With a superb forecast for the weekend I made sure I’d packed amongst other things sun cream, a hat, sun glasses, shorts and plenty of fluids before taking the train from Edinburgh after work on the Friday evening for Blair Atholl to take on Beinn a'Ghlo. Having to walk the extra 4km from Blair Atholl to Loch Moraig (and back) necessitated an early start and I somehow managed to drag myself out of bed early leaving the hotel at 06.50am! The walk from Blair Atholl was a bit eerie being shrouded in mist/fog during the entire hour long gentle uphill walk along the public road leading to the to the car park at Loch Moraig. I passed a couple of cars already in the car park and headed through the gate and along the track towards Carn Liath just as the sun started to burn off the mist/fog, the sun was already scorching.
Left Blair Atholl hotel at 06.50
Public road signposted for Monzie
An hour walk along the foggy public road to the car park at Loch Moraig
Start of walk near car park
First sight of Carn Liath as mist starts to clear
First sign of inversion back towards Blair Atholl
The steep eroded path up Carn Liath clearly visible
Before long I reached the path that departs the track passing a wooden hut the path heading straight ahead directly up Carn Liath. I made quick progress up the pretty steep eroded loose stone path. The views as height was gained were glorious with an inversion over Blair Atholl and it wasn’t long before I’d reached the trig point and the summit cairn just beyond. By this point I was completely soaked in sweat indeed I probably looked like I’d been for a swim. Fortunately there was a nice cool breeze and I sat for a good 20 minutes by the trig point for a nice orange drink, applying more sun cream. I was soon joined by 3 other walkers who I would see on all the summits and at various other points throughout the day.
Path departing track
Path passing wooden hut
Still straight ahead
Inversion over Blair Atholl
Summit cairn of Carn Liath
Trig point where I sat for a rest
The views of the route onwards along a twisting wide ridge via a bealach to Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain and then on to Carn nan Gabhar were superb and so refreshed I set off. The walk along the ridge was very easy going but the steepish climb from the bealach up to Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain in the heat of perfectly cloudless skies was quite tiring and did slow me down somewhat. Again the breeze I encountered on the summit of Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain was most welcome and I lingered there again for quite some time taking in the views and a bite to eat and taking on plently of fluids.
Twisting ridge to Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain
Left - Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, right at back - Carn nan Gabhar
Left path rising from the bleach to summit of Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain
Final pull up Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain
Looking back to Carn Liath
Summit of Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain now in view
Second Munro of the day
On such a fine day there weren’t going to be any navigation problems finding the steep path a little before the bealach with the 1004 metre northern spot height down to Bealach an Fhiodha. On the way down the path I got a bit of a surprise as a runner swept passed me! I managed a few words and he told me he’d set off about 9.30am from the car park about 1hr 40mins after me. At the Bealach an Fhiodha there was absolutely no breeze at all and it was now really baking hot and I was presented with the last ascent of the day up onto the ridge of Carn nan Gabhar. This turned out to be a bit of a slow affair as I was forced to make regular stops for gulps of water. Anyway I reached the ridge and then continued up the now very stony route to the summit passing firstly a cairn then a trig point before finally reaching the summit cairn. Fortunately I pointed out to the 3 walkers I kept bumping into that the trig point wasn’t the summit as they were just setting off back down. This was the breeziest summit and I went and sat back on the trig point contemplating the long return. It was 1.30pm when I set off.
Carn nan Gabhar back centre, summit cairn furthest left
Made it up onto the ridge of Carn nan Gabhar
Stony summit ridge of Carn nan Gabhar, summit cairn beyong trig point in distance
Summit cairn of Carn nan Gabhar
Photo from summit cairn back to the trig point
I’d decided that I’d go back down to Bealach an Fhiodha to take the path down the east side of the stream to the south. (On the way down to the bealach I passed some 20 or so walkers stretched out on their way up to Carn nan Gabhar all various shades of beetroot!). I managed to find a suitable place to refill my water bottle where I crossed the stream before it joined the Allt na Beinn Bige, picking up the stalkers path that contours round the base of Beinn Bheag. Reports suggest that this peaty path could be boggy but with no rain for weeks it was perfectly dry and very easy going. It was a long hot walk out but eventually it reached the track that eventually passed the wooden hut back to the car park which I made 9 hrs after passing it. So with the hour walk from Blair Atholl I had been going 10 hours at this point with the 4km back to Blair Atholl to go. I had my fingers crossed that someone would take pity on me and give me a lift back to Blair Atholl and sure enough a very kind gentleman from Dundee who’d I’d passed earlier in the day stopped and saved me nearly all that walk back. What a gentleman. What a day. It was on returning to my hotel for a well earned shower that I discovered that my legs were a little on the frazzled side!!
Path from Bealach an Fhiodha
Looking back along path from Bealach an Fhiodha, Airgiod Bheinn right
Peaty path around the base of Beinn Bheag
Eventually rejoining track back to wooden hut then car park
Car park now heaving, Carn Liath in background
My legs now a'Ghlo
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