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South Braemar - 60km walked, 10 munros, 1 perfect weekend

South Braemar - 60km walked, 10 munros, 1 perfect weekend


Postby andygunn23 » Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:31 pm

Munros included on this walk: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Cairn of Claise, Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Carn an Tuirc, Creag Leacach, Glas Maol, Tolmount, Tom Buidhe

Date walked: 15/08/2015

Time taken: 15.5 hours

Distance: 60 km

Ascent: 2500m

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South Braemar - 60km walked, 10 munros bagged, 2 nights camped, 1 successful hitchhike, 1 incredible weekend!

Having just completed my third munro with my Dad and The Mirror Man (http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=55818) my Monday lunchtime became a hive of weekend planning - it was clear I had been bitten!

No, not by the midges at Loch Muick (well yes, technically) BUT the bug of this 'Munro Bagging' had well an truly 'infected me' - safe to say there is worse things for a 22 year old to be addicted to!

For anyone that has read my previous two reports, yes I am still without a car BUT this 'infection' meant there was nothing stopping me from having an adventure in the hills!

Unfortunately Dad and "The Mirror Man" were not available this weekend so they were replaced with a new 65L backpack and tent... A week of planning flew by and before I knew it, it was 5pm on Friday evening and I was waiting on Great Western Road (Aberdeen) for the Royal 'never on time' Deeside 201 bus to Braemar.

Firstly, for anyone reading this outside of the Aberdeen/shire area - there is NOTHING 'royal' about the Royal Deeside bus - except for maybe the extortionate prices they charge.

Anyway, I had parted with my hard earned (subjective) cash and arrived in Braemar - only an hour behind schedule at 8.30pm. I say 'only' because in this instance the cup was definitely half full!

Only problem with being late was my master plan of walking from Braemar to Loch Callater to set up tent before darkness took a massive blow.

Nonetheless the walk there (before darkness took over) was quite pleasant.
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I made it to Loch Callater just as darkness set in. I couldn't clearly see the Loch but I knew it was there (based on the clouds of midges) so I pitched my tent and fell asleep instantly. Generally speaking I love the rain and in Scotland if you cancel plans because of this falling precipitation you would never have any plans. However.... waking up in a tent to what sounded like a torrential thunderstorm made me think twice and I dosed back to sleep on the basis of "it's only 6am surely it won't get any worse".

Turns out it did get worse - 9am arrived and I was sure if it rained anymore my tent would involuntarily turn into a 'boat' and float across the Loch. I dragged myself out of my holiday home (tent) and began the first full day of my weekend adventure.

Saturday the 15th of August 2015

No blisters, my holiday home is still dry, food & water supplier are sufficient and I am full of energy... how overrated - it was definitely time to set off! Here is Loch Callater in all its glory with the mountains looking somewhat mysterious.
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Not only does the Royal family get a bus named after them - the queen also gets this little monument... Wonder if she likes it? I will be sure to ask her next time I see her on the Royal Deeside Bus :lol:
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Munro 1 - Carn an t-sagairt Mor

It was a lovely walk up from Loch Callater to the summit of Carn an t-sagairt Mor - you will have to ask someone else about the views.

As I climbed my views didn't last long, but what I could finally see was the scale of Loch Callater - would love to take a canoe out there one (preferably sunny) summers evening!
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In the minimal visibility I did find some of the airplane wreckage that is widely discussed on hillwalking boards across the internet.
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Not going to lie and say I embraced the summit for long. I was only 1/10 through my weekend and I was beginning to feel more like a wet dog than a novice (but determined) munro bagger
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Munro 2 - Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach

I wish I could share the joy of Scotland's beautiful mountains with more of my friends from further afield but I can't say my walk from Carn an t-sagairt Mor to Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach will live long in the memory - guess that is why I'm making note of it here!

Either way, the second munro of the weekend was bagged! No matter the weather, the day, the difficulty, the view or the location, there is something satisfying about these little cairns.
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Munro 3 - Cairn Bannoch

As the saying goes... onwards and upwards - in this case, onwards and upwards and downwards and upwards and downwards and so on, so forth! In my mind completing the first munro would be the most difficult then I would just gently glide across the remaining nine, apparently not.

My reward for persevering with the quite literal upwards and downwards (and little bit of onwards) was reaching the summit of Cairn Bannoch. By now my hands were so cold I struggled to even take a photo (remind me to get waterproof gloves!) but it looked like the clouds were ready to move back to their true home.... the west coast of Scotland.
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Munro 4 - Broad Cairn

Cairn Bannoch to Broad Cairn is a relatively short and gentle walk taking maybe only 20 minutes. Within this twenty minutes the weather changed rapidly!

I had the summit of Broad Cairn all to myself, the sun was shining, the wind had died down and I was eating my lunch with one of the most amazing views. No matter what happened within the next six munros, it was worth it just for this lunch time viewing.
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Munro 5 - Tolmount

With the new and improved weather I made my way back along the way I came to head towards Tolmount.

Unable to see this view originally from Cairn Bannoch - Broad Cairn... Who says walking along a path you have already walked along is dull?! No shortage of water for the waterfalls that is for sure!
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I left the base of Cairn Bannoch and finally headed off towards Tolmount.

Within only a few hours I had bagged 4 munros and was able to see where I had pitched my holiday home from a different view!
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From freezing at 10am to wondering if I might top up my tan from white to red. The summit of Tolmount was embracing the sunshine!
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Munro 6 - Tom Buidhe

The sixth summit of the day was waiting for me. By now I was beginning to tire but thankfully was finally dry, so my cup remained half full! With no obvious path from Tolmount to Tom Buidhe it was a case of avoiding the swampiest parts of my homemade route as much as possible. Some parts of that short trip were so boggy I was just waiting for Shrek to tell me to get off his swamp.

Within seven hours I had completed 6 munros and doubled my previous total (I won't ever get to say that again!) - Time for a well earned rest at the top of Tom Buidhe.
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This well earned rest nearly turned into being fast asleep - it was only 4pm but I was ready to build my luxurious holiday home.

Boom, just like that - my bed for the night was ready.
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Sunday the 16th of August 2015

Somehow I had slept clean through from 4pm Saturday afternoon to 5am Sunday morning, but I was raring to go! Waking up on Sunday was far quieter, significantly more exposed and colder than Saturday morning but the lack of rain was somewhat appreciated!

Popped my head out my tent to assess the visibility and was greeted by these friendly chaps! They didn't wait around for long and charged up the hill. It felt as if they were mocking me with their ease and gracefulness!
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Munro 7 - Carn an Tuirc

By 6am I began my walk to Carn an Tuirc. I was out of water and starting to get thirsty so my chosen route was far from direct.

This stream would eventually end up in Loch Callater - minus the few bottles I stole... I am yet to taste water as cold and refreshing as this!
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On route there was no one to be see for miles and I was sure I would have the summit all to myself. After completing the slightly steep ascent I could see the cairn along with another gentleman who clearly enjoys the early starts!

He gave me some advice about other munros on the East side of Glenshee that he has completed the day before and asked about my previous day - I gave what limited advice I had. On another note I find it remarkable how the people you meet at the top mountains (generally speaking) tend to be some of the nicest people around, everyone has a different story and is nearly always interested in yours. One of the many joys from this new hobby of mine!

I opted to enjoy the early morning views from the summit for a bit longer as he headed off on his adventure for the day... Literally mountains everywhere!
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Munro 8 - Cairn of Claise

Next up was Cairn of Claise, here are a few of my shots on route / at the top.

The rocky side of one of Scotland's many beautiful mountains
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Eight munros completed, it was only 8am on Sunday - I was far ahead of schedule!
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Munro 9 - Glas Maol

The route from Cairn of Claise to Glad Maol was far from the longest or most difficult but all of a sudden I hit the 'wall'! Everything was stiff and my backpack felt like it had doubled in weight instantly. They say you crave food because it is what your body subconsciously requires... By now I was clearly requiring a pint of McEwans Export and a giant burger!

Unfortunately there was no room in my backpack for a pint of McEwans or the giant burger so I had to settle for more sandwiches and Jelly Babies when I reached the top - I used this as a the metaphorical carrot on a stick to keep one leg making its way in front of the other!

The carrot on a stick trick must of work - I had made it to my 9th munro within roughly 24 hours! Here is the view from the trig point at Glas Maol looking onto my tenth and final challenge!
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Munro 10 - Creag Leachac

Last, but most definitely not least!

It is crazy how quickly the hills can make you feel very small!
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Before I knew it 10 more munros were bagged!

View from the top of Creag Leachac looking down towards Glenshee Ski Centre
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Sometimes the views looking up at what you have completed are even more impressive
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I had just taken my tally of munros from 3 to 13 within one weekend. Here is me feeling pretty smug with myself.
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As you can see from my route, I was far from where I started - as tempting as it is to walk along the Glenshee road back to Braemar with all forms of motors flying past, I ultimately decided it would be safer to try and hitch a ride. It was only just after lunch and I had mentally prepared myself to wait ages for some kind soul to stop and pick me up.

A few minutes of standing it is incredible the amount of people that look at you with a sheer sign of disgust... "how dare they not have a car"; "there is definitely no room in my £50,000 Range Rover for that peasant"; that tent looks more like a concealed weapon to me - better be on the safe side and pretend we didn't see him"! My generation are more than happy to meet someone they meet online without a second thought but giving someone a lift is the most incomprehensible thing imaginable - bizarre!

Luckily before long someone arrived back at the car park and offered me a lift. turns out our paths had crossed in opposite directions as I was struggling up Glas Maol - I think they felt sorry for me (rightly so!). So to that kind lady, thanks for the lift back to Braemar - greatly appreciated!

Before I knew it I was back on the 201 to Aberdeen and in the Ferryhill House Hotel. When I started this weekend at 8:30pm in Braemar on Friday night the cup was half full... The cup (pint (or two)) was now well and truly full of McEwans Export (and a giant burger) - I wouldn't have my Sunday evening any other way!

Thanks for reading!

Over & out,
Andy

13 down 269 to go!
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andygunn23
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 77
Munros:146   Corbetts:2
Joined: Jul 30, 2015
Location: Aberdeen

Re: South Braemar - 60km walked, 10 munros, 1 perfect weeken

Postby spiderwebb » Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:50 pm

That was a brilliant read Andy and superb effort :D

No harm in addictions of this sort, and most definitely don't cancel plans for rain, or wind or snow for that matter as days like this that improve make it all worthwhile.

As for waterproof gloves, not convinced they exist, a waterproof shell with longer sleeves is the answer :lol:

As you say its always good to meet other folk on the hill interested in your exploits, and strange that folk will happily engage with someone online without a second thought, but drive past.....but I don't include myself in that :D

Cannot beat big days though, look forward to reading more of your walk reports, many thanks for posting and again, well done, great effort :clap: :clap:
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spiderwebb
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Re: South Braemar - 60km walked, 10 munros, 1 perfect weeken

Postby ancancha » Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:45 pm

Nice one andygunn23 :clap:
Aren't stampeding deer amazing 8)
Gracefully majestic as they cover difficult ground so quickly, probably they should name a bus after them :!:

I got a pair of sealskin gloves, can't remember if they were ever waterproof although they said they should be. They're definitely not waterproof now, but are great for scrambles and have pads for rebels like me who like biker hiking :lol: :silent:
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ancancha
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Re: South Braemar - 60km walked, 10 munros, 1 perfect weeken

Postby andygunn23 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:39 pm

spiderwebb wrote:That was a brilliant read Andy and superb effort :D

No harm in addictions of this sort, and most definitely don't cancel plans for rain, or wind or snow for that matter as days like this that improve make it all worthwhile.

As for waterproof gloves, not convinced they exist, a waterproof shell with longer sleeves is the answer :lol:

As you say its always good to meet other folk on the hill interested in your exploits, and strange that folk will happily engage with someone online without a second thought, but drive past.....but I don't include myself in that :D

Cannot beat big days though, look forward to reading more of your walk reports, many thanks for posting and again, well done, great effort :clap: :clap:


Sorry it had taken me so long to reply - I have only just properly worked out how to get notifications & reply (at least I think I have).

Hitchhiking has proved an interesting experience in Scotland. I had great success in the West of Canada, but then again maybe they only stop so you don't turn into some bears lunch. Good to hear that someone will stop, but you hardly see anyone hitchhiking now.

Agree 100% with the big days, had a few easier adventures recently and it's never quite the same satisfaction! You know how hard the walk has been based on how relieved you are to take the boots off :lol: !
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andygunn23
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Posts: 77
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Joined: Jul 30, 2015
Location: Aberdeen

Re: South Braemar - 60km walked, 10 munros, 1 perfect weeken

Postby basscadet » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:56 pm

Aye brilliant effort :)
I used to live in aberdeen, and did almost half of the munro's via public transport so I feel your pain about the 201 :wink:
There was once I walked through from Blair Atholl to Braemar over these hills and others over 3 days, and it was tough as could be :shock:
Cannie believe there is anyone out there who enjoys McEwans export though :sick:
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