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The hill of the Rowan Tree

The hill of the Rowan Tree


Postby teaandpies » Fri May 01, 2015 12:18 am

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

Date walked: 26/06/2014

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 31 km

Ascent: 1401m

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I'm sure every walker has that 1 hill or walk that has a significance that other people may fail to understand fully. This is that hill for me.

My walk started at the Glenmore Lodge and I drove as far up the road as I could and because I was early there was still space by the gate, I got the car turned for an easy exit. This was going to be a long walk for just 1 hill.

I started along the path that takes you past the amazing An Lochan Uaine or Green Loch. It was sunny so the loch was looking beautiful.

1.jpg
The Green Loch


Shortly after passing the loch you will come to a fork in the path, see below. You want to go towards Braemar.

1.1.jpg
Sign


The path from here to the bridge over the burn is a little loose and can be wet after bad spells of weather. Once over the bridge it's a good path all the way onto the plateau. It's all fairly standard stuff here, you'll lungs will open and the bloody will be pumping.

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Looking back to Meall a'Buchaille


3.jpg
Hello Strathspey


You'll be on the plateau and there's another fork in the path, about 5 miles(ish) from where you started. Take the left path and continue Lairig an Laoigh. If you go right you will be heading to Bynack More, it's distinctive pyramid shape rising up will be a bit of a give-away.

111 (690x389).jpg
This picture is of Bynack More from a different walk.


Now you're on the Plateau you'll have to walk down the other side, sorry! The path is fine for a while where it's clearly been well repaired but it soon changes and becomes a bit boggy for a while and there's a stream to cross, finding a bit to jump was annoying. This part of the path is in a dip so it was pretty wet when I was there however upon climbing out of this dip the path was better and was actually in the process of being repaired as I was there. They actually had a small town set up! It's hardy work by worth while for us to enjoy and probably take for granted...you can donate to the ongoing fund to help maintain these paths here: http://www.cairngormsoutdooraccess.org.uk/about/donations/

5.jpg
Path repair village


Sandwiched tightly between Bynack More and Creag Mhor the path seems to just go and go but it soon opens up dramatically at the Fords of Avon. At this point you will have 4 Munros plus 1 Corbett around you, it's a great sight. Bynack More behind you, Cairngorm away to your right, Beinn Mheadhoin in front and Beinn a'Chaorainn to the left.
It was hot and I was hungry so I stopped at the Refuge for a quick snack and to take on some water, I got stung by some bloody nettles.

7.1.jpg
Avon Refuge


7.jpg
Lairig an Laoigh


6.jpg
Beinn a'Chaorainn


I've visited the Fords of Avon a few times now and I've yet to see the stepping stones so I got my boots off and waded across the burn slowly, it was lovely and cold. I filled my water bottle half way across. They seriously need a bridge here!

Once across and the feet dried I headed straight for the hill with one more small stream to jump. I started up the steep slope, there was no path here and the heather was long. I was getting puffed out fast so I had to keep stopping, I would aim for a rock and walk to it then rest. I took a couple of snaps while I was at it.

8.jpg
Beinn Mheadhoin


9.jpg
Bynack More


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Bynack More, not much of a pyramid from the back.


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Bynack More & Creag Mor


It was tough going and I was starting to regret doing this, I was alone and didn't want to hurt myself or burn myself out. I was taking on water fast, the heat was killing me and to make matters worse I reached a hefty boulder field with some big rocks that all seemed to wobble. I wasn't going to quit now and after a few iffy moments I was off the big rocks and onto the approach to the summit where I found a gorgeous cairn and equally gorgeous views looks all across the National Park. I felt like the only human in the world, an amazing feeling.

15.jpg
The summit


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Beinn a'Chaorainn summit with Beinn Mheadhoin & Cairngorm in the background


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Lookng to Glen Derry, Beinn Bhreach & Derry Cairngorm


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Looking to Beinn a'Bhuird & Beinn Bhreac


I spent ages on the summit, I sat there enjoying a well deserved lunch but as I sat with the sun beating down on me without a breath of wind in the air I couldn't help but wonder how I was going to get back to the car I was shattered.

Dragging myself of the dusty top, ensuring all my rubbish and belongings were in the bag I threw it on and started making my way down the hill. Knowing that I was about to go down that bloody boulder field again was a little bit daunting given it was on a slope with some big step downs and given I was feeling weak this wasn't going to be fun. I think this may the hardest way up and down this hill unless you are able to rock climb.
I struggled down the boulders and fell a couple of times but remained unharmed thankfully. Once clear of the boulders is was fairly straight forward down the grassy slope and then through the heather. I was feeling better now and as I reached the Fords of Avon I was looking forward to getting my boots off to cross because they were full of jaggy bits of heather.

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Crossing the river Avon


Boots off, emptied, Avon was crossed, feet dried, boots back on, water bottle replenished. It was at this point I decided that I was going to walk to the car as fast as I could. It was my intention on the day to conquer Creag Mhor but this was not happening. I just wanted to go home. I had 9 miles to go walk and I sat off at a breakneck speed, there was no stopping me I ate up the path soon passing the repair village, then the repair guys themselves still working away, hell of a long day for them. I was now in the wet part of the path but I didn't care, bolted through it, and when I got to the stream that needs jumping I just walked up to the bit I crossed before jumped and kept going up the path and back onto the plateau.
I then meet 2 teachers that were scoping out the area seeing if it was suitable for kids to walk and they asked me a few questions about the path. After a few pleasantries they jogged off down the path ahead of me.

It felt like a long way from the Plateau to the car but now it was all down hill or flat, I was feeling a bit lonely at this point and could have done with company after enjoying chatting to the teachers. I kept up my fast pace and got back to the Green Loch in good time but now I was completely out on my feet. I knew I was blistered, I knew I had some sunburn, I was tired and sore. The last part of the walk I was stumbling all over the path and tripped on my own feet a few times. The old logging way is a smooth well kept and well used path but I was alone on it but close to the car. Cruelly the old logging path rises slightly before you get to the back of Glemmore lodge, I've genuinely have never noticed it before but at that moment it felt like the steepest path in the world.
Eventually made it to the gate and I could see that bright yellow of the car, MADE IT! The first thing I done was change my socks and shoes and drink a full litre of smoothie I had in the car waiting on me. I took of my buff off, I was using it as a bandana, there was a salt build up on it from the amount of sweating I had done. Despite being at the car and I was feeling awful, I got behind the wheel and felt myself passing out so I let it happen and after a short while (not sure for how long) I woke up and felt a bit better, I was ok to drive, just a short trip back into Aviemore. Once home I didn't even shower, straight into bed for 12 hours of solid sleep.

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Totally dead back at the car



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Attachments
4.jpg
Creag Mor and Beinn a'Chaorainn
Last edited by teaandpies on Mon May 11, 2015 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
teaandpies
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 925
Munros:94   Corbetts:16
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:6
Joined: Mar 19, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: The hill of the Rowan Tree

Postby Silverhill » Fri May 01, 2015 8:34 pm

Wow, you are a time traveler! :wink:
An exhausting day for you, but you survived. 10 hours is good going. :thumbup: I am planning to do this hill, via a slightly different route, in June. Good to know about the boulder field!
User avatar
Silverhill
 
Posts: 1245
Munros:282   Corbetts:3
Joined: Jan 13, 2013

Re: The hill of the Rowan Tree

Postby teaandpies » Fri May 01, 2015 9:40 pm

Silverhill wrote:Wow, you are a time traveler! :wink:
An exhausting day for you, but you survived. 10 hours is good going. :thumbup: I am planning to do this hill, via a slightly different route, in June. Good to know about the boulder field!


Yeah, it's a retrospective report.

I thought 10 hours was me taking ages! I knew the path in well and I had the advantage of not having to wait on people eating or resting. I walked hard, to hard I think. Paid the price for it later.

How are you going to tackle the hill?
teaandpies
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 925
Munros:94   Corbetts:16
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:6
Joined: Mar 19, 2014
Location: Glasgow

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