Bynack More - midge central
by BlackPanther » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:58 pm
Route description: Bynack More from Glenmore
Munros included on this walk: Bynack More
Date walked: 10/10/2015
Time taken: 8 hours
Distance: 22 km
Ascent: 900m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
We have already been to Bynack twice together, once in spring 2009, then again in September 2012. Both times we had decent weather with good views, but sadly, also both times it was so windy we could hardly stand straight I always wanted to explore the Big Barns of Bynack properly, but never dared to scramble up in high winds. Now, with winds only 10-15 mph (as forecast), I kept my fingers crossed for some rocky explorations. Tora-Tora!!!
Previously, our route was always up to the summit of Bynack More via the main (north) ridge, then to the Barns of Bynack and down to the path between Bynack More and Creag Mhor. this is the easiest way to complete a circuit of this Munro (unless you are tempted by the outlying top of A'Choinneach, which we didn't bother with). But this time I wanted to "introduce some variety" as a posh lady would say, and searched WH for options. I found an interesting way of descending BM via Bynack Beag and into Strath Nethy. Well, why not?
So this is our route as recorded by Kevin's GPS:
WH walk description suggest starting from Allt Mor car park, but we drove up to Glenmore Lodge, where we discovered plenty of space to park - I was actually surprised for the lack of crowds on a Saturday! We geared up quickly, I wasn't sure how many fleeces I should take and ended up taking too many It was actually quite warm that day and I didn't really need extra layers.
We always enjoy walking to the Ryvoan Pass, especially the quiet stillness of Lochan Uaine. Not much water in the loch this time, sadly, and the usual turquoise effect was less prominent:
The path is great all the way, it has been upgraded recently. I remember during our previous visit in 2012 works were in progress, now it's all finished and one can enjoy marching at a brisk pace, with lovely views in the background:
We reached the little bridge over River Nethy - the route up was obvious:
So this is the ridge we planned to traverse in descent, more a shoulder than a ridge really, but I hoped it would be a nice change:
View back north with Meall a'Buachaille taking the centre stage:
I was pushing up quite fast and almost forgot poor Kevin shouldn't overdo himself, I left him behind and once higher up, I had to stop and wait for him to join me
Bynack More revealed:
Soon we were at the bottom of the final slope, which is steepish but enjoyable, with plenty of boulders to photograph, admire and maybe scramble onto... I started with a small one:
Coire Dubh and Stac na h'Iolaire across Strath Nethy:
The path up Bynack is well worn, I was eager to get higher to put my paws on proper tors!
I didn't have to wait for too long. The upper part of the northern ridge is full of boulders of different shapes and sizes:
We were almost on the summit in less than 3 hours, so now, forget the time and let the fun begin! Our clocks stopped, if only for a couple of hours, and explorations began!
Fiddling with my camcorder:
Close encounter of the round boulder kind
We reached the summit, where we planned to have a break and a sandwich, before descending to the Barns for lurking. Ahhh, I forgot to add, I have officially started my third round of Munros before finishing the first one...
Cloud was slowly lifting from the tops of the Cairngorms, I liked the so called "cooking pot" effect, with the clag burning off over corries.
The Cairngorm summit:
Beinn a'Chaorainn in the background and the Little Barns of Bynack. We saw a group of people heading towards them, but by the time we eventually arrived by the rocks, they were long gone. We didn't exactly hurry up this time
Zoom to MacDhui and Stag Rock:
Lucy's 8th Munro, Kevin's 4th visit to Bynack More
So far, midges have not been a huge issue, but as soon as we sat down to our cuppa & sandwiches, we were attacked by an enormous swarm of the wee b****rs. It was impossible to sit still for five seconds! We had to seek help in deet, but midges didn't give up that easily. They attacked our scalps so we had to wrap our heads... We ended up eating midge flavoured sandwiches and drinking tea spiced with drowned midges... Kevin said, he wasn't sure - did we have lunch or WERE WE lunch?
Having quickly finished our lunch break, we suited up for tor explorations, but the wee black devils refused to leave us alone:
We run away from the summit as fast as we could. Midge central - Kevin said, chuckling. Indeed, it was the worst encounter with the black swarm we had this year, hopefully they will disappear soon as weather is turning colder.
A strike of luck - when we descended to Little Barns, wind picked up and mercifully, we were spared more tortures
Me posing with the largest of Little Barns:
The wind wasn't strong, just a nice breeze to keep insects away. For the first time on Bynack, we had the chance to play with the tors. Especially Kevin was a naughty boy!
I watched him at play, after so many weeks being cautious with his back, he deserved to be let of the leash
I wonder... Is he looking for another scramble?
In the meantime, I busied myself photographing the rocks. I love Little Barns - there are so many shapes to recognize here! We took over 400 pictures on two cameras and choosing the best ones was a mortifying job Sometimes, the same rock looks different, when seen from another direction. This angle presents "a herd of pets":
An ancient stone tank:
The troll family:
Scoops of ice cream for giants:
From the top of one of the "trolls", looking south towards the fords of Avon, Beinn Mheadhoin to the right, Beinn a'Chaorainn to the left:
Kevin marching with the trolls:
Me admiring the biggest bum in the Cairngorms - this one is much bigger than mine, so I should shake off al complexes
The biggest of the trolls:
...and that's just the best bits of it! Really, it's so worth taking the detour from the summit to explore the Little Barns... And there is more to come!
One last look at the "animal herd" from below:
Heading towards the Big Barns of Bynack, which are situated about 50m lower and on much steeper slope. They are more difficult to scramble over and we never tried getting on top of them before, due to high winds, but this time I smelled the chance:
First, we walked around the group, taking photos from every direction, playing "what does this shape reminds you of" game. So we found another ancient tank...
...a group of praying monks...
...a hugging family...
...and big heads from Easter Island!
But the best entertainment was still to come. I discovered a crack filled with grass and soil, which looked like an easy way to scramble up!
It's not a complicated scramble by any means, but the inside of the crack can be wet and slippery. There is one awkward-ish moment, where Kevin caught me unaware, embracing a boulder...
Up we go!
The crack leads through a narrow gap to a small "sanctuary" at the top of the Big Barns, where we felt like locked in a rocky prison! We couldn't resist exploring this hidden world of weird shapes...
We had so much fun, I don't know how much time we spent lurking around and on top of this fascinating rocky world!
Eventually, we had to think about getting back. Rather than follow our usual route off the mountain, we climbed back to Little Barns and traversed just below the Munro summit to the outlying top, Bynack Beag. There is no obvious path on this shortcut, but the terrain is easy enough. In thick mist it would be safer to return to the very summit first, then follow the path to Bynack Beag.
Bynack Beag from Bynack More:
The summit of B. Beag is topped with a small rocky outcrop. Here we stopped for the last set of pictures and I discovered, I lost my camera case It was in my pocket as I had the camera in my hands most of the time... I must have dropped it somewhere on the Big Barns, most likely during the scrambling games.
Not a big loss, it was just an ordinary wrap-in case, I have since knitted a temporary replacement
On the top of Bynack Beag:
We spotted a pair of ptarmigan nearby - they are slowly beginning to change plumage for the much nicer white winter coat!
It is possible to return from Bynack Beag to the ascent route (a narrow path traverses the slopes of Bynack More to join the main one), but we wanted something new and different, so we decided, as planned before, to descend into Strath Nethy. The north ridge of Bynack Beag is easy to begin with, a well worn path helps navigating, and views are splendid:
The best vistas are to the upper Strath Nethy:
Embracing the experience:
Stac na h'Iolaire and the lower slopes of our descent route. the path becomes more eroded and boggier lower down, but it can be followed (with some walking on the heather alongside it) all the way to the bottom of Strath Nethy. We actually enjoyed the descent, views were nice and weather not too bad, even midges eventually went wherever they go when they don't bite us
We crossed Allt a'Choire Dhuibh and continued on the path which was quite decent at the moment, and dry. Only when this path eventually joined the man Strath Nethy walk-through, we encountered BOG with a capital B...
Follow the river! It may not show in this photo, but the Nethy path is a bog feast. For every 100m of relatively dry underfoot there is another 100 of tuft jumping Kevin said, one of his boots was rubbing but he couldn't really stop to take it off because there was nowhere to sit, no rocks, just mud, bog and and heather...
It's 2 km of bog trotting along River Nethy before the path joins the main Bynack path just next to the footbridge. We uttered a sight of relief when we left the wet world behind and Kevin could at last sit down and adjust his boot. The rest of the walk-out was pleasant, we chatted and laughed, discussed plans for another weekend (weather permitted)...
8 hours it took Holy cow, we are perfectly capable of covering that distance in 6 hours or even less if we didn't take any stops. How much time did we spend on the barns? I don't know but does it matter? It was a blissful day and I couldn't care less if we were the slowest party on the hills and if we looked like a pair of idiots scrambling over the tors. Meow!
Summing up, Bynack More is a must-do for any visitor to the Cairngorms! A mountain where clocks should be turned off and the playground enjoyed!
As for our descent route, I'm not sure I'd recommend it. The ridge on the way down is great but the bog in Strath Nethy might be off-putting for some. We are used to such terrain after almost 200 Munros and 100 Corbetts, but for a beginner it would be better to return to the main path.
Apologies if this TR has too many photos I couldn't decide which tor pictures were the best ones
by jamesb63 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:48 pm
The Cairngorms look amazing just now specially in this dry period
by jmarkb » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:32 pm
I've also come back via Bynack Beg - it's a shame Strath Nethy is such awful going! Another interesting option (for your 4th ascent?) would be to get the bus up to the ski car park, go up and over to Loch Avon via Coire Raibert, along to the Saddle and up via A' Coinneach. Then you can walk out the normal route to Glenmore. It's a bit more committing than the normal route, but not actually much more effort.
by SecretSquirrel » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:41 pm
by Gordie12 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:27 pm
You should have nipped over to Creag Mhor when you were so close (or maybe you've already done it).
by teaandpies » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:50 pm
I've never seen the water in the loch so low.
by BlackPanther » Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:50 pm
jamesb63 wrote:The Cairngorms look amazing just now specially in this dry period
I love Cairngorm autumn, too but I'm not sure about "dry period" in Strath Nethy... I guess this glen never dries out
A couple of years ago we climbed Carn a'Mhaim in early October. Devil's Point in autumn colour looks impressive!
jmarkb wrote:I've also come back via Bynack Beg - it's a shame Strath Nethy is such awful going! Another interesting option (for your 4th ascent?) would be to get the bus up to the ski car park, go up and over to Loch Avon via Coire Raibert, along to the Saddle and up via A' Coinneach. Then you can walk out the normal route to Glenmore. It's a bit more committing than the normal route, but not actually much more effort.
That's an interesting suggestion. I was actually thinking about "Nethy circuit" - up Bynack, A'Choinneach, to Cairngorm and Cnap Coire na Spreidhe then along the ridge back to the Nethy hut site, but that's a long round for a good mid-summer day. It would avoid the bog though.
SecretSquirrel wrote:Fantastic report The rock shapes on Bynack look amazing. I've been looking at Cairngorm hills for this weekend (I *really* need a change from driving NW up the A82 ... so NE up the A9 it will be ) Bynack has definitely moved higher up my 'To do Next' list
I think one visit is not enough to fully explore this area The rocks are so much fun. For a longer outing you could combine BM with Creag Mhor (the Corbett next to it) and then return by Lairig na Laoigh path.
Gordie12 wrote:You should have nipped over to Creag Mhor when you were so close (or maybe you've already done it).
Yes, we have indeed done it, and in similar autumnal atmosphere (my old report HERE). Strangely, we climbed CM in a separate outing from Glenmore, maybe just as an excuse for one more visit to this great area
teaandpies wrote:I've never seen the water in the loch so low.
I was surprised, too, so many times we visited the Green Loch, it was never so shrunken! The turquoise effect was hardly visible... I wonder where did all the water go, we had the wettest summer since I can remember
by dogplodder » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:06 pm
by jmarkb » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:07 pm
BlackPanther wrote: I was actually thinking about "Nethy circuit" - up Bynack, A'Choinneach, to Cairngorm and Cnap Coire na Spreidhe then along the ridge back to the Nethy hut site, but that's a long round for a good mid-summer day. It would avoid the bog though.
That would be good too! There's some serious chest-deep man-eating (panther-eating?) heather coming off Creag nan Gall towards Ryvoan Bothy though - it would be helpful to find an alternative to this, and I don't think coming down on that side earlier would be much better! Dropping off to Lochan na Beinne and then down through the woods by the Allt na Ciste to Glenmore is doable, though some of the paths marked on the map don't really exist.
by Astronick » Mon Oct 19, 2015 12:30 pm
by BlackPanther » Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:27 pm
dogplodder wrote:Wonder if that's a record to be eaten by midges on a Munro summit in October?
I think it could be, at least as far as I remember, we never had so many of them so late in the year. Luckily, they are going now... We climbed in Glen Affric last Saturday and not a single midge present. The morning frost is our best friend
jmarkb wrote:That would be good too! There's some serious chest-deep man-eating (panther-eating?) heather coming off Creag nan Gall towards Ryvoan Bothy though - it would be helpful to find an alternative to this, and I don't think coming down on that side earlier would be much better! Dropping off to Lochan na Beinne and then down through the woods by the Allt na Ciste to Glenmore is doable, though some of the paths marked on the map don't really exist.
Oops, scratchy heather, not my favourite
There are so many options/variations in this area, I'm sure I'll find something to my taste. At the moment such big escapades are out of question, Kevin did complain a bit about back ache on Saturday and he is nowhere near as fast as usual. So frustrating! But I'm glad he manages hills, if at snail's pace.
Astronick wrote:Excellent report BlackPanther - those scrambling shots on the barns are great. I think I passed you two on the long pull up from the Nethy. I'm not sure I've ever had a day like that in October before - Loch Avon was utterly still when I got down there for a late lunch stop
Thx The scrambling on Bynack is easy by my standards, but great rocks to strike poses on! Most of it actually looks worse than it really is
Shame this great spell of warm weather is coming to an end, we managed one more good walk last weekend (TR will be posted as soon as my battle against Win 8 comes to an end ).