walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.

A touch of frost

A touch of frost


Postby weaselmaster » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:47 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Mheadhoin, Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, Cairn Gorm, Carn Liath (Beinn a'Ghlo), Carn nan Gabhar

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Little Conval, Meikle Conval, Ord Ban, The Bochel

Date walked: 05/11/2017

Time taken: 20 hours

Distance: 62.3 km

Ascent: 4394m

7 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Following the weather again this weekend- forecast was best in the East so I took the opportunity to get one more of Allison's Munro Tops in the Cairngorms done - the awkwardly placed Stacan Dubha on Beinn Mheadhoin - a long walk in from anywhere. Some Marilyns in the Cairngorm area would follow on the Saturday and then Airgiod Bheinn on Beinn a'Ghlo on the Sunday. Had hoped to stay amongst the trees in Rothiemurchus but that site closes for November, so it was a first time visit for us to Glenmore Campsite, a few miles further along the road. Arrived as the sun was setting, around 4.30 to a very cheery reception. No other tents there, some soggy ground but dry near the trees, good showers and quiet at night.

ImageP1180019 by Al, on Flickr


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



It was 3.5 degrees C when we arrived and a clear sky promised it would get colder overnight. We could see Cairn Gorm from the campsite, including the lights from the Ptarmigan Restuarant which seem to stay on all night. Friday morning was warmer, surprisingly, with the sky overcast. It looked like it might brighten, indeed it did. We drove to Base Station and set off up to the 1141m cairn at the top of Choire Chais. Over to our right the Fiacaill Ridge looked impressive. We began heading down into Coire Raibeirt, a section of the Cairngorms I haven't been to before. The track descends gently then more steeply alongside the Allt Coire Raibeirt, with some waterfalls. Beinn Mheadhoin is directly in front, with the dark cliffs of Stacan Dubha foremost. Eventually we reach the shore of Loch A'an and walk towards its western end, where an ellipse of sandy beach lies. Following the stream we head west around the base of the coire then cross by the Shelter Stone. Never having visited this legendary refuge I was keen to have a peek inside - an old mattress, visitor book and even a copy of "The Shelter Stone" magazine. I was also surprised by just how many other, smaller refuges were located under the boulders in the vicinity.

Fiacaill Ridge
ImageP1180023 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180024 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Mheadhoin ahead
ImageP1180026 by Al, on Flickr

Down to Loch A'an
ImageP1180028 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180030 by Al, on Flickr

Shelter stone crag/ Carn Etchachan
ImageP1180033 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180034 by Al, on Flickr

Shelter stone
ImageP1180035 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180039 by Al, on Flickr



We started to climb again, up the track towards Loch Etchachan. A runner wsa making his way up the slopes of Beinn Mheadhoin - we followed suit, not really finding a path til nearer the top of the slope. Then it was down again to Stob Coire Etchachan - I must say a gentler way to approach this Top than the direct ascent from Coire Etchachan that we undertook (with big packs) first time round. We paused for lunch , enjoying the views and the solitude. Then on again towards the tors that crown Mheadhoin. Arriving at the summit tor I was dismayed to find it encased in ice - luckily the southern side which gives access to the top had undergone melting by the sun, otherwise we might have failed to manage to summit :shock: Moments after we stood on the top a band of clag came in, cloaking all views and dropping the temperature considerably. Sun re-emerged after a few minutes and we were able to continue our journey to Stacan Dubha enjoying grand views of Loch A'an.

Loch Etchachan
ImageP1180042 by Al, on Flickr

Stob Coire Etchachan
ImageP1180044 by Al, on Flickr

Summit of Mheadhoin from Etchachan
ImageP1180045 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180047 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180048 by Al, on Flickr

Icy summit tor
ImageP1180049 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180050 by Al, on Flickr

To Stacan Dubha
ImageP1180053 by Al, on Flickr

Loch A'an
ImageP1180055 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180056 by Al, on Flickr


Descent from Stacan Dubha was gentle and not too soggy - we just cut across the mouth of the stream, where there are stepping stones, rather than follow our outward path round the coire. Then it was up again, back to Coire Raibeirt. As we got near the top i suggested we nip up to the summit of Cairn Gorm - well it seemed a shame not to when we were so near (not that I have my eye on the end-of-year stats on hill-bagging.co.uk at all :wink: back to the tent before the daylight failed it was time for a shower then food.

ImageP1180058 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Cairn Gorm
ImageP1180059 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180060 by Al, on Flickr


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



For Saturday's menu I had decided we'd stick with Marilyns, starting with a very short walk up Ord Ban, just a little way along the Glen Feshie road. A fine morning, blue skies and not too cold, we arrived at the car park at Loch an Eilein to discover a manned booth - that'll be £1.50 per person, thanks. I didn't quite work out if you needed to pay something if you didn't arrive in a car and wanted to walk up the hill. Anyway we set off through the trees for what must be the shortest hillwalk I can remember. There is a path that zigzags upward before the heather clad summit is reached. And a trig point for Allison. A fine day, although windy. We headed down the same way and were back at the car in an hour.

ImageP1180061 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180063 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180065 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180066 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180067 by Al, on Flickr


My next course was a pair of Marilyns - the Convals - out by Dufftown, which I'm guessing must be Homer Simpson's favourite town :wink: I had rather underestimated the distance - over 40 miles each way - but it was a pleasant drive through autumnal woods. The places we passed read like the top shelf of a whisky bar: Knockando, Cardhu, Aberlour, Benrinnes, Glenfarclas, Balvenie, Craigellachie and of course the large Glenfiddich distillery as you drive into Dufftown. We parked on the main street and - feeling a little selfconscious in hillwalking gear going by the shops - set off for the Convals.

ImageP1180068 by Al, on Flickr

The route was taken from Walkhighlands - we followed the Tomintoul road (Conval Street, aptly enough) out of town and onto the Glenrinnes Way which is a footpath beside the road. After the golf course clubhouse, a track leads off to the right, with the Convals ahead. We paused for lunch under the boughs of an old pine, enjoying the sunshine. Then off to Little Conval first - a walk up through short heather following ATV tracks. Ben Rinnes dominates the views from here, its knobbly top instantly recognizable. We could also see a number of solitary hills, many of which are Marilyns - i can see that more time in Whisky Country will be required. Descent then up the larger Conval, boggier underfoot. On the way back there's a longish section along the main road (the Glen Rinnes way seeming to have disappeared) then we followed the route by Benrinnes Lodge and through some pretty woods and passing some enormous Charolais cattle (in a field we luckily didn't have to cross). Back in Dufftown everything was whisky - even the ice cream shop.

ImageP1180070 by Al, on Flickr

Little Conval
ImageP1180073 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Rinnes (R)
ImageP1180074 by Al, on Flickr

Meikle Conval
ImageP1180076 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180077 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180078 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180079 by Al, on Flickr


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



I suggested to Allison that she shouldn't get out of her walking boots yet when we got back to the car - I quite fancied including The Bochel on the way home. She fixed me with a look that would have sunk the Bismarck. Undeterred, I drove back via Tomintoul. We missed the wee road to Tombae that most walkers seem to start from - I noted that it could also be approached from Bochel Farm, so rather than turn round we drove there. Parking in a layby near the farm we walked swiftly up the farm track, the inevitable muck underfoot. I reckoned we would be up and down before the light failed, which we were. Along track through the woods, then alongside the forest plantation before starting up the hillside on deer tracks through the heather. As we reached the top of the hill we found a fairly well trodden path coming from the other side. Down the way we'd come up, a drive in the dark through twisting back roads to Coylumbridge.

The Bochel
ImageP1180080 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180082 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180083 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180084 by Al, on Flickr


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



Quite a lot of rain overnight, which had fallen as snow on the hills. A wet tent to pack up, we left just after 8am for the drive down to Blair Atholl. There was a considerable amount of white on the hills near Dalwhinnie to low levels, though it looked only a dusting - I had the ice axes in the car just in case. Arriving at Loch Moraig just before 9.30 we were surprised to see almost a dozen cars there before us. Busy hills today. The weather was a little overcast and very cold, with a chill wind. We set off for Carn Liath, noting the pathwork that's in progress up the prow of the hill, lots of helibags of rocks still awaiting use. The wind was considerable as we climbed and near the top I had to stop and pull on another layer along with my warmest gloves. Frost, rather than snow, covered the surface of the hill and coated the sinuous path over to Braigh Coire Chruinn-Bhalgain.

Carn Liath
ImageP1180085 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180086 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180089 by Al, on Flickr

Some heavy clouds came and went as we walked along the back of the hills, ducking out of the wind at the top of Coire Crom for our lunch (Co-Op onion bhaji sandwiches). Back facing into the icy blast we got slowly to the top of Bhalgain. Across to our right lay Carn nan Gabhar and its elegant Top, Airgiod Bheinn. A few walkers were ahead of us as we dropped down to Bealach an Fhiodha then started up the stony track towards the top of Gabhar. Quite tricky over the loose boulders on top given the combination of frost and wind. We got to the trig point and i was just about to turn away for Airgiod Bheinn when another walker reminded me that the true summit is the next (third) cairn. Despite having climbed this hill twice before and having visited the third cairn each time i had forgotten this. Age cometh not alone :wink:

Looking back to Carn Liath from Bhalgain
ImageP1180092 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180093 by Al, on Flickr

Gabhar and Airgiod
ImageP1180096 by Al, on Flickr

Airgiod
ImageP1180097 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180099 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180101 by Al, on Flickr

Getting it right!
ImageP1180103 by Al, on Flickr



Error rectified we continued along the back of the hill towards Airgiod Bheinn, its rocky top and bouldery path beyond. Quite a steep descent, i remembered this from last time i'd been here, then down to the Allt na Beinne Bige. Across the stream sits Beinn Bheag, a steep, shapely Simm I've looked at on previous visits and sworn i'd climb one day. Well that was today! Allison continued on the (new and very welcome) track whilst i nipped up the front of this hill - fine views west to the Alder/ Dalwhinnie hills. Rejoining the path, i jogged along til I'd caught up with Allison. it's easy to forget the walk-out is quite a long one from here- we were back at the car as the sun sank but there were still a handful of cars at the parking space, whose occupants would be walking back in the dark. A good - if cold- day out on these hills.

Towards Airgiod
ImageP1180104 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180105 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180106 by Al, on Flickr

Shadows look back at Gabhar
ImageP1180107 by Al, on Flickr

Looking west from Beinn Bheag
ImageP1180110 by Al, on Flickr

Airgiod Bheinn
ImageP1180112 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Bheag is centre
ImageP1180113 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180115 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1180117 by Al, on Flickr
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1745
Munros:205   Corbetts:192
Grahams:65   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:175   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: A touch of frost

Postby Jaxter » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:26 pm

Onion Bhaji sandwiches?! :crazy: :crazy:

Enjoyed that, reminding me of lots of good hills to return to, and some I've never even heard of :lol:
User avatar
Jaxter
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1148
Munros:199   Corbetts:115
Grahams:47   Donalds:45
Sub 2000:52   Hewitts:50
Wainwrights:53   Islands:24
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow

Re: A touch of frost

Postby rockhopper » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:58 am

Productive trip as usual :thumbup: Ord Ban may be relatively small but does make for a good viewpoint - am "ashamed" to admit that I walked up it in sandals one day during one of our summer holidays in Coylumbridge after a wee family trip to Loch an Eilein :crazy: PS If staying longer, Rothiemurchus membership cards include car parking :D - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6269
Munros:282   Corbetts:187
Grahams:59   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: A touch of frost

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:26 am

Jaxter wrote:Onion Bhaji sandwiches?! :crazy: :crazy:



Yep - they weren't as good as my home made ones - co-op onion bhajis on ciabatta spread with spicy aubergine dip and rocket/tomatoes/pickled garlic - mmmmmm :lol:
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1745
Munros:205   Corbetts:192
Grahams:65   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:175   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: A touch of frost

Postby lochfyne » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:54 pm

Enjoyed very much reading your post on Beinn a 'Ghlo as we climbed it in early October and had a brilliant hill day. Your photos reminded me of the amazing views of the route ahead, then as you make your way along, looking back at the route from a different perspective.

We were sitting close to the cairn on Carn nan Gabhar having a cuppa facing towards Ben Vrackie, when we turned round to see a group of people, dogs and two ponies making their way to the cairn behind us :shock:

It was quite surreal and certainly a first for us to see horses on top of a munro. Turns out they were a stalking party from Forest Lodge who had decided to take a day off from deer stalking and head to the top of the hill instead :crazy:
lochfyne
Walker
 
Posts: 42
Munros:80   Corbetts:18
Grahams:9   
Sub 2000:4   
Islands:21
Joined: Mar 31, 2011

Re: A touch of frost

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:29 pm

lochfyne wrote:We were sitting close to the cairn on Carn nan Gabhar having a cuppa facing towards Ben Vrackie, when we turned round to see a group of people, dogs and two ponies making their way to the cairn behind us :shock:

It was quite surreal and certainly a first for us to see horses on top of a munro. Turns out they were a stalking party from Forest Lodge who had decided to take a day off from deer stalking and head to the top of the hill instead :crazy:


That would have been quite a sight :D :D
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1745
Munros:205   Corbetts:192
Grahams:65   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:175   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: A touch of frost

Postby Spade » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:53 am

Great read n pictures, defo, got to do a wee book on an alienist’s visit to the Scottish mountains :shock:
User avatar
Spade
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 62
Munros:79   Corbetts:5
Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Location: Inverclyde

Re: A touch of frost

Postby PeteR » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:09 pm

I still find it hard to believe that some people find this part of Scotland a bit boring.......due to the apparent lack of pointy hills. Your first trip looked superb, the sub 2000s are all on my to-list and Beinn a'Ghlo looked fantastic.
User avatar
PeteR
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1950
Munros:282   Corbetts:148
Grahams:85   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:154   Hewitts:3
Islands:7
Joined: Jan 27, 2010
Location: North Ayrshire

7 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bagger1, gammy leg walker, jamespdodd, Senor Pollo and 37 guests