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Third time lucky

Third time lucky

Postby ancormack » Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:28 pm

Route description: Creag nan Gabhar circuit

Corbetts included on this walk: Creag nan Gabhar

Date walked: 30/08/2020

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 14.5 km

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Creag nan Gabhar is hardly the most challenging Corbett, but we only made it on the third attempt. First time – like several others – we missed the “obvious” turning up the hill, as I was on Deeside auto-pilot and expecting a much longer walk in; second time the Glen Clunie road was closed due to an accident so we did Cairnwell/Carn Aosda instead; third time we’d actually planned on Glas Maol/Carn of Claise/Carn an Tuirc, but those were cloud capped as we came past the ski car park. So we carried on down the valley…

On an August Bank Holiday Sunday I’d expected the (small) Callater car park to be full, but there was one corner left to squeeze into. Up the main track, taking care to socially distance from the various runners, cyclists and walkers. Forewarned by attempt one, we turned round frequently to look for the turning: just after the main track does a left-hand bend, but much more obvious coming back down the valley. Easy zigzags up onto the ridge, with grouse letting us get surprisingly close, given that we were more than a fortnight into the shooting season.

By now the cloud caps were gone, at least from Ben Avon, visible down the valley, and I was wondering if we should have gone up GM/CoC/CanT for better views. But Creag nan Gabhar has a surprise in store: an unexpectedly wide view of the Cairngorms. From the map it looks hemmed in on all sides but as you walk up the easy ridge, all the big hills appear over Morrone and its satellites. Forward there’s an excellent view up Loch Callater to Tolmount, almost looking impressive enough to justify its Munro status.

On the top, our contemplation of all this was disturbed for a while by the wild shrieks of a pair of peregrines mobbing a buzzard, but there was plenty time to relax. Then off the SE side of the hill, with excellent views of blue (in August) hares. You can avoid most of the bogs on the top of the spur by aiming a little further down the right-hand slope. Sheep and human paths through the heather then take you round to a line of shooting butts and their access track.

Also learning from attempt one, where we’d tried to reverse the sticky path up from Callater Lodge, we carried on down the track to the river. No need to paddle the ford, either, as there’s a good path down the west side of the river to a well-maintained footbridge about half a mile down. After the main track crosses back to the west side, and just before you get back to the turning up the hill, there’s a shelf of rock over a waterfall that makes a perfect end-of-walk foot spa.

Many thanks to the Invercauld Estate: the requested £3 parking donation is very good value to get into such a lovely place.
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Joined: Sep 3, 2020

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