walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Amongst the Monadh Ruaidh

Amongst the Monadh Ruaidh


Postby weaselmaster » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:05 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Bhuird, Beinn a'Chaorainn (Cairngorms), Beinn Bhreac, Beinn Mheadhoin, Ben Avon, Ben Macdui, Braeriach, Cairn Gorm, Cairn Toul, Carn a'Mhaim, Derry Cairngorm, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, The Devil's Point

Date walked: 01/09/2013

Time taken: 50 hours

Distance: 111 km

Ascent: 6309m

8 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

I really wasn't looking forward to this week much. I'd already had to cut it short by 2 days due to work commitments meaning we couldn't start out on our trip til the monday night instead of the previous friday. And recently I have become something of a fan of the "jaggy hills" of the west coast, rather than the "rounded humps" of the east. Too many other commitments had meant that I hadn't worked out the routes we'd use in anything other than a cursory manner over a couple of evenings earlier in the week. I haven't walked in the Cairngorms before, other than a visit to Cairn Gorm on last December's winter skills course, where we were unsuccessful at climbing Cairn Gorm itself due to monstrous winds. Up til now I've found the relationship between the hills confusing - there seemed to be so many ways in which to put the walks together. What I did come up with was three walks, each over 2 days that would claim us 13 peaks in total but would mean 6 days of walking with full packs - something I've not done before. In fact recent trips with the tent have mostly been "car-camping" with light day packs and only one proper 2 day-er to the Strathfarrar hills that had left me more exhausted than I was comfortable with.

The routes chosen were to start at Cairngorm Ski Centre and circuit Braeraich, down to Corrour bothy to camp somewhere near the Demon's Penis then head back over Carn a'Mhaim, Macdhui and Cairn Gorm on days 1-2 then drive down to Linn of Dee to tackle Bhreac, A'Chaorainn, camp at Loch Etchachan and do Mheadhoin and Derry Cairngorm the following day then finish off by heading to Linn of Quoich to climb Avon and a'Bhuird on the last 2 days. The forecast for the week's weather had been mixed, with strong winds at times, especially towards the end of the week.

Trip 1


cairntoul.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



We scurried away from work just after 4 on monday, having packed the car the night before. I had a vague worry that I'd forgotten something important, but then I often do before a trip. We'll see what it was shortly :lol:
Motored up the M80 in pleasant late afternoon sunshine and reached Aviemore sometime after 7.30pm - parked at the Sugarbowl carpark, putting in 2 days' money into the ticket machine in the hope that this would save us from getting a ticket, which it did :wink: Shouldered up the big packs with a bit of a groan and set off towards the Chalamain gap, reckoning we had about an hour's walking time left before the darkness fell.
Image
P1030801 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030802 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030804 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The air was still and the midges evident, particularly when we stopped to scout about for a pitch spot :o Zipped up the inner mesh for the night to shut the wee beggars out and had a peaceful night - very quiet apart from the distant overhead drone of an aircraft at high altitude on a couple of occasions deep in the middle of the night. I'd brought along Nan Shepherd's "The Living Mountain" to re-read over our trip and this slim volume, the distillation of a life spent in these mountains, was brought to vivid life here.

Tuesday morning greeted us with more still air and some high white cloud. Closer to home were our own little clouds of midges, which made tent dismantling a quicker than usual event :wink:

Image
P1030805 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Leggings with coating of midge :lol:
Image
P1030806 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We walked through the Chalamain gap, unsettled by the sheer size of some of the boulders we had to scramble across, some big as cars. I was also struck by the red/pinkness of the granite, particularly where a rock had fallen from the sides recently and the colour gleamed through - definately a case of the Monadh Ruadh rather than the Blue Hills for me.

Image
P1030809 by 23weasels, on Flickr

After the roughness of the gap there's a pleasant walk towards the Lairig Ghru, looking over to the mass of Braeriach. Gazing over to the bulk of this mountain gave me the sense of being no more than an ant on the plateau which was both spiritually uplifting and feeling imbued with utter insignificance.

Image
P1030811 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030813 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We stopped by the waters of the Dee to freshen up - this must be the sweetest purest water I've ever tasted - ruined somewhat by the hordes of midges intent on getting into every available orifice :roll:

As we walked up the shoulder of Sron na Lairige the path lost its green covering, becoming stonier.

Image
P1030817 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We did see the impressive walls of the Lairig Ghru - purple and green stripes.
Image
P1030818 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The rocks along the way were home to splashes of the most lurid green lichen - reminded me of the luminous paint on watch dials in days gone by - wonder if it glows in the dark too :lol:
Image
P1030819 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Mist started to roll in and thickened as we gained altitude. Unfortunately this meant that we got no views of the imposing (on the map at least) Coire Bhrochain from Braeriach - Nan talks about these hills not being meant to be looked up to, but to look down from into the coires and plunging cliffs - so true. At the summit we stopped for lunch and I discovered what I'd forgotten to pack - Allison's sandwiches :shock: I'd made 2 day's supply for me and none for her, despite saying I would :roll: Giving her my "day 2" lunch meant that neither of us would have a proper lunch on day 2 :( i couldn't deprive the "sickly child" - especially when I was to blame for the oversight, but it did concern me that I could be so careless.

Summit Braeriach
Image
P1030822 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030823 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The weather improved greatly in the afternoon, as we walked around the rim of Garbh Coire, crossing the nascent Dee and meeting up with a guy from Wishaw (who told us he was planning to do the traverse of 4 hills in a day, but we reckoned he turned back after Carn Toul as we didn't see him again after that summit). Views were really opening up - we could look ahead to Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Carn an t-Sabhail which rose as a mighty curve. As we continued our journey round Garbh Coire we spotted little patches of snow clinging on in the deepest recesses and had a great views of the falls of Dee and the mighty Coire Ruadh carved into the body of Braeriach itself.

Image
P1030824 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030828 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030829 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030833 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030834 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030835 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030839 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sgur an Lochan Uaine was reached without any difficulties and as we walked round to Carn an t-Sabhail we could see the Lochan Uaine gleaming below the peak, mirroring the sky. Summiting t-Sabhail gave fantastic views all around. We descended to an un-named peak at 1167m which Allison decided to name "Sgurr Allison" - seeing that I've already got a hill named after me (Sgurr Alasdair). Seemed fair enough :lol:

Summit Sgurr an Lochan Uaine
Image
P1030842 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Coire ruadh
Image
P1030844 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Falls of Dee
Image
P1030845 by 23weasels, on Flickr

carn an t-Sabhail
Image
P1030846 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lochan Uaine
Image
P1030848 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030849 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to carn a'Mhaim
Image
P1030852 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Back to sgurr an lochan uaine & Braeriach
Image
P1030854 by 23weasels, on Flickr

"Sgurr Allison" :wink:
Image
P1030856 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030857 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Carn an t-Sabhail from bealach odhar
Image
P1030859 by 23weasels, on Flickr

It was raining in showers in the Lairig, setting up rainbows now and then as we set off for our last hill of the day, the irrepressibly named "Penis of the Demon". I have to say that looking down on it from the might of Carn an t-Sabhail (1291m), it seemed a pretty meagre appendage at only 1004m :lol: As we were coming down to Corrour by Coire Odhar, doubling back on ourselves, we were able to leave the packs and set off up the Devil's doo-dah unencumbered - bliss :D Got reasonable views from its narrow peak, including over to Carn a'Mhaim's narrow ridgeback and the bothy in the valley.

Rainbow over Lairig G
Image
P1030861 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to South from Devil's Point
Image
P1030862 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Devil's Point
Image
P1030865 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030866 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Corrour Bothy
Image
P1030869 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Devil's Point
Image
P1030870 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Made it down the steep and sometimes slippy path from Satan's Shlong and passed by the bothy, where a guy was busy trying to break up bogwood on the steps and a cluster of folk were gathered at the door having cuppas - a busy wee place tonight by the look of it. We headed across the steel bridge and pitched near the Clach nan Taillear - hoping not to be haunted by the spirits of the long deceased tailors who reputedly died of exposure there. To the south, the sky was clear past the Devil's Point, but further north up the Lairig whorls of cloud were rolling in. Sat gazing out for a while into the evening - there being enough wind to keep the midges away. It did make me wonder where the blighters go when they can't get out due to the wind - probably sit in their tunnels gnashing their microteeth and chuntering away to themselves about not being able to get at "the humins" :lol:

Corrour
Image
P1030871 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Steel Bridge
Image
P1030873 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Pitch
Image
P1030874 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Clouds rolling from the north
Image
P1030878 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030879 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030881 by 23weasels, on Flickr

It rained during the night and Wednesday morning was misty and drizzly. Noting that a wet tent is somewhat heavier to carry than a dry one, and reminding myself that lunch was going to be on the spartan side today, we set off towards the path that runs near Allt clach nan Taillear to the bealach between a'Mhaim & Macdhui - spotted clearly the day before from Carn an t-Sabhail. Wet heather and slimy pools of gunk didn't help the mood much and we reached the flat area on the back of Ca'M in thick clag. Again we dumped the sacks behind a suitably large rock, making some marker cairns along the way - I always get a bit anxious when leaving my pack behind that it will get rifled, or that I'll never find it again. The trek along the ridgeback of Ca'M was spoiled by the lack of views, although I'm reckoning on a good day it could be quite a pretty hill to walk. Mission accomplished at the cairn we returned along the same path, knocking over our cairns as we passed them and being re-united with our burdens.

Carn a'Mhaim
Image
P1030882 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030883 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Next up was Macdhui. The map suggested the way up from Sron Riach would be steep and steady, as indeed it was, traipsing over boulders with occasional signs of a path. Eventually we made the flat area at 1249m and had to navigate carefully to find our way to the summit, seeing very little en route. Which was a shame - we've climbed the two highest mountains in the land in the last week and seen not a scooby from either of them :(
We did pass an assortment of shelters and ruins as we neared the top - presumably once the abode of the "big grey man". However, we didn't see him either. At the summit we did see a number of other walkers, including some in shorts. This seemed a bit inappropriate for the conditions, but hey, each to their own.

Boulders going up Macdhui
Image
P1030885 by 23weasels, on Flickr

grey man's hoose?
Image
P1030886 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Macdhui
Image
P1030888 by 23weasels, on Flickr


A meagre lunch of 1 poke of crisps, an apple and a bit of flapjack was "enjoyed" at the top in the relative comfort of one of the stony shelters. I remembered I had some whisky in the pack, so a couple of measures of Jura made the absent sandwich a little easier to bear :) Leaving the summit we entered the "land of cairns" - hundreds of them lining the path. Helpful in mist like today.

Image
P1030889 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Our path took us across a rather featureless plain towards Cairn Gorm - with the sky clearing as we went until finally the sun broke through and we were able to shed the several winter layers of clothing that had been assembled earlier in the day. Fiacaill Buttress and Stob coire an t-Sneachda were impressive, and looking down into the coire we could see the areas where we'd practiced digging snow caves back in December. Some huffing and puffing brought us to the top, desecrated by aerial mast. Hordes of folk were milling around, having come up from the north side. We stopped for a couple of snaps then made our way down the "pavement", corralled by ropes into a human sheep flock. Not the best way to end what had been, until that point, a soul-enhancing experience. It's quite difficult to squeeze by folk going at a gnat's pace down the slope, but we eventually made it, past the ski canteen and down the empty runs - is there anything more futile looking than ski runs in summer? Back at the car park i made the mistake of following the road instead of taking a more direct path back to the Sugarbowl, which I'm sure added about 3 miles onto the journey :lol: - not what I wanted at the end of a day without my proper lunch :cry:

Image
P1030893 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Towards Cairn Gorm
Image
P1030895 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030897 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030899 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit
Image
P1030907 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030910 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Back at the car i was relieved to see no penalty charges or vandalism. We sampled some food from the boot supply and headed off along the infamous "Cockbridge to Tomintoul" road - fortunately the snow gates were open and weather didn't impede our progress. Seems a long way to travel to get back very near to where you started from, but that's mountains for you. Drove out from Braemar along the pretty road towards Linn of Dee car park where we constructed the packs for the next two days, remembering to take quite enough food for each person :roll: We were early enough to be able to walk to near Derry Lodge that evening where we'd planned to camp. By about 8.15pm we hadn't reached the lodge but were very close and decided to pitch in heathery terrain beside the Lui Water. This was probably a mistake as it was much lumpier than the smooth grassy areas around Derry Lodge, as we'd see next morning. Anyway, we were hungry and tired, so it sufficed. Mexican for tea (Refried beans, mexican bean rice, tortillas and salsa) lifted the spirits and after a chapter of Nan we hit the hay. Or rather the heather.

Path to Derry Lodge
Image
P1030915 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030916 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030917 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030920 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lumpy pitch :roll:
Image
P1030922 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Days 3-4


derry4gpx.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Passing by Derry Lodge it did appear a wasted opportunity to have something useful inside such a lovely setting. A number of folk had tents scattered around under the trees and a few were heading up Glen Derry ahead of us. Our first objective was Beinn Bhreac.

Derry Lodge
Image
P1030923 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030925 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030927 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Beinn Bhreac
Image
P1030928 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We followed the track up alongside the Lui Water until the path towards the hill was due to start. Only we couldn't find the path. We did see a cairn by the trackside, but the path it led to seemed to fizzle out in the heather. Eventually I decided to head straight up alongside the Beinne Brice, reckoning we'd hit the path soon enough. What I did hit was a hole in the heather covered ground and fell, snapping my pole (2 Leki poles broken in a month - this is getting costly :? ). I knew that with a big pack on I really needed 2 poles in working order and attempted to fix the broken pole, trying to straighten the snapped end enough to allow it to go back into the pole body. Hmm. Sharp aluminium edges and the skin on one's knuckle is a bad combination and I suffered a deep gash to my left middle finger. After a gout of the red stuff had splashed up my other arm I managed to stem the flow with judicious use of Micropore tape, peppered with many curses. I was in working order as long as I didn't bend my finger - any involuntary bending that did occur sent fresh blood oozing out from the tape. Great - I'm probably going to lose a finger now and it's only day three :lol: Annoyed again at my stupidity I stormed off ahead in a rage before regaining my composure and apologising to the long-suffering sickly one. After that, the summit of Beinn Bhreac was reached without much more incident, other than me heading for the western top rather than the proper summit and having to detour back :oops:

Finger damage :roll:
Image
P1030964 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Towards Beinn a'Bhuird from BB
Image
P1030931 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit BB
Image
P1030932 by 23weasels, on Flickr



We chatted with the couple that we met at the top then started off towards Beinn a'Chaorainn. For the most part this is a gentle walk across flat - although boggy - land. I wouldn't care to do it after a lenghty rainy spell as you'd be up to your neck in bog. But it was fortunately dry enough to even picnic amongst the grasses. Ahead of us we could see the strange bumps on the back of Beinn Mheadhoin - something to explore later on.
Image
P1030937 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Boggy flatlands to Ba'C
Image
P1030938 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030939 by 23weasels, on Flickr

derry cairngorm
Image
P1030940 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Ba'C
Image
P1030944 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The last section of Ba'C is bouldery and quite steep but rewarded with good views, albeit under a ceiling of fairly low cloud. I'd originally planned to descend to the Lairig an Laoigh and walk up to Loch Etchachan before tackling Mheadhoin from the "tourist path" if we had time. However, the more I looked from the top of Ba'C, the more I liked the idea of heading straight up Stob Coire Etchachan and reaching Mheadhoin that way. After an enjoyable scree descent down the flank of Ba'C, we decided to do just that. Or rather I decided, and Allison followed behind like "some insane sheep" to use her words. Following the boundary line on the map more or less, it was a lung-bursting 250m of steep grassy rocky ascent - I was loving it, having got really into the moment, Allison less so, but too far below me for her numerous curses to be audible :lol:

Towards Loch Etchachan
Image
P1030946 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Steep flank of SCE
Image
P1030948 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Scree descent Ba'C
Image
P1030950 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030951 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Climb up SCE
Image
P1030954 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Eventually we reached the flat area just beneath the summit. Although not a Munro, I was damned if I was going to miss out on topping out on this one, so we dumped the sacks and had a short scramble over more chunky boulders to be rewarded with great views down to Loch Etchachan, the Hutchy Hut and Mheadhoin's weird tors. Feeling somewhat elated we decided to leave the packs where they were and head up to Mheadhoin unburdened. Again we went through the rigmarole of making wee cairns, which was quite fun. As we neared the spine of Mheadhoin the tors - or barns - became more impressive. Reaching the first, it reminded me of the Cheesewring down in Cornwall. We had to have a bit of fun scrambling up onto it :D and got a view of the secretive Loch Avon, surrounded by the steep walls of Macdhui and Mheadhoin.

Loch Etchachan from summit SCE
Image
P1030957 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030958 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lairig Laoigh
Image
P1030959 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Hutchison Hut
Image
P1030961 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Next up was the summit tor - guarded by the windblown shapes that Hamish Brown describes as 2 sealions, but which we thought were more in the character of ancient Egyptian statues. Up to the top with the "wash handbasin" eroded into the granite and some more good views, then over to the next - and smallest - tor for another bit of scramble fun. Really enjoyed these weird shaped things :wink:

Image
P1030968 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030969 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Loch Avon
Image
P1030970 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030974 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Egyptian/sealions
Image
P1030975 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030978 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Back to collect the packs and a final bit of ascent up to the 1163m point of Mheadhoin before turning down the winding track towards Loch Etchachan. We picked a flattish area beside the little loch to pitch in and enjoyed the marvelous views of the high walls surrounding the Loch. I had been interested to go and see the Shelter Stone and the "beach" at the west end of Loch Avon, but when Allison pointed out that the way - although shortish, involved another 200m ascent I decided that these delights would have to wait for another day :)
A peaceful night spent with the lapping of the nearby water.

Image
P1030985 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030986 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Morning
Image
P1030993 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Friday morning started sunny, but weather was coming in from the west. And it was windy. We packed up and set off for Cairngorm of Derry about 9am. The waters of Etchachan appeared intensely blue as we gained height. It was strange to have sunshine and great views to the east of us, and cloud/clag covering all to the west. As we ascended the wind became more ferocious, biting at ears, flapping rucksack straps into faces and making progress across the boulders somewhat erratic. Allison reached one point near the summit where she knew if she lifted either leg she was going to be blown over, even with a big heavy pack on. Somehow we did make it without mishap then quickly started off down the long descent towards Carn Crom. We only spotted one other walker along the way - some people have more sense than to go out on days like this :lol:

Image
P1030996 by 23weasels, on Flickr

SCE
Image
P1040001 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040005 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bouldery ascent, Derry Cairngorm
Image
P1040007 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040010 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Windy summit, DC
Image
P1040013 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Descent
Image
P1040017 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We reached the shelter of Glen Luibeg, passing some beehives (or rather, bee-crates) before returning to Derry Lodge and our walk out to Linn of Dee.
Image
P1040018 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040019 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bee crates
Image
P1040020 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We'd finished ahead of schedule, getting back to the car at around 2pm, so had time to drive back into Braemar for a pint and to visit the Co-op for essential provisions - more Pringles (although sadly not Paprika flavour), some wine for the evening meal and - I couldn't really resist - a bottle of Old Pulteney to replace the sadly diminished Jura. Back along the same road, but that little bit further to Linn of Quoich where we once again assembled our packs and supplies and set off up into Glen Quoich in the late afternoon sunshine. We travelled through beautiful Caledonian Pine forest accompanied by the Quoich water with its faint greenish sparkle running below to our right. What a special place!
Image
P1040023 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040024 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040025 by 23weasels, on Flickr

South top, beinn a'bhuird
Image
P1040027 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040030 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We found an area of meadow just after the split in the Quoich water and pitched there for the night. Visitors to the tent included a multitude of inquisitive spiders, hoppers and a large frog. Unfortunately the flat meadow gave no protection from the wind, and it proved to be a very stormy night. I've not had our new tent out in high winds before, and was concerned that that pegs were less than secure in long grass/damp earth, but she held firm and - despite being well battered through the night, was untouched in the morning.

Image
P1040031 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Days 5-6


avon2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Saturday morning was sunny, we followed the right hand branch of the Quoich Water and walked through what I can only describe as an enchanted forest. Tall pines, bog myrtle, all manner of fungi and a heady scent of greenery concocted a Lothlorien-like experience. Only a faint breeze played through the trees but there were no flies or midges to tarnish the pleasure. Wonderful.
Image
P1040032 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040034 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040036 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040038 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040039 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We came to the end of the trees, crossed the river and headed up northwards towards the path from Glean an t-Slugain, where several other walkers were arriving from. My route didn't take the cissy path up the glen, oh no, we were going straight up the shoulder of Ben Avon starting at the stream in the cleft between Carn Eag Dubh and Carn an Fhir Bhogha. Shades of the slog up Stob Coire Etchachan - although not as steep there was about 400m of ascent to manage and day 5 legs were complaining a bit. Usually I manage steep ups by counting off 100 double paces and resting but here I found myself aiming for rocky markers at closer and closer intervals. What a lightweight :lol:

Ben Avon
Image
P1040040 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040047 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Finally we made it up to the brow of the mountain with a wasteland of crushed granite and sparse tufts of grass. We wandered over heading due north and were completely surprised by the sudden appearance of weird tors and hummocks dotted on the landscape before us. It really did look like something out of pre-history, or maybe another planet. arriving from this direction allowed this vista to be experienced without warning, whereas approaching from the glean an t-slugain route would reveal these strange shapes piecemeal fashion, diluting the surprise.

Image
P1040050 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040051 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040054 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040055 by 23weasels, on Flickr

South to Lochnagar
Image
P1040058 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Our next question to ponder was - which one of these is the summit? I confess I did switch the GPS on to make sure, not wanting a wild goose chase after the wrong summit. But the one that looks like the highest top is indeed the highest top and we set off across the plain. The wind was howling from our left and it felt incredibly cold for August - the forecast had suggested 1 degree C at 1000m and with windchill it felt well below that.. A herd of deer watched us warily We dipped down into a cleft carved out by the Allt an eas mhoir to take on food and drink from the pure water before gathering ourselves for the final push to the bed of the yellow stag. We did wonder if we'd be able to climb the tor in such a high wind, but the scramble was easy enough and the granite rough and grippy. Only casualty was my baseball cap which was wheeched off my head by a gust as I tried to take a picture - fortunately Allison captured it amongst the rocks below.

Image
P1040059 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040061 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040063 by 23weasels, on Flickr

From up here we could make out our route across to Beinn a'Bhuird, following the edge of Garbh Coire round by the sneck and up to Cnap a' Chleirich. On the descent we met Evie from WH and her son and had a natter about our adventures. Views down to the coire and to Stob an t-sluichd were terrific - Allison commenting that the ridge looked like a sleeping dragon with spiny back and head curled on its flank. Once we reached the height of Cnap a'Chleirich it was a matter of making directly for the cairn on the North Top across open, and sometimes boggy terrain. We didn't come across any aircraft parts, sadly.

Route to beinn a'bhuird
Image
P1040066 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040068 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040070 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Dragon
Image
P1040075 by 23weasels, on Flickr

back towards Avon
Image
P1040081 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The coires and buttresses were breathtaking. At the summit we met a couple from Paisley who took our picture. Thereafter it was a gentle walk down the long shoulder to An Diollaid, passing a couple of young lads on their way up, one wearing a hoodie, the other t shirt and shorts, no rucksack or warm clothing. As it was now almost 4pm and still pretty cold/windy, I was a bit concerned for their wellbeing, but maybe youth has strong circulation to deal with chilly conditions. I was struck by the pure whiteness of Allt an na Beinne as it streamed down the cleft beside us. Passing along the west side of Carn Allt na Beinne shielded us from the wind and allowed the removal of some layers of clothing - didn't go as far as donning shorts though :)

Final summit of the trip
Image
P1040084 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Towards macdhui
Image
P1040088 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Dubh Lochan
Image
P1040090 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We decided to set up camp for the night amongst the trees of Dhubh Gleann rather than risk the exposure of the flat meadows again. Camping under an ancient tree, on a soft, fragrant carpet of mountain thyme brought an excellent end to our adventures, and a restful night was passed.
Image
P1040096 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1040099 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Quoich water
Image
P1040100 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sunday brough a leisurely day to pack up, walk the few miles back along Glen Quoich to the car and head for home. The thought of stopping somewhere for more hills - like the Lochnagar 5 did occur, but the Sickly One decreed that her knees had suffered enough, so we made it back to Glasgow for a much enjoyed feast in Stereo. After those few days in the hills I found the city air offensive to my purified senses, and the busy streets far from appealing. I will readily admit that I was wrong to decry the delights of the Cairngorm Plateau before spending time within it and could see myself happily returning to sample its charms again and again.

This weekend was also a bit special as it marked the 1 year anniversary of our hillwalking - from a humble start getting lost in clag on beinn ime a year ago to having 181 of the little beggars in the bag for me ("only" 130 for the Sickly Kid) it's been a great journey. Here's to the last 100 :wink:
Last edited by weaselmaster on Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1772
Munros:206   Corbetts:217
Grahams:69   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:177   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruadh

Postby PeteR » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:44 pm

Superb report Alastair :clap: :thumbup: I really enjoyed reading that. And some great photos too :D Your Chalamain gap photo is an absolute cracker. It really gives a sense of scale.

An epic few days you had there. Glad to see that for the most part the weather was kind to you both.

I'm a bit of a Cairngorms fan myself and your photos have reminded me that I really should return to these hills some time soon :D
User avatar
PeteR
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1964
Munros:282   Corbetts:152
Grahams:87   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:160   Hewitts:3
Islands:7
Joined: Jan 27, 2010
Location: North Ayrshire

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruadh

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:06 pm

Ah a belter of a report and hardy in bagging that lot with the poorly lassie with you :wink:

Good to see the real name applied to this range ,none of this Cairngorm nonsense for a range that was, always will be the Monadh Ruaidh :clap:
User avatar
Collaciotach
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1734
Munros:282   Corbetts:120
Grahams:30   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:20   
Islands:28
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Gaidhealtachd an Iar

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruadh

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:47 pm

Collaciotach wrote:Ah a belter of a report and hardy in bagging that lot with the poorly lassie with you :wink:

Good to see the real name applied to this range ,none of this Cairngorm nonsense for a range that was, always will be the Monadh Ruaidh :clap:


cheers Colly- but should it be spelt monaidh ruaidh or monadh ruadh? - have seen both used.
I'll not tell you what kinds of difficulties i got into with trying to pronounce some of these hills over the weekend :lol:
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1772
Munros:206   Corbetts:217
Grahams:69   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:177   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruaidh

Postby Bod » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:50 pm

What a stunning and extensive report showing the Monadh Ruaidh at its best! Hope the finger injury is well on the mend and great to see you enjoy a wee dram :) :) :)
User avatar
Bod
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1512
Munros:282   Corbetts:47
Grahams:27   Donalds:20
Sub 2000:29   Hewitts:9
Wainwrights:7   Islands:24
Joined: Jul 30, 2010
Location: Cowdenbeath

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruaidh

Postby nathan79 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:46 pm

Fine report of a finew series of jaunts. Makes me guilty that my only trip to my favourite region of the country this year has been a day wander up Beinn Bhreac.

Like Bod I'm glad to see there was a wee bit uisge involved :D
User avatar
nathan79
Wanderer
 
Posts: 870
Munros:100   Corbetts:29
Grahams:13   Donalds:4
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:14
Wainwrights:14   Islands:5
Joined: Jan 24, 2010
Location: The Kingdom of Fife

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruadh

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:26 pm

weaselmaster wrote:
Collaciotach wrote:Ah a belter of a report and hardy in bagging that lot with the poorly lassie with you :wink:

Good to see the real name applied to this range ,none of this Cairngorm nonsense for a range that was, always will be the Monadh Ruaidh :clap:


cheers Colly- but should it be spelt monaidh ruaidh or monadh ruadh? - have seen both used.
I'll not tell you what kinds of difficulties i got into with trying to pronounce some of these hills over the weekend :lol:


Ach both is fine , easily understood either spelling ;D
User avatar
Collaciotach
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1734
Munros:282   Corbetts:120
Grahams:30   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:20   
Islands:28
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Gaidhealtachd an Iar

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruaidh

Postby simon-b » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:09 pm

A memorable expedition, Alastair. I'm glad you've come to appreciate the true glory of the Monadh Ruadh.
User avatar
simon-b
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1914
Munros:282   Corbetts:30
Grahams:7   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:156
Wainwrights:214   Islands:4
Joined: Jan 2, 2012
Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruaidh

Postby rockhopper » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:34 pm

Just a wee wander then this time, WM........ :wink:
Enjoyed that - am missing our annual trip up here this year and this helped fill the void. You're certainly right - it's a great area for mixing up routes and hills with so many options - can remember enjoying the planning [almost] as much as the walking myself - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6381
Munros:282   Corbetts:207
Grahams:60   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruaidh

Postby basscadet » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:25 pm

Oh that looked Braw.. :D

You're affy keen though.. Thats a lorra hills in just a few days :shock:
User avatar
basscadet
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2779
Munros:84   Corbetts:52
Grahams:18   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:33   Hewitts:13
Wainwrights:17   Islands:21
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruaidh

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:33 pm

basscadet wrote:Oh that looked Braw.. :D

You're affy keen though.. Thats a lorra hills in just a few days :shock:


Cheers BC - but when you get as old as me you never know how much time you've got left to get out and get them done :lol: plus - what else do you do with a few days holiday anyway?? :crazy:
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1772
Munros:206   Corbetts:217
Grahams:69   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:177   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruaidh

Postby Mountainlove » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:12 am

Wow what a week that must have been. Great effort :thumbup: :thumbup: to the two of you. The midge photo OMG!!! What a nightmare - it send shivers down my spine :shock:
User avatar
Mountainlove
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1202
Munros:52   Corbetts:23
Grahams:7   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:2   
Islands:9
Joined: Feb 2, 2010
Location: North Ayrshire

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruaidh

Postby ceaser » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:22 pm

another fantastic report WM ( think i read lord of the rings quicker ) :D the rate you 2 are going ,it could be your completion at the kinlochleven meet :D
User avatar
ceaser
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 404
Munros:272   Corbetts:28
Grahams:3   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:4   Hewitts:1
Wainwrights:1   Islands:4
Joined: Apr 18, 2012
Location: dunfermline

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruaidh

Postby weaselmaster » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:12 pm

ceaser wrote:another fantastic report WM ( think i read lord of the rings quicker ) :D the rate you 2 are going ,it could be your completion at the kinlochleven meet :D


Unfortunately not be getting them done quite in time for that :lol:
It's either the Mullardoch 12 or the fisherfield 6 this weekend depending on the stalking situation, so getting nearer the 200 mark at least.
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1772
Munros:206   Corbetts:217
Grahams:69   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:177   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Amongst the Monadh Ruaidh

Postby The Rodmiester » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:37 pm

Superb report and photographs there Alastair, tremendous effort the both of you :clap: :clap: Long, big and hard days, tiring just reading. A week you will remember for a very long time, great stuff again! :D
User avatar
The Rodmiester
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 3388
Munros:107   Corbetts:196
Grahams:45   Donalds:13
Sub 2000:75   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:1   Islands:16
Joined: Aug 15, 2012
Location: Carnoustie

8 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Next



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Dunfie, Hunter12, KieranMcDonald, Martraven, Petr Dakota and 63 guests