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3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee


Postby J888ohn » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:46 pm

Route description: Beinn a'Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Bhuird, Beinn a'Chaorainn (Cairngorms), Beinn Bhreac

Date walked: 17/06/2017

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 37.2 km

Ascent: 1367m

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This weekend was supposed to confirm Big Tommo and I as true Mountain Goats by completing the Mullardoch 12 in a day. The weather was decidedly pants over the north west though, we didn't want to waste a rare weekend off together, decided east was best and headed to Linn of Dee to get the 3 Beinns in a bike 'n' hike. A double first for Big Tommo, his first bike 'n' hike and his first foray into the Cairngorms.

Neither of us felt the need to get up early so we didn't leave until 8am and by the time we got to the Linn of Dee car park it was packed so had to abandon the car on the verge nearby.

Jumped on the bikes and set off along the trail to Derry Lodge. The cycle was lovely through the Pine forest. Easy going trails and stunning scenery. Once out of the forest we could see how far away the hills were and glad we'd brought the bikes. We'd be even more thankful for them on the way back.

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Trail in towards Derry Lodge


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Getting closer to the northern Cairngorms


The hut just past Derry Lodge was a mountain bike car park. Clearly this is a popular option here. We would be descending down Glen Derry so I hoped we could cycle up to, or at least close to, where the ascent to Beinn Bhreac started. We turned right before the bridge over the river and headed up the glen. The path was good for the bikes. A bit more technical than the trails to Derry Lodge and a few stream gullies to negotiate (we had to walk across two) but we got all the way to the start of the ascent and ditched the bikes between a couple of trees just off the trail. The start of the walk would be easy to miss as there is no longer a cairn marking it but the WH GPS was bang on.

We walked uphill through knee high heather. Ideal tick country, appears Big Tommo is more appetising than me as he found one attached to his knee once we got home :shock: The trail quickly gets boggy but is easy to follow. Without too much hassle we were soon clear of the forest and gaining height quickly. Beinn Bhreac was visible the whole way and it only took us an hour of walking to get to the summit. The heather gives way to moorland and finally a rocky summit.

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Ascent path towards Bhreac


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Rocky summit of Bhreac


As promised it was pretty windy up here and I had to do a hasty change of clothing as I had taken off my base layer and cycled in with a T shirt only. I nearly plunged the area into a new Ice Age when my pasty white torso was exposed and started reflecting the sun's rays back into space :lol: :lol:

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View to the Northern Cairngorms


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Looking back towards Linn of Dee and Braemar


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A very cloudy Beinn a'Bhuird


From here we had to plan our attack on Beinn a'Bhuird. In front of us we could clearly see a path up towards the South Summit but we had both studied previous walk reports and a few had favoured a walk across the moorland to the north then swinging a right to go for the North Summit, the Munro top. We initially headed towards the decent into Dubh Ghleann to join the path to the South Summit but it soon became apparent that this was going to lead to a considerable loss of height and a re ascent so we turned around and marched north across the moor.

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The way north with a'Bhuird in the cloud on the right


The going wasn't bad here. We didn't lose a lot of height and the ground was surprisingly dry underfoot. No path or trail whatsoever so it was a case of pick something ahead and just go for it. Soon we were encountering the infamous Cairngorm peat bogs and hopping across the grassy tufts. At least the weather was staying decent and the cloud seemed to be stuck on the northern Cairngorms and Beinn a'Bhuird.

To be honest this walk was so boring. Nothing exciting to look at, to walk over, to aim for. It was just a trudge and a long one at that. It was 4 miles between the summits! When we turned east we aimed for the low point of a rocky scree slope just to the north of the Allt Coire Ruairidh, got there then walked up the side of the gully created by the Allt.

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View north as we headed towards the summit of Beinn a'Bhuird


As we approached the summit the cloud came in around us. It's a really flat summit and, if it wasn't for another walker who decided to stand on top of the cairn, I would've missed it and had to double back. At least the cairn was big enough to shelter us from the now strengthening wind so we could have some lunch.

We'd talked about adding Ben Avon into this trip. A quick check of the GPS showed this was over 4km away to the east so that idea was quickly canned. No views at all at the top so once again it was a case of pick a direction and trudge along. Due west we headed for 2 1/2 miles, clambering down the rock slope we'd avoided on the way up (added some interest to the day) and towards the ridge that was visible to the left of Munro number 3, Beinn a'Chaorainn.

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Beinn a'Chaorainn is the bump in the middle of the 3


Again not much to report here. Trudged through the moor, heather, peat, jumped streams and that's about it. Turned northish once we reached the ridge and walked up through the rock and scree then turned west again to get to the summit. Cloud was starting to get in the way again and the rain was a little more determined.

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Big Tommo on the big trudge to a'Chaorainn


3 and a bit miles and we were on the summit of number 3. Here we got some good views down Glen Derry and were close to the Northern Cairngorms which were huge compared to a'Chaorainn which itself is over 1000m.

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Lee arriving at the summit


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Glen Derry


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Beinn Bhreac was a distant memory!


Didn't hang around here for long as the weather was starting to turn. Headed south west off the summit down a shoulder towards Glen Derry. We weren't losing much height and the glen was well below us when we found the decent path, a steep scree zig zag path down. At last some fun, or it would've been had my socks not felt like they were full of gravel, which they weren't. 1000 mile blister free guarantee my arse!!!!! :(

Descent.jpg
Sock adjustment on the scree path


Now it was time for the long walk back to the bikes. The path through the glen is excellent and thankfully fairly flat. Got a good view into Coire Etchachan with the bothy being dwarfed by it's surroundings.

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The long way home


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The bothy is the tiny white dot in the middle


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Arty shot looking north along the glen


Despite the sore feet I liked this walk through the glen. The scenery was varied and the walking was relatively easy. The bothy was going to be busy as there were several groups making their way to it. What we hadn't studied was the split in the paths at the footbridge across the Derry Burn. Thankfully we figured out we had to keep the Burn to our right hand side to get back to the bikes and didn't cross the bridge. After the 3 1/2 mile hike along the glen we've never been so relieved to jump on the bikes and cycle the last 4.4 miles. It was absolute relief for our feet and legs and good fun when we got some speed going.

These 3 have now been entered onto my list of done and never to return. Found them utterly uninspiring and the only fun bits were the scree descent, and the cycles through the forest.
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby prog99 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:18 pm

You have an unusual outlook on life if you think these hills are boring but then I see you went for the swift tick on Beinn a'Bhuird which misses out one of the grandest corries in scotland.
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby mrssanta » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:43 pm

I really loved these hills, the pine forests, the sense of space and grandeur that you get in the Cairngorms
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby GillSte » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:29 pm

Oh! What a shame you didn't like them. I thought that they were brilliant hills. Lots of space, big sky, easy going, you can scamper around for miles and miles enjoying the views.
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby J888ohn » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:15 pm

prog99 wrote:You have an unusual outlook on life if you think these hills are boring but then I see you went for the swift tick on Beinn a'Bhuird which misses out one of the grandest corries in scotland.


Each to their own Prog99. I much prefer scrambling around the western Munros than trudging over moors. It's not about swift ticks for me, it's about getting the most out of the days I have free and the challenge of multiple munro days. I hope to see the corries when I go to Ben Avon.
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby J888ohn » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:17 pm

mrssanta wrote:I really loved these hills, the pine forests, the sense of space and grandeur that you get in the Cairngorms


Totally agree on the forests Mrs Santa. Could've spent the entire day in there exploring.
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby jupe1407 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:33 pm

These hills can be a bit marmite tbh. I "saved" Beinn Breac for my 141st, got rained on and got no views off either it, or Chaorainn, and the walk in between was pretty bleak in solid clag. I kipped in the Hutchie afterwards, which was brilliant and made it memorable. I did Bhuird with Avon with a good cycle in and had a brilliant walk. It's a fine hill from the East.
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby Sunset tripper » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:54 am

prog99 wrote:You have an unusual outlook on life if you think these hills are boring but then I see you went for the swift tick on Beinn a'Bhuird


There's not much unusual about that. The swift tick, quite often in poor weather is probably the norm. :(



I think if you find these hills boring and the cairngorms boring in general why would you go back?............... it can only be to tick them off :?
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby J888ohn » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:34 pm

Sunset tripper wrote:
prog99 wrote:You have an unusual outlook on life if you think these hills are boring but then I see you went for the swift tick on Beinn a'Bhuird


There's not much unusual about that. The swift tick, quite often in poor weather is probably the norm. :(



I think if you find these hills boring and the cairngorms boring in general why would you go back?............... it can only be to tick them off :?


My aim is to complete the Munros eventually so I will need to go back to the Cairngorms. Can't enjoy them all.
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby big tommo » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:26 pm

O look what you've started John :lol: suppose everybody has their own opinions. Was a long tough day just glad we took the bikes in with us cause the walk out would have been a long slog and killed my feet even more :( . For me not challenging enough like a bit of a scramble but then not all hills are the same. Got some great views and pictures once on the summits. Now onto the next adventure :D
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby Border Reiver » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:32 pm

Firstly, congrats on completing such a big walk in one day. When I climbed Beinn Bhreac & Beinn a Chaorainn I combined them with Ben MacDhui and Carn a Mhaim & it was a tough day too.
I was wondering what motivates you & keeps you going when a walk becomes boring or tedious, because there's many more similar hills in Scotland. I've occasionally turned back through lack of motivation, but only because I was totally worn out through days on end of walking. Nothing could have motivated me on those occasions.
I've never been bored on any walk, I can find things of interest in everything from clouds to rivers to wildlife and plants.
I noticed on Black Panther's walks that are done in less than perfect weather or on challenging terrain, she shows us photos of frogs, insects, strange rocks, rare plants, birds, animals etc. Obviously she must have an interest in all things in the great outdoors that keeps her motivated when the wider views are less good. I guess we're all different, as others have already pointed out.
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby Sunset tripper » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:55 pm

I agree most people including myself find the west coast munros and ridges like the Aonach Eagach to be more fun and to offer a bigger challenge in fantastic scenery. I live near the cairngorms but if the weather is good everywhere I always head for places in the west like Glencoe or similar. If the forecast is poor in the west but good in the cairngorms I go there and always have a decent day (or two) out.
I'm not really into bagging (though I do sometimes see the attraction :roll: )
If I thought I was not going to enjoy a day in the hills I would go somewhere else or do something else rather than waste a day. :D

If you feel you have to do the cairngorms but find them uninspiring or not very challenging save them for the depths of winter.
All the best :D
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby Cuilvista » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:00 am

I think its unfair for people to pass judgement on J888ohn.

as i have got older I have found I am now enjoying the journey more rather than focusing on the destination, is it an age thing?
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby LeithySuburbs » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:58 am

I enjoyed your report John. I've been up the Derry 2 a couple of times and mostly share your feelings on them.

The idea that every walk/hill has to be some sort of life affirming, soul enriching experience is just nonsense. People walk for all kinds of reasons and none are better or worse than others. The "no hills are boring" cliche is often trotted out as if everyone has to share the same point of view on everything.

prog99 wrote:I see you went for the swift tick on Beinn a'Bhuird which misses out one of the grandest corries in scotland.

Yes, he must have forgot to refer to that well known objective piece of literature known as Scotland's Finest Corries in his wicked quest for the tick.

As a lover of scrambling and easy climbing, I always look first to Skye and Glencoe (and even abroad these days) before Scotland's more rounded humps. Like you, it is usually a case of where the forecast dictates. I doubt I will return to some of the Cairngorm summits but do enjoy wandering around the glens and forests and taking things at a relaxed pace.
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Re: 3 boring Beinns from Linn of Dee

Postby Moriarty » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:10 pm

LeithySuburbs wrote:The idea that every walk/hill has to be some sort of life affirming, soul enriching experience is just nonsense. People walk for all kinds of reasons and none are better or worse than others. The "no hills are boring" cliche is often trotted out as if everyone has to share the same point of view on everything.

The "no hills are boring" cliche is usually trotted out by people who find no day out on the hills boring and struggle to get their heads round a rather odd concept of boredom out in the hills. Personally, life affirming is having a pulse at the end of the day and soul enriching is having non-wage slave memories to tide me through the shifts so - yes, they all are. :wink:

It's often compounded by the fact that, very frequently, the bored report back from days of bad weather and/or routes that are uninspired and avoid the best features of the area (I'd reference Tolmount/Tom Buidhe on a multi-munro bagging trudge that completely avoids the colossal coires like Caenlochan/Canness/Kander).

You could also report back from a Tourist Path ascent of Ben Nevis that it was a boring hill (like some of the recent Tripadvisor reports) while others are loving a day out on the CMD arete or the North Face. Equally, you can touch the summit of Beinn a Bhuird on a nondescript flat top while smiley folks who've climbed and scrambled on various routes wander past metabolising away the adrenaline.

First World Problems I suppose - using social media to report on lovely days out on the hills is a conspicuous enough display of wealth, reporting on "having" to throw away days on boredom to tick a list seems profligate. :?

Fair enough to the OP - an honest report, and like you the glens and forests in the area are also an enjoyable place to be. :)
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