The Glen Ey Munros
by Alastair S » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:19 pm
Munros included on this walk: An Socach (Braemar), Beinn Iutharn Mhor, Carn Bhac
Date walked: 16/10/2010
Time taken: 8 hours
Distance: 38.3 km
Ascent: 1523mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Cycling: 1hr, 17.4km
As usual fairly tardy in reporting due to my preference to tart up the photos first. Anyway the previous week I'd taken my MTB up the glen as far as the ruin of Altanour Lodge as part of a recce of the area. As you can see the weather was a lot better then but I'd opted to watch the [cycling] Worlds in the morning.
View South from Glen Ey
Forecast was for early cloud to lift and for the afternoon to have the best of it, so turned into an empty Inverey car park around 10:15. Five minutes later another car pulled up and while I got myself & bike together the occupant of the other car did the same. Now on my bike went over for a brief chat and it turned out he had pretty much the same plan of attack. So set off on my own and 35min & 8.7km latter was at the ruin of Altanour Lodge only to find I'd left my cycle lock back in the car - d'oh! So just removed the quick release spindles from the wheels of my new £900 MTB, left it behind the ruins and prayed.
The 1:25,000 map shows a footbridge over the Ey Burn at the lodge so my initial plan was to do a clockwise circuit. However my recce was poor and I hadn't looked for this bridge the previous week. All that remains is a couple of posts my the side of the burn. Searched upstream and found a fording point but the water still looked over a foot deep so opted for an anti-clockwise circuit and left the prospect of wet feet for the return.
Beinn Iutharn Mhor & An Socach
So, take the muddy track south from Altanour Lodge and then soon cut off through the heather up the side of Carn Creagach to the sound of bellowing stags. Hadn't been out in the hills at this time of year (as last year had just bought a house and was engaged in DIY drudgery) and couldn't believe the racket that was going one. Saw several groups, herds & solo stags though out the day. The stags took a rest from midday till about 4pm which I was fairly grateful for!
So, Carn Bhar. If ever there was an anonymous grassy bump this was it (even if the plateau top was fairly stony). If it wasn't for the cairn you would be hard pushed to find the highest point. Its only redeeming feature was the view it afforded to the Cairngorms to the north. Unfortunately today their tops still retained a cap of cloud but on another day this viewpoint could be a cracker. While I had my lunch the chap from the car park turned up & joined me for a while. He pressed on while I finished my lunch. I saw him once more on the skyline of Beinn Iutharn Mhor.
Cairngorms from summit of Carn Bhac
Beinn Iutharn Mhor from summit of Carn Bhac
So onto the middle top of Carn Bhac and then down into peat hags territory. These are very some of the biggest hags I've encountered and progress was slow. Was worried at one point that I was headed into a stag's harem but by the time I got there they had all move on. The ascent of Beinn Iutharn Mhor from this direction was extremely steep - it felt a lot steeper than the photos shows:
Nearing top of Beinn Iutharn Mhor (looking back down Glen Ey)
Had to stop for a breather & bit to eat once at the northern summit, but Beinn Iutharn Mhor is a much more impressive mountain that Carn Bhac. A short stroll to the true summit gives a wonderful view across the moors and down the steep scree slope to the kidney shaped Lochain Uaine.
Summit of Beinn Iutharn Mhor from its Northern summit
Northern summit of Beinn Iutharn Mhor from its true summit
The course now was to head to the bealeach between the tops of Mam nan Carn & Bienn Iutharn Bheag. Going wasn't too bad (mostly grass and short heather). Then past Loch nan Eun where the going got haggy again.
An Socach from just North of Loch nan Eun
The ascent of An Socach wasn't nearly as steep as Bienn Iutharn - there was even a path to follow most of the way. Confusingly there are two cairns at its summit and needed the GPS to determine which was the true summit. I could see it clouding over from the south but the last of the sun was picking out the Cairngorms to the north nicely.
Loch nan Eun from near An Socach summit
The Cairngorms from An Socach summit
Next it was onto the northern summit as I watched the cloud engulf The Cairnwell, An Socach & the distant Lochnagar. The cairn/shelter at the northern summit is huge. Then west to Carn Cruinn where I briefly thought I saw my fellow walker on the sky line, but as it had four legs and antlers I think I can safely say it was another stag.
Back to Glen Ey & Altanour Lodge
So down Carn Cruinn for my appointment with the Ey Burn. As I descented I looked again at my map and came up with a cunning divide and conquer plan. I'd noted that there were three small burns feeding the Ey Burn so instead of heading straight for the Altanour Lodge I headed further west. The first burn was only a couple of feet wide - no problem. The second was 5-6 ft wide, but by heading up-stream 50m or so found a stepping stone I could use - one careful step & one leap & I was across. And as an added bonus there was a footbridge across the third - result! And my bike was still there. Got myself & the bike sorted and 25 minutes later was back to my car. This MTB lark makes such a difference. It was still a hard day - nay a path all day with lots of peat hags and a very steep ascent of Beinn Iutharn Mhor.
edit: and a couple more photos:
Loch nan Eun
Loch Vrotachan from Beinn Iutharn Mhor
by Merry-walker » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:28 pm
by Alastair S » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:58 pm
by Merry-walker » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:04 pm
- mountain coward
by Alastair S » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:57 am
mountain coward wrote:so it's an afternoon nap for them then is it?
Yes, seems that way. Thought it may have been because I was up high that I couldn't hear them, but I saw the largest herd between Carn Bhar & Beinn Iutharn Mhor and that was about 12:30.
by malky_c » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:16 am
by LeithySuburbs » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:55 pm
mountain coward wrote:How awful to cycle all that way and then find you didn't have your bike lock!
Took my bike with me on this great day out and never gave a second thought to leaving it without a lock. I mean, who's going to nick it in a place like that ?
Anyway, some nice pics and enjoyable report - brought back happy memories .
- mountain coward
by Alastair S » Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:24 am