Carn nan Sgliat and Creag nan Leachda

Date walked: 21/05/2019

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 10.5km

Ascent: 600m

The Humps between Bramar and Easter Auchallater were today's target. Rain was forecast at the beginning and end of the day, and sure enough it was raining when we left Westhill.

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We used GordonC's local knowledge to park in the space across from the caravan park, then walked up through the woods and met a lady with a Border collie bitch who rejected Harvey's "sniffings". Bonny dog! Further up on the Queens way we overtook some casual walkers enjoying a stroll. ( overtaking by me doesn't happen very often - usually it's the other way round )
We cut off the Queens way at the ruined cottage and got our heads down, following the path to the top of Carn nan Sgliat.

Path up Sgliat from the Queens road.jpg
The path up Sgliat from the Queens road

Invercauld house from the slopes of Sgliat.jpg
Invercauld house from the slopes of Sgliat

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Braemar from the path up Sgliat

As we stood on the top, we were buzzed by a low flying prop aircraft, which looked military-ish, but we dodn't get a chance to ID it properly. Looked a bit like a Pocara, but a bit faster. Anyway, the pilot seemed to be enjoying his low flying sortie.

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Top of Sgliat looking towards Carn an t Saigart mor

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Bein a Bhuird and Ben A'an from Sgliat

We didn't stop long and made our way across towards the cairn at the end of the ridge to the SW.. Didn't quite make the cairn as we ducked off down towards the bealach, passing a ruined shieling on the way. At the bealach we decided to follow the green bit that obviously was the burn that came out of the lochan beside Millstone Cairn. The going was a bit teuch for me as I stumbled up the moss & heather, eventually emerging near the lochan. GordonC yelled me over to where the ground was a bit firmer and less heathery for a bit o relief.

Blaweary coming up Leachda.JPG
Blaweary grinding up Leachda

As we rounded the next knoll we spotted a deer fence straddling our path. Fortunately GordonC spotted a gate to the SW which was closed on a chain & latch - so no fence climbing with Harvey !

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Deer fence gate on the way up Leachda

Once through the gate we headed up to the next lochan, bypassing a cairn and on to another wee lochan before arriving at the cairn at the SE end of Creag nan Leachda.
To the north we could se Beinn A'an bathed in sunlight and also Beinn a Bhuird that dwarfed the wee plook of a hill that we had done last week - Meall an Lundainn. It was the first time that we'd seen Lochnagar and the Stuic from this angle and took a few moments to identify the hills across to the Devils Elbow, with the unmistakable Cairnwell keekin' at us in the distance.

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Piece-time at the top of Leachda

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Lochnagar & The Stuic from Leachda

H pleading.JPG
H pleading - to no avail....

No sign of the forecast rain, so we scurried off back down to the bealach, visiting the cairn behind the lochan that we'd miss on the way up. At the bealach, our original plan of ascending to the end of Sgliat's ridge and angling down to the car was usurped by my tired legs, so we headed down towards East Auchallater, initially on animal tracks, then on an ATV track that had been used by the tree-planters.

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Heading down through the plantation to East Auchallater

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The deerfence gate at East Auchallater

The whole hillside had been planted with scots pines and jings - another deer fence was spotted down by the road. However, GordonC, who holds a PhD in spotting deer fence gates came up trumps again. He spotted one opposite a huttie by the roadside about the same time that we picked up the ATV track leading to the gate - saved again !
Once on the road we donned our brightest clothing to avoid being run down by the foreign cars and motorbikes touring south. Generally speaking they were very courteous and our safety fears were unfounded. Nonetheless we were glad to get to the path from the end of the Queens road. The "Pocara" made another pass as we walked along the road, just as we were distracted by a bonny logo etched into a roadside boulder, depicting the 1715 Jacobite rebellion, which was started on the "Braes o Mar" by the local Earl.

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The auld pretender heading back from the Braes o Mar

We also noticed that the sun had disappeared from the high hills to be replaced by curtains of rain, which started to spitter just as we reached the car.
We rewarded ourselves with a coffee in the Fyffe Arms, as we hadn't been in it since its renovation.
The Flying Stag Bar, we agreed, was a bit naff. White wings on a red deer - who thought that up?
The full size deer on it's own suspended above the bar was suitable & sufficient! The coffee was very good though !

Flying stag in the Fyffie.jpg
The Flying Stag in the Fyffie bar

We both agreed that we never tire of driving along Deeside, even in the rain !
Harvey's weather fairy had worked and we dodged the rain bullet again - weel done cutty sark !

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Gordon Ballantyne

Location: Westhill, Aberdeenshire
Occupation: Retired
Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: Ladhar Bheinn
Place: Knoydart
Member: Ex- RAF MRT Kinloss
Ambition: Complete Corbetts/Grahams

Munros: 281
Corbetts: 86
Grahams: 20
Donalds: 7
Sub 2000: 48

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Joined: Jan 30, 2011
Last visited: May 24, 2019
Total posts: 160 | Search posts