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A long trek to the tors of Creag Mhor

A long trek to the tors of Creag Mhor


Postby dogplodder » Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:03 am

Route description: Creag Mhor and Loch Avon, from Glenmore

Corbetts included on this walk: Creag Mhor

Date walked: 09/06/2015

Distance: 24 km

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The day before we were all set to head for the Strathconon Corbetts. Then the forecast changed to looking better in the Cairngorms so we changed direction and drove south to Glenmore Lodge. I'd noticed the knobbly tor of Creag Mhor when passing it last year on the way to Beinn a' Chaorainn and persuaded Moira that the mostly good path made the distance doable. In any case it would be good preparation for Ben Avon which I was hoping we were building up to doing very soon.

We parked on the minor road just past Glenmore Lodge and headed off with a spring in our step, stopping briefly at the Green Lochan to check it was still looking green.

Lochan Uaine
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The route passes some beautiful examples of Scots Pine as well as other native species like birch and aspen. It was when walking through this area en route to Bynack More a few years ago a friend pointed out redstarts and crested tits - although have to admit I've not seen them again without his expertise in first spotting them.

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Shortly after the lochan we took the right fork signed for Braemar. At this point the track becomes stonier and was hard on the feet on the return. As the track rises there are views of Abernethy Forest to the east and looking back we could see Ryvoan bothy sitting reassuringly at the top of Ryvoan Pass.

After two kilometres the track drops gently down to the River Nethy where we met a duck who was busy scouring the area for picnic crumbs and paid no attention to us at all. Once over the footbridge the rutted vehicle track changes to a more foot friendly path of level gravel interspersed with drainage channels allowing good progress to be made as height is gained.

Duck at River Nethy
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Footbridge over Nethy
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Looking back to Nethy crossing and Meall a' Bhuachaille
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Where the path forks the right fork is for Bynack More so we took the left which is a continuation of the old Lairig an Laoigh route to Braemar - an old drove road passing through the heart of the eastern Cairngorms. When droving was at its peak it would have been one of the arteries of the droving trade and thousands of cattle would have passed through it every year. It may look difficult terrain for droving but in those days local people were paid to go into the Cairngorm glens and clear the boulders - making the way more easily passable for the cattle.

The modern equivalent of the boulder shifters has got to be the guys I met last year working on the path as it drops down from the highest point towards the Fords of Avon - and having been on parts they hadn't yet got to I can testify to what a difference their work has made.

Path workers having a break on the Fords of Avon refuge
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Thanks to them most of the Lairig an Laoigh is now on a well maintained path
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The path descends to cross the Uisge Dubh a' Choin (on boulders) before rising again. To the south east the sprawling tor-studded plateau of Ben Avon comes into view.

Zoomed to tors of Ben Avon
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We could see our destination as a small knobble on the right as our path rounded the east shoulder of Bynack More.

Creag Mhor visible on right
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Beinn a'Chaorainn, Derry Cairngorm and Beinn Mheadhoin ahead
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The path descends again to cross the Glasath and about 300m after this crossing we left it to climb east over heather and grass. We met a guy at this point who observed there are easy Corbetts and hard Corbetts and this is one of the harder ones. He said the bad news is there is no path but the good news is the peat hags can be avoided. The trick to avoiding the peat hags is not to leave the path too soon after crossing the burn (which thanks to WH directions we hadn't). But peat hags or not this is quite a soggy hillside until well up when it changes to the dry gravel tundra you find on other parts of the high Cairngorm plateau.

Lochan a' Bhainne from soggy lower slopes of Creag Mhor
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On reaching the level top an outcrop of rocks can be seen to the south but this is not the summit which is further north east and not at first visible.

Outcrop of rocks at south end of summit plateau
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Granite tor which is true summit
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In addition to the summit tor there are other nicely weathered granite rocks which I couldn't resist going over to look at.

Bynack More and another tor on Creag Mhor
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View west from foot of summit tor
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View west from top of summit tor
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Bynack More again
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The summit tor is easily climbed from its east side. We sat up there with our flasks of coffee and not a soul in sight and thought how privileged we were to be in such a place with such a view of the less seen side of the Cairngorms. It was magical to be there and well worth the long trek.

Zoomed to Beinn Mheadhoin and Shelter Crag
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View east
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North east to Ben Rinnes
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Bynack More from behind summit tor
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Behind the summit tor with Beinn a' Bhuird and Beinn a' Chaorainn to the south
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Having already explored Loch Avon on several occasions we decided against the longer return and retraced our steps round Bynack More. It went without hitch but felt longer than the outward journey and we were glad to reach the Green Lochan where we sat on the beach for the last of our food and enjoyed the lack of midge presence at a time of day you would have expected it. The late start to summer does have its compensations!

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A chaffinch wanting his share at the lochan (M's pic)
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dogplodder
 
Posts: 3433
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Re: A long trek to the tors of Creag Mhor

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:17 pm

It's been a while since I visited this Corbett. Thanks for the trip down the memory lane :D I always thought it was one of those forgotten, overlooked mountains in Cairngorms, rarely climbed at all. But it has its own charm, the tors are fun (I have a bad habit of scrambling over rocky bits :lol: ) and the views are great, too, especially to Ben Avon and to the Barns of Bynack. A long walk-in, but well worth the hassle!

My vantage point (Sept. 2011). There were crowds of people on Bynack More, but not a single person on Creag Mhor.
Image
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BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
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Re: A long trek to the tors of Creag Mhor

Postby Silverhill » Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:55 pm

You certainly had better weather than me a week before. Even the green lochan was not green. I agree this is a lovely area. Good luck with building up for Ben Avon. I hope you get an equally good day. :D
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Re: A long trek to the tors of Creag Mhor

Postby dogplodder » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:33 am

BlackPanther wrote:It's been a while since I visited this Corbett. Thanks for the trip down the memory lane :D I always thought it was one of those forgotten, overlooked mountains in Cairngorms, rarely climbed at all. But it has its own charm, the tors are fun (I have a bad habit of scrambling over rocky bits :lol: ) and the views are great, too, especially to Ben Avon and to the Barns of Bynack. A long walk-in, but well worth the hassle!

My vantage point (Sept. 2011). There were crowds of people on Bynack More, but not a single person on Creag Mhor.
Image


Nice photo of you BP! :D
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dogplodder
 
Posts: 3433
Munros:225   Corbetts:52
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Re: A long trek to the tors of Creag Mhor

Postby dogplodder » Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:09 am

Silverhill wrote:You certainly had better weather than me a week before. Even the green lochan was not green. I agree this is a lovely area. Good luck with building up for Ben Avon. I hope you get an equally good day. :D


We had a fab day for Ben Avon - report when I get round to it. :D
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dogplodder
 
Posts: 3433
Munros:225   Corbetts:52
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Joined: Jul 16, 2011

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