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Bynack More & Cairn Gorm

Bynack More & Cairn Gorm


Postby Alastair S » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:14 am

Munros included on this walk: Bynack More, Cairn Gorm

Date walked: 08/08/2010

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 23 km

Ascent: 1348m

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aka Cairn Gorm the hard way

20100808 [reduced].gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Bynack More & Cairn Gorm elevation.jpg

I always seem to start these reports with “so”. But not this time. Anyway spend a good deal of time planning a nice walk around Loch An Daimh having been impressed with my recent & first visit to the Glen Lyon area (A mid summer evening: Meall Ghaordaidh & Beinn nan Oighreag). But at the last minute decided a 6 hour round drive + 25km walk was too much to ask with a return to work the next day. So settled for a 4 hour round drive instead and less research on the intended route.

Up ridiculously early and on my way from Glenmore Lodge shortly before 7am. Weather was cloudy but looking like breaking up with hardly a breath of wind about. And not long after meet a couple of folk heading the other way. Said ‘morning of course and thought they must be wild campers looking for breakfast. Then along came another pair. Then another, followed by a solo. And most of them were looking very weary. Then came across a bloke sat by the side of the path massaging his feet and asking about a check-point. Turned out that they were all on a 45 mile all night Wolf Trek from Forres to the Cairngorm ski centre. Well they had reasonably weather but rather them than me!

Passed a good 40-50 of them before I took the path south-east, across Strath Nethy and onto the gentle ascent of Bynack More. And that didn’t include those I missed while I took in the delights of Lochain Uaine.

Image
Lochain Uaine

Strath Nethy.jpg

There was evidence of recent mountain bike activity on the path and this was partly explained when I came across a pair of tents, bikes & trailers at around 800m. It was still only 8:30 and they were still indoors (although their dog did bark as I stopped to take a photo – sorry about that).

Wild bikers sleeping in view of Cairn Gorm.jpg

Final approach to Bynack More.jpg

They might have had a bit more of a problem getting up the final 300 vertical metres. More like a proper Munro now but still not too steep. After several false summits peaked out at 9:20 just a cloud descended on my. Luckily it soon moved on and the day continued to brighten up. So much so that I was soon applying sun block.

Bynack More summit cairn.jpg

Then over to the impressive Barns of Bynack for some photos. I was particularly taken with what looks like a damp course that bisects the smaller one. Here are a couple that I've tarted up (HDR)

Image
Little Barns of Bynack

Image
Barns of Bynack

On to the featureless top of A’ Choinneach. So glad it is no longer a Munro as it would surely qualify as the most boring of the lot – perhaps that was why it was demoted? But I was impressed with Beinn Mheadhoin, which has now moved to near the top of my next to do list. This was also my first visit to Loch Avon/A’an and it was as good a everyone said it was.

Image
Loch Avon

I was glad to see a path up from The Saddle as it does not appear on the 1:50,000 OS map and I hadn’t had time to check the 1:25,000 version. This was properly steep now and was glad to stop to chat to a chap coming the other way (the first person I’d seen since the hordes descending on Glenmore Lodge). Cut off the path once it was over the lip of the mountain as it appeared to be heading off to the Ptarmigan. Going was still fairly steep but there is no heather this high up so the lack of a path was no problem. After 2 or 3 more stops to enjoy the view (ahem) came across a particularly manky moose with calf not 200m from summit & hordes milling about (I know it was a reindeer but that doesn’t illiterate so well).

Manky moose (not).jpg

I’ve actually been up here twice before but on both occasions I had mechanical assistance so haven’t counted it. This time it does count. First time was in 1974 when there was a chair-lift to the Ptarmigan (if it was called that then). And took the funicular in February ’08. Thought the weather station was spectacularly iced up then but take a look at this Hmm, i wonder why its not working? from January this year.

Obligatory Cairn Gorm weather station photo.jpg

Same from Feb 2009.jpg

Route down was straight forward down the side of Coire na Ciste on another path that doesn’t make it onto the 1:50,000 map. Path takes you to the lower car park for the ski centre. After that the 1:50,000 map does show a path heading NNW into and through Glenmore Forest. WRONG. There may have been a path a decade or so ago but what is there now is an overgrown quagmire – bog factor five stuff.

Image
Still some white[ish] stuff about

Coire na Ciste descent.jpg

If anyone is thinking of a similar round route I’d park up at the lower ski centre car park and take the path NE to the kidney shaped Lochan na Beinne. This path looked fairly good but your guess is as good as mine as to what the path is like from there to Lochain Uaine.

Anyway bar the last couple of k a grand day and a good first proper outing for my super [heavy] DLSR. Hope you like the pics - here's the link to the flickr set. Still work in progress so there should be a few more over the next few days :D
Last edited by Alastair S on Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Alastair S
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Re: Bynack More & Cairn Gorm

Postby monty » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:31 am

Nice report Alistair,
Excellent pictures too. :D Thanks for the information on the paths as I hope to be up that way soon. I first skied at Aviemore in 1977 and the Ptarmigan restaurant was called the same and it was open at that time but not sure when it first opened. :D
Last edited by monty on Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bynack More & Cairn Gorm

Postby Graeme D » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:38 am

Thoroughly enjoyed reading your report Alastair. Looks like a fine day out. Love the second shot of the Barns - it's fantastically atmospheric. The patch of snow is a bit weird looking and it's amazing how much water isn't in the Lochan Uaine.
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Re: Bynack More & Cairn Gorm

Postby malky_c » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:16 am

Some nice photos in there - certainly a good way of avoiding most of the ski lifts and making Cairngorm seem like a 'big' mountain.

Was reading a leaflet for this Wolf Trek thing. A quote on the back said something like 'due to the unique and wild nature of the terrain, the only way you can experience this route is by doing the Wolf Trek'.
:crazy:
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Re: Bynack More & Cairn Gorm

Postby kevsbald » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:39 am

Great report. Loved the photos of the Barns and the reindeer - are they 'wild' i.e. would they be out on the hills in Winter?

And that snow patch - it looks like you got the back end of a giant bird, almost feather-like?
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Re: Bynack More & Cairn Gorm

Postby HighlandSC » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:07 pm

Nice pics of the barns :thumbup:

Aren't those the reindeer from the Reindeer Centre (or whatever it's called). Think they're semi-wild - ie, allowed to roam the hills but otherwise have some sort of home down at the centre!?
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Re: Bynack More & Cairn Gorm

Postby Alastair S » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:50 pm

Yes, there is a reindeer centre just before the Glenmore Lodge turning - but I hadn't realized that they were allowed to wonder so far. They are also much more photogenic in the winter when they have a full coat, as opposed to the moulting mess that are at the moment :lol:

& thanks for the kind comments guys :D
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