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Not the Fisherfield: Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a'Chaorainn

Not the Fisherfield: Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a'Chaorainn


Postby Emmanuelle » Sun May 31, 2015 5:46 pm

Route description: Beinn a'Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac

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

Date walked: 23/05/2015

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 29 km

Ascent: 820m

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Stoogie and I have been wanting to do the Fisherfield hills for some years and we both took days off for the very purpose of maximising our chances of hitting good days but also so that we could spend 2 or even 3 nights camping in one of Scotland's most remote landscape. We figured that the end of May would surely see some improving weather conditions, not too hot, not too cold, before the midges descend in their droves on the harmless skin of the camper and hillwalker, with decent chances of views. We obsessively consulted the met office website in the preceding days, in the increasingly faint hope that the winter weather would relent out west. It didn't. However things looked a bit more hopeful in the Cairngorms, so we resorted to Plan B and headed east instead! And this is how we found ourselves driving to Braemar and the Linn of Dee rather than Dundonnell!

We drove up on Friday afternoon equipped with tents, sleeping bags and bad food. The weather was improving and we walked up the 7km track up Glen Lui in lovely sunshine. After a fast 70 minutes we arrived at Derry Lodge and found after a quick search a nice camping spot, by the Derry Burn, right beside a nice bouldery beach. We quickly set up camp in the evening sunlight and enjoyed a nice dinner of sodium enhanced food. hmmm. :D

The setting for our camp was idyllic. Lovely views up Glen Derry, sunshine till late in the evening, sunshine first thing in the morning, soft grass for a cushioned repose in the night, serenades from the local woodpecker and warblers, the comforting sound of the burn rushing down the glen.

Image2015-05-22 20.02.18 by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

However, this idyll was marred by the bunting of toilet paper which formed the barrier between our camping spot and that of our neighbours. There are very specific recommendations about toilet behaviour in the Great Outdoors and clearly they should be promoted more actively. What we encountered was frankly a disgrace (I tend to refrain from resorting to this type of hyperbole but on this occasion it is apt), and whoever oversaw the group who in this spot (not long) before us should perhaps get toilet specific CPD :lol: There was even a turd by the river bank, in view of my tent if I strayed in its direction. So as a girl can I make this plea: if you can't bury toilet paper, put it in a plastic bag and take it with you. If you can't take it with you, don't use it. For a pee, it's not that necessary. Bring a change of knickers if you really object to relieving yourself without some mopping afterwards. You'll be sweating and you'll be wearing lots of layers. No-one will smell you unless you get into some intimate situations :lol: And then you'll be smelly, for sure. For the more substantial type of bodily evacuation, find a spot where you can bury your waste please. Don't do it where people camp or picnic, and wildlife don't appreciate it either. Thank you.

After a very chilly night, we woke up to frost :crazy: and headed straight to the beach for breakfast in the early morning sunshine.

Image2015-05-23 07.47.30 by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr
Image2015-05-23 07.48.15 by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

We soon set off, on the good track up Glen Derry and after a couple of km, found the small cairn which signals the start of the ascent proper of Beinn Bhreac. The views up the Glen were gorgeous, soft but luminous under a clear blue sky, There is a narrow path which zigzags up the easy slopes through the lovely caledonian forest and then emerges onto the open hillside. This is then followed up to the broad summit although in a whiteout one would have to take care not to miss the turn off east to get to the summit cairn only just 50-100 yards along. There you will get some great views of the broad back of Beinn a'Bhuird to the east.

ImageGlen Derry in the morning sunlight by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageThe cliffs of Stob Coire Etchachan by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

To the west the views to the snowy end of the Cairngorms begin to open us. These are views that I didn't get when I last conquered this Munro in 1998. So it was nice to be back in superlative conditions. And as we kept walking north towards the second Munro of the day it was difficult not to get a crook in the neck as our gaze was drawn to the snowy summits of Cairn Toul, Sgorr Gaoith even, and closer to us Derry Cairngorm and Ben Macdui. We could see our second Munro in the distance and experience told me that it was further away than it seemed. Sure enough it took us 80 minutes to pick our way across the Moine Bhealaidh. I didn't find the peat hags the hindrance that others have highlighted but that could be due to the reasonably dry conditions which have prevailed in this part of the mountain of late. I think I sank in only once.
ImageBeinn Bhreac cairn and Beinn a'Bhuird behind by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageCairn Toul by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageSgorr Gaoith peering out behind Cairn Toul by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

The last hoist to the summit cairn takes place on a broad ridge which curves north west and the only difficulty, which in fact is not much of a difficulty at all, is the tottering over the granite slabs and boulders which are strewn about. Beinn a' Chorainn was my 250th Munro and I happily contributed to the reinforcement of the cairn by adding a rock picked up on the way up. The wind was cold and bracing and we could see a bank of high clouds slowing advancing from the north west, heading slowly but surely towards Ben Macdui and then us. But we didn't concern ourselves with the clouds as we stood on the summit, hill-spotting. How nice to be able to see the tors on Ben Avon to the east and those of Beinn Mheadhoin which I didnt have the weather to appreciate 10 years ago when I climbed it.

ImageWhat are those? to the south west by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr (If anyone can identify this mountain in the distance, please let me know).

ImageBeinn Mheadhoin by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageBen Macdui by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr


We got some fantastic views of Coire Etchachan, and could see snow cornices on the edge of the sheer cliffs. This panorama took me back to my ski touring trip at the end of January when a bunch of us skied down from Ben Macdui to the Hutchie Hut in the dark (unplanned) under an ink black sky lit up by big fat shiny stars and planets. Nice to see what we missed!

ImageCoire Etchachan by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageThe tors of Bheinn Mheadhoin by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageBynack More by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

Just as we were about to leave a tall figure all arms, legs and trekking poles stretched long suddenly appeared, clad in a short sleeved, red and white checked shirt and stripey comfy cotton pants, striding confidently over the boulders towards us and the summit. We struck up a conversation and I found out he was from the Czech Republic, living in Scotland with his wife and kids though, after two years here and his kids bilingual, poised to move back home in the Autumn. He had left his rucksack at the foot of the rise and I hope that he found it again in this fairly indistinct landscape. I worried that if he didn't find it soon, he would start suffering from hypothermia. As we headed for the south-west cliffs of the Munro, we saw a figure heading towards to the eastern edge of the Bhealaidh and if it was him, he covered ground at an amazing speed!

Meanwhile we headed down the steep but easy slopes to the Lairigh an Laoigh, turned left towards Glen Derry. Folk were descending from the Hutchie Hut and some of them soon passed us. Not that we were slouching but some people are way faster!

ImageThe cliffs overlooking Lochan Uaine I think and the Hutchie Hut bottom left by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

Image2015-05-23 14.56.22 by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageLooking back up towards Derry Cairngorm by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

We soon reached our tents and broke camp quickly, the sun having returned.

Back to Derry Lodge and a long walk back to the Linn of Dee car park, with the heavy pack straining at my hip joints. But the sun was out and the walk didn't really seem too much of a chore. Having said that we were glad to be back at the car. I offloaded myself from my ruckie and felt as if gravity had been lightened! Quick stretches to loosen up those pesky SI joints and we were back on the road, Stoogie's car's long legs rushing us back to Falkirk.

A grand day out :clap:
Emmanuelle
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Re: Not the Fisherfield: Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a'Chaorainn

Postby gaffr » Sun May 31, 2015 6:24 pm

The Crags above Lochan Uiane?....maybe the Crags of Creagan a' Choire Etchachan with a little more distant the crags of Sputan Dearg above the coire S.D. Lochan Uaine should be tucked up in a wee coire overlooking the main S.D coire.
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gaffr
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Re: Not the Fisherfield: Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a'Chaorainn

Postby Emmanuelle » Sun May 31, 2015 6:30 pm

gaffr wrote:The Crags above Lochan Uiane?....maybe the Crags of Creagan a' Choire Etchachan with a little more distant the crags of Sputan Dearg above the coire S.D. Lochan Uaine should be tucked up in a wee coire overlooking the main S.D coire.


The hills in the distance Im not sure about are not in the Cairngorms. I wondered if we were looking towards Craig Meaghaidh
Emmanuelle
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Re: Not the Fisherfield: Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a'Chaorainn

Postby Collaciotach » Sun May 31, 2015 8:24 pm

A grand day for it :)

Would those to the SW not be Beinn a Ghlo ?
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Re: Not the Fisherfield: Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a'Chaorainn

Postby Emmanuelle » Sun May 31, 2015 11:44 pm

Collaciotach wrote:A grand day for it :)

Would those to the SW not be Beinn a Ghlo ?


Yeah, I wondered about that too but it seemed too far to the west. Ben Alder was also mentioned!
Emmanuelle
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