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Braigh Riabhach and the first snows of winter

Braigh Riabhach and the first snows of winter


Postby PeteR » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:19 pm

Route description: Braeriach, circuit from Whitewell

Munros included on this walk: Braeriach

Date walked: 12/10/2013

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I have to admit, I had slight mixed feelings about this walk.

On the one hand I’ve been wanting to experience Braigh Riabhach for a long time now :D And it was also to be my final Munro of the Monadh Ruadh :D The Met Office suggested the weather was going to be fantastic for mid October :D Add to that the snow earlier in the week, and it looked like just the best of everything was on offer to me :D

On the other hand though, MrsR was ill with tonsillitis and I wasn’t sure whether I should be staying home with her.............to get the maximum benefit from the fact she could barely speak :lol: :lol:

As it was the hills won :wink:

The plotted route was 19 miles and I was joined on the walk by my occasional walking partner Stuart, who hadn’t been out on the hills for a while. So a good re-introduction to the hills for him. At this point I have to doff my cap to Sabbathstevie , who posted an excellent report on this route a couple of weeks ago with some superb photos :thumbup: Who’d have thought you could go from autumn to winter in a fortnight :roll:

At some point I hope to do the full Carn Toul/Braigh Riabhach traverse, but given the time of year now I wasn’t sure there would be enough daylight hours left for me to drag myself round in time. All this trip has done is confirm that one day I will return to do that traverse :wink:

We started this walk from Whitewell, following the excellent paths into the Lairig Ghru. It was all very relaxed, as we set off a little after 9.30 a.m. heading through the superb forest of Scotts pine :D
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View into the Pine forest at the start of the walk

The paths into the Lairig are excellent, making for easy walking and rewarding with great views from early on :D By the time we had joined the path coming over from the Chalamain Gap it was surprising to see the height that had been gained, even though it never felt like it at any point during that part of the walk in.
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Out of the forest and views toward Braigh Riabhach start to open up

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More great views on the walk in

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Braigh Riabhach again

The proper climbing started at the point the path into the Lairig narrows. From here we took the excellent, but steepish, path for the short climb to the base of Sron na Lairige. Great views across to Creag an Leth-choin (Lurcher’s Crag), Sgor Gaoith and back to Lochan Odhar and then across to the path from the Chalamain Gap :D
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Lurcher's Crag

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Sgor Gaoith

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Lochan Odhar

As for the climb up the Sron na Lairige; the excellent path continued and soon we were hitting the snow 8) From this point the day just got better and better and better :D It could easily have been a slow climb; not because it was steep (the climbing on this route is surprisingly easy really), but because of the sheer number of photo opportunities as you follow the ridge to the flat top of the Lairige and then up on to the summit :wink:
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Heading up the Sron na Lairige

On the climb up the Sron na Lairige we were passed by a chap and his two dogs; one of which we were informed was an Irish Water Spaniel. Looked suspiciously like an oversized sheep to me :lol:

I really enjoyed the climb up the Lairige. It was superb. The views that frankly hadn’t been shabby up this point just kept getting better and better and better :D If my 19 year old stepson who doesn’t care for hill walking cared for hillwalking he’d no doubt describe the views as “quali’y” (apparently there is a silent “t” in quality :lol:). But then again by this point in the walk he’d have probably been too “pure heavy knacker’t” to enjoy the qualit’y of the views anyway :lol:
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Deep into the Laraig Ghru

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Hitting the snow on the route up

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The view behind us

The initial climb beyond the snow line was a bit icier in places than I might have expected, given what snow there was. But not so serious we were thinking we should have had our crampons with us :lol:
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Super snow on the Sron na Lairige

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Icy looking snow

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Sron plateau looking toward Braigh Riabhach with Carn Toul behind

After walking the flattish plateau of the Sron na Lairige there was a short dip before the final, short climb to the summit, with Coire Bhrochain to our left. Just short of the summit, around East Gully and Black Pinnacle we hit what was for me the absolute best part of the day. The views across the Coire and into the Lairig Ghru were simply jaw dropping 8) 8) I really could have stayed there for ages just soaking up the views. Definitely a place to savour and not a place to rush.
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Carn Toul and Sgor an Lochain Uaine

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Panoramic shot to Carn Toul with Lochain Uaine

It was then just a short walk to the Braigh Riabhach summit cairn. In a way a bit of an anti-climax for me, having just enjoyed such incredible views a short distance below the summit. We stopped at the summit a short while though, before we set off on our long route back.

From the summit I managed to spectacularly avoid both the Falls of Dee :lol: and the Wells of Dee :lol: as we set off across the plateau :roll: Paid a visit to Einich Cairn before descending down to pick up the stalkers path down through Coire Dhondail. Despite a slightly steep and hairy start to the path’s descent it was actually an easy path down to the landrover track. And more great views.
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Walking across the plateau

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Across the Moine Mhor

All that was left then was the long, long walk through Gleann Eanaich and back to the car. We still had yet more great views to enjoy; especially looking back to Braigh Riabhach with the moon above :D
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View into Gleann Eanaich from the start of the descent route

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Interesting cloud formation above Sgor Gaoith

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Braigh Riabhach

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Sgor Gaoith

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Moon shot

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Moon over Braigh Riabhach

As for the final photo.........although I say so myself, it was quite a stunning view 8)
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Blood red sky

And for those of view with a few minutes to spare the full photo set can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/beardybaldybloke/sets/72157636496420395/
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PeteR
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Re: Braigh Riabhach and the first snows of winter

Postby AnnieMacD » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:39 pm

Great photos especially the last one :clap:. Looks like a great walk too and what a day for it!
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Re: Braigh Riabhach and the first snows of winter

Postby Sabbathstevie » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:26 pm

Pete - Good to see you did the exact same route as me a few weeks ago! Your pics already generate a warm glow of fond rememberment, although I now wish I'd abstained for just a few weeks more to get the additional bonus of winter frosting.

Great report, and your pics are excellent. :clap:
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Re: Braigh Riabhach and the first snows of winter

Postby riverlodge » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:31 pm

i couldn't find the smiley to show extraordinary jealousy, so this will simply have to make do with :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Braigh Riabhach and the first snows of winter

Postby Mountainlove » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:34 pm

Great report and brilliant to see the hills I have seen on the same day (in the far distance) close up. Had been wondering how much snow there was. The sunset pictures and the one from the moon are superb!! Looks like a great walk!! :clap:
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Re: Braigh Riabhach and the first snows of winter

Postby PeteR » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:53 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:Great photos especially the last one :clap:. Looks like a great walk too and what a day for it!


Thanks Annie. Yep, it is a great walk. A bit long, but not too steep, so never a struggle......apart from maybe the last few miles where the soles of the feet were getting sore
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Re: Braigh Riabhach and the first snows of winter

Postby PeteR » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:54 pm

Sabbathstevie wrote:Pete - Good to see you did the exact same route as me a few weeks ago! Your pics already generate a warm glow of fond rememberment, although I now wish I'd abstained for just a few weeks more to get the additional bonus of winter frosting.

Great report, and your pics are excellent. :clap:


Cheers stevie :D I must admit, when I planned this walk I was hoping for great autumn colours like you had, but I wont deny the early snow was pretty special :D
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PeteR
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Re: Braigh Riabhach and the first snows of winter

Postby PeteR » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:55 pm

riverlodge wrote:i couldn't find the smiley to show extraordinary jealousy, so this will simply have to make do with :clap: :clap: :clap:


I think you're looking for this one riverlodge :mrgreen: :lol:
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Re: Braigh Riabhach and the first snows of winter

Postby PeteR » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:58 pm

Mountainlove wrote:Great report and brilliant to see the hills I have seen on the same day (in the far distance) close up. Had been wondering how much snow there was. The sunset pictures and the one from the moon are superb!! Looks like a great walk!! :clap:


Cheers mountainlove

A nice little covering of snow on the hills. Looking forward to a few more snow days over the coming months, but seems like rain is setting in just now :(
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Re: Braigh Riabhach and the first snows of winter

Postby Silverhill » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:42 pm

Wow PeteR, that is ACE! 8)
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Re: Braigh Riabhach and the first snows of winter

Postby Collaciotach » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:05 pm

Nice one Pete :clap:
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