and speculation. I thought that a few features seemed familiar but I really couldn't say for sure. :?

Next target - Tom Buidhe

The twin lumps of Tolmount and Tom Buidhe across the Ca Whims

Some of tomorrow's targets

Tom Buidhe


Two blokes and a dog had come off Cairn of Claise just as I reached the summit and they were now veering off towards Tolmount, seemingly making hard work of the peat hags on the way. I veered right onto Tom Buidhe which I also had to myself, before setting off back to the car on a bearing for Carn an Tuirc.


Mayar and Driesh from Tom Buidhe

Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise

Glen Doll

I was considering heading out over Carn an Tuirc as it would undoubtedly provide a very different summit experience to the one I had back in January, but the sweat was pouring out of me and by this stage I really did feel the urge to be drinking a cold beer or two in Braemar. :wink:

I headed over to the edge of the plateau above the Cul Riabhach and more or less retraced my January descent route, although it has to be said that the going was considerably easier on this August afternoon. :lol:

Allt a' Gharbh-choire

Back at the car I carried out a quick change of footwear before pouring myself into the drivers seat and heading for the Braemar Lodge Hotel where I met up with Nathan and we enjoyed a couple of bottles of fine Cairngorm ale in the beer garden while we waited for the troops to assemble. 8)

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Last edited by Graeme D on Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Graeme D
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Re: Tying up some loose ends - Cairn of Claise & Tom Buidhe

Postby quoman » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:05 pm

well done on finally getting these two i mind reading your january report you couldn't 2feet infront of you
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Re: Tying up some loose ends - Cairn of Claise & Tom Buidhe

Postby ChrisW » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:39 pm

Great report Graeme, I love to see areas I'm familiar with and this is one of them. When I did Tom Buidhe it was an absolute bogfest and I didn't even get to see a herd of 500 deer :roll: :lol: , what an incredible sight tucked away like that. You certainly got the weather right this time too, beautiful photos that really take me back :clap:
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Re: Tying up some loose ends - Cairn of Claise & Tom Buidhe

Postby Johnny Corbett » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:57 pm

Certainly a better day than when you last attempted these, some nice photos too :D
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Re: Tying up some loose ends - Cairn of Claise & Tom Buidhe

Postby basscadet » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:49 pm

Good report there Graeme.. With some great pics as well :D You did affy well considering the heat.. t'was a scorcher indeed..
Done these a couple of times but never that way.. hadn't even crossed my mind, so thanks for opening my peepers :D Next time I do em it will be just like this :lol:
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Re: Tying up some loose ends - Cairn of Claise & Tom Buidhe

Postby rockhopper » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:45 pm

Great weather and a very nice way to tie up your loose ends Graeme :thumbup: I've seen large numbers of deer in the hills but nowhere near as many as in your photos - must've been quite a sight - cheers :)
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Re: Tying up some loose ends - Cairn of Claise & Tom Buidhe

Postby jonny616 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:03 pm

Glad you cleared these two up. nothing worse than a missed hill itch niggling away :clap:
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Re: Tying up some loose ends - Cairn of Claise & Tom Buidhe

Postby dogplodder » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:42 pm

That brought back so many good memories of when we lived in Dundee and were often in these hills with a lad called Stuart who knew every inch of them from his scouting exploits. Having him on board made one very lazy about navigation! :lol:
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