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The Cairnwell 3 - A Winters Tale

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:04 am
by Jockstar
After all the excitement of Scotland beating the Springboks and seeing Jools Holland at the SECC on the Saturday it was an early start for us as we headed for a walk that would blow off the cobwebs of the last couple of weeks. As we set of for Glenshee we knew that for the first time we would in all likelihood be walking on snow. We had everything we could think of to make sure we were prepared for the worst, and as we passed the devils elbow we could see the snow clearly. As we already were at a fair height we were hoping that we could get around the 3 monros in the daylight. :D

As we parked there were a number of cars already there but as there was no skiing the ski
centre was eerily quiet..almost like a ghost town. Also comforting (?) was the sight of the mountain rescue landrovers and their members who set off on the eastern side to do a training exercise…or was it for real? :?

Anyway we got prepared for the walk and set of up the path to the Café and nearly slipped after the first few yards hence setting the tone of the walk. We had decided to do Carn Aosda first so we set off between the two ski lifts and found it quite hard going but made steady progress, meeting a couple on the way down. They were part of a walking club who had come out for a loosener after there annual dinner on the Saturday night. We were excited by their news that once on the ridge ahead we would be only a 10 minute walk to the top.

looking down on Glenshee Ski Centre from Carn Aosda

su getting near the ridge

Kind of them to give us directions

So with a bit extra in the legs we covered the snowy path and once on the ridge turned right for an easy 10 minutes to the cairn. The snow had drifted but gave for a windy but satisfying start. Once we took the pics it was back the way we came and seeing a group in front earlier go towards Carn a’Gheoidh decided that this would be our second munro.

First Munro done !

Loch Vrotachan - beautifully frozen

Even although everything was covered in snow we could make out the path and followed that until we approached Loch Vrotachan which was frozen over and made some amazing patterns in the ice. As was suggested we carried on away from the Lochan and headed for the slope up from the Bealach. From there it was a quite straightforward walk along the ridge making sure we were away from the edge. We passed a small frozen Lochan and all along this walk was done in low cloud so was constantly checking the map and also avoiding, where possible ice, but now and again had the odd stumble as we stepped into the snow only to disappear up to our knees. Su had already had a tumble but managed to get up and keep going and with the circumstances found our speed was slowing but the cloud cleared for a minute and we saw the top appear and so set off to bag our second monro.

On the way to Carn Gheoidh

Su at Carn Gheoidh

It was blowing quite fiercely now and with the pics done headed back the way we came. It was easier to follow our tracks in the snow and made good progress back towards the Bealach between The Cairnwell and Carn a’ Gheoidh. However we aere passed by two walkers who appeared out of nowhere and sped on towards the ridge at the top of the Ski lifts.


As the time was going on we had to make a decision whether to go for The Cairnwell or call it a day. We headed for the fences that marked the top of the ski lifts and had a quick bite to eat. The light was still quite good but I knew we had only about an hour before we lost the light.

The Ski Tow - deserted !

Carn Gheoidh from The Cairnwell

We decided that we would give it a go, so after eating a sandwich and getting some sugar from our chocolate bar we made a good effort to get to the top of the chairlift. Once we were there we had a clear walk to the top and we quickly ascended to be greeted by the hut and transmitter mast..YUK !!!!!!!!!! :(

Nice View - NOT !

The Third Munro done

Once we touched the top we took some pics as the light was super towards the west.

Looking from The Cairnwell towards the South West

View from the Cairnwell to the South West

However, we were sheltered there but realized that we still had a sharp descent and so headed back to the chairlift but chose to go further along the ridge until we had to descend steeply.

Su's 'staircase' to the car park

Hugging the fence I cut a ‘staircase’ out for Su and we reached the café and then the car park and pleased with our walk happily drove off towards home. :D

Re: The Cairnwell 3 - A Winters Tale

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:24 am
by Alastair S
Looks like you had a half decent day - from the weather we had 40 miles east I'm surprised you got any views at all. Really like the 'Carn Gheoidh from The Cairnwell' photo - very dramatic.

More snow predicted for the next few days so we'll be able to see how things progress with the Glenshee web cams.

Re: The Cairnwell 3 - A Winters Tale

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:00 am
by monty
Nice one Jockstar.
Good report. Nice to see these three with some snow on them. :D

Re: The Cairnwell 3 - A Winters Tale

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:06 am
by Stretch
Good stuff you two, I really like the pic of Su traversing the snow with the sky behind her. Seeing that there was no scramble on this I take it you made her climb the transmitter tower? :lol: :lol:

Re: The Cairnwell 3 - A Winters Tale

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:34 am
by Jockstar
I told her it was a good chance to get some climbing practice - but she wouldn't have any of it :lol: :lol: :lol:

Re: The Cairnwell 3 - A Winters Tale

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:44 am
by suhowfar
FANTASTIC report Bri :thumbup: Don't think I could have written report as well as this for our fun adventure. Thanks for the support and guidance to get me through to the 3rd Munro. Think my head was down some of the way avoiding the snow coming down, so it's good to see some of the views I missed on the day :wink: I especially like the one of me you have posted under the heading 'stunning' where the clouds look like they are about to meet to snow, great views.
Thanks Stretch for giving Jockstar an idea, but lucky for me, we are down from there now :crazy: I am sure Jockstar will find a scramble for me this weekend :lol:

Re: The Cairnwell 3 - A Winters Tale

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:48 am
by suhowfar
May have tried it, if you went climbing up there first to show me the way!!After all you had the map...... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Re: The Cairnwell 3 - A Winters Tale

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:05 pm
by gammy leg walker
Nice repot jockstar looks like you and sue had a fine day,some cracking pictures to go with the report also :D

Re: The Cairnwell 3 - A Winters Tale

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:07 am
by nathan79
Quite a bit more snow than when i was up there. Doesn't look like it was any warmer for you and Su than it was for me.

Did you see many/any hares? They were all over the place when i was up there. Although judging by how they looked then, they might be in their full winter white and rather difficult to spot.

Re: The Cairnwell 3 - A Winters Tale

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:43 am
by doogz

Nice pics

Re: The Cairnwell 3 - A Winters Tale

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:59 am
by Jockstar
Nathan -Saw quite a few white hares whilst going past Loch Vrotachan but they were hard to spot in the snow..... :D