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Carn Bhac circuit from Muir Cottage

Carn Bhac circuit from Muir Cottage

Postby BoyVertiginous » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:27 pm

Route description: Beinn Iutharn Mhòr and Càrn Bhac, Inverey

Munros included on this walk: Càrn Bhac

Date walked: 14/03/2020

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 25.5 km

Ascent: 1427m

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45 Degrees MC - Braemar Meet - Muir Cottage (March 2020)
Saturday's forecast was less than inspiring, a very different proposition to Friday on An Socach nearby on the way North, starting foul & getting worse the higher you got. The evening before, George had suggested a route for Carn Bhac that looked ideal, straight from the door of the hut, up through the forest & good height gained by the top of the treeline.

Higher up in the plantation.

Conditions up to just over 800m were manageable & still a bit of visibility now & then, but beyond that things got very different. Stronger winds, blizzards, hail, & very poor visibility, sometimes zero. George left me to it before Carn Liath, micro-navigating the rest of the way.

About the clearest view of Carn Bhac all day, as George descends toward the Allt Cristie Beag.

Very tricky around Geal Charn to the 919/920 tops & across to Carn Bhac (if you're on Strava, zoom in on the route, you'll see what I mean). I dropped my map twice during this period & had to run after it, had I lost it I'd have had no option but to bail.

To add to the excitement, my compass was playing up so, had to double-check every bearing on OS Locate. OS Maps was not working properly either (since found out it did not auto-renew at end of Feb as it should have!) so, got by with the paper map & using my watch for a back-up directional check too. Also hadn't realised how far it was beforehand (26km/6.5hrs) & never took my pack off, drank only water & ate no food.

It was a great circuit & would be brilliant on a beautiful day, in either direction. There was time for one last thrill, between Carn Bhac & Carn Creagan, with visibility still appalling & the wind really going for it, a fighter jet flew through the valley close by & almost sh!t myself when I heard it through the wind noise!

Once back below 800m, the walk out along the gently-descending ridge with the wind finally at my back was good, passing by The Colonel's Bed and with the old stone bridge down at Inverey, opted for a knee-deep river crossing to save me 10mins.


A good navigational test, had the potential to turn nasty with few escape options once committed, though the option of bailing by retracing my steps was always there. Back along the road to the hut, where a cold shower awaited, then a beer by the fire in Braemar before the evening's shenanigans began.
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