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A day out on Ben Avon

A day out on Ben Avon


Postby PeteR » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:23 am

Route description: Ben Avon via Gleann an-Slugain

Munros included on this walk: Ben Avon

Date walked: 30/10/2011

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Something of a contrast to my walk of the previous weekend in Kintail. As we welcomed the return of GMT the walk of choice this weekend was Ben Avon, approached via Glean an t-Slugain, with the option of the Fairy Glen either on approach or return. A long walk, but one I was pretty sure I could get completed before the shock of that first ‘winter’ evening hit. And if I had it in me I might also tack on Beinn Bhuirh as well :D :D Not that I was quite so upbeat at 2.00 am (or was that 3.00 am, I was confused?) on Sunday morning when my alarm went off :shock: :( :lol: At that particular moment I was wondering why stamp collecting or train spotting or some other such possible interest hadn’t appealed to me instead of something that brought with it such unsocial hour :lol: :lol: :lol:

A pretty uneventful drive to Braemar and the car park at Keiloch. I’ve done the route so many times of late I know it like the back of my hand and could do it with my eyes shut – as my mother would have said :lol: :lol: Parking up just after 6.00 am it was still dark and mine was the only car in the car park. A quick 40 winks and trusty porridge when I woke up and that was me ready to go.......

Starting off there were plenty of breaks in the cloud, although the surrounding hills all seemed to have a fair splodge of cloud covering their summits. With a long walk into Avon I was ever hopeful that the cloud might lift and I’d be rewarded for my efforts with some good cloud free views on the summit.
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Starting off

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Autumn colours

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The track ahead

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View back

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Sunshine!

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More sunshine....and blue sky too

And it was fair breezy too on the approach tracks. Certainly the most low level wind I’d had in a long while, which left me wondering what it might be like on the summit :shock: :shock:

The walk up into Glean an t-Slugain is initially on tarmac and then gives way to an excellent landrover track. This eventually is replaced by the usual standard of landrover track that you come to expect on these walks, but it was never bad or difficult to walk on. I dropped down to the ruin at Slugain, which was a bit of a disappointment :( It didn’t look that exciting, although its position was pretty impressive, in the narrowing at the head of the Gleann, feeling quite enclosed.
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Gleann an t-Slugain

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Slugain ruin

Heading up from the Glean the path took me up on to the plateau of what I imagine is the head of Glen Quoich. This had an excellent path, which took me easily nearly all the way toward the Sneck (by which point it had returned me to my usual bogginess :lol: :(

As I arrived on this plateau initially I have to say my heart did sink a little. Already this had been a fairly long hike, and as I looked across to Avon a Bhuird I couldn’t help thinking “they’re miles away!” The temptation to simply turn tail and head back was strong, but actually the path is excellent and the walking is on pretty level ground so progress was nice and quick.
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Initial view up Glen Quoich

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Getting closer, but still a ways to go

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Glas Allt Mor

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Looking back from near the Sneck

In many ways this is my sort of countryside. The long walk in meant that I was miles from civilisation. The mist in and around the hills and up on the Sneck added to the sense of remoteness and isolation. The sound of the water coming down off the Glas Allt Mor and its various tributaries as I headed to the Sneck is my sort of soundtrack to any walk!!! Despite being a little put off by the walk to the head of Glen Quoich I was now feeling pretty buoyed and was really enjoying the day.
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Burn near the Sneck

And it seemed as I headed toward the Sneck that the cloud was always rising. I never really seemed to be heading into the clag. The thought was entering my head that I might get lucky and enjoy some cloud free views. At the Sneck itself the mist seemed to come and go, with some nice views of the tor on the saddle.
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The Sneck Tor

Arriving at the Sneck itself and my breath was taken away. By the wind :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: It was pretty severe at this point and I did doubt for a few moments if it was sensible to head up onto the main summit plateau of Avon and try for the summit. As I started the slow walk up the path onto Avon it was something of a battle. Walk one way and the wind seemed to be trying to blow me off the cliffs into Slochd Mor . Walk in the other direction and I could barely breath with the force of the wind pumping air into my lungs. Eventually though it seemed to calm itself. Or was I just becoming accustomed to it?
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Path starting up Avon

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Slochd Mor from the Sneck

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Beinn a Bhuird from the Sneck

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View heading up onto Avon

Unfortunately my hope of a cloud free view at the top looked doomed as the mist was now persisting. At least I was able to make out the path, but I can see why the Cairngorms is such a touch place in difficult conditions, as making anything out in think clag on the featureless summits must be horrendous.
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Avon path in the mist

And then the massive tor of Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe loomed out of the clag. Amazingly, when the mist did roll in at its worst it was surprising how easily this massive rock formation seemed to just disappear.
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Leabaidh an Diamh Bhuidhe

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Avon summit

Despite the mist, and the wind, I actually spent quite a while at the summit scrambling about the rock. Unfortunately, given the strength of the wind I couldn’t stand at the highest point of the tor. I scrambled up to within touching distance, but as I poked my head up above the rocks for the final push the wind was doing its best to low it off my shoulders.
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The Tor high point.....so near, yet so far

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Looking back to the summit Tor

With apologies to all you aficionados out there I’m still claiming this one as a Munro ticked off the list :lol: :D Had it not been for the wind I would have happily scrambled the final few feet to the top.

I’d already decided that Beinn a Bhuird wasn’t on the cards today, as the cloud on that hill looked pretty fixed and I didn’t fancy getting lost up there!!! So it was just a case of the 10 or so mile walk back to the car :D :( Queue hysterical laughter :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: At least the weather was holding up and as I dropped down out of the clag the views gave me the encouragement I needed to push on back to the car park.
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Heading home

Despite sore, tired legs I somehow found the desire to jog along track for in a few short bursts. I should have been on my knees, but I was feeling remarkably alive and making good progress back down the track :D :D

Back at the Slugain ruin I noticed a 4x4, which I assumed to be that of an estate worker. Just as I was about a couple of miles from the end they drew up beside and tempted me with the offer of a lift to the car park.....

....Fear not though reader, I didn’t give into temptation, despite it being a very nice offer. As I politely declined the lift I could hear the soles of my feet and my calves screaming at me “yes, just take the lift you stupid oaf :evil:
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So, that;s what Lochnagar looks like!!

Back at the car and it was time to reflect on a great walk to herald the onset of winter. For some reason, and I can’t for the life of me say why, I chose not to investigate the Fairy Glen. But with Beinn a Bhuird to return to hopefully next year I have the perfect excuse to spend a bit more time in explorer mode.
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Re: A day out on Ben Avon

Postby Alastair S » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:12 am

Nice one Peter - a bit less dramatic than your Glen Shiel report but I suspect you're all the gladder for that!

Its a long way but worth it. I included Beinn a' Bhuird and that was just too far if you're on foot the whole way (and into your fifties -lol-). I got clag on the summit too so quite fancy a repeat, but from the other (Glen Avon) side. Another long day but possible with a MTB.
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Re: A day out on Ben Avon

Postby dogplodder » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:22 am

This is a great report and just what I need as Ben Avon is on my 'to do soon' list and I'd have tackled her this year if I'd found someone to go with! :? (Hubby wouldn't be happy with me doing something so remote solo).

Didn't look to be livestock about so presumably no problem taking the canines with me? 8)
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Re: A day out on Ben Avon

Postby rockhopper » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:39 pm

It's a cracking wide open space up there, isn't it - and the tors make it all the more dramatic :D Long way to go for one - but I'd agree that in the clag it's not easy to navigate - well done
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Re: A day out on Ben Avon

Postby pigeon » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:07 pm

Another good report Pete,how long do you think it took you?Was looking at this one but may be struggling for daylight now :(
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Re: A day out on Ben Avon

Postby skuk007 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:21 pm

Nice report Pete, and great pictures of the tors. Is certainly a long day without the bike.
Bringing back the memories from my summer around Braemar, missing the hills big time. :(
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Re: A day out on Ben Avon

Postby LeithySuburbs » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:54 pm

cheers for that report Pete :) . I have this planned as an overnighter with a camp somewhere below the Sneck. 2am or 3am - I'd just be happy if I could get up during the "am" :? .
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Re: A day out on Ben Avon

Postby Johnny Corbett » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:08 pm

A true Munro mercenary Pete resisting that temptation of a life :D
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Re: A day out on Ben Avon

Postby pollyh33 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:47 pm

Great report PeteR .

A wise decision to get a very early start because that sounded like a very very long walk :(

But as you say, you had an excellent path for most of the way. Did you not feel a wee bit cheated about not having lots of bog to plough through?? :lol:
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Re: A day out on Ben Avon

Postby Bod » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:45 am

Nice one Pete, one of my early Munros this. We used to approach from the east whilst staying at the bothy by Carndavon Lodge, many moons ago both summer and winter. I think its time to head back and explore again? Thanks for that, hope your legs are well...... :)
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Re: A day out on Ben Avon

Postby PeteR » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:09 am

Alastair S wrote:Nice one Peter - a bit less dramatic than your Glen Shiel report but I suspect you're all the gladder for that!

Its a long way but worth it. I included Beinn a' Bhuird and that was just too far if you're on foot the whole way (and into your fifties -lol-). I got clag on the summit too so quite fancy a repeat, but from the other (Glen Avon) side. Another long day but possible with a MTB.

Cheers Alastair. You're right, it is a long walk, but I've the excuse to go back and bag Beinn a' Bhuird next time. I'll try and repeat Ben Avon at the same time if I've the legs. I'll wait for a sunny day though so I can gaurantee the views next time.

dogplodder wrote:This is a great report and just what I need as Ben Avon is on my 'to do soon' list and I'd have tackled her this year if I'd found someone to go with! :? (Hubby wouldn't be happy with me doing something so remote solo).

Didn't look to be livestock about so presumably no problem taking the canines with me? 8)

Hi dogplodder. Didn't see any sheep at all when I was out on this walk, so I can imagine the doggies should be fine :D

rockhopper wrote:It's a cracking wide open space up there, isn't it - and the tors make it all the more dramatic :D Long way to go for one - but I'd agree that in the clag it's not easy to navigate - well done

Cheers rockhopper. Sadly the clag has been a feature this year. But things lokk good so far for thbis weekend's walk :D

pigeon wrote:Another good report Pete,how long do you think it took you?Was looking at this one but may be struggling for daylight now :(

Hi Pigeon, I was 9 hours dead for this walk, and that was with a good 30 to 40 minute stop on the summit. I'd say I'm not the fastest walker, although MrsR would not agree :lol: but I'd say the WH guide time of 9 to 11 hours is about right. The tracks are excellent too, so if you're happy with a head torch I don't see any problems either. Whenever you do this one I hope you enjoy :D

skuk007 wrote:Nice report Pete, and great pictures of the tors. Is certainly a long day without the bike.
Bringing back the memories from my summer around Braemar, missing the hills big time. :(

skuk007 I can think of nothing worse than missing the hills :( I hope you're back soon enough :D

LeithySuburbs wrote:cheers for that report Pete :) . I have this planned as an overnighter with a camp somewhere below the Sneck. 2am or 3am - I'd just be happy if I could get up during the "am" :? .

Leithy, you can't beat a good 2 am or 3 am start :lol: This loked ideal for a overnighter. Lovely and remote.

Johnny Corbett wrote:A true Munro mercenary Pete resisting that temptation of a life :D

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: Wouldn't have it any other way :D

pollyh33 wrote:Great report PeteR .

A wise decision to get a very early start because that sounded like a very very long walk :(

But as you say, you had an excellent path for most of the way. Did you not feel a wee bit cheated about not having lots of bog to plough through?? :lol:

Thanks Polly. There's nothing like a challenge and a 21 mile walk when the clocks go back seemed like a challenge :lol: But the paths were amongst the best I've walked and no, I wasn't cheated. I felt I deserved a bit of bog free :lol: :lol: It won't last and I'm probably going to be back to the usual boginess this again weekend :lol: :shock:

Bod wrote:Nice one Pete, one of my early Munros this. We used to approach from the east whilst staying at the bothy by Carndavon Lodge, many moons ago both summer and winter. I think its time to head back and explore again? Thanks for that, hope your legs are well...... :)

Cheers Bod. Well worth a trip back for these hills :D The legs are good, but the knees are creaking :lol: I don't think they like me anymore :lol: :lol:
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Re: A day out on Ben Avon

Postby pigeon » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:54 pm

Thanks for the advice Pete ,think i'm going to leave it till next summer and tackle Beinn a Bhuird along with it ,need plenty daylight for that :lol:
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