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Windy Weekend in the Cairngorms

Windy Weekend in the Cairngorms


Postby weaselmaster » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:02 am

Munros included on this walk: Bynack More, Cairn Gorm, Sgor Gaoith

Date walked: 24/09/2017

Time taken: 21.5 hours

Distance: 71.3 km

Ascent: 4064m

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Wasn't really sure where to go this weekend - we had three days at our disposal but the weather forecast was not of the best. With Allison keen to reuce her remaining Munro Tops it seemed reasonable to head up to the Cairngorms once again - there were several to pick off around cairn Gorm itself, plus a trio in Glen Feshie. Rothiemurchus campsite was chosen - but one slight problem - they don't admit arrivals after 8pm. With Allison finishing sometime after 4 on Thursday and the usual Glasgow traffic at that time of day, it would be touch and go whether we made it. As it transpired we did so with 15 minutes remaining but it made for a more stressful journey than otherwise would have been the case. Once there we pitched amongst the pines, enjoying the resinous scent and swoosh of branches in the breeze.


bynacks(1).gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Friday - this was an opportunity to tag a couple of Simms onto Cairn Gorm and Bynack More, including Stac na h-Iolaire which i'd looked at on several previous occasions from Strath Nethy with interest. Quite a windy morning though bright and sunny when we set out from just past Glenmore Lodge. The route took us up Creag nan Gall - I'd seen what looked like a track on the map but this was a figleaf of the imagination - or may have been a track in a previous life. What we had was a very steep climb up through dense heather and scrub for the first couple of hundred metres, then a (slightly) more relaxed ascent over open hillside to the summit. Once up the going was easier - we followed a faint path towards Stac na h-Iolaire, passing a deep craggy cleft. When we reached the top of the Stac, the clag had drifted in and views were curtailed, but it's a fine spot. A Peregrine, rather than an Eagle swept from the summit off into the air as I arrived.

Creag nan Gall
ImageP1170514 by Al, on Flickr

Not as pretty climbing through it as it looks
ImageP1170515 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Creag nan Gall
ImageP1170517 by Al, on Flickr

Cleft
ImageP1170518 by Al, on Flickr

Stac na h-Iolaire
ImageP1170520 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1170521 by Al, on Flickr

Next section climbs a shoulder of Cairn Gorm, Sron a'Cha-no. Looking back there was a fine rainbow away to the north - indeed it was to be a day of rainbows. The ascent is straightforward and passes over an ex-Munro Top (there are numerous on Cairn Gorm). The wind increased as we climbed - and the rain came in waves. It was blowy at the summit of Cnap Coire na Spreidhe and ferocious at the top of Cairn Gorm itself. We followed the boundary line down towards The Saddle, skirting round the crags and slabs then joining the path. next up was the Top of A'Choinneach, with the double head of the Bynacks before us, glimpsed every now and then through the clag. A fairly straigh line was taken to Bynack Beg, quite wet underfoot as we reached the Allt, then an easy ascent to the granite boulders at the summit. A clear path leads up to the summit of Bynack More. I can remember last time I was here - in freezing snow/ice and feeling awful {{shudder}}.

The first of many rainbows - Meall a'Buachaille in backdrop
ImageP1170523 by Al, on Flickr

Windy on Cnap Coire na Spreidhe
ImageP1170526 by Al, on Flickr

...and Cairn Gorm
ImageP1170527 by Al, on Flickr

Slabs - best avoided in the wet
ImageP1170529 by Al, on Flickr

A'Choinneach
ImageP1170530 by Al, on Flickr

The Bynacks ahead
ImageP1170531 by Al, on Flickr

Atop Bynack Beag
ImageP1170533 by Al, on Flickr

and More
ImageP1170534 by Al, on Flickr


We trotted down the track towards the footbridge at the River Nethy, where a contingent of teens were in the process of setting up camp - looked like a DofE outing and there were several other parties of young folk on their way - looked like being a busy spot. Back through the woods to the car and a good enough evening to sit outside and have our tea at the campsite.

Big rainbow
ImageP1170535 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1170536 by Al, on Flickr



gormz.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Saturday was back up Cairn Gorm way to do Coire Lochan and Creag an Leth-Choin. Allison suggested ascending by way of the Fiacaill Ridge, which sounded good - that is until we drove up to the ski centre car park and experienced the wind. If yesterday had been fierce, today was a good deal worse. As the wind was coming from the SE it would have made the ridge uncomfortably exposed - we thought better of it and settled for the track into Coire an Lochain. There were a number of folk about braving the elements, sun was shining though cloud was on and off the tops. A pleasant walk up, enveloped in cloud when we got to the top of Y Gully and grey sky from the first Top, Cairn Lochan. We set off for Stob Coire an t-Sneachda - although I was absolutely sure she'd already done this when we did Cairn Gorm from MacDhui in the past. We walked out to the edge of the Fiacaill Buttress to have a look - one for another day, definitely. Met a Welshman asking if he was on the right track for MacDhui, which happily he was. Retracing our steps, we sought shelter from the winds behind the cairn on Coire Lochan before setting off downhill to creag an Leth-Choin. An impressive rocky top to this one. The massive cliffs of Braeriach forming the western wall of the Lairig Ghru were disappointingly cloud sheathed much of the time.

Cloud on the tops
ImageP1170538 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1170539 by Al, on Flickr

Carn Lochan
ImageP1170542 by Al, on Flickr

Stob Coire an t-Sneachda
ImageP1170545 by Al, on Flickr

Briefly clear!
ImageP1170546 by Al, on Flickr

Fiacaill Ridge
ImageP1170547 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1170548 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Creag an Leth-Choin
ImageP1170549 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1170550 by Al, on Flickr

Arriving at the summit of Creag an leth-Choin we continued on to the 1026m point (another ex Munro Top) and then followed a rough path down NW aiming for the track that emerges from the Chalamain Gap. The wind was stronger than ever here, being funnelled through the Lairig Ghru. We followed a path up Creag a' Chalamain (Simm), being virtually blown up the hill and finding it difficult to perch on the summit. From here we continued over Castle Hill then turned east for Airgiod Meall (another Simm). This included entering the Reindeer Enclosure by a gate at the bealach. We didn't see any reindeer on this side of the hill - crafty devils obviously away somewhere on the leeward side avoiding the blasts. Down to another gate south of Lochan Dubh a'Chadha then back onto track that leads to the footbridge over the Allt a' Choire Chais. The lower footpath back up to the carpark is closed at present, due to landslip - we'd had a good look from high up as we approached and it looked alright, so we went along it anyhow, meeting a few other "bad people" who'd ignored the closed sign coming down. A strenuous day fighting the wind, but pleased it stayed dry. Another evening to sit out at the campsite - remarkable!

Leth-Choin summit
ImageP1170551 by Al, on Flickr

Descent towards Chalamain Gap and carn a'Chalamain
ImageP1170553 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Chalamain
ImageP1170554 by Al, on Flickr

Airgiod Meall on R
ImageP1170555 by Al, on Flickr

Another windy top
ImageP1170557 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1170558 by Al, on Flickr

Landslip
ImageP1170559 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1170560 by Al, on Flickr



feshtopsx.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Sunday was a reversion to form for the weather however. Although dry as we had breakfast, we could see the black clouds boiling up to the west where we were going and sure enough we had no sooner pulled into the car park at Achlean than the rain started. I'd "re-proofed" my waterproofs but clearly not effectively, as within 10 minutes i was soaked to the skin. We had some respite from wind and rain as we walked through the forest, but once out onto the track ascending up Coire Fearnagan we were walking right into the wind and rain. There was no escape. it's a long haul up that track, the monotony broken only by a nip up Carn Ban West Top (Simm). Once we reached the plateau the clag was down and i was utterly miserable - wet and cold, my gloves were saturated and weighed about a kilo each, my GPS was getting wet - fun it was not. To make matters worse the path which I sort of remembered out to Meall Dubhag (our first Top) was elusive.

Not too bad through the trees...
ImageP1170561 by Al, on Flickr

Carn Ban West Top summit
ImageP1170562 by Al, on Flickr

After much huffing and puffing we found the cairn and stopped behind it for lunch, having a modicum of shelter from the elements. back the way we'd come, over the sprawling summit of Carn Ban Mor and on towards Sgor Gaoith - fortunately with paths visible from space to follow. Clag continued to dog our steps, with brief liftings only. We continued on to the northern Top of Sgoran Dubh Mor which was attained without incident. There are several other Simms in the vicinity, but today was not the day for them - I wanted off the hill and out of these wet clothes as soon as possible. Back the way we'd come - the walk down the track from Carn Ban Mor somewhat more pleasant as at least the wind and rain were at our backs. Out of sopping clothes at the car - new waterproof trousers high on the agenda for me before next time :lol:

Meall Dubhag (honest!)
ImageP1170563 by Al, on Flickr

Sgor Gaoith
ImageP1170564 by Al, on Flickr

Sgoran Dubh Mor
ImageP1170565 by Al, on Flickr

Carn Ban Mor
ImageP1170567 by Al, on Flickr

Making our soggy way back
ImageP1170568 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1170569 by Al, on Flickr
User avatar
weaselmaster
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Cairngorms

Postby robertphillips » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:22 pm

another great report al, fairly rattling through those mt for allison. :clap: :clap:

I am down to 7 mt including the tooth.
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robertphillips
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Cairngorms

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:43 pm

robertphillips wrote:another great report al, fairly rattling through those mt for allison. :clap: :clap:

I am down to 7 mt including the tooth.


Cheers Robert. Have you got more to do in the Cuillin?
The Tooth was actually quite easy (with a guide :lol: ) not that we went up Naismith's Route...have fun and i hope the weather's kind to you when you do it.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Cairngorms

Postby robertphillips » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:14 pm

al

just 2 in skye the tooth and the 1 next to it, going to wait for a dry day and go up the coire lotta route moderate rock climb.

done the middle 3 solo last week on the way back from st kilda.

the south 3 were done solo back in july.
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robertphillips
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Cairngorms

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:12 pm

robertphillips wrote:al

just 2 in skye the tooth and the 1 next to it, going to wait for a dry day and go up the coire lotta route moderate rock climb.

done the middle 3 solo last week on the way back from st kilda.

the south 3 were done solo back in july.


I'm more than impressed you've done 4 of the St Kilda subs...don't think I'm going to get them done somehow
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weaselmaster
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Cairngorms

Postby Alteknacker » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:38 am

A real tale of hardiness - some tough old weather conditions there. Reminds me yet again why I'm a fair weather walker ....

Glad you got at least some good weather :)
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Re: Windy Weekend in the Cairngorms

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:03 pm

Your report covers some really interesting routes in the Cairngorms, a shame you had such rotten weather they would have all been fabulous on a sunny day instead of an insurance test.
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