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Cairnwell 3, If Carlsberg done Munros, it wouldn't be these!

Cairnwell 3, If Carlsberg done Munros, it wouldn't be these!


Postby ScotFinn65 » Sun Apr 26, 2020 6:16 am

Route description: The Cairnwell Munros

Munros included on this walk: Carn a'Gheoidh, Carn Aosda, The Cairnwell

Date walked: 29/05/2019

Time taken: 3.3 hours

Distance: 13.9 km

Ascent: 712m

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Landed at Edinburgh airport aroung 09:30, picked up the hire car, stopped at Tescos in Blairgowrie to stock up and arrived at the Cairnwell ski car park around 14:00. As my first day is always a short day, I looked for somewhere that I could bag more than one Munro but still keep the time down. After my planning, I decided Cairnwell 3 were perfect. Short milage and ascent, and not too far to drive either, perfect! :)
01_20190529_131026.jpg
Beautiful Approach to Cairnwell Pass

I packed my day bag and started across the road, past the main ski centre and then past the ski cafe. The tracks were easy to follow and with clear skies, navigation was not an issue. Carn Aosda (my first targt was right there in front of me).
02_20190529_134741.jpg
Start of the walk and view back to ski centre

Following the tracks made the walking simple and the gradient was also quite forgiving. Within an hour, I was on the first summit. It felt like cheating somehow. Barely 2km and only 400m ascent seemed rediculous :roll:
03_20190529_134745.jpg
Looking back south from Carn Aosda ascent

The views were pretty good. Despite the scars on the landscape on the Cairnwell and Carn Aosda, I could see east to the rest of the Glen Shee Munros, North West to the Cairn Gorm and Ben Macdui area and south, over the the Cairnwell and beyond. I was happy again to be out on the Munros.
04_20190529_141153.jpg
View to Cairnwell from Carn Aosda
05_20190529_141341.jpg
Carn Aosda summit cairn


The next target was Carn a'Gheoidh. The path back to the junction to the Cairnwell ascent was easy walking and then I headed south west. The visibility was still good and I could see the summit in the distance and a minor top on the way. There were still plenty views toward Cairn Gorm area.
20190529_141537.jpg
Cairn Gorm Area in the distance

20190529_143637.jpg
Looking North West

As I headed toward Carn a'Gheoidh, the mist started to roll in but visibility was still fairly ok. Just the summits were in sparse cloud.
06_20190529_143627.jpg
The route to Carn a'Gheoidh looking back to Carn Aosda

Again, the walking was easy, with no stepp pulls up the hills, the day was very pleasant and the pace relaxed. Navigation continued to be easy, with clear paths all the way. Soon I was approaching the second summit and after a short ascent I reached a fairly wide plateau area with 2 cairns. The cairns were some 200m apart but it was easy to identify the true summit.
08_20190529_151651.jpg
Carn a'Gheoidh Summit Cairn

20190529_151638.jpg
The 2 Cairns

Returning toward the east, I retraced my steps and headed toward the lower ground between the out-lying Carn a'Gheoidh and the other two hills. I then had to make my first decision of the day. The ascent to Cairnwell looked pretty straight, over a small summit or around the side of it, following the path.

07_20190529_144929.jpg
Looking over to Cairnwell
I could save a km but I couldn't see in the dip after the minor top, so I decided it would be better to follow the path, that smarter people than me created, than end up with a 400m drop and re-ascent.
10_20190529_162354.jpg
Not all the views were bad


I reached the main tracks between Cairnwell and Carn Aosda again but time headed south toward Cairnwell. There is a slight pull up toward this summit but not too taxing and great wide paths all the way.


Passing the ski lifts on the way, I began to realise how bad the legacy of man on these hills really was. From the ski tow until the Cairnwell summit can only be described as "ugly" :? I have to say that my lasting impressing on me from this day was the state of the Cairnwell. I was seriously not impressed.
12_20190529_162527.jpg
The Cairnwell

13_20190529_162603.jpg
Cairnwell Summit Cairn


It was unfortunate as some of the views from the top, and particularly up and down Glen Shee, were beautiful. I enjoyed my day and it was the easiest 3 Munros I have walked to date. I can easily recommend these for people wanting to start bagging. Navigation is easy in the ski area and tracks make walking a dawdle.


I walked back toward the ascent path and descended back to the car park. Looking around again, there were some great hills for tomorrow.
09_20190529_161504.jpg
Cairnwell Pass and the Road Heading North

Now it was off to Braemar for some well-earned food and a good night's sleep before the east side of Glen Shee tomorrow :D


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Last edited by ScotFinn65 on Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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ScotFinn65
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Re: Cairnwell 3, If Carlsberg done Munros, it wouldn't be th

Postby Sgurr » Sun Apr 26, 2020 9:52 am

Whether or not approved by Carslberg, if circumstances allowed, I'd do them like a shot today...anything to get a hill fix. And being 3 of them, very good for bagging, so ideal for a 10 year old visitor from the US on her Dad's annual trip to Scotland wanting to outdo her big brothers' totals of 1 and 2 Munros respectively. We did them the Balloch Burn route. She got a sort of pair of antlers as well. This was 2007, so she is now a grown up (?) biochemist I think

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Re: Cairnwell 3, If Carlsberg done Munros, it wouldn't be th

Postby jmarkb » Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:27 am

Poor old Cairnwell - it really deserves better than that awful mess on the summit. As Sgurr suggests, starting from Baddoch is an improvement on the normal route - the N ridge of Carn Aosda is very pleasant, and the ski area is left behind for the second half of the walk. Adding An Socach is a option for a longer version. Carn a' Gheoidh also has options from the south - I like the round of Ben Gulabin, Carn a' Gheoidh and Carn Binnein from Spittal, but that's not much help if you are on a bagging mission! More than anywhere else in the Highlands, though, this is the area where the best walks and the most efficient bagging routes seem to coincide least.
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Re: Cairnwell 3, If Carlsberg done Munros, it wouldn't be th

Postby ScotFinn65 » Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:48 pm

Sgurr wrote:Whether or not approved by Carslberg, if circumstances allowed, I'd do them like a shot today...anything to get a hill fix. And being 3 of them, very good for bagging, so ideal for a 10 year old visitor from the US on her Dad's annual trip to Scotland wanting to outdo her big brothers' totals of 1 and 2 Munros respectively. We did them the Balloch Burn route. She got a sort of pair of antlers as well. This was 2007, so she is now a grown up (?) biochemist I think


Yes, they make easy bagging for sure. I should have known what l was in for when 2 out of the 3 were in the bottom 3 of Munros by user rating :shock:

Screenshot_20200426-161922.png
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Re: Cairnwell 3, If Carlsberg done Munros, it wouldn't be th

Postby RiverSong » Fri May 01, 2020 10:06 am

All the ski stuff on the top of the mountain is a right mess, but if you turn your back on it you can enjoy the views over the River Clunie towards Braemar. The drive to Glenshee through the mountains is fantastic, no matter which end you approach from, although my own favourite is from Braemar, stopping off in the actual Glen Shee to take some photos. A lovely place.
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Re: Cairnwell 3, If Carlsberg done Munros, it wouldn't be th

Postby KatTai » Fri May 01, 2020 7:55 pm

ScotFinn65 wrote:
Sgurr wrote:Whether or not approved by Carslberg, if circumstances allowed, I'd do them like a shot today...anything to get a hill fix. And being 3 of them, very good for bagging, so ideal for a 10 year old visitor from the US on her Dad's annual trip to Scotland wanting to outdo her big brothers' totals of 1 and 2 Munros respectively. We did them the Balloch Burn route. She got a sort of pair of antlers as well. This was 2007, so she is now a grown up (?) biochemist I think


Yes, they make easy bagging for sure. I should have known what l was in for when 2 out of the 3 were in the bottom 3 of Munros by user rating :shock:

Screenshot_20200426-161922.png


I've done 6 of the bottom 10, keep thinking I should make an effort to bag the remaining 4 :lol:

The Cainwell is my least favourite I've done, even if I have been up there three times and will probably repeat it again this year :shock:
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Re: Cairnwell 3, If Carlsberg done Munros, it wouldn't be th

Postby bar72 » Thu May 14, 2020 1:05 pm

did the 9 in a single multiround back in July 2013. We were heading for Tenerife in the morning so I said to the wife, "I'll get some hills in before the holiday". I was more sunburnt on the way out than half the passengers coming back :lol:
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