Day 3 (of 5) of my 2013 Scotland Trip - Blair Atholl to Aviemore.
Following on from the long second day, the Minigaig to Newtonmore which can be read here, the third day saw a small amount of cheating, which involved me getting a lift from the campsite at Glentruim to Newtonmore. This saved 5 to 6 kilometres of walking on the old A9 which from past experience I know would be a demoralising experience.
Today's route was to take in two Munro's and then wild pitch overlooking the Monadhlaith Mountains.
Having been dropped off in Newtonmore I headed out of the town through the open fields alongside the River Calder. The views of the Calder and Glen Banchor were lovely and well regarded, as evidenced by the number of seats and resting places for visitors to admire the views. I was taken in by it and stopped for a few photos as well.
Very quickly the rural look was being overtaken by the more rugged lower sloped of the Monadhlaith Mountains. Tempting though it was, the third of the Monadhlaith Munro's - Geal Charn - was a walk too far for this trip
So, turning east I started the walk in to my second Munro of the trip, A' Chailleach.
After the track turned into a path, it got a bit boggy, but soon I was able to cross the Allt a' Chaorainn and pick a route up into the Coire Dubh. The cloud was high, but more evident than in the first two days, which was a bit of a relief as it meant it didn't get too hot as I made my way up A' Chailleach.
As I climbed higher the views into Strathspey and across to Cairngorms opened up.
Looking south east I could see all the way back to Beinn Dearg and Glen Tromie, which had been part of the previous two days walking.
After a steady pull and with the cloud cover breaking up to give more sunshine, I reached the summit of A' Chailleach at 2pm.
From here my next target, Carn Sgulain, didn't seem that far away but what this hid was the steep sided Allt Cuil na Caillich which required a dog-leg route to the boggy bealach almost easterly and then north to the boundary fence.
About an hour later I was stood by the boundary fence.
Then it was a simple case of following the boundary fence to the almost unnoticeable summit of Carn Sgulain. Dropping off the east side of Carn Sgulain and continuing to follow the boundary fence, the next high point was Am Bodach at 4.20pm. With the sun starting to get lower in the sky it made the crags of Bruthach an Easain and A' Chailleach stand out.
Another hour's walking bought me to Carn a'Bhothain Mholaich. Although I was following the boundary fence over, what on the map at 1:25000, looked to be fairly easy going I was conscious that I was only travelling at half the pace I was expecting as underfoot the ground was rough and tussocky. I wasn't complaining as the ground was very dry, so could have been a lot worse, but it started to make me think about the plan for the next day which had been to continue to follow this high boundary.
The wide expanse of the Monadhlaith Mountains were opening up invitingly, although they will have to wait for a future trip.
Although it was as remote and quiet as the Atholl Estate, was very noticeable was the almost absence of wildlife on these hills, although they may well have been deeper into the Monadhlaith. Apart from a couple of roe deer I saw very little in the way of wildlife.
Dropping down off Carn a'Bhothain Mholaich, I sort of followed an estate track past grouse butts, an area that wouldn't have been out of place on a battle field given how chewed up by caterpillar tracks the heather and peat was.
Finally reaching an unnamed burn at about 6.30pm I pitched for the night under an almost clear sky.
A quiet night followed marked only by the barking of a roe deer as it crossed the burn.
Day four of my walk - Monadhlaith to Dalraddy can be found here.
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