Delightful Drumochter Day
by Silverhill » Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:26 pm
Route description: Carn na Caim and A'Bhuidheanach Bheag, Drumochter
Munros included on this walk: A' Bhuidheanach Bheag, Carn na Caim
Date walked: 09/06/2014
Time taken: 5.5 hours
Distance: 19 km
Ascent: 837mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I parked in layby 87, south of the Dalwhinnie turning, got suited and booted, crossed the road and started up the track. First it was all easy angled, then steeper but luckily the track made some helpful zigzags. It didn’t take long at all to get to the so-called quarry, of which there was very little left. However, there were lots of sheep, which all stared at me in surprise.
I walked up to pt. 902 to get a better view of the plateau in the hope of being able to make out Carn na Caim and A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag. This was a case of counting bumps and dips as there were not many other distinctive features around. Back to the fork in the track for a very leisurely walk to Carn na Caim.
There was a thick layer of snow left on the bealach at the head of Coire Uilleum. I could hear the stream trickling below and prodded the snow with my walking poles to test its firmness. All good!
So far I had been following the track, but it now went a bit off course, so I made a bee-line for the fence posts. There were a few boggy patches, but nothing too wet thanks to the dry weather. And there was the summit.
Extensive views as far as Ben Alder and of course camera shy Meall Chuaich in its camouflage suit.
I went back the way I came, turned left at the fork and headed for A’ Bhuidheanach. Again counting the bumps and dips as everything looked much the same. Another bealach with snow on the way.
On A’ Bhuidheanach I stopped to ponder the best descent. Most straightforward seemed to go downhill in SSE direction, aiming directly for A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag. Didn’t like the way the slopes dropped down steeply though. Then I saw this to the left of the cairn:
The arrow points to the start of a track, maybe 15 meters from the cairn, but not visible from there. It avoids the steep descent by contouring the hill side. It stops at the wide bealach in between A’ Bhuidheanach and A’Bhuidheanach Mhor just before a stream.
From there a faint grassy path is visible going up beside the stream, to emerge on the broad ridge just SW of the summit of A’ Bhuidheanach Mhor.
Regardless of the excellent visibility I needed a compass bearing to guide me in the right direction on this broad ridge. Interestingly there is another nameless bump of 936m to the east of A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag, on which I didn’t want to end up. In thick weather it must be an absolute nightmare to find the summit of the munro. No problems with that today.
Again far reaching views. Towards Schiehallion...
Towards An Dun and the Cairngorms...
All this big empty space, I loved it!
On the descent back to the broad ridge of A’ Bhuidheanach Mhor I had a chat with a lovely man in his seventies who had ventured down A’ Bhuidheanach the steep way. Once at the bealach he had noticed the track coming down from the left and he would be going back that way. We talked about hillwalking and concluded that because we were doing these particular munros, we must be baggers. He didn’t know whether he would ever compleat, but he was definitely planning to do as many as he could. I felt inspired. That’s the spirit I hope to still have when I’m his age.
A bit further down I had a chat with two other walkers. It was getting busy!
The walk back to the quarry went all smoothly with great views across the plateau under a big sky.
And towards the west Drumochter hills and Ben Alder
The sheep were still there at the quarry, and similarly to their welcome, they now stared at me as I was heading down the track.
Halfway down I met a group of three very cheerful walkers and had a chat with them. One of them had completed his munro round yesterday on the In Pinn, the other two had accompanied him. The big smiles were still on their faces.
Another good day in the hills!
by dooterbang » Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:36 pm
Any day out in the hills is great, everytime offers different challenges.
Well done the 70 year old, inspirational. Don't fancy compleating on the Inn Pin though
Thanks for posting.
by rockhopper » Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:51 pm
by SecretSquirrel » Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:29 am
Good report Silverhill. I know what to expect when I get round to doing these
by Gordie12 » Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:09 am
Quite a steep pull up from the glen floor but as you say the track helps to reduce the pain.
by Silverhill » Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:44 pm
dooterbang wrote:I linked these up with Meall Chuaich for an epic whiteout winter walk...another great outing.
Any day out in the hills is great, everytime offers different challenges. Well done the 70 year old, inspirational. Don't fancy compleating on the Inn Pin though Thanks for posting.
Thanks dooterbang! That was indeed an epic you did! I did consider to add Meall Chuaich to the trip, but in the end was quite happy to have a short day after a long walk the day before. Also, I had 4 more consecutive days of bagging on the programme. But it is always nice to plan big days out, even though they don't always happen.
rockhopper wrote:All too often reports on these hills are from claggy or wet days (and I was no exception ) - seems to be a frequent occurrence up here. Refreshing to see a WR from a good day - would agree as well that you do get a great feeling of being in a wide, open space up there - cheers
Thanks rockhopper! Doing these in claggy conditions would have been another good opportunity to practise my navigational skills.
SecretSquirrel wrote:As RockHopper said, the Drumochter hills are often peoples bad-weather/winter standby, which means its not often they're seen at their full potential. I've only done the western side of the A9, but hope to visit this pair soon. Good report Silverhill. I know what to expect when I get round to doing these
Thanks SecretSquirrel! I quite fancy trying these in winter now that I know where to find them! Hope you get a good day for them!
Gordie12 wrote:Hi Silverhill - I've done these two four times now and still to get a decent day like you had. I couldn't have been very observant first time, missed the great big white arrow and had a steeper descent than was necessary. Quite a steep pull up from the glen floor but as you say the track helps to reduce the pain.
Thanks Gordie12! I didn’t spot the arrow immediately. I had seen the white rocks, a short distance away from the cairn which is also made up of white rock. Thought this was odd as the rest of the hill is grassy. Then it dawned on me that it was an arrow. Doh!
I hope you get a better day next time you do them!
by Johnny Corbett » Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:27 pm
by Silverhill » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:20 pm
Johnny Corbett wrote:Good stuff. I'm with Rockhopper regarding the Drumochter Hills, always raining or claggy First day of winter blue skies and snow when i'm off i think i'll head to Drumochter
Thanks Johnny Corbett! They seem perfect for a clear winter’s day!