With great weather predicted (high 20's) for the end of the week leading into the Bank Holiday weekend I decided to take the Friday off work and head down Glen Ey for the far away hills of Carn Bhac and Beinn Iutharn Mhor. After slapping on the factor 50 sun cream I said goodbye to the wife at the car park at Inverey at around 09:20 and set off on a bike I'd borrowed from the wife's brother-in-law. Now one of the reasons I don't own my own bike is I've never really been a fan of cycling. However on the few occasions I have used a bike to tackle long approaches the speedy and time saving returns have made the efforts of the outward journey worthwhile and this was no exception.
After just over an hours cycle in the very hot conditions I arrived at Altanour Lodge already knackered and soaking in sweat. I decided a change of t-shirt was already in order and after chaining the bike against the new looking fencing surrounding the lodge I set off up the track beyond.
I followed one of the paths from where the track ended and crossed the Alltan Odha where I soon found myself off-piste tramping through heather. I made a rising traverse up the side of the ridge between it and the Allt nan Clach Geala aiming for what looked like a white path up Carn Bhac.
I felt myself severely flagging in the heat and by the time I reached the start of the white stone path I needed a sit down. I began to think that perhaps one Munro might be enough in these conditions. I downed a litre of water and had a sandwich and after about 15 mins began to feel more energised. I set off up the path and realised that I was actually only about 10 minutes from the top of Carn Bhac with its stony top and twin cairns.
Fortunately there was a breeze at the summit so I made my mind up that I would carry on to Beinn Iutharn Mhor. I followed the ridge towards to the 920m top then down southwards towards the 789m bealach and what looked like a huge area of peat hags. With the recent hot dry period it was easy to cross but in normal conditions I would imagine it would be horrific. I spent the entire time crossing the peat hags looking up at the very steep flank of Beinn Iutharn Mhor trying to work out the best line of attack. I chose what looked like a route with the most amount of grass and least nasty looking scree however the scree was hard to completely avoid and proved very loose which wasn't pleasant on such a steep ascent. I had a couple of sit down's on the way and was relieved when I finally after a hot hard slog reached the summit ridge.
After a brief stop at the large summit cairn I retraced my footsteps back along the ridge then followed it to the end as it turns back to the east where I picked up the steep path back down to the moorland. On the way down I spied what looked like a small building on some slightly higher ground so I aimed for that. I was soon off-piste again tramping through bog and heather. The building turned out to be a grouse butt which had tyre tracks leading away from it. I followed these all the way back to a bridge that crossed back over the Alltan Odhar just before the lodge.
The bike ride back to Inverey was exhilarating and fast only taking about 30 mins or so arriving back 7hrs 50mins after I departed. The wife was waiting for me and told me of her visit to Balmoral where she very unexpectedly bumped into the Queen (and got a hello) who apparently makes a visit for this Bank Holiday weekend every year to check on her horses. It was still scorching hot so a stop in Braemar for an ice cream was required before the drive back to the in-laws in Blairgowrie.
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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.