That's the way, Avon Avon, I like it!
by Silverhill » Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:22 pm
Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Bhuird, Ben Avon
Date walked: 30/07/2014
Time taken: 10.75 hours
Distance: 36.2 km
Ascent: 1582m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Thinking this would be a long day (10-14 hours), I got up at 5.00am. Quite remarkable for the time of day, it struck me that I had forgotten to get change the night before for the car park at Keiloch. And a tenner wasn’t going to work with the ticket machines.... With the hostel still fast asleep and shops in the village closed at this early hour, there was nothing for it but to raid the tea/ coffee honesty bowl in the kitchen, which contents were near enough to £10, and leave an explanatory note plus my tenner at reception. I still felt like a thief as I quietly sneaked out of the hostel at 6.00am.
From Keiloch it was an interesting walk along the road past Invercauld House with the art outdoors. Just past Alltdourie I saw a roe deer. When I stopped to have a better look it quickly vanished. The walk along Gleann an t-Slugain felt pleasantly enclosed with the hillsides rising up on either side of the glen. Merrily walking along I missed the path to Fairy Glen, but did catch the tail end of it by dropping down to Slugain Lodge. I was surprised that the ruin didn’t look old at all.
From the bealach an extremely good path continues north. Talk about making the hills accessible! It is a fair old walk out into the sticks, 16km to Ben Avon, but the path made it a doddle.
It was the most extraordinary day for walking, with the weather complementing the wilderness and beauty of this area. There was bad weather lurking in the west, with dark clouds and a veil of rain over the Cairngorms. Blue skies and some cloud to the north, east and south and every now and then a bit of sunshine. When out, the sun threw the most amazing light over the wide open space, making the moorland glow with a golden hue. Add in a brisk wind and the picture is complete. Just fantastic, I loved every step! (And cursed my broken camera.)
The incline was all very gentle, from Clach a’ Cleirich it got a bit steeper, but then eased off again along the Allt Glas Mhor. By now I was in the waterproofs due to a persistent drizzle. From the Sneck it is a steep and gravelly pull up to the plateau of Ben Avon. I was fully prepared for zero visibility on the plateau, but thankfully by then the cloud had shifted somewhat. Once on the first hump I could see the tors of Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe. What a sight! Another thing that struck me was the sparse tundra-like vegetation. Very different from the other hills I’ve done so far. Clearly a clue to the inhospitable conditions that hit the Cairngorms every winter. On that note, the drizzle had stopped.
There were two other walkers on the summit. I waited for them to come down the tor and then had great fun scrambling up myself. The views were out of this world. I had never seen anything like it, all those strange tors dotted over the mountain. Amazing!
Back to the Sneck, with again these strange tors on the saddle. Extraordinary! The initial ascent onto the Beinn a’ Bhuird plateau is very steep, but luckily it doesn’t last too long and Cnap na Chleirich is a handy navigational aid. From here there were tremendous views over the wild corries of Beinn a’ Bhuird. Wow, what a place! Cloud was blowing over the southern part of the mountain, and again I had my measures ready to safely get to the north top. But the mist didn’t get nearer so the very modest summit cairn was reached without difficulty. Again I was in awe about the surroundings. Very barren and not a place to underestimate in any season. Even today it was damn well cold, requiring a fleece and waterproofs to keep body heat in. Nonetheless, the place was of an amazing beauty.
It was raining over the rest of the Cairngorms, only 5km away as the crow flies. But it didn’t seem to get nearer. Having taken in the extensive views, I huddled behind the cairn for a quick sandwich. It was then that another walker and his dog appeared, they were headed for Ben Avon. We had a short chat as we both wanted to get going again with this weather.
Clouds were still hogging the southern part of the mountain, but soon moved away. So I had the most amazing views of the awesome corries. Absolutely stunning! Instead of taking a straight line across the plateau, I followed the edge of the mountain to get as many glimpses of the corries as I could. Past A’ Chioch, where the southeast ridge becomes more defined, the descent was very stony and steep, but on the upside there were more great views of the wild hillside.
An excellent path then continued on the flanks of Carn Fiarcaill. This was sheltered and the waterproofs were no longer needed to keep the wind out. Once down at the foot of the hill, the path continues over the heathery moor. The crossing of Quoich Water wasn’t too difficult and before I knew it I was back at the bealach. One last look at today’s impressive hills before I dropped down into Fairy Glen. Very different from the bleak wilderness I’d just returned from. How lovely, ideal for wild camping. Once back on the track I met two guys who were on their way to the secret howff and they claimed to know its whereabouts!
My feet had coped very well with the long walk, although the last stretch on tarmac was perhaps somewhat harsh. But who cared, I was already making plans to return to these hills. They had put a spell on me.
by The Rodmiester » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:09 am
How on earth do you remember all these details in your reports or do you jot it down somewhere and when you have the time to write your TRs you refer to your notes? Look forward to your 2015 reports with photographs from your new camera
by Silverhill » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:36 pm
This is one of my favourite walks, so it wasn’t difficult to remember. I think it also helped that I didn’t have a camera. It makes you more aware if you know that your memories are all that will be left.
by jonny616 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:32 pm
by Gordie12 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:36 pm
I did these two 9 days after you and like you, thoroughly enjoyed my day.
Highlight for me was the walk along Beinn a' Bhuird with the large rock formations and drops down into the glen to the east and in the other direction looking over to Loch Etchachan and beyond to Ben Macdui.
After I got home I had a search of the internet to see if I could find anything out about Slugain Lodge as it didn't look nearly as old as I had expected - managed to find this.
by Silverhill » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:03 pm
jonny616 wrote:Great TR. One of my fav walks, even though it's miles.
Thanks jonny616! Beforehand I wasn’t looking forward to the walk in and out and now it’s turned out to be one of my favourites!
Gordie12 wrote:Hi Silverhill, I did these two 9 days after you and like you, thoroughly enjoyed my day.Highlight for me was the walk along Beinn a' Bhuird with the large rock formations and drops down into the glen to the east and in the other direction looking over to Loch Etchachan and beyond to Ben Macdui.
After I got home I had a search of the internet to see if I could find anything out about Slugain Lodge as it didn't look nearly as old as I had expected - managed to find this. <span class="skimlinks-unlinked">http://theuplandofmar.squarespace.com/slugain-lodge</span>/
Thanks Gordie12! Yes the walk along Beinn a’ Bhuird’s edge was quite something! Thanks for the link about Slugain Lodge. Carefully dismantled is much nearer the truth than it being burnt! Still, it looked remarkably new.
by Huff_n_Puff » Sat Jan 17, 2015 12:18 am
by spiderwebb » Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:31 pm
But what a hill, the Tors ...great
by Silverhill » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:39 pm
Huff_n_Puff wrote:Thanks for this, it sounds a great walk - we're hoping to walk up this pair this coming summer, perhaps on a through route ending up in Tomintoul ... well its winter so we can afford to dream!!
Thanks Huff_n_Puff! I too like to dream about routes! That sounds like a really braw trip you're planning. I look forward to reading your report about it.
spiderwebb wrote:Love the detail SH I enjoyed these two. ... what a hill, the Tors ...great
Thanks spiderwebb! Yes, those tors!