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Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's


Postby Fife Flyer » Sat May 09, 2015 4:39 pm

Route description: Beinn a'Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac

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

Date walked: 08/05/2015

Time taken: 8.25 hours

Distance: 37.2 km

Ascent: 1550m

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To start with I will explain the title, my original plan was never to complete the Munro's but an invite to Skye next week with a guide changed my plans somewhat :lol: I am hoping to compleat next year, if I get a wiggle on, I have set myself a target of 230 by the end of this year and am probably doing OK as I have trudged up 16 new Munro's so far this year. Like most other folk the main problem is getting to the hills, a 3 hour drive (each way) before you even put your boots on makes for a long day :lol: I know the folk south of the border are envious of us, but that is what you get for living down there :lol: As I now stand on 184, that means I have less than 100 to 'bag', quite a mile stone (for me anyway) :wink:
Another weather window that had to be utilised and as the car knows the way to the car park at Linn of Dee, I decided to head up to Braemar again.
My plan was to try and conquer 3 Munro's in the eastern part of the Cairngorms, I had planned to tick off Beinn a' Bhuird with Ben Avon a month or so ago, but time was against me, so I was going to add it on to Beinn Bhreac & Beinn a' Chaorainn 8)
I didn't advertise the fact I was heading to the hills so it was going to be a solo effort. I did plenty of research and scanned over numerous walk reports and found a couple of similar challenges 8)
My original plan was to head north up Glen Derry and tackle Beinn a' Chaorainn first, but after the research it I realised that everyone else opted for Beinn Bhreac first, so that was my plan too :lol:
I arrived at the Linn of Dee car park at 7.45am and being a member of Scottish National Trust, placed my card in the windscreen, extracted my bike out of the car and inflated the front tyre - and off I set :wink:
After reading and hearing about the tic problem I brought a spray that I use at home which contains vinegar. So once my gaiters were on I gave them a quick spray and they smelt lovely :lol:
Having walked along the path from Derry Lodge to the car park which takes about an hour on foot, the bike would save me about 90 minutes 8) not to mention even sorer legs and feet :lol:

ImageDSCF1405 by Martin Beswick, Rather large herd of deer grazing happily just before Linn of Dee (until I stopped to take a photo)

ImageDSCF1409 by Martin Beswick, Bike not so discretely parked/hidden

The cycle to Derry Lodge took 20 mins, even with a couple of dismounts for steps and an a slight incline. Whenever I am cycling at the start of a walk I try and take it easy, don't want my legs to start moaning before I even start walking :lol:
Once I had abandoned the bike I knew I had about 20mins of walking along the path before heading 'off piste'. I had studied the map and utilised the WH route planner and worked out that it was about 1 mile from Derry Lodge to the right turn, 1 mile at my walking speed equates to about 20 mins, so off I trotted.
I had read that quite a few folk had missed the turning and guess what - so did I :lol: :lol: I checked my phone just before I reached the slightly larger burn and found that I had 'overshot' by about 400yds, so I must have been walking exceptionally fast :D On my back tracking I noticed a faint path that must be used by those of us who don't pay attention and decided to head uphill, I knew I would meet up with the path a wee bit further up :lol:

ImageDSCF1410 by Martin Beswick, the path along Glen Derry, very pleasant stroll

ImageDSCF1418 by Martin Beswick, Looking across Glen Derry

ImageDSCF1421 by Martin Beswick, nice long shadow, nice to have the sun on your back

ImageDSCF1426 by Martin Beswick, the path I picked up leading up to Beinn Bhreac

ImageDSCF1429 by Martin Beswick, spotted these rather lovely frozen bits of grass

ImageDSCF1434 by Martin Beswick, more ice

ImageDSCF1436 by Martin Beswick, looking back the way

The walk up to Beinn Bhreac was very straight forward and rather easy, I reached the summit in 2 hours, however had I not biked it would have taken a wee bit longer :wink: The path takes you onto the large summit plateau and the cairn is actually quite a bit off the beaten track to the east :wink:

ImageDSCF1443 by Martin Beswick, Beinn Bhreac summit cairn with my next target Beinn a' Bhuird in the background

ImageDSCF1444 by Martin Beswick, Beinn a' Chaorainn in the background, doesn't look very far away!

ImageDSCF1445 by Martin Beswick, zoom shot across to the barns on Beinn Mheadhoin

ImageDSCF1448 by Martin Beswick,

ImageDSCF1451 by Martin Beswick, Looking back down Glen Lui

ImageDSCF1458 by Martin Beswick, The way ahead with Beinn a' Bhuird out of shot on the right

After a brief stop on the summit for a few photo's it was time to navigate across to Beinn a' Bhuird, because the visibility was excellent I was able to view the terrain ahead and make a mental plan of what looks like the best route.
There was very little descent and the biggest problem is avoiding Dubh-Ghleann which would involve descent and then extra ascent, not my idea of fun :lol:

ImageDSCF1461 by Martin Beswick, Dubh-Ghleann with Beinn a' Bhuird in the background

ImageDSCF1472 by Martin Beswick, Peat Hags don't we just love them

I knew from previous reports that peat hags were on the menu and so it turned out, however the peat was actually quite dry and firm and I managed to pick my way through without getting my boots muddy 8)
As Beinn a' Bhuird is the 11th highest hill in the UK I was expecting a wee bit more snow as I gained height and I was spot on. The temperature when I left Linn of Dee was minus 2deg so I was also anticipating ice could be a problem higher up. I had my spikes in my bag which I utilised for the descent off Beinn a' Bhuird :wink:

ImageDSCF1512 by Martin Beswick, Nice snow hole

ImageDSCF1476 by Martin Beswick, Snow feature

ImageDSCF1485 by Martin Beswick, Snowy summit plateau with a nice backdrop

The traverse across to the foot of Beinn a' Bhuird was time consuming and then the climb up the not very steep slope of B a' B, the majority of the climb was up firm snow and did seem to be never ending. Only when I reached the massive summit plateau did I eventually see the summit cairn. I deliberately aimed to reach the northern end of the summit plateau, as I knew that was the high point 8) Even so it still took a few minutes to walk to the cairn and there were plenty of icy patches :roll: Took 2 hours to reach the summit.

ImageDSCF1498 by Martin Beswick, summit cairn looking south across the huge plateau

ImageDSCF1499 by Martin Beswick, looking north

ImageDSCF1503 by Martin Beswick, looking west

ImageDSCF1504 by Martin Beswick, zoom shot to the west

I decided to put my spikes on for the descent and it made for a speedier and safer stroll over the firm snow. It is so much easier descending on snow and good progress was made. Once the snow started to soften and become patchy the spikes were packed away 8) Once the flattish ground was reached, again it was a matter of picking my was across Peat Hags and avoiding a few gully's that were descending to the north. The summit of Beinn a' Chaorainn could be seen all the time and it didn't seem to be getting any closer :lol:

ImageDSCF1512 by Martin Beswick, another snow hole

ImageDSCF1514 by Martin Beswick, Plenty of peat, luckily was nice and firm, would be a mare after a spell of rain!!

ImageDSCF1515 by Martin Beswick, more peat

Once the trapse across the flattish terrain was over I then reached the boulder field at the foot of B a' C, it was then a matter of boulder hopping up to the summit. Yet again it took me 2 hours to reach the summit :lol:

ImageDSCF1522 by Martin Beswick, summit cairn on Beinn a' Chaorainn

ImageDSCF1523 by Martin Beswick, Zoom shot across the glen to the barns on top of Beinn a' Mheadhoin

ImageDSCF1526 by Martin Beswick, zoom across to Macdui

ImageDSCF1527 by Martin Beswick, looking back to Beinn a' Bhuird

ImageDSCF1528 by Martin Beswick, looking back to Beinn Bhreac

The descent path was almost non existent off Beinn a' Chaorainn, I was following foot steps in the snow which were taking me due south down the wrong shoulder, so a quick traverse to the west got me back to descending down the shoulder that heads SW. Further down the shoulder a well trodden path suddenly appears 8) It was just a matter of descending down to the main path through the glen that could be seen and reached without too much difficulty 8)

ImageDSCF1536 by Martin Beswick, Glen Derry, the way back to the car

ImageDSCF1543 by Martin Beswick, low level shot down Glen Derry

Now the long trek back to the car began, I actually quite enjoyed the walk back, there is alot to be said for a decent path, especially when you have been on peat hags and damp squidgy tufty grass :lol:
I was determined to see if I could spot a cairn on the way back indicating the turn off for the path up to Beinn Bhreac and sure enough there is one, not the biggest you will see but it is there :lol: :lol:
I reached my bike and it was good to take the weight off my feet, the majority of the cycle back is downhill - which in cycling terms means freewheeling, which equals bliss :lol:
Car was reached in a shade over 2 hours, there were quite a few cars in the car park, but I hadn't seen a single person on my travels :o
Fabulous day out and a good warm up for Skye next Thursday, bring it on :wink:
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Fife Flyer
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby Collaciotach » Sat May 09, 2015 9:08 pm

Good shift .

Found most of the Monadh Ruaidh a slog ...... big country !
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby jupe1407 » Sun May 10, 2015 12:37 am

Fine route and excellent photos Martin :clap:

Good luck in Skye :D
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby kmai1961 » Sun May 10, 2015 8:25 am

Nice one, Martin! :clap:
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun May 10, 2015 1:28 pm

jupe1407 wrote:Good luck in Skye :D


Thanks JP, getting quite excited :lol:
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby simon-b » Sun May 10, 2015 1:56 pm

That's a big one, Martin. The route I mean, not the cairn indicating the turn-off to Beinn Bhreac - that consisted of two stones when I was there, if I remember correctly. Well done on getting these 3 in a single outing.
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby The Rodmiester » Sun May 10, 2015 2:00 pm

Good effort, your fitness has certainly improved from this time last year. Arabest in Skye you will love it, Bring it on :D
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun May 10, 2015 3:45 pm

simon-b wrote:That's a big one, Martin. The route I mean, not the cairn indicating the turn-off to Beinn Bhreac - that consisted of two stones when I was there, if I remember correctly. Well done on getting these 3 in a single outing.


Thanks Simon, the cairn has grown slightly, about 6 stones now :lol:

The Rodmiester wrote:Good effort, your fitness has certainly improved from this time last year. Arabest in Skye you will love it, Bring it on :D


Thanks Rod, am starting to get a bit excited now and praying to the weather gods :lol:
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby AJNicholls » Sun May 10, 2015 3:55 pm

This is probably better when the ground is more frozen and solid. It was a boggy ball-ache when I did Bhreac and a'Chaorainn. And with no bike for the trek in it was nearly 30km on foot.
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby Mountainlove » Sun May 10, 2015 4:01 pm

Brilliant effort and oh yes I know the pain of having to drive longer and longer :roll:
Love to see these huge herds of deer. Fingers crossed that your plans will work out! :clap: :D
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby PeteR » Sun May 10, 2015 11:34 pm

Another fine day on the hills Martin :D I hope for all of you off to Skye it's everything and more that you are hoping for. Looking forward to those reports :wink:
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby Jaywizz » Mon May 11, 2015 8:38 am

Great report - and impressive walk! Hope you enjoy Skye - I look forward to reading your next report :)
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby BlackPanther » Mon May 11, 2015 10:40 am

Great effort! Long walk to combine the three "biggies" - we did Beinn a Bhuird separately.

At least you avoided the infamous boggy plateau between Bhreac and Chaorainn, but it seems you still got your share of peat hags... The beauty of Scottish landscape :lol: :lol: :lol:

Good luck on Skye :D
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby Bonzo » Mon May 11, 2015 1:45 pm

Those two snow holes look suspiciously similar :wink:
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Re: Countdown Begins with 3 Big Beinn's

Postby jupe1407 » Tue May 12, 2015 11:13 pm

Fife Flyer wrote:
jupe1407 wrote:Good luck in Skye :D


Thanks JP, getting quite excited :lol:


I am absolutely not massively jealous :lol:
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