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Sgor Gaoith - no cairn on the summit

Sgor Gaoith - no cairn on the summit


Postby Emmanuelle » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:32 am

Route description: Sgor Gaoith, from Glen Feshie

Munros included on this walk: Sgor Gaoith

Date walked: 27/10/2013

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1000m

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Better day than anticipated but beware - there is no cairn on the summit. I did the usual circling, I even walked back part of the way to make sure I was on the highest part of the summit, nothing! I almost walked back up after a wee jaunt to Sgoran Dubh Mor but I realised this was not necessary. I texted a friend of mine who found an account of the walk in September noting the absence of the cairn. Why did people remove it? What's the sense in that? I like to put a stone on it, adding to it and marking the event. Is there an anti-cairn movement? Why?

When I've done all my Munros, I'll go back and rebuilt the cairn!

By the way, there is no longer a boulder marking entry to the park - there are brand new wooden signs and a couple of explanatory boards. Very posh.
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Re: Sgor Gaoith - no cairn on the summit

Postby ronofcam » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:31 pm

Personally I dislike seeing cairns on the summits of hills. Interestingly, when I was last on Sgor Gaoith someone had dislodged a large boulder (leaving a gaping hole in the soil) and plonked it on the summit. Irresponsible and unnecessary. These soils are fragile, and can take hundreds of years to develop. Particularly on exposed aspects. Wresting a boulder from such soils and putting them on top of a hill is not a clever thing to do.
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Re: Sgor Gaoith - no cairn on the summit

Postby Dave Hewitt » Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:09 pm

Is not the highest point of Sgor Gaoith the very tip of the "flying buttress" bit that juts out over the Einich crags? If so, it would be nigh on impossible to put a cairn there - as it would topple off - even supposing that such a thing was desirable.

Re Munros without summit cairns, there can't be many. Fionn Bheinn didn't have one - just the trig - when I was last there last year. The In Pinn, I think. Beinn Ghlas from time to time - although there has mostly been one there of late, eg last week. At risk of pre-empting Fasgadh (one of whose observations this is), there isn't one on Beinn Achaladair - just on each of the slightly lower points in either direction along the ridge. But overall, there can't be many that lack a cairn on top.
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Re: Sgor Gaoith - no cairn on the summit

Postby jmarkb » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:28 pm

Dave Hewitt wrote:Is not the highest point of Sgor Gaoith the very tip of the "flying buttress" bit that juts out over the Einich crags? If so, it would be nigh on impossible to put a cairn there - as it would topple off - even supposing that such a thing was desirable.


The cairn that existed until recently was just slightly below the highest point: http://ness64.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/sgor-gaoith-sep-12-118.jpg
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Re: Sgor Gaoith - no cairn on the summit

Postby Dave Hewitt » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:00 pm

jmarkb wrote:The cairn that existed until recently was just slightly below the highest point: http://ness64.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/sgor-gaoith-sep-12-118.jpg

Good picture, thanks. One other aspect of the whole summit-cairn debate is that it can be rendered rather irrelevant in winter, when either the cairn is buried or - in a few instances, eg Sgor Gaoith and also Beinn a'Chaorainn above Loch Laggan, the cornice has a habit of building up and creating a seasonal highpoint along the lines of the Galdhøpiggen / Glittertind debate. (In such instances trying to get to the on-the-day highpoint might be a rash thing to do.)

Also re cairns, while I'm no fan of over-cairning I tend to get more annoyed about the reverse side of the argument: people who trash old and perfectly worthwhile cairns just because they're feeling righteous or have had something dodgy for breakfast or have been reading too much McNeish. At least if people are going to do such things they should do it properly, but I've quite a few times (especially in the Ochils) come across cairns that have been taken apart and then - because the person who has done it is plain lazy - the stones lobbed about ten feet away. I tend to rebuild such cairns, but if the stones have been lying there for a few weeks there's the "gaping hole" problem that ronofcam mentioned. If people are going to do this (not that I want them to), they should try and either leave the stones in a stony place or - if it's grassy - carry them a fair distance away from the original site.

There's also the thing of people trashing old cairns that are either actual antiquities (eg the Helen's Muir one on King's Seat Hill in the Ochils) or useful / much-loved landmarks, eg the stone men on Geal-charn at Drumochter and the three tall cairns on Ill Bell in the Lakes. Thankfully both these latter groups of cairns seem to be gradually being restored (until the next time).
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Re: Sgor Gaoith - no cairn on the summit

Postby Backpacker » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:14 pm

Dave Hewitt wrote:
jmarkb wrote:The cairn that existed until recently was just slightly below the highest point: http://ness64.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/sgor-gaoith-sep-12-118.jpg

Good picture, thanks. One other aspect of the whole summit-cairn debate is that it can be rendered rather irrelevant in winter, when either the cairn is buried or - in a few instances, eg Sgor Gaoith and also Beinn a'Chaorainn above Loch Laggan, the cornice has a habit of building up and creating a seasonal highpoint along the lines of the Galdhøpiggen / Glittertind debate. (In such instances trying to get to the on-the-day highpoint might be a rash thing to do.)

Also re cairns, while I'm no fan of over-cairning I tend to get more annoyed about the reverse side of the argument: people who trash old and perfectly worthwhile cairns just because they're feeling righteous or have had something dodgy for breakfast or have been reading too much McNeish. At least if people are going to do such things they should do it properly, but I've quite a few times (especially in the Ochils) come across cairns that have been taken apart and then - because the person who has done it is plain lazy - the stones lobbed about ten feet away. I tend to rebuild such cairns, but if the stones have been lying there for a few weeks there's the "gaping hole" problem that ronofcam mentioned. If people are going to do this (not that I want them to), they should try and either leave the stones in a stony place or - if it's grassy - carry them a fair distance away from the original site.

There's also the thing of people trashing old cairns that are either actual antiquities (eg the Helen's Muir one on King's Seat Hill in the Ochils) or useful / much-loved landmarks, eg the stone men on Geal-charn at Drumochter and the three tall cairns on Ill Bell in the Lakes. Thankfully both these latter groups of cairns seem to be gradually being restored (until the next time).


Why would anyone want to trash a Cairn? I like seeing a Cairn on the summits, it's that moment when you see one that slogging your guts out for 2-3 hours has been well worth it
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Re: Sgor Gaoith - no cairn on the summit

Postby scottishkennyg » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:39 pm

Glad I got this munro in earlier when the cairn was still there....

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=31509

I agree with your comment, in so far as it is reassuring to know that you have arrived at the summit, also agree with the views about the annoying practice of too many cairns...

This is definitely one munro that you would not want to get too close to the edge searching for a summit cairn.... :wink:
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