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Long circular from Cairnwell: 14 Munros, 39 miles, 12 hours

Long circular from Cairnwell: 14 Munros, 39 miles, 12 hours


Postby goingforawii » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:43 am

Munros included on this walk: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Cairn of Claise, Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach, Carn a'Gheoidh, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Carn an Tuirc, Carn Aosda, Creag Leacach, Glas Maol, Lochnagar, The Cairnwell, Tolmount, Tom Buidhe

Date walked: 25/08/2018

Time taken: 12 hours

Distance: 62 km

Ascent: 3000m

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My first walk report! :)

I've been doing the Munros since November last year and have used WH to get some great ideas for walks. They've largely been walks that have already been described many times over by others, so I've never felt that I had anything new to contribute. But this time I decided to do a reasonably long walk, one that hadn't really been detailed on here (certainly not in a single day), so hopefully if anybody else is thinking about doing this walk - I can safely say that this is possible, in a single day. I am sure may on here will know that most of this walk is largely plateau walking, so... you can get a bit of a jog on in certain places, which is what I do like to do - and is partly reflected in the time taken (which includes stops for photos, food etc).

This walk report is a little delayed, as I did it in August, but I've only just gotten round to taking my photos off my camera :roll:

Coming up from Birmingham for just for the bank holiday weekend, I wanted to try and make the most of it. The forecast for Saturday was looking fantastic, just a few passing showers - whereas by Friday night, the Sunday forecast was looking very wet (which it very much was in the end).

I was exhausted by the time I finished driving up to the Ski Centre. I wasn't able to get away from Birmingham early on Friday, so I arrived at the Ski Centre at nearly 2am after a long old 8 hour+ drive. Pretty much the last thing before conking out asleep in the back of the car, was that I'd decided to try and combine the Glas Maol four and the White Mounth seven Munros in a circular route, starting from the Ski Centre. Most routes shown on WH tend to do this as an end-to-end route, but seeing as though I was on my own, this wasn't really an option.

I figured if I could do these 11 Munros in 12 hours or so, then I'd see what the weather was like and how my legs were holding up... and whether I had much energy after 4 hours kip... and then try for the short circuit of the Cairnwell three straight after. As it turns out, I managed the first 11 in just over 10 hours - and had plenty left in the legs, so popped over the A93 and did the remaining ones.

I was awake and leaving my bed (the car) at the Ski Centre by just after 6am and it was looking like a glorious day was on the cards:

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So I had an early jog back down the A93 towards Braemar for a mile or so, to pick up the start of the regular Glas Maol circuit:

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Just at that point, the rain came in... as I started to wave my fists in the air at MWIS :lol: but it was pretty light, although did stay all the way with me for the very simple plod up Carn an Tuirc:

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The top was reached very quickly, where the rain was very much set in now and had turned to sleet, so stopped to jacket up:

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I'd met a nice guy named Eddie at the top and we went on together to Cairn of Claise, still in the sleet. This took no time at all:

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He was heading off to just do the Glas Maol circuit, so off I went onto Tolmount and the weather had started to pick up nicely:

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I'm staggered that Tolmount and Tom Buidhe (and most of the White Mounth) peaks are considered Munros, but hey ho, they make for a good long circuit. I was thinking of doing both Tolmount and Tom Buidhe now, on the off chance I would be running out of time, I could head back and just make this a circuit of six... but I was surprised to check my watch and it wasn't even 8am - so would pick Tom Buidhe up on the way back:

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I wasn't too sure from Tolmount whether there'd be a defined route up to Fafernie and then onto Cairn Bannoch, but there was - so it was made easy:

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Cairn Bannoch came into view and it was quickly ascended:

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There were still passing showers (sometimes heavy), but the weather was really starting to brighten up now - definitely T-shirt and shorts weather, doing the bit of jogging here and there. From this point I could have gone to Broad Cairn first, but opted to visit that on the way back. So went onto Carn an t-Sagairt Mor:

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It's a pretty eroded plateau summit:

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From here I followed the path back down the way I'd come up and round the hillside of Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, but you really could just head off east from the summit and pick the path up there. It's not steep:

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This takes you up to The Stuic and there's just a tiny in and out to reach the summit of Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach

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From here, the walk towards Lochnagar offers wonderful views, especially of Loch nan Eun:

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But the walk is very simple and you're at Cac Carn Mor in no time with the view of the mound of rock of Lochnagar ahead:

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The summit rocks had around 30 people, so they all must have come up from Glen Muick - but was nice to have a wee chat with a few people:

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The views from the summit were impressive, with a cracking view back to Cac Carn Mor, to Loch nan Eun and out to Meall Coire na Saobhaidhe:

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A bit of malt loaf and a spot of tea and I was ready to head back. A bit of jog and back the way I came. Quick view back to Lochnagar:

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And another stop to admire Loch nan Eun:

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But otherwise straightforward route - back to Cairn Bannoch to then go on to Broad Cairn:

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But on route, with the showers still passing through, a lovely rainbow over the top of Dubh Loch and at the same time picked up a cracking view down Loch Muick, which I hadn't been able to see all day:

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The Broad Cairn summit was indistinguishable from most of the others from today...

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From here I could see Tom Buidhe clearly and tried to head in a direct line towards it:

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It was straight forward going, plodding through heather/scrubs, but it become really quite boggy towards White Water, so seeing as it really wasn't much extra distance, I scooted round back onto the side of Tolmount to pick the path up which then split one way to take you up Tom Buidhe:

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From here it was a straightforward route to go back up to Cairn of Claise

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And just head off on the very well defined path towards Glas Maol and the top was reached with relative ease:

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From the summit, Creag Leacach looked grand and the route along it was very well defined and the weather was truly grand at this point... even time for a selfie at the top :wink:

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From the summit of Creag Leacach, the Ski Centre looked a long way away....

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But the route down was simple and mostly on a vehicle track, so was able to get a bit of a jog on here:

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This got me back to the Ski Centre - I was feeling good, so went straight into the short climb up Carn Asoda. There were a few more showers at this point, but they were welcome as was getting rather sweaty by this point... :shock:

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Less than 15 minutes I was at the top and the views over to The Cairnwell and back across to Glas Maol were nice. I know a lot of people say these walks have been spoiled, but I quite like seeing all these chair lifts and machinery. It at least adds some character, especially after plateau-ing for most of the day...

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The route onto Carn a'Gheoidh is very simple - a good chunk on Land Rover tracks. There was a grouse shoot going on around Loch Vrotachan, which looked lovely (the Loch...):

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The top gave some good views of Carn Bhinnein and the Munros beyond:

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Then it was onto The Cairnwell:

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There was the heaviest shower of the day, that came and just seemed to stick right above the summit, so I was happy with the destroyed shelter at the top for a bit:

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But this passed and it was a simple route back down to the Ski Centre:

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Certainly not the prettiest of walks you will do, but if you're after a long walk (39 miles), then this is a definite possibility! I was staying in Braemar, so it was a short 10 minute drive back... and a few well-earned pints :lol: In a way I was pleased the weather was so pants on the Sunday as it gave me an excuse to have a lie-in... :wink:

Hopefully, after taking so many route ideas from people on WH, this will add to the possible longer routes available to users - and people will be able to see that this longer route is definitely possible in a single day... with a little bit of jogging... 8)
Last edited by goingforawii on Sun May 12, 2019 3:07 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: A long circular route from Glenshee Ski Centre.

Postby past my sell by date » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:18 pm

Great Walk(s) At this rate yiou'll be a Munro Compleatist this time next year :)
But the white Mounth munros are a bit cheaty :lol: I don't know (I 'm sure somone must have worked it out) how many there'd be if the 500 ft. Corbett qualication was applied.
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Re: A long circular route from Glenshee Ski Centre.

Postby goingforawii » Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:20 pm

past my sell by date wrote:Great Walk(s) At this rate yiou'll be a Munro Compleatist this time next year :)
But the white Mounth munros are a bit cheaty :lol: I don't know (I 'm sure somone must have worked it out) how many there'd be if the 500 ft. Corbett qualication was applied.


Ha ha - I agree... it seemed a bit cheaty... :wink:
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Re: A long circular route from Glenshee Ski Centre.

Postby jmarkb » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:09 am

past my sell by date wrote:But the white Mounth munros are a bit cheaty :lol: I don't know (I 'm sure somone must have worked it out) how many there'd be if the 500 ft. Corbett qualication was applied.


Of these 14 hills, only 3 (Lochnagar, Glas Maol and Carn a'Gheoidh) are Marilyns, which require > 150m of reascent. Nevertheless, that's still a monster day out!
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Re: Long circular from Cairnwell: 14 Munros, 39 miles, 12 ho

Postby Phil the Hill » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:02 pm

Good going! That lot took me 6 separate walks (7 if you include an aborted attempt on Tolmount & Tom Buidhe from Glen Doll) over 27 years.

I suspect the plateau isn't done in one go as often as it might be because it's split over separate OS maps.
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Re: A long circular route from Glenshee Ski Centre.

Postby goingforawii » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:54 pm

jmarkb wrote:
past my sell by date wrote:But the white Mounth munros are a bit cheaty :lol: I don't know (I 'm sure somone must have worked it out) how many there'd be if the 500 ft. Corbett qualication was applied.


Of these 14 hills, only 3 (Lochnagar, Glas Maol and Carn a'Gheoidh) are Marilyns, which require > 150m of reascent. Nevertheless, that's still a monster day out!


I guess that’s why it was a bit easy to jog them! :D

That’s an interesting stat though. Something like Stob an Doire on Buachaille Etive Mor has a 150m on all sides it seems but isn’t a Munro...

But I’ve only been doing them for a year so I guess I still have lots to learn... :wink:
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Re: Long circular from Cairnwell: 14 Munros, 39 miles, 12 ho

Postby past my sell by date » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:19 pm

But there are already two Munros on Buchaille Etive Mor and in my personal opinion thats still one too many
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Re: Long circular from Cairnwell: 14 Munros, 39 miles, 12 ho

Postby goingforawii » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:43 am

Very true - but where’s the consistency??! :D

Phil the hill - Cheers. I always check opentopomap first as think the maps are a bit simpler to plan a route on
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Re: Long circular from Cairnwell: 14 Munros, 39 miles, 12 ho

Postby jmarkb » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:17 pm

goingforawii wrote:That’s an interesting stat though. Something like Stob an Doire on Buachaille Etive Mor has a 150m on all sides it seems but isn’t a Munro...

But I’ve only been doing them for a year so I guess I still have lots to learn...


Well, there's a lot of history to the Munros list!

Munro originally published his list in 1891, but carried on revising it (there were plenty of surveying errors) until his death in 1919 and the SMC published a revised list based on his (now lost) notes in 1921. He never set a re-ascent criterion for deciding between the "tops" and "separate mountains". There is some thought that he might have been heading in that direction, but if he had it would probably have been 250ft or 300ft and not 500ft. He also seemed reluctant to allocate more than one "separate mountain" to hill ranges that had a single name - this was the source of the largest anomalies, with "tops" on Beinn Alligin, Beinn Eighe and the wee Buachaille having over 150m of re-ascent. Various revisions to the list were published, with changes based both on survey data and the editors subjective opinions, and the the 3 non-Munro Marilyns were promoted to full "separate mountain" status in 1997. Changes to the list since 1997 have been restricted to those based on survey data only. Currently just over 200 out of the 282 Munros have more than 150m of re-ascent. The "top" with the most re-ascent is indeed Stob an Doire at 144m and there are a further 13 tops with more than 100m of re-ascent (including, surprisingly, Beinn Iutharn Beag west of Glen Shee). Conversely there are Munros with as little as 49m of re-ascent (Am Basteir).
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Re: Long circular from Cairnwell: 14 Munros, 39 miles, 12 ho

Postby goingforawii » Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:24 pm

Thanks for the info jmarkb :D

I’m sure we’ll all see some further changes in years to come!
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Re: Long circular from Cairnwell: 14 Munros, 39 miles, 12 ho

Postby jmarkb » Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:19 am

goingforawii wrote:Thanks for the info jmarkb :D

I’m sure we’ll all see some further changes in years to come!


You are very welcome - I think the list has probably reached a fairly stable state. Most of the summit height/location uncertainties have been resolved by high accuracy on-the-ground surveying, and there appears to be no appetite at the SMC for subjective reclassifications.
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Re: Long circular from Cairnwell: 14 Munros, 39 miles, 12 ho

Postby zatapathique » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:06 pm

Great report, fantastic photos and epic walk! It took me 4 walks to do all of these Munros, and you did them in 12h - wow!
In retrospect, it is not the worst of ideas to include the White Mounth Munros in the Glas Maol Circuit. I started from the Spittal of Glenmuick, and the way to Lochnagar and then again back from Broad Cairn is quite far, especially the latter when you're already tired.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your reports - luckily you still have some summits to go. :wink:
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Re: Long circular from Cairnwell: 14 Munros, 39 miles, 12 ho

Postby Anne C » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:11 pm

Incredible! :crazy: :crazy: My knees feel sore just reading your report :) Brilliant stuff.
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Re: Long circular from Cairnwell: 14 Munros, 39 miles, 12 ho

Postby goingforawii » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:17 pm

zatapathique wrote:Great report, fantastic photos and epic walk! It took me 4 walks to do all of these Munros, and you did them in 12h - wow!
In retrospect, it is not the worst of ideas to include the White Mounth Munros in the Glas Maol Circuit. I started from the Spittal of Glenmuick, and the way to Lochnagar and then again back from Broad Cairn is quite far, especially the latter when you're already tired.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your reports - luckily you still have some summits to go. :wink:


Ha ha - thanks! Still have plenty to go :D
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Re: Long circular from Cairnwell: 14 Munros, 39 miles, 12 ho

Postby goingforawii » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:18 pm

Anne C wrote:Incredible! :crazy: :crazy: My knees feel sore just reading your report :) Brilliant stuff.


Thanks Anne! They were rather sore the next day :wink:
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