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Sgor Mor - the great expectations

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:53 pm
by BlackPanther
Another cloudy, windy Saturday, another Corbett on the list. We're getting close to the magic 111 (half way point on C's), a number I never ever expected to reach when I started bagging hills almost a decade ago. Munros, yes, the compleating bug was there somewhere inside me from the very start, but Corbetts and Grahams? Just some hills to enjoy as a sidekick to M bagging, especially in winter when the "biggies" are out of reach.

Sgor Mor was never high on the list of my priorities, more a "spare option" when we camped in Braemar area, but we never got around to climbing this hill. Now, with all Braemar Munros done and dusted, Sgor Mor looked like a decent option for a day with unsettled weather.

One word of warning: the initial climb for this hill is pathless and much overgrown with heather. So don't tackle it if you prefer yellow brick road to the summit :wink:

Track_SGOR MOR 06-08-16.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

From Linn of Dee car park we followed the road for a short time. I felt odd, walking the track we tackled the week before with our bikes, going for Geldie Munros. Now, much easier route before me, I remembered the struggle and smiled. The kind of things we do to reach the summit!
I don't know why we convinced ourselves that there must be a path up that slope somewhere. It seemed impossible for me, that Sgor Mor didn't have a well-worn route up the slope, being so close to the car park and possibly the easiest hill in this area.
Of course, I was wrong. Maybe most people are so spoiled for choice with the close proximity of so many majestic Munros, that nobody cares about Sgor Mor, poor Corbett, another BHL! I almost feel sorry for this mountain!
There must be a path up there... or maybe not?...
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The highest tops were hidden in cloud, but the lower slopes of surrounding hills looked lovely in purple:
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We tackled the slope with determination, marching through the purple sea of heather. As the slope got steeper, climbing became harder. We aimed for the gap between two areas of forest, from below it looked like there shouldn't be any obstacles on the way, apart from the scratchy heather.
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After less than 100m of climbing, we suddenly came across a fence. It blends well with the trees and is hard to spot from below. And no chance to climb over this obstacle, as it's actually two lines of electric wires, very close together. We were a bit confused, didn't remember this being mentioned in WH description. The fence looked brand new so here was the explanation.
We had a look around and I spotted something resembling a gate further to the left, so we walked alongside the fence till we entered the forest and yessss! It was a gate! It's not visible from below as hidden in the woods, but it is there indeed (grid ref: 053901)
Past the gate, the slope was still very steep and overgrown, my muscles were warming up nicely :wink:
Linn of Dee from above:
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We reached the first top (630m) and stopped to... take off boots and clean our socks from scratchy bits of heather. Maybe it would be a good idea to wear gaiters on this ascent.
Views were limited, cloud low on the Cairngorms:
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A shower passing by, this one never reached us:
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From Carn an 'lc Duibhe, it's a rather uninspiring walk to the next top, Sgor Dubh. We followed a fence across the boggy plateau, aiming for the crags on the ridge:
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From Sgor Dubh, we noticed that the summit was in cloud, but the wind was quite strong and we hoped that maybe, just maybe, it will shift the clag away from the top by the time we get there:
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Sgor Dubh has a trig point and a large stone shelter, so we decided to take a longer break here, drink some tea and record the views (as long as we had any at all!):
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Not the best looking day:
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It was getting colder and windier by minute, so after a cuppa, we dug up waterproofs ad prepared for the final walk to the summit:
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Like most Cairngorm hills, the ridge of Sgor Mor is dotted with crags and small tors, nothing spectacular but at least the traverse is not monotonous:
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The rain we feared, never came, but the clag began to lift even of the higher hills. Carn a'Mhaim:
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Devil's Point:
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Upper Dee and Geldie Munros:
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Ready for the last push:
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Past some more crags and rocks, we reached the top. It was windy but views were much better than expected, the clag was definitely lifting and at least I could pose for a summit snap with some decent views in the background, rather than "a cairn in the mist" photo:
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Kevin and the summit cairn/shelter:
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Views from the summit:
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Devil's point and Lairig Ghru:
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Carn a'Mhaim and Derry Cairngorm,Ben McDui behind them still hidden in cloud:
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Sgor Mor has its own share of monsters turned to stone:
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WH route suggest descending north via Creagan nan Gabhar, but we opted for easier and slightly shorter version by aiming south into Glen Dee, along the ridge of Sgor na Cuileige. Lower down we followed a stream, past some small waterfalls, until we joined the Glen Dee path.
Weather has improved, indeed, and since we were now sheltered from the wind by the upper slopes of the Corbett, we enjoyed a nice afternoon:
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Looking back at our line of descent, Sgor na Cuileige dominates the view:
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Looking up Glen Dee:
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Once on the path and with lots of time left, we slowed to a stroll and stopped ever so often to photograph the river. Some impressive waterfalls on the way:
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We took a longer break on the rocks by the river, no need to hurry now:
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The path eventually joins the main Geldie track. As we walked, some cyclists passed us. We just giggled, thinking about our previous experience with bikes on this track... and we both quietly admitted, we knew how they felt :lol: :lol:
Back on the beaten track:
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On the return to the car park, we were attacked by a swarm of hungry midges and quickly jumped into the car to avoid being sucked dry! :lol:
Sgor Mor might not win any prizes for the most exciting hill in the area, but it's a good half-day walk on easy ground (apart from the initial climb on scratchy heather) and if tackled on a good day, it will pay back for the effort with excellent views to the neighbouring Cairngorms.

Re: Sgor Mor - the great expectations

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:40 am
by kevsbald
I love the solitude of the hill. And the interesting views to the Cairngorms.