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Halfway round on Sgor Gaoith

Halfway round on Sgor Gaoith

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:20 pm

Munros included on this walk: Mullach Clach a'Bhlair, Sgor Gaoith

Date walked: 28/06/2017

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 25 km

Ascent: 1120m

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I had a week off for walking at the end of June, and I had another one of those personal milestones in my sights, the halfway mark of the Munros, i.e. my personal No. 141. Having done Cairn Gorm and Beinn Mheadhoin via the Shelter Stone Crag on Saturday 24th June, and then the fairly tough round of three (by my standards anyway :lol: ) in Glendessary on the Monday 26th June, I was ideally looking for something a tad less strenuous on the Wednesday to inch me over the halfway mark... However, having reached Number 100 on the somewhat uninspiring Carn Sgulain in the Monadhliadh, I also thought it might be nice to choose a hill with some aspirations to pointiness for Number 141 :lol: . I'd stayed over with friends near Elgin on the Tuesday night, and after some perusal of the map, I went for the Glen Feshie duo of Sgor Gaoith and Mullach Clach a Bhlair. By all accounts Sgor Gaoith was a shapely peak, and with luck I might even get some views :) ...

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It's not too far a drive from Elgin to Achlean in Glen Feshie, so I didn't even need that early a start. As I set off from the big car park at the end of the public road, the higher peaks still had their heads in the Clag, but it was dry and the forecast was looking promising :) . It wasn't far at all down the continuing track from the car park to the point where a good path branches off left to the north off the Allt Fhearnagain, to eventually reach the Cairngorms plateau near Sgor Gaoith's southern Top, Carn Ban Mor. Even by my navigational standards it would have been hard to get lost, given the presence of a big boulder with 'Carn Ban Mor' carved on it at the start of the path :lol: !
WR1 - boulder pointing the way to Carn Ban Mor.jpg

The path is good at the start, and soon gets even better - it was a real pleasure to walk, and after the bogfest of Glendessary just a couple of days earlier, this really felt like a totally different country... it still never fails to surprise me just how much drier the Cairngorms are compared with the West Coast hills.
WR2 - good path at the start.jpg

A bit higher up and some breaks were starting to appear in the cloud, with Carn Ban Mor looming somewhere up there on the right.
WR3 - still a good path with Carn Ban Mor looming up on the right.jpg

There was a fine view back down west into Glen Feshie, which is definitely one of the most scenic of the Cairngorms glens.
WR4 - view back down W into Glen Feshie.jpg

The remarkably well-engineered path made for almost embarrassingly easy height gain, and before long I reached the sizeable cairn where the path reaches the plateau, with side paths radiating off in all directions like the spokes of a wheel.
WR5 - cairn with paths off in all directions.jpg

The side path for Carn Ban Mor looked as though it was the one that took a relatively sharp left, so I headed off up that one, and sure enough, Carn Ban Mor's big windshelter cairn soon came looming out of the Clag ahead.
WR6 - Carn Ban Mor windshelter cairn.jpg

To my delight, the Clag really started to break up just as I headed off north from Carn Ban Mor towards Sgor Gaoith, and I got a sudden and rather unexpected view of Braeriach looming massively to the east across Gleann Einich :D .
WR7 - Braeriach emerging rather suddenly out of the Clag.jpg

Five minutes later, Sgor Gaoith itself had emerged out of the Clag, and was looking enticingly pointy to the north :) .
WR8 - Sgor Gaoith hazy but pointy in the distance.jpg

Within another five minutes, however, the Clag had rallied and was fighting back, and for a while it was looking touch and go whether I'd get to the summit in time for a view :? ...
WR9 - racing the Clag to the top.jpg

Just as I was on the final approach, however, the Clag relented and suddenly shuffled off to the south, to reveal the famous view down to Loch Einich far, far below, with Braeriach and its sister peaks looming across the loch :D . I really didn't deserve such luck, but I wasn't complaining!
WR10 - The View - 1.jpg

More views:
WR11 - The View - 2.jpg
WR12 - The View - 3.jpg
WR13 - The View - 4.jpg

So, halfway round the Munros at last, although I'd have to admit that it has very much been the Easy Half :lol: ! All the same, I felt that the occasion did call for a Summit Selfie... Just humour me.
WR14 - Sgor Gaoith summit selfie.jpg

Enough of the photography, already... since I was in the vicinity anyway, I thought I might as well try to get Mullach Clach a'Bhlair bagged as well. I headed off the way I'd come up, back down to Carn Ban Mor, and on to the cairn to its south with paths in all directions. I took a bit of a long road for a short cut at this point, continuing on the main path which takes a bit of a detour east into the western fringes of the Moine Mhor, where I could have taken the fainter path just to the right which heads more directly towards the Mullach. However, the Clag had come back down with a vengeance by now, and I thought that the more established path might be the safer option. Eventually it joined a track at another cairn. A left turn here would be the standard route to those two more remote Munros of the Moine Mhor, Monadh Mhor and Beinn Bhrotain: however, I took the right turn instead, to head back southwest towards Mullach Clach a'Bhlair. First, however, I stopped to eat my sandwiches. There wasn't much of a view :lol: !
WR15 - rather unprepossessing lunch stop looking back to Carn Ban Mor in clag and trackside cairn.jpg

The ongoing track soon became a bit of a six-lane Autobahn, and I made more rapid progress towards the Mullach than I'd expected...
WR16 - six-lane Autobahn almost all the way to Mullach summit now.jpg

The track makes a dog-leg round a wee stream and soon afterwards meets another big track that comes up the south side of Coire Garbhlach, which I was hoping to use as my descent route. Not much further on, a cairn marks the start of the side-path off the the right which makes the final ascent up to Mullach Clach a'Bhlair's summit.
WR17 - cairn marking final ascent path to Mullach.jpg

My luck was really in today: the Clag had completely lifted again at this point, and I got some grand views from this summit too :D . Looking back north to Sgor Gaoith, with Braeriach et al over to the northeast:
WR18 - Sgor Gaoith with Braeriach et al from Mullach cairn.jpg

...And a slightly zoomed shot of Braeriach, with the contrasting summits of pointy Sgor an Lochan Uaine and oddly trapezoidal Cairn Toul over to its right:
WR19 - slightly zoomed shot to Braeriach & Sgorr an L Uaine & Cairn Toul.jpg

Hopefully this wasn't the end of the scenery, however: by all accounts, the descent track from the Mullach should yield some fine views of the impressive Coire Garbhlach. I headed off downhill, and sure enough, Coire Garbhlach started to emerge ahead...
WR20 - on descent with Garbh Coire becoming visible.jpg

I took a bit of a short cut to the right of the track along the edge of the corry rim to get better views:
WR21 - on Garbh Coire rim.jpg
WR22 - view to head of Garbh Coire.jpg

It was now a very straightforward stoat down the track into upper Glen Feshie. At this point, there is a choice: you can either cross a reconstructed bridge over the River Feshie to take the private road back north on the west bank of the river, or take the slightly rougher but more scenic path through some lovely ancient pinewoods on the east bank of the river to get slightly more directly back to Achlean. I took the east bank option through the pinewoods.
WR23 - lovely pinewoods on descent into Glen Feshie.jpg

The path was well-maintained on the whole, although there was an interesting wee section where it has to make a dog-leg to the right because the original riverside path has been washed away by recent heavy floods. Further on, where the path crosses the Allt Garbhlach on stepping stones, the start of the continuing section has been completely washed away by the same floods, so it is now necessary to scramble up the north bank of the Allt to re-join the path. Quite good fun, actually :) .
WR24 - mildly scrambly bit at river crossing where path has been washed away.jpg

From here on, it was a straightforward schlep northwards back to the car park at Achlean.
Well, to be honest I'd never really expected to get halfway round the Munros when I started doing them in a rather desultory manner about seven years ago, and I still make no promises (to myself or anyone else) of ever Compleating: I can't say that the In Pinn is looking any less terrifying :shock: ... However, am I intending to keep going and just maybe give it a shot one day? You bet :wink: .
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Re: Halfway round on Sgor Gaoith

Postby gammy leg walker » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:21 pm

Good walk linking these two with a fine halfway landmark into the bargain

Metaphorically is down hill from here on in :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Halfway round on Sgor Gaoith

Postby spiderwebb » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:16 pm

Well done on the half way, a fine mountain for 141 :D
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Re: Halfway round on Sgor Gaoith

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:38 pm

Congratulations on the half way point :clap: - I have great respect for Sgor Gaoith ever since a friend told me he nearly took the quick route to Loch Einich trying to find Sgor Gaoith's summit in a whiteout :shock: :roll:
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