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Ben Avon & Beinn a'Bhuird

Ben Avon & Beinn a'Bhuird


Postby Gordie12 » Sat Aug 09, 2014 2:48 pm

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

Date walked: 08/08/2014

Time taken: 9.9 hours

Distance: 39.6 km

Ascent: 1705m

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My last outing was a fortnight ago when I did the three eastern Munros in the Lawers group, the heat was unbearable and I was exhausted with very little strength in my legs even on the 1st climb so I was hoping things would get back to normal today.

Arriving at the car park at Keiloch I was armed with the midge spray assuming it would be the same as Linn of Dee but amazingly in the flat calm conditions there was no sign of them so I could relax and put the boots on at my usual pace rather than having to rush off. It was also fairly cool, the first hint of autumn on the way??

One chap headed off just after I arrived and ten minutes later I was on my way at 7.20 having calculated around 10 hours for the walk which hopefully would get me back with maybe an hour to spare before the anticipated heavy rain showers and possible thunder was due to arrive in the Braemar area at around 6pm.

1 Car Park.jpg
£2.50 paid and leaving the Keiloch car park


Immediately after leaving the car park there is a choice of 2 right of ways, took the left option along the tarmac road in front of the estate houses and headed towards Invercauld House. Passing round the back of Invercauld House with it's large strange looking "artwork" in the middle of the lawn I ignored the right turn (right of way to Tomintoul) and just kept following signs for Linn of Quoich/Slugain.

2 Looking back to the start and Lochnagar beyond.jpg
Looking back with Lochnagar in the background


3 Looking ahead.jpg
The way ahead


Having stopped a couple of times to watch the odd roe deer I eventually arrived at a fork with Linn of Quoich signed to the left with no sign for the right track. Ahead on the right track I could see the chap who started ahead of me. This was also the first time that Quoich and Slugain had not been signed so assumed I needed the right fork (NB if following the WH route for Ben Avon under Stage 2 the notes indicate the right track is signed Sluigan - assume it was in the past but it isn't at the moment).

Having reached the end of the trees I had the river on my left so knew I was on the correct track. After I was out of the trees I met up with the chap ahead of me and we finished up walking the rest of the route together.

It didn't take long to reach the Fairy Glen and we took the lower route to walk through it.

4 Fairy Glen.jpg
Fairy Glen


A lovely green sheltered spot and the walk in and out was really enjoyable. On the track up to the ruined Slugain Lodge a small adder disappeared off the track ahead of us and took cover under a boulder.

5 Ruin at Fairy Glen.jpg
Arriving at the ruin at Fairy Glen


I was surprised how "modern" the Slugain Lodge appeared so out of curiosity went digging for some info on it and found this.

http://theuplandofmar.squarespace.com/slugain-lodge/

Looks like it was intentionally dismantled (around 1945-46) having been disfigured by "ubiquitous trippers" and used to store stolen goods.

Having left the Fairy Glen behind the view opens up and we can see the long ridge of Beinn a'Bhuird and the upper reaches of Glen Quoich.

7 View to Beinn a'Bhuird.jpg
View from just beyond Slugain Lodge


The walking from the Fairy Glen into Glen Quoich was on a well made track with a gentle climb so good progress was made and we quickly arrived at the Glas Allt Mor.

8.jpg
Glas Allt Mor


9.jpg
Beinn a'Bhuird


After crossing the Glass Allt Mor the track initially heads towards the top of Glen Quoich then it veers to the right and starts to zig zag back towards the allt. This is followed by a gradual climb up to the Sneck, from here we turned right and headed for Ben Avon. The climb up from the Sneck is the steepest part of the walk so far and it's good to discover the legs are OK and the climb doesn't cause the same problems I had in the heat of a fortnight ago. Once the steep climb is completed there is still a fair distance to cover along the plateau to reach the summit and the short scramble up the tor to the summit.

12.jpg
Nearing the Sneck


13 Ben Avon Summit.jpg
Ben Avon top


14.jpg
The track back to the Sneck


15.jpg
View from the summit


Now that we were on the plateau the wind had picked up so we took shelter just off the top and had a quick sandwich before heading back to the Sneck.

I had seen the tors on the top of Ben Avon from various other hills and over the years whilst driving in the area so it was great to finally get a close up view of this summit - I always imagined the tors being much closer together than they actually are.

Back to the Sneck the climb up the other side and on to Cnap a Chleirich seemed a bit steeper and a couple of breathers were needed before the gradient eased.

16 Looking towards Munro 2.jpg
Looking down on the Sneck and the climb up the other side


17.jpg
and again


18.jpg
Looking down to Slochd Mor


After passing the top of Cnap a Chleirich we had to contour round a small boggy area and then continued walking along a very wide bowl shaped plateau heading for Beinn a Bhuird. The summit of Beinn a Bhuird has been described as a bit insignificant, I can probably vouch for that, I was so busy chatting I never even noticed it and we had to detour over to take in the top.

19.jpg
Beinn a Bhuird top


20.jpg
and again


21.jpg
The route ahead


The next section following the track along the edge of the cliffs dropping down to Dubh Lochan was the highlight of the day for me. We had the dramatic cliffs to our left and fantastic views over to Ben Macdui, Loch Etchachan and loads of other Munros to our right.

Not sure how many times we stopped on Beinn a Bhuird, there were a fair few but on a day where the views were extensive it just had to be taken in.

22.jpg
Looking down to Dubh Lochan


23.jpg
Looking over to Ben Macdui


24.jpg
Cliffs on Beinn a Bhuird


25.jpg
More cliffs


The walk along Beinn a Bhuird was probably my highlight of the year so far and I lingered here as long as possible before dropping down towards Carn Fiaclach. The drop off initially involved clambering over a large rock outcrop but the rocks were bone dry so there was good grip making things easier.

Once out of the outcrop we could see the track down the right hand side of Carn Fiaclach that we needed to pick up so we headed straight for it. It was then just a case of following this track till it linked up with the outbound track near the Fairy Glen.

26.jpg
Heading for the track down Carn Fiaclach


27.jpg
Looking back to Beinn a Bhuird


The only obstacle left now was a river crossing before linking up with the main track. I couldn't find a place to cross (there is an island close to the track which is an obvious point but the first step over was a big one with a rock that looked a bit damp so I didn't want to risk it) so headed up river but no joy. In the end I used stepping stones over to a rock midstream then took the boots and socks off and threw them over to the far bank. With the trousers rolled up I crossed over to the far bank. All well and good but as I sat in the heather I disturbed the midges and with bare feet I couldn't leg it so I was feasted on for a few minutes before the boots were laced up and I could escape.

The final stage through the Fairy Glen and down the glen seemed to take a while but the pace was good. It looked like we would get back before the rain came on but with a couple of miles left it started spitting and in the last ten minutes it got a lot heavier so had I set the alarm 20 minutes earlier I could have escaped dry.

This was a longer walk than I had expected coming in at 24.6 miles. We took 9hrs and 52mins (8hrs 41mins of walking and 1hr 11mins looking around us at the views).

John, as you use this site for your research, if you read this - thanks for the company today, that was 2 big days you had in a row. Good luck in the mixed foursomes at Braemar tomorrow and have a good journey home on Monday.

Brilliant walk and the drenching at the end didn't detract from a great day out in the hills.
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Gordie12
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Re: Ben Avon & Beinn a'Bhuird

Postby Fife Flyer » Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:54 pm

Enjoyed reading that Gordie, well detailed & some great photo's :clap: :clap:
Sounds like a real walk, yet to do those 2 not sure when though :wink:

I know exactly what you mean about walking in the heat, I too really suffer drains all my energy :lol:
As for river crossings, I always look for an easier crossing & usually end up returning to the first spot I looked at :lol:

Maybe one day we will meet up :wink:
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Re: Ben Avon & Beinn a'Bhuird

Postby dogplodder » Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:57 pm

Excellent report and your time for that distance puts our time in the shade! :lol: Ben Avon was what I really wanted to do on Thursday but it was the long drive that put me off before a busy spell. But it's on the to-do-soon list and your report will come in handy. :D
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Re: Ben Avon & Beinn a'Bhuird

Postby John Hassall » Sat Aug 09, 2014 9:17 pm

Hi Gordon,
Great to see your report of our day together yesterday. What a great day out and what great views from the Beinn a'Bhuird ridge.
Still here in the Cairngorms with lovely evening calm and sunshine. No 6am rise this morning but the Carnwell munro this afternoon. Now for the big challenge of the week - Braemar Open!!
Your company made the long long miles much easier,
Thanks for a great day.
John
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Re: Ben Avon & Beinn a'Bhuird

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:48 am

Fife Flyer wrote:Enjoyed reading that Gordie, well detailed & some great photo's :clap: :clap:
Sounds like a real walk, yet to do those 2 not sure when though :wink:

I know exactly what you mean about walking in the heat, I too really suffer drains all my energy :lol:
As for river crossings, I always look for an easier crossing & usually end up returning to the first spot I looked at :lol:

Maybe one day we will meet up :wink:


Hi Fife Flyer

First river crossing for a while where I've had to get the socks and boots off but the 1st jump was 50-50 so decided I'd rather just dry off my feet than take a dive :lol: :lol: :lol:

Looking at your Munro map (and mine), if we meet up it will definitely be in the west somewhere!!
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Gordie12
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Re: Ben Avon & Beinn a'Bhuird

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:52 am

dogplodder wrote:Excellent report and your time for that distance puts our time in the shade! :lol: Ben Avon was what I really wanted to do on Thursday but it was the long drive that put me off before a busy spell. But it's on the to-do-soon list and your report will come in handy. :D


Hi dogplodder

Hope you get a good day when you do this walk. Ben Avon was good but the walk along the ridge on Beinn a'Bhuird with the mix of cliffs to one side and brilliant views in to the heart of the Cairngorms on the other was just SO good - needs a good day to really appreciate the views.
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Gordie12
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Re: Ben Avon & Beinn a'Bhuird

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:54 am

John Hassall wrote:Hi Gordon,
Great to see your report of our day together yesterday. What a great day out and what great views from the Beinn a'Bhuird ridge.
Still here in the Cairngorms with lovely evening calm and sunshine. No 6am rise this morning but the Carnwell munro this afternoon. Now for the big challenge of the week - Braemar Open!!
Your company made the long long miles much easier,
Thanks for a great day.
John


Thanks John - it was a great day (I've banished the rain from my memory bank already!!).

Also a bit of a bonus finding some info on the ruined lodge.
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Gordie12
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Re: Ben Avon & Beinn a'Bhuird

Postby rockhopper » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:52 am

That looked a very enjoyable trip despite the midges and rain :thumbup: - nice photo looking towards Beinn a Bhuird - cheers :)
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Re: Ben Avon & Beinn a'Bhuird

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:22 pm

rockhopper wrote:That looked a very enjoyable trip despite the midges and rain :thumbup: - nice photo looking towards Beinn a Bhuird - cheers :)


Hi rockhopper

Sometimes you can come off the hill wishing the day had been a bit longer but not with these two - a really good long day.
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Posts: 1733
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