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Back to the Big Hills - Beinn a'Bhuird & Ben Avon

Back to the Big Hills - Beinn a'Bhuird & Ben Avon


Postby jupe1407 » Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:39 pm

Route description: Beinn a' Bhuird

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Bhuird, Ben Avon

Date walked: 25/10/2016

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 39.2 km

Ascent: 1652m

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After spending the weekend mulling over some potential walks, a late change in the forecast, and to be quite frank, my laziness meant I couldn't be bothered doing any hills. Staying in, drinking coffee and watching both of my football accumulators crash and burn seemed much more appealing. However, a surprisingly optimistic forecast from MWIS for the Cairngorm NP had me considering a midweek outing. Maps were consulted, and given the recent positive news over my knee injury I felt it might be possible to resurrect my plan to finish all the "east of the A9" munros before the end of the year. This pretty much meant tackling the big two I had left in the east, Beinn a'Bhuird and Ben Avon before available daylight shortened even more, and the snows came. This also meant employing the mountain bike approach (apologies in advance to purists :lol: ).

I finally settled on starting from the Car Park at Keiloch (£2.50 charge) but fair enough as it's a good wee car park and has a toilet that doesn't resemble the infamous scene from Trainspotting. So with the planning done, all that remained was to put in an Annual Leave request for Tuesday. the boss was at a meeting so this was done via a post-it note left on her desk at 4:30pm :lol:

Early starts in autumn/winter are not great, especially with a bike as this involves fumbling about with a bike rack in the freezing cold at 6am, while the car defrosts and hoping you don't wake the neighbours with various expletives as the cogs take a chunk out of your fingers. Still, mission eventually accomplished and I made decent time, arriving at Keiloch at 8:45am. It was pretty nippy and the car park was quiet. Had a quick chat with a guy who was off to the Stuic for Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach and Lochnagar, then set off, initially taking a wrong turn before correcting myself and tanking along the excellent tarmac estate road. This eventually leads to a rougher forest track, and onto Glen an-t Slugain. If taking a bike, it's definitely worth taking the branch off to the right before the drop into the fairy glen. It's a granny-gear push, but almost all rideable. When this throws you out the other end, the landscape changes completely as the bulk of Beinn a'Bhuird appears. The route then become a nice singletrack with a proliferation of drainage channels. I managed to bump over most of them, before eventually dumping the bike at the foot of Carn Eas. Just then the sun started breaking through the cloud and the light was lovely.

Image
Just before the bike dump


The cycle in had been a long gentle ascent of approx 700m, but it felt good to be on foot for a change. I headed along the excellent path for a short while, following it left then back to the right to head up the Sneck. The map shows a path straight up but it's hard to spot. I'm assuming the NTS are trying to let the old one recover. The path continues up to the Sneck on a mostly decent, if occasionally rough surface. It felt quite claustrophic, hemmed in my the hillsides, with low clag and a cold wind around as well.

Image
Well, this is less than promising


I soon reached the extremely windy Sneck and sat down to decide which mountain to tackle first. Beinn a'Bhuird is a longer walk out and back so I wanted to get that over with first. I started up the clear, but eroded path. Just at that moment the clag started to dissipate, and the views were tremendous.

Image
Towards Garbh Choire


Having intended to get moving, I hung around as the cloud blew through to take in the views. What an awesome place!

Image
The Sneck

After a few minutes, I decided I'd better get a move on, as i was working to approximate (and slightly ambitious timings). The ascent to Cnap a'Cleirich was steep, eroded and fairly tedious. However it eased off before long, passing the lovely summit tor.

Image
At Cnap a'Chleirich back towards Ben Avon

I now had my first view of the summit area of Beinn a'Bhuird. It looked less than dramatic, however the surrounding corries and cliffs made up for that. As did the very gentle remaining ascent.

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I reached the summit cairn after a brief chat with another walker who was heading off to find a decent camp spot.

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I was now mindful of time and trying to work out if i had enough time left to summit Ben Avon, walk back to the bike, and get out before sunset.

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Beinn a'Bhuird Summit


I decided to try to get back to the Sneck by 2:30pm then decide. I made it back at 2:28pm :lol:

Image
Another look down Garbh Choire. Stunning place.


Quickly demolishing a sandwich and consulting the map, I figured I could make if i hammered it up the ascent path, didn't stay at the summit for too long and hammered it back. Somehow I got to the summit tor in only 30ish minutes. I faffed around trying to scramble to the top, eventually making it, but didn't hang around. It was bitterly cold now.

Image
En-route to Ben Avon


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Leabaidh an Daimh Buidhe


I got back to the Sneck equally quickly, had a quick chat with another camper, then headed the path, eventually having a wee rest when i reached my bike. It was now 4:30pm, so I could relax as i didn't expect the return cycle to take much more than an hour.

There was some nice late, golden light as the sun started to drop.

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Golden Light


As it happens I was just under the hour mark. The return cycle was fantastic, other than three short uphill sections, it was almost a freewheel back to the car park, albeit over some tricky and rock stretches. I also had a brief chat with a couple who'd done Beinn a'Bhuird via the south top on the way back. I got back to the car having been out for 8.5 hours. Although pretty exhausting, this was a great day out, one of my favourites in the 'gorms, two hard-won munros and a fine warm up for the WH meet next week.
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jupe1407
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Re: Back to the Big Hills - Beinn a'Bhuird & Ben Avon

Postby ancancha » Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:13 am

Nice day out Jupe, and views to make it worthwhile :clap:
I lucked out on these two, clag and rain for the separate days I biker hiked them, cest la vie :(
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ancancha
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Re: Back to the Big Hills - Beinn a'Bhuird & Ben Avon

Postby penelope1 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:13 pm

Thanks for the lovely pictures of these two stunning hills... interesting to see very little snow up there yet.

I'm planning to go up to the Braemar area next week and will certainly be using my bike for the approach!
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Re: Back to the Big Hills - Beinn a'Bhuird & Ben Avon

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:54 pm

Well done, that was a great trip, even if I don't use a bike (that's because my cycling skills are rubbish :lol: :lol: ) Lovely autumn photos, the low cloud certainly adds atmosphere :clap: :clap:
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Re: Back to the Big Hills - Beinn a'Bhuird & Ben Avon

Postby dav2930 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:39 pm

Great day out. I enjoyed these two very much when I did them in April 2015 (also using a bike). I agree that the Sneck is awesome. Did Avon first then Bhuird and along the corrie rims to south top. Crossing the burn (in spate) to get back to Slugain was problematic though; you were maybe wise to avoid that.

Nice report and pics. :)
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Re: Back to the Big Hills - Beinn a'Bhuird & Ben Avon

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:31 pm

Beautiful photos, Was hoping to get out there this year but I think we have missed the oppertunity. Your report has made more determined for next year.
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Cairngorm creeper
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Re: Back to the Big Hills - Beinn a'Bhuird & Ben Avon

Postby Collaciotach » Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:40 pm

Good stuff . I enjoyed these two myself and walked the whole route :wink:
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Re: Back to the Big Hills - Beinn a'Bhuird & Ben Avon

Postby jupe1407 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:47 pm

ancancha wrote:Nice day out Jupe, and views to make it worthwhile :clap:
I lucked out on these two, clag and rain for the separate days I biker hiked them, cest la vie :(


That's pretty unfortunate for what is two pretty long trips! I expected a clagfest on the way up to the Sneck, but i was pretty lucky.

penelope1 wrote:Thanks for the lovely pictures of these two stunning hills... interesting to see very little snow up there yet.
I'm planning to go up to the Braemar area next week and will certainly be using my bike for the approach!


Thanks Penelope. There was the faintest of dustings on Beinn a'Bhuird and some on the Ben Avon tor, but nothing else. I hope you get good conditions. I can't recommend a bike on these two highly enough :lol:

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Well done, that was a great trip, even if I don't use a bike (that's because my cycling skills are rubbish :lol: :lol: ) Lovely autumn photos, the low cloud certainly adds atmosphere :clap: :clap:


Thanks Huff n Puff. Even with a bike, it's still a fair old day out, as I found out when trying to get out of bed this morning :lol:

dav2930 wrote:Great day out. I enjoyed these two very much when I did them in April 2015 (also using a bike). I agree that the Sneck is awesome. Did Avon first then Bhuird and along the corrie rims to south top. Crossing the burn (in spate) to get back to Slugain was problematic though; you were maybe wise to avoid that.

Nice report and pics. :)


Thanks Dav. I dumped my bike too far up for that option I think. If i go back up there, I'd quite like to explore the corrie rims. They're quite dramatic!

Cairngorm creeper wrote:Beautiful photos, Was hoping to get out there this year but I think we have missed the oppertunity. Your report has made more determined for next year.


Thanks CC. They are grand hills, but at this time of year, even with the bike, getting out and back in daylight would be a push.

Collaciotach wrote:Good stuff . I enjoyed these two myself and walked the whole route :wink:


Well done. I'd have been in tears :lol:
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