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Blown away on Bynack More

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:05 pm
by BlackPanther
It is not going to be a long TR just as it was not a long day on the hills. Not too long, but very entertaining. Well, maybe some of you wouldn't find staggering up a path and crashing painfully into boulders ENTERTAINING, but in the end, we had a hearty laugh after returning from the windiest so far hillwalking day in 2018 and probably, the windiest one in our mountain career!

Bynack More is one of our top 10 Munros and definitely the favourite one in the Cairngorms, mostly because of the Barns of Bynack. Let's say, climbing Bynack without visiting the Barns is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Sadly, this time we had to give the oddly shaped rocks a miss, as it was nearly impossible to stand up on the summit, due to 60-70mph gusts of wind :shock: :shock:

The usual route up/down BM from Glenmore Lodge:

Track_BYNACK MORE 29-09-18.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We started early in the morning as forecast was said to be better earlier in the day. Overall, it was quite warm and dry, the strong wind was the only serious obstacle, but we will come to that.
Initially, walking in the forest was very pleasant and we could not feel the gusts at all (though we expected to be blown away later).
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The Green Lochan with very little water in it, but no wonder, after such a dry summer...
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It's a good track from the crossroads, where we left the Ryvoan Pass, gently uphill and dry. Still relatively quiet...
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Crossing the Allt a'Garbh-choire and looking into Strath Nethy brought back the memories of the day when we decided to use that glen as an alternative descent from Bynack More via Bynack Beg. If it's a wet time of year, DON'T DO IT. You're in for a splodgathon!
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Looking back towards Meall a Bhuachaille:
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Still sunny when looking north, but as we began to climb up to the high plateau, the wind got stronger. Kevin wondered if we would be able to reach the summit at all...
Nice views...
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The higher we got, the colder the wind was. At some point we stopped to dig up winter hats and gloves:
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On the plateau (800m high) the gusts of wind were in full strength, blowing from the west and pushing us off the path. We ended up staggering from side to side, stopping to keep the balance and waiting through the strongest blows. I won't lie if I say, 50mph at least.
We somehow reached the final, steeper ascent, about 150m to the summit along a nice, rock-studded ridge. There are different strange shaped boulders here and on a good day, it's worth exploring this ridge with a camera - you'll find all kinds of shapes here, including a turtle and an angry troll. But today, any explorations were out of question, as we wondered if it was safe to even attempt this ridge!
Lovely, autumnal colours:
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A lonely figure staggered down the path towards us. A walker descending Bynack after reaching the summit! We exchanged a few pleasantries (though it was hard to hear anything in the whistling wind) and she said that the path was mostly in the lee of the rocks so it was OK to walk until the very summit which was very blowy. We decided to give it a go!
It was a struggle from the very beginning:
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...and I began to regret losing weight recently, as the wind did whatever it wanted with me :lol:
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...but we appreciated the views, especially south to Ben Avon:
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Thankfully, the path followed the sheltered, eastern side of the ridge, so we managed to stay upright, though we were making very slow progress. not to mention, that the wind was constantly turning the edge of my hat inside-out, as a result every time it happened, I couldn't see anything :lol: :lol:
Good path but conditions rather extreme:
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Near the top, we emerged on the flat summit area and here we had to brace for the full strength of the wind. Gusting 60 or maybe even 70mph :? :?
We almost crawled to the summit, praying that we stay up and alive. I felt like in a tumble dryer set for the highest speed!
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Looking towards the Cairngorm and Ben MacDhui:
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The Little Barns of Bynack from the summit:
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We hid behind a rock near the summit to regroup. No way we could stay on the summit for a cuppa and sandwich in such conditions. We decided to descend a bit and find shelter on the eastern side of the ridge, somewhere along the path (plenty of rocks to sit on). Another walker staggered to the summit cairn a few minutes later and he kindly offered to take a photo of the two of us. It might look like we are just posing by the cairn, but we were fighting to stay straight :lol:
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No attempt was made to reach the Barns of Bynack, as it was rendered impossible. We started to walk back and suddenly, just below the summit, a particularly strong gust pushed me against a large boulder. I collided with the rock side-wise, painfully bumping my right elbow (why does it always have to hit in the most painful spot????), lost my balance and went flying. Thankfully, I fell backwards on my rucksack so I landed softly, and there was nothing in my sack that might be squashed (like a loose banana). I almost lost my hat but managed to grab it the last moment the wind was ripping it of my head. Kevin got to me on all fours and asked if I was all right. I guessed what he was saying rather than heard (my partial hearing loss in one ear doesn't help in such situations), and showed him in a crude sign-language, that all was OK, I just needed help to get back on my feet. We somehow returned to a vertical position, using the large boulder as support, and quickly run down the path to look for a sheltered spot.
We found a reasonable hiding place and sat down for refreshment. I inspected my elbow. It was sore and bleeding, but the scratch was shallow, nothing to worry about. I got away with it this time :D
As we finished our sandwiches, more walkers walked past us (or should I say struggled) towards the summit. Altogether, I counted 13 fellow souls, all desperate to reach the top of Bynack More. So we were not the only windblown ramblers that day :lol: :lol:
After lunch, it was time to find our way down. No heroics this time, just a quick retreat down the path. The wind was actually getting worse and in places, we really had to fight to keep going!
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I almost lost my hat again!
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It was a relief to reach River Nethy again, as the wind was not as bad here:
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The path to Lochan Uaine was busy with Sunday walkers, hundreds of people, some of them looked suspiciously at two windblown figures marching back to Glenmore Lodge, giggling all the time :lol: I don't know what we found so funny, maybe it was me "doing a turtle" on the summit (regulars at WH meets will know what I'm referring to :wink: ) or maybe it was the fact, that we just beat our personal record in the windiest day spent climbing a Munro. Maybe it was a bit silly, I don't know, but we had fun anyway!

Re: Blown away on Bynack More

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:22 pm
by Alteknacker
60 -70 mph!!! :shock: Wow, I was blown all over the place in winds of 50 - 55mph (and ended up with a shoulder injury). I thought you actually get blown off your feet at 70mph!!!

Re: Blown away on Bynack More

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:19 pm
by onsen
Gusty but memorable ! :thumbup:

Re: Blown away on Bynack More

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:39 pm
by BlackPanther
Alteknacker wrote:60 -70 mph!!! :shock: Wow, I was blown all over the place in winds of 50 - 55mph (and ended up with a shoulder injury). I thought you actually get blown off your feet at 70mph!!!

I ended up colliding with a rock as well :lol: Hard to say exactly how strong the wind was, the 60-70 was just an estimate. It definitely feel like it! :lol:

Re: Blown away on Bynack More

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:12 pm
by Mal Grey
Are you 100% sure you weren't just tipsy? There's no wind in the pictures ;) :lol:

There's something highly entertaining in the challenge of days like this, a battle against the elements where you fight for every step, a sense of the ridiculousness of us puny creatures fighting the might mother nature, definitely helps! The only solution seems to be laughter and giggling.