After yesterday's little runt success today was the turn of its big brother, big runt, otherwise known as the Corbett ‘ Carn an Fhreiceadain. The met office forecast was consistent for this week, rain by 1pm. Initially when I woke it was grey and gloomy but by the time I had my toast & cuppa it had brightened up a little so off to Kingussie.
From my research and yesterdays observations I knew that there was an estate grouse track basically up and down the route. Fairly straightforward walking and little navigation required.
As I arrived at the car park I saw 2 guys walking away up the hill but never saw them again so they were not on my route. Exactly on 9am I started walking by crossing the Gynack burn and followed the road to the golf course and into a pleasant tree lined section with the crystal clear water in the burn running fast on my left, I thought I might try that later, more of.
Walkhighlands route guide said to turn right and not cross a wooden bridge at the estate. As I approached a wooden bridge I could see a big house through the trees so I went right on a clear track before the bridge, besides which a large digger was carrying out work. After 10 minutes I had my doubts, the track was not going as I thought. Map out, back down to bridge and about 300 yards later a 2nd wooden bridge!!
There are some choices, straight up the west route to the Carn and return or take a circuit to include Beinn Bhreac going west to east or vice versa. The latter was my choice so I took the right turn and up the path, soon coming to a deer fence which I thought I was going to climb it as the latch would not open but eventually got there.
Now out on the open moorland the track meanders and rises gently, my kind of walking. Plenty of sheep about and a few beautifully coloured male pheasants honking away. There are already good views across to the Cairngorms and on your left Creag Dhubh is the imposing hill.
Making good time I catch a glimpse of a sheep down a gulley disappearing behind a mound but something didn’t seem right and when I next spotted it, indeed I was wrong, it was a pair of mountain hares with most of their winter coat. Many more were to be seen today and some remained almost within touching distance. I wouldn’t have thought they see many people maybe it's just that. I took a nice close up shot, checked the camera to find a message ‘no sd card’. Curses, amateur hour, I had left it in the laptop when transferring yesterday's snaps. Luckily mobile camera but no close ups.
The other prominent species were the plentiful red grouse. Again some remained so close it was unreal. Others did their normal behaviour and burst out from the gorse beside the track with the explosion of noise that gives the heart a flutter.
The path moves quite a bit eastwards of the Carn but when it turns back I soon spot the Green Bothy in the distance, something to focus on. The gradient is starting to increase, I knew the easy stuff couldn’t last, and it ramps it up from here to Beinn Bhreac. The expanding views are great but looking back an ominous black & solid weather front is coming this way, Newtonmore disappearing. So on with rain gear, needed anyway as the very strong winds were pretty chilly.
I reach Beinn Bhreac to a disappointingly small cairn, maybe as it has no classification of its own walkers just go on by. Still spend a minute taking in the views, remote countryside indeed.
I turn into the wind and head to trig point which is some distance away, the path twisting and turning, dropping down before climbing again, I didn’t need that. Thankfully the weather front has blown through to my east missing me but giving the cairngorm tops a new dusting of snow, my lucky day? Snow is still lightly holding on up here, clinging to the heather.
I stop at the trig and small cairn to take in the views which even with today’s weather are good. The Monadhliath mountain range is one huge area of remoteness. Newtonmore hills not far away. I can also see a range of snow topped mountains way to the west which I assume will be the Fort William/Mamores area.
On the summit this is a large expanse of flat land, if it were not for the estate grouse track navigation could be an issue in inclement weather.
From the trig, going west there is a much more impressive stack so off I go to explore. Not sure why it is there but it is very well constructed and the views are excellent.
But it is too cold to hang around so I follow the track downwards. No doubt this western side seems to be a steeper gradient. Views still great I take a break for food in a sheltered area looking down onto another bothy. The grouse shooters are well looked after on this estate.
Almost over and I now meet my only other walker of the day. We stop and chat for a couple of minutes, she is young and foreign and looking a bit underdressed for the weather, I hope the weather stayed good for her.
Down here there are wide areas where the heather has slipped, a lot of erosion.
Almost there and I see that the big digger is now well into the bank on the other side of the bridge. Later, when going past the golf course, the previously clear water is now silt brown, if the burn was a fishing water and Sepa informed I suspect digger man would be in trouble.
Back at the car I check the stats. Time taken 4 hours 24 minutes. Distance walked 11.46 miles and climbing was 665 metres. Happy with all that a good day and a beer awaits.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.