Ding Dong Avon Calling
by Fife Flyer » Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:31 pm
Route description: Ben Avon via Gleann an-Slugain
Munros included on this walk: Ben Avon
Date walked: 13/03/2015
Time taken: 7.2 hours
Distance: 33.5 km
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The older readers amongst us will understand the subject title
This is my first attempt at using Flickr to display the photo's, I always feel that a limit of 25 is never enough for me, so this is going to be trial and error
I was planning/intending to pay Ben Avon a visit last week but after warnings from Braemar MRT on Social Media (highlighted by Rod ) that plan was substituted by a couple of Corbett's.
After watching the wind and occasional rain all week a weather window was developing/opening for me to escape on Friday and Saturday, so let the planning commence
I know I do occasionally mention it, being retired is the best job in the world and the 2 obstacles that prevent me escaping to the great outdoors, the weather and Mrs F - in that order
I was determined to have a go at Ben Avon especially as my bike was prepped/dusted/cleaned last week and is sitting in my garage ready to be transported in the car, front wheel removed. So that was Friday sorted
Gary (backpacker) was planning to head to Glen Affric on Saturday so I asked for permission to tag along, details of that outing to follow in a day or two
Just to confirm where Glen Affric is in relation to Braemar I got my trusty map out. It seemed daft to drive back to Fife from Braemar, then get up at silly o'clock again to head back north. So I searched for a B&B near Drumnadrochit - nothing so I opted for Inverness and managed to get myself booked in at short notice.
The WR is being composed in Inverness and will be completed in Fife - the wonders of modern technology
Got up at my usual Friday time 6.15am and was on the road 30 minutes later, it doesn't take us men long to get ready when we are on a mission
The car knew the way up to Braemar as this was to be the third time in as many weeks we have travelled there and once again the traffic was light and I made good time
So it was just a matter of paying my £2.50 for parking, put the front wheel on the bike, put air in the front tyre and off we go
I haven't been on my bike for over 3 months and my legs certainly reminded me, they didn't enjoy any hint of an incline so I was off and on my bike quite a few times. I had made a mental note of the route, for those of you who haven't been in this neck of the woods, there are tracks going in all directions. For a change I was prepared it was left at the first junction, right at the next, then left easy even for me I had to confirm I was on the right track with my phone, don't want to be turning back.
The initial part is a nice tarmac surface, probably about a mile or so, then a good track for another mile, then it gets a bit rougher. As you would imagine after the recent rubbish weather, there were a few puddles, plenty of little burns crossing the track, a ford and then a larger burn appeared. This burn was quite an angry one and very fast flowing, it was hard enough to cross on my own, so this was the cue to dump the bike.
DSCF8759 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
Now it was just me and the path and a very long walk.
The path splits into two before the fairy glen and being adventurous I opted to take the 'higher' route and it wasn't long before I reached the first of the many snowy patches
It wasn't long before I realised why it was called the higher route as before too long instead of a nice gentle ascent, things ramped up. After the first patch of snow, which was on a slope and icy in bits I made an executive decision and decided to get out the trusty micro spikes again. Would you believe they stayed on my feet for over 6 hours until after the descent past the old ruin The drawback was one of the rubber rear parts had broken, hardly surprising really after the pounding they had endured - they still work but sounds a bit jangly
DSCF8779 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8787 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8798 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
As usual when snow covers the path I tend to wander off piste and this little walk was no exception, I am not even sure if there was a proper path, if there was well as usual I managed to lose it
I knew the direction I was heading in so it was just a matter of trampling across the heather until I came to a large snow bank, being in adventurous mode I decided to take the direct route up and over rather than wander off searching for an easier approach.
Once over the snow bank I had gained a bit of height and could see the path in the distance meandering along through the glen, so I set course and off I went
DSCF8800 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8801 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8805 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
Once back on the path it was just a matter of following it looking across to the big lump on the left Beinn a' Bhuird. My original plan was include that hill on my travels, with the descent coming down along the ridge, that plan was scuppered well and truly as the Quoich Water or whatever it is called slightly higher up, looked challenging. The other option rather than wade across the burn was to tackle Beinn a Bhuird from the Sneck and then double back, so I decided to assess that task when I reached the Sneck and beyond. Firstly to see how I was doing time wise and secondly how my legs were coping especially as I knew I had to walk all the way back, albeit downhill (ish).
DSCF8811 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8818 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8828 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8835 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
The path along to the Sneck was excellent, there were plenty of snow patches covering the path, so this would really test my navigational talents (again), especially as there were no footprints to guide me
Those sceptics amongst you will be surprised to hear that I did superbly well and was almost inch perfect in rejoining the path. There were a few patches of snow that were at about 45 degree angle and a slip in the wrong direction would take one down towards the burn. The snow was nice and firm and the spikes enabled me to make really good progress without any mishaps
DSCF8842 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8845 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8854 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8861 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8863 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8869 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8883 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
The walk up from the Sneck was fairly easy and I was able to loosely follow the zig zag path uphill. Then I reached the huge plateau and it seemed to take almost as long to reach the summit as it did to reach the plateau
I don't know what the plateau looks like normally,but I got the impression that there may be a lochan or standing water, especially after a damp spell. There is a very slight dip and that was covered in ice, which was actually quite thick and wouldn't have looked out of place in Kirkcaldy Ice Rink (the home of the Fife Flyers - may have mentioned that before ). I still had the spikes on and was able to stride across the ice with great confidence.
DSCF8888 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8889 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8892 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8895 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
The walk back to the Sneck again seemed to take ages and during that time I had made my mind up not to bother with Beinn a Bhuird, another good excuse for changing my plan was I had planned to meet up with backpacker (Gary) and Leia to tackle a couple of Munro's in Glen Affric, I knew I could manage the extra few miles, but decided to wimp out and take the easy option Beinn a Bhuird will have to wait a bit longer for my visit
DSCF8897 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8900 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
I noticed from the summit that there was hardly any white stuff on the hills to the north
The walk down from the Sneck was very enjoyable as I could see exactly where I was going, my boot prints were easily visible, I still made a few detours to inspect a few various snow holes and different snow formations. Call me sad but I really do find snow interesting and fascinating That probably explains why over the 2 days I took nearly 400 photo's
DSCF8910 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8914 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
Whilst wandering back along the path I had decided to return via the low route and the 'fairy glen', here are a few photo's I took whilst wandering back to collect my bike
DSCF8913 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8915 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8921 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8922 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8927 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8930 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
DSCF8943 by martin_beswick, on Flickr
After negotiating the burn, it was back on my bike knowing that the end of the walk wasn't far away now
The majority of the journey on the bike was downhill and I was able to freewheel at quite a fast speed, no wonder I was struggling on the inward part
I didn't realise it until I reached the car but I had lost one of the bottom sections of one of my walking poles, I can't have tightened it enough and it must have shuggled free over the bumpy bits. I did make the mistake a couple of months ago of oiling/WD40ing the adjoining parts of my poles, since then I have had nothing but bother with them, having to adjust/tighten them, DIY never was one of my specialities (Mrs F will confirm that)
Arrived back at the car knowing that I had been out for a walk, feeling very satisfied and full of fresh air, didn't see a single person all day
As I was meeting up with Gary and Leia in the morning I had booked into a B&B in Inverness, so it was now down to the Satnav to demonstrate how good it is and I have to say very good. The route took me over the Lecht and that is the first time I have driven that way and enjoyed the hairpin bends etc.
A fabulous day, that really is a long one, even more so if you are a 'purist'.
Next - Glen Affric
by simon-b » Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:26 pm
by Scotjamie » Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:17 pm
Great pics of snow and wildlife.. excellent
by tommyatr » Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:06 am
Will need to have a good look at picks on flickr when home instead of my small phone screen.
by PeteR » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:35 am
Good to see someone else who enjoys going off piste now and then
by BlackPanther » Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:42 am
Quite a bit of snow still in the Cairngorms... This is the last Munro we haven't done yet in this area, but for us, it has to wait till summer or at least late spring. A bit inconvenient to drive from Beauly to Braemar and back on the same day. Last year we camped for a few days, climbing as much as we could, but missed Ben Avon
Fife Flyer wrote:Gary (backpacker) was planning to head to Glen Affric on Saturday so I asked for permission to tag along, details of that outing to follow in a day or two
Was that Saturday the 14th? Funny, we were in Glen Affric that day, too, how come we didn't run into each other? We did Aonach Shasuinn from the usual starting point.
We were actually on short holidays last week so I also have a few stories to share: from Skye to Lawers Range
by Lightfoot2017 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:40 pm
by Beaner001 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:43 pm
Great TR, still got that and Beinn a'Bhuird to do, looks like it'll be a long day, I've nae bike, but it's on the long list of stuff I 'need'