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Beinn a' Bhuird & Ben Avon from Keiloch

Beinn a' Bhuird & Ben Avon from Keiloch

Postby Hantswalker » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:14 pm

Route description: Ben Avon via Gleann an-Slugain

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a' Bhùird, Ben Avon

Date walked: 25/06/2014

Time taken: 10.25 hours

Distance: 39 km

Ascent: 1400m

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This route is much the same as that taken by Leithy Suburbs so please see his map. I probably did a bit more wandering about on the Beinn a' Bhuird plateau. My Flickr album provides more description for each shot and route tips so click through to there.

Leaving the car park at 7.15 a.m. (£2.50 charge so have change for the machine) I cycled along the Invercauld Estate tracks but even on the bike I was troubled by midges. The inner parkland of the house has some bold landscape art pieces but now was not the time to stop to admire them. Navigation is not a problem despite the multitude of service roads branching off in every direction as Scottish Rights of Way Society signs point the way. At one junction in the forestry I wasn't sure so stopped to check the map. I didn't linger as the midges were quick to sense me and I sped off at a pace.

Well clear of the forest I stopped for a sip of water and a quick check of the map BUT NO MAP :( . In my haste to escape the midges I dropped my map in its case and I regretted the loss of both. No matter - it was fairly clear and I was confident in my knowledge of key parts of the route. Onwards to the fork in the track: the upper one is probably best if you want to push on with a bike but I took the lower single track to the lower part of the Fairy Glen where I locked my mount to a tree.

The Fairy Glen is a delight and it climbs gently to the ruin and on past a small lochan before emerging onto the moor beyond.

[ImageSlugain Lodge by Hantswalker, on Flickr][ImageEmerging from The Fairy Glen by Hantswalker, on Flickr]

The way ahead for the next couple of hours is fairly clear across the open moorland and up the huge bulk of Beinn a' Bhuird. As I was on the look out for a path branching off to the left I disturbed a family of red grouse. Chicks scattered in every direction as first the hen and then the cock put on an impressive broken wing distraction. I have seen other birds do this a lot, particularly dotterel but I have never seen red grouse employing this tactic.
[ImageBroken Wing by Hantswalker, on Flickr][ImageDad Joins In by Hantswalker, on Flickr]

Shortly after here a narrow track branches off to the left through the heather to make a circuitous route to the river. Some user reports speak of difficulty crossing the burn and this is understandable. I found it quite low and it was easy to hop from rock to rock via an island in the braided stream. Once across the temptation is to follow the very good track toward the impressive Caledonian woodland beside Quoich Water but the route lies upward and straight ahead. Very soon an excellent stalkers path leads around the nose of Carn Fiaclach and provides rapid progress to the skyline.
[ImageStalkers Path by Hantswalker, on Flickr][ImageCarn Fiaclach by Hantswalker, on Flickr]

Here is a good spot to look back to review the considerable progress so far but attention is also drawn to the crags of Beinn a' Bhuird's corries starting with Coire na Ciche.
[ImageCoire na Ciche by Hantswalker, on Flickr][/img]

On now to the plateau proper with a stiff cold wind to remind me that this is Arctic tundra. Periglacial activity is evident all around with stripes and polygons and freeze/thaw action. To the west an immense ever changing panorama draws the eye including Derry Cairngorm, Ben Macdui and Stob Coire Etchachan.
[ImageLoch Etchachan by Hantswalker, on Flickr][/img]

Moving north from the South Top brought me back to the crags and tors this time above Coire an Dubh-lochain.
ImageA' Chioch by Hantswalker, on Flickr

Reaching the summit is a bit of a disappointment. Unlike Ben Avon with its many tors or the dramatic cliffs falling from the summit of Braeriach, what we have here is a large cairn in the middle of a wide plateau. With little reason to linger I headed for Ben Avon.
[ImageBen Avon by Hantswalker, on Flickr][/img]

Missing my map I decided to make a beeline for Cnap a' Chleirich. It is easy to imagine the disorientation of mist or a blizzard which could lead you off to Stob an t-Sluichd or over the cliffs of Garbh Choire. I had no such difficulty and was soon making my way down the steep loose slopes into The Sneck. Care should be taken but there is no real difficulty.
[ImageThe Sneck by Hantswalker, on Flickr][/img]

As I made my way down I could see two walkers, the first I'd seen all day. I met the first man part way down and asked if he had seen my map - he hadn't but reckoned that the other walker, still descending from Ben Avon, had two maps swinging from his neck. I met this person at the bealach and sure enough he had found my map and picked it up in the hope of finding the owner :D .

Spurred on by this I romped up the easy slopes to Ben Avon. The plateau is a strange place with huge, widely dispersed tors but time did not allow exploration.
[ImageTor by Hantswalker, on Flickr][/img]

Reunited with my map I checked the possibility of a route via Carn Eas but thought better of it due to the prospect of an unknown descent on very tired legs. Back then to The Sneck with wonderful views of Garbh Coire.
[ImageGarbh Choire by Hantswalker, on Flickr][/img]

Down at The Sneck again I noticed the many rock formations I had missed first time around whilst recovering my map and thanking the finder.
[ImageStanding Boulder by Hantswalker, on Flickr][/img]

At this point it dawned upon me that I was little over half way in distance from the start but it would be all down hill on excellent paths.
[ImageLong Walk Back by Hantswalker, on Flickr][/img]
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Re: Beinn a' Bhuird & Ben Avon from Keiloch

Postby electricfly » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:05 pm

Lovely photos! We did your route in reverse on Monday. We had it claggy but as we neared the sneck the cloud lifted and the sun shone for the rest of the route.

You might have seen our multiple dog tracks? We had 4 springers along. :lol:
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Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:5
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