walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!


Postby dogplodder » Fri Aug 08, 2014 9:35 pm

Route description: Beinn a'Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chaorainn (Cairngorms)

Date walked: 07/08/2014

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 32 km

11 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Most people climb Beinn a' Chaorainn with Beinn Bhreac from Linn of Dee. But when I climbed Beinn Bhreac with a group of friends from Dundee it was enough of an achievement to get them up that one without adding a long trudge over uneven, boggy ground to reach another! Which left me ever after with the question of the best way to reach Beinn a' Chaorainn now that I'm living in Inverness.

Approaching from the north seemed the obvious way to go. I scanned WH reports but apart from one or two who included it in a camping trip from Cairngorm no one seemed to have done it this way. Perhaps too far to go for just one blue balloon?

Yesterday's weather prospects looked better in the east so I floated the idea with Rob and Mary who I knew wouldn't be put off by the distance. Mary's response was we could always do Bynack More again if it proved too far.... so perhaps she thought it a bit ambitious (polite word in this instance for 'crazy idea'). But I figured following the Lairig an Laoigh (less famous brother of the Lairig Ghru but equally useful north south route) should take us easily to the Fords of Avon and provided the water wasn't too high (shouldn't be after dry summer) we could then climb Beinn a' Chaorainn no problem at all.


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



We parked at the end of the minor road to Glenmore Lodge and were on our way by 7.40. It was a beautiful morning walking through Scots Pine and past Lochan Uaine looking very green, through Ryvoan Pass and taking the right fork signed for Braemar. Soon we were in open moorland with the sweet smell of the heather and views towards Abernethy Forest to the east.

Jack's last big hill day had done him in so I left him at home but I brought Tess and she was in her element enjoying all the smells of the hill.

Tess at one of many watering holes along the way
DSC03806-large.JPG


Path through the heather
DSC03807-large.JPG


After a couple of kilometres we reached the footbridge over the River Nethy and had a stop here for breakfast.

River Nethy and distant Beinn Mheadhoin
DSC03808-large.JPG


From the bridge the well made path climbs at a steady gradient and the views open up on every side.

Looking back to Meall a' Bhuachaille
DSC03810-large.JPG


Higher ground and more water for Tess
DSC03811-large.JPG


Bynack More ahead
DSC03812-large.JPG


Where the path divides the right fork leads to Bynack More and left is the continuation of the Lairig an Laoigh, which we took. No more talk of climbing Bynack More instead! Soon we reached the highest point of the Lairig before descending to cross the Uisge Dubh Poll a' Choin, which we joked was a practice for the Fords of Avon.

At this point we met the first people of the day - first a group of three than a bunch who'd been camping. One of the young guys was asking the girls in the group if they needed help crossing the stream (they didn't) then hailed us with a gusto that felt slightly inappropriate. I asked him what the Fords of Avon were like to cross. He said "Not good, fast flowing and lots of white water" and when I asked how deep he pointed to mid thigh. He then said there were concrete bridges and we'd be better to look for one of them. We weren't really bothered, we'd take it as we found it and I didn't really believe it would be as difficult as he made out. One way or another we'd find our way over that river!

DSC03815-large.JPG


Beinn a' Chaorainn is an unassuming Cairngorm, hiding between her more glamorous cronies. I confess to hardly noticing her when I was on Beinn a' Bhuird, Derry Cairngorm or Beinn Mheadhoin and it was about half way into our approach before we even saw her.

First sighting of Beinn a' Charoainn over Creag Mhor
DSC03817-large.JPG


At this point we were very close to the Barns of Bynack and Rob suggested nipping up to see them on the way back. I said he could if he liked! The path was mostly very good and areas which might have been a problem on wet ground had been recently improved with strategically placed boulders. Then we came to a sign outlining the project underway and the box-like sheds for housing the workers and socks hanging out to dry!

DSC03821-large.JPG


Beinn Mheadhoin
DSC03824-large.JPG


Beinn a' Chaorainn, lower slopes grass and heather, boulders higher up
DSC03825-large.JPG


The path rises and falls a few times until it passes Lochan a' Bhainne then descends to the Fords of Avon where we met two of the men working on the path.

Path workers taking a break on the Fords of Avon refuge
DSC03826-large.JPG


They were taking refuge on the refuge - trying to catch the breeze to give a break from the midges which were a plague whenever you stopped moving. I got chatting to one of the guys on the way back and he said they do one week on one week off and during the week on live in the sheds we'd passed earlier. He was from Cumbria, hadn't done this type of work before and yes they carried on working in the rain. The worst thing was the midgies. I said we appreciated their efforts - the improved path was great and there was quite a difference with the parts not yet worked on - but even on such a lovely day I didn't envy them their task with the constant scourge of the midge.

Where they were working
DSC03827-large.JPG


And now for the crossing! Thigh deep? I don't think so.

Fords of Avon crossing point
DSC03828-large.JPG


It was easy. We took our boots off, rolled our trousers up (Rob took his off but that was overkill) and walked carefully across. To be fair to Rob it was higher when we crossed the outflow of the river from Loch Avon after climbing Beinn Mheadhoin so I can understand his thinking. But it was only up to mid calf and it might have been possible to balance on slightly submerged boulders although I wouldn't have fancied doing it that way as a slip would have meant a soaking. We met a man who said he'd never seen the water level lower so reckon the young guy who told us to look for a bridge was either winding us up or didn't know much about river crossing!

The path then led to a tributary of the Avon which was easily crossed on boulders. Once over we stopped for food before starting up the side of our hill heading initially south east to reach the north ridge. It was mainly heather with occasional rocks until we reached a boulder field which had to be crossed. Once over the boulders we reached a small cairn and picked up a path heading south up the crest of the broad ridge.

Looking back from the boulders to Fords of Avon and Bynack More
DSC03831-large.JPG


Cairngorm
DSC03830-large.JPG


Beinn a' Chaorainn summit cairn
DSC03832-large.JPG


DSC03835-large.JPG


Ben Macdui
DSC03836-large.JPG


South to Beinn Bhreac
DSC03837-large.JPG


It had taken us 6 hours to reach the summit and dark clouds were gathering so we didn't stay too long before starting back down the ridge. We hadn't gone far before the rain started and we stopped to put on waterproofs.

Beinn a' Chaorainn's north ridge and River Avon meandering off down Glen Avon to the right
DSC03838-large.JPG


The rain only lasted a short time and we walked north into a beautiful evening, stopping for a break at the route's highest point with views to the east of the torrs on Ben Avon.

Tess is a fit 10 year old but even she was glad of a lie down!
DSC03840-largec.JPG


DSC03843-large.JPG


Lochan Uaine through the pines
DSC03844-large.JPG


We were back at the car 12 hours 20 minutes after leaving and reckoned we'd spent about an hour and 20 minutes on stops which makes it about 11 hours walking. My pedometer registered 22.27 miles but that's slightly inflated as it's based on my stride on the flat which is less on steep slopes. The only steepish section was getting on to the ridge so it does give some indication that it was a long way to go for one secretive hill that nobody would write home about. But we all agreed it had been a fabulous day giving a real sense of the vast remoteness of this part of the Cairngorms from the less travelled Lairig an Laoigh.
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3403
Munros:221   Corbetts:52
Grahams:15   
Sub 2000:24   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:8   
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:04 pm

Lovely account of this mountain from the north - and great photos. That's one very big walk in though :lol:

I enjoyed the views from Beinn a' Chaorainn, its a great vantage point form which to appreciated the splendour of the Caringorms.
User avatar
Huff_n_Puff
Walker
 
Posts: 884
Munros:231   Corbetts:15
Grahams:8   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:18   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Apr 13, 2012

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby Gordie12 » Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:01 pm

Hi dogplodder

Was just to the east of you yesterday on Ben Avon and Beinn a Bhuird, a good breeze blowing and no midges so sounds like I was lucky 24 hours on.

A long day but looks like you had brilliant weather in what was a long day.
User avatar
Gordie12
Walker
 
Posts: 1749
Munros:112   Corbetts:62
Grahams:17   Donalds:21
Sub 2000:35   Hewitts:24
Wainwrights:24   
Joined: Sep 6, 2012
Location: Nr Forfar

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby cmarcol » Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:54 pm

dogplodder wrote:It was easy. We took our boots off, rolled our trousers up (Rob took his off but that was overkill) and walked carefully across. To be fair to Rob it was higher when we crossed the outflow of the river from Loch Avon after climbing Beinn Mheadhoin so I can understand his thinking. But it was only up to mid calf and it might have been possible to balance on slightly submerged boulders although I wouldn't have fancied doing it that way as a slip would have meant a soaking.


I can confirm it is possible to balance on 'slightly submerged boulders' without getting wet feet! Crossed in near spate conditions earlier this year with nice dry socks! The boulders were more than slightly submerged though. Was a bit annoyed as they were marked as 'stepping stones' on the map I had so I was picturing some Peter Pan style series of nice flat big boulders :lol:

Lot of effort for that hill. It's one I've vowed not to go back to. Those peat hags! :(
User avatar
cmarcol
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 284
Munros:162   Corbetts:8
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:3   
Joined: Jun 4, 2012
Location: Fife

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby dogplodder » Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:58 pm

Huff_n_Puff wrote:

I enjoyed the views from Beinn a' Chaorainn, its a great vantage point form which to appreciated the splendour of the Caringorms.


Yes, it's more a hill to get views from than of! :wink:
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3403
Munros:221   Corbetts:52
Grahams:15   
Sub 2000:24   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:8   
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby rockhopper » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:47 am

That's a long walk for one but looked well worth it from your photos - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6187
Munros:282   Corbetts:187
Grahams:59   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby dogplodder » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:16 pm

Gordie12 wrote:
Was just to the east of you yesterday on Ben Avon and Beinn a Bhuird, a good breeze blowing and no midges so sounds like I was lucky 24 hours on.



Ben Avon was my first choice for that day but was put off by long drive! :wink:
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3403
Munros:221   Corbetts:52
Grahams:15   
Sub 2000:24   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:8   
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby Johnny Corbett » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:09 pm

Lovely day Dogplodder and a good looking route with the exception of the river crossing of course :crazy:
User avatar
Johnny Corbett
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 2928
Munros:18   Corbetts:204
Grahams:159   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:264   Hewitts:1
Joined: May 14, 2010
Location: Livingston

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby malky_c » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:40 pm

Thanks for that :) . Looks like a nice day out, and you've now got me thinking about the other possibilities from this direction (particularly with an overnight stop involved). Much as I'd like to visit Ben Avon and Bheinn a Bhuird from Tomintoul, there isn't really any public transport there, while it's dead easy to get the train and bus to Glenmore. I think they would work well from this direction.
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5786
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:243   Hewitts:256
Wainwrights:102   
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Inverness

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby scottishkennyg » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:22 pm

Nice walk there DP with some lovely photos, like you I also approached from the North and enjoyed the scenery..
User avatar
scottishkennyg
 
Posts: 644
Munros:282   
Joined: Jan 2, 2013

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby dogplodder » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:42 pm

cmarcol wrote: I can confirm it is possible to balance on 'slightly submerged boulders' without getting wet feet! Crossed in near spate conditions earlier this year with nice dry socks! The boulders were more than slightly submerged though. Was a bit annoyed as they were marked as 'stepping stones' on the map I had so I was picturing some Peter Pan style series of nice flat big boulders :lol:


Wouldn't fancy it after the past few days of hurricane/monsoon we've had! It'll be a raging torrent. :shock:
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3403
Munros:221   Corbetts:52
Grahams:15   
Sub 2000:24   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:8   
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby dogplodder » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:06 pm

rockhopper wrote:That's a long walk for one but looked well worth it from your photos - cheers :)


Long walk - but excellent path and views. :D
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3403
Munros:221   Corbetts:52
Grahams:15   
Sub 2000:24   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:8   
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby Sarah86 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:10 pm

That is some walk! Looks worth it though, wonderful views and a bit of an adventure :) I love seeing all the heather out at this time of year.
User avatar
Sarah86
Walker
 
Posts: 572
Munros:13   Corbetts:3
Grahams:1   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:16   Hewitts:1
Wainwrights:20   
Joined: Aug 29, 2011

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby dogplodder » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:48 pm

Johnny Corbett wrote:Lovely day Dogplodder and a good looking route with the exception of the river crossing of course :crazy:


A fine route but you need to choose your time for crossing river. Now wouldn't be so good. :o
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3403
Munros:221   Corbetts:52
Grahams:15   
Sub 2000:24   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:8   
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: Warned we'd struggle with the river doing it this way!

Postby dogplodder » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:50 pm

malky_c wrote:Thanks for that :) . Looks like a nice day out, and you've now got me thinking about the other possibilities from this direction (particularly with an overnight stop involved). Much as I'd like to visit Ben Avon and Bheinn a Bhuird from Tomintoul, there isn't really any public transport there, while it's dead easy to get the train and bus to Glenmore. I think they would work well from this direction.


Wouldn't be too much further to take in Beinn a Bhuird and Ben Avon! 8)
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3403
Munros:221   Corbetts:52
Grahams:15   
Sub 2000:24   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:8   
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

11 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Next



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: arjh, DopeyLoser, Mr Tattie Heid, SecondRow, wilkiemurray, woodie31 and 60 guests