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Bynack More - breezy but beautiful

Bynack More - breezy but beautiful

Postby Allyw » Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:32 pm

Route description: Bynack More from Glenmore

Munros included on this walk: Bynack More

Date walked: 21/10/2015

Time taken: 5 hours

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Given the 'fire and brimstone' warnings on MWIS for strong winds, I changed my route today and decided to go up Bynack More, and to set off early, before the winds had time to build up too much.

Early, didn't end up being all that early in the end, but by 8am I was parked in Allt Mor car park, having had to pay twice for a ticket, because for some inexplicable reason it just swallowed the money first time, and was ready to head off. I was the only car there, and it felt a little lonely. I was glad I had brought the doggies along for company.

I had been worried about finding the right path to start along, given my uncanny ability to head off merrily in completely the wrong direction on occasion, but I needn't have worried. There was a noticeboard and map in the car park which highlighted the many marked trails through the forest for the early stages, and after staring at it intently for a few minutes, I was reasonably certain I knew where I needed to go. It was actually very simple, and the undulating paths made a lovely, gentle start to the day. The dogs foraged ahead to enjoy the morning sniffs, and I just caught sight of the rump of a startled deer bounding away into the forest - I fumbled for the camera, and peered after it hopefully, but couldn't see anything. I took a photo anyway - just in case, but still couldn't spot it.

Easy going start to the day through beautiful forest

There's a deer in there somewhere....

It seemed no time at all before I was at the shores of Lochan Uaine. It wasn't perhaps looking quite as spectacular as on other days, rather more dark and forbidding, and the choppy surface in this sheltered spot was probably a good indicator that it was going to be breezy higher up.

Lochan Uaine

The path continued, and there was no need to look at the map, apart from remembering to take the right fork (Braemar) at the Nethy/Braemar sign. Onward and upward, now that we were heading out into more open country, the wind picked up a little, but nothing to worry about. Overall, it just looked a typical autumnal grey, dark day - although the cloud base was high and the visibility was great. The dogs ambled on ahead and panicking ptarmigan rose time and time again to flap away, cackling indignantly at having their morning disturbed. Somehow though, I was never quick enough the camera to get a shot - so infuriating! Instead, I took a picture of a last little piece of heather, nestled in a sheltered spot and still flowering - the end of summer.

At least the heather stood still for the photo...

The path marched relentlessly up, and so up we followed. The view ahead look fairly dark and bleak, but turning around and looking back towards Moray, the view was stunning and some blue sky in evidence too.

The way ahead

Looking back towards Moray

We kept plodding on, for some reason it seemed hard work today. Even the dogs had stopped frolicking and we're just plodding on. The pup looked tired, so I popped him into my rucksack for a carry, where he immediately nestled down ready for a snooze. I knew he'd need a carry at some point, but wasn't expecting him to give up quite this quickly...I heaved my now really quite heavy (what am I feeding him??) rucksack back on and trundled on. On the plus side, the clouds had begun to thin out and show some amazing formations. Managed to plod on for another 30 mins or so enjoying the ever-changing cloud patterns as the winds whisked them across the sky.

Lots of walking left to do - but the sky looks amazing!

Finally, seemed to be making some progress, but the wind had picked up enough to be unpleasant. It wasn't a cold wind, but strong enough to make going forward hard work. The adult dogs were now following at my heels, taking shelter behind my legs, their faces turned away from it. We all looked a bit miserable to be honest. I ate a milky way and considered going back - not because it was too windy - just that none of seemed to be enjoying it that much (except perhaps the pup, who I could hear snoring next to my ear). However, the Milky Way revived me, we were going on, and were at least going to try for the summit. The dogs hadn't had any Milky Way and didn't look quite so thrilled by my determination, but loyal to the end they fell in behind me as we pressed on.

It felt like a long time, but was probably only another 15 minutes and finally I could see the individual mounds of Bynack Beg and Bynack More, and just the final push to the summit was needed. The winds on the open ground before this were becoming strong enough that I decided to ditch Bynack Beg, and just head up the main event. I had thought we would be in the lee of the wind going up here, but the wind seemed to manage to whip round and find us anyway. I climbed part of the way up, but ended up walking around the side to where we were genuinely in the lee, and then making my way up from there. It was harder going without the path, but such a relief to be out of the wind. There were a couple of moments near the very top which were rather more "exhilirarting" than was perhaps strictly necessary, especially when the pup woke and stuck his head out and almost tipped me over, just as a big gust blew across. In general though, we were fine. And it was so worth it. The views from the top were stunning - in every direction. I didn't get many good photos, as holding the camera steady in the wind was a challenge, but there are a couple below.

Looking towards Moray

Looking towards Loch Avon

I had been intending to mooch around on top and explore the barns and have some lunch etc, but it didn't seem the day for it, so we headed down fairly quickly. On the lee side, I had a tricky moment trying to pull out an extra layer from under the pup without him getting out, which he was now very keen to do, but before too long we were on our way down again. The wind was fairly relentless all the way down, but seemed much less arduous now that we were walking downhill. Once back on the proper path and flatter ground, I let the pup out to stretch his legs and he roared off, startling yet more ptarmigan, and I just about managed to get a shot of one.

Ptarmigan flying in middle of photo - my best effort in a whole day of trying! And yes, I know, it's no even in focus...

The views on the way back down were breathtakingly good, and the sky was incredible, with amazing cloud formations. I amused myself on what seemed to be quite a long trek back by imagining what they looked like. They scudded by at quite a pace too.


By the time we got back to the car, we were all pretty exhausted. The dogs couldn't wait to curl up, which never happens, they're usually whining for more - and I felt shattered. The weather had turned into the most beautiful day, and down amongst the forest there was no wind at all. I drove us to the beach at Lock Morlich, and had lunch on one of the picnic tables looking over the beautiful view. It was really quite hot in the sun - the car thermometer said 17 degrees (!), although am never sure it's very accurate. A tiring day, and not sure it's been my favourite of the trip, but glad to have done it. Yes, it was breezy, but it was also very, very beautiful. Now, I just need to sign up for a wildlife photography course...
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Joined: Oct 17, 2015

Re: Bynack More - breezy but beautiful

Postby Silverhill » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:02 pm

Nice one! I was also up Bynack More on a windy day and there was no way to escape the breeze. But I must admit the views were great, as shown in your pictures. :D
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