The Braemar Busted Ribs Challenge

Route: Creag nan Gabhar circuit

Corbetts: Creag an Dail Bheag, Creag nan Gabhar, Culardoch, Morven
Grahams: Mona Gowan

Date walked: 13/04/2018

Time taken: 16.1 hours

Distance: 54.45km

Ascent: 2751m

Friday 13th April
Creag nan Gabhar
613m ascent
4 hours

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

Busted ribs and a poor forecast suggested that a short walk on Friday might be wise….I had a relaxed start to the day and headed up the road mid-morning which was a terrible idea as it meant I hit traffic everywhere (half an hour on the Perth bypass that I’ll never get back :roll: )

I arrived at the car park at Auchallater and as it was drizzling the waterproofs were straight on. It was an easy walk down the track but it looked like the views weren’t going to be anything special; the clag was virtually at road level :lol:

Despite the clag it felt great to be out and fortunately my lungs and ribs weren’t giving me too much bother :thumbup:

There was a lot of water in the burn and I really hoped that all the bridges on the map were still standing :lol:

After about 1.5km the zig-zag path branched off uphill and this made it an easy climb up onto the ridge. The views were still crap :lol:

The views along the ridge were non-existent and the drizzle was on and off but I was still having an awesome time! There’s something really nice about ambling along in my own little fantasy world inside a cloud 8)

Finally a large cairn loomed out of the mist….


From here the plan was to drop down onto the track which would lead me to the bothy at the tip of Loch Callater….so I took a bearing and off I went. And bingo – there was a path leading the right direction! Or so I thought…as I fell into the trap of thinking that the path was going the right way. It wasn’t and after a while I realised I’d been walking down towards the A93 rather than Glen Callater :roll: In my defence it was on the fold of a map :lol:

I took another bearing and actually followed it this time :lol: This took me over some interesting terrain; slippery rocks, burns, sinky snow…. :crazy: Finally I reached the path along the burn….

This finally led me back onto the track I ought to have come down onto :lol: There was quite a lot of slippery snow on this track and I was glad to find the smaller path that led down to the bothy. Following this path I finally had some visibility back and I could see Loch Callater!

The bothy

Yay a bridge!

Down at the Loch it was very eerie with the clag still covering…well pretty much everything :lol:

The bridge and Loch Callater Lodge

I decided to pop through the gate and take a wee look at the bothy – it looked really clean and tidy so I’ll definitely have to go back and stay there sometime.

I saw a wee cairn thing on top of a hill so had a wee wander – turned out to be a Jubilee thing but it gave a smashing view down the loch.

Slightly bedraggled selfie :lol:

It was a long walk back and although I was enjoying myself the weather was royally pish!

I made it back to the car in under and hour where it was just a short drive up to the Youth Hostel to meet up with the gang :D

Saturday 14th April
Culardoch & Creag an Dail Bheag
1186m ascent
7 hours 45 mins

activity_2623832394.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Saturday dawned and although the forecast was suggesting the weather would be misty until lunchtime, opening the curtains revealed amazing sun and blue skies 8) I was unable to persuade anyone else to join me on my obscure hills, so I drove a few miles down the road to the carpark at Keiloch and headed off, happy on my own :D

The locals were too busy eating to take any notice of me :lol:

I navigated my way through the tracks and after a while could see the edge of the woods….

Finally above the trees I could see back towards Braemar…

And further down the glen towards Ballater

The track made for easy walking and the sun and blue skies meant I was really starting to regret leaving my suncream and hat in the car. It was almost tshirt and shorts weather as I headed towards Culardoch….

Looking back the way I’d come….

Rather than following the track up to the bealach I followed a track straight up the front of the hill. It seemed to be there for shooting parties as there were several of these….

Looking across to Carn Liath

A very confused looking white rabbit

It was a steep climb up through some weird slippery mud but once the ridge was reached it was an easy stroll to the top where the views were stunning!

Jaxter at the summit 8)

This could be Morven


Carn Drochaid & Carn Dearg

Zoomed out to Lochnagar, the crown jewels of the area – tip just in the cloud


The magnificent corrie of Beinn a’Bhuird


Despite the sun it was chilly on top thanks to the wind so I sheltered behind the trig point and decided to eat a sandwich even though it was about 11am :lol:

Moving on I headed down the snowy slopes to the West of the summit towards the track

As I dropped down Ben Avon cleared

Once I hit the track it was easier walking. Looking back to Culardoch – the snow made it really easy to lose height quickly

I saw this weird farm and wondered if it was legal :lol: But it seemed to be heather under the covers :crazy:

A track led down towards Ben Avon…I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted :lol:

A path led up Carn Liath which made the ascent easier although the gradient wasn’t too bad anyway. Looking towards Ben Avon again

Lochnagar clear – wahey! Alteknacker will be happy 8)

Looking back to Culardoch

Reaching the top I could see the cairn ahead although the actual summit looked to be further out to the right….

Ben Avon with what the map suggests is the actual summit in front

It seemed wise to visit all possible summits, and it was such a bonnie day I was in no hurry to go down either…

My route so far


Looking down Glen Shee

One of the many summits…

Lochnagar again

Ben Avon big tor

I think this will be Monadh Mhor

A couple of ptarmigan

Instead of going back I decided to carry on and drop down into the next glen to make my day a bit longer – it was only lunchtime :shock:

Contemplating life – Jaxter surveying her realm :wink:

I headed down the ridge a short way before dropping off into the glen, scaring away some live venison

I saw a big hill in front of me – no idea what it was but thought I might as well climb over it! I found a huge rock….

It was definitely worth the effort because look at the view of the corrie of Beinn a’ Bhuird :shock:

Looking back to Carn Liath

I finally dragged myself up to the summit of Meall an t-Slugain

Looking over towards the Braeriach ridge


I love how this corrie looks 8)

I dropped off the summit to the southwest until I picked up a feint path which zig-zagged down the steeper slopes. There was a very weird looking rock that looked a bit like a face :lol:

And before long I met the Gleann an t-Slugain path

Some more interesting rocks

My feet were feeling mighty tired by this point and there were a couple of very tricky river crossings :shock: I largely managed to get across unscathed but did get a bit of water over my boot when I slipped on a wet rock :roll:

Looking back up the glen


I met my first people of the day along here – a group of 4 young guys who looked like they might have been on D of E. At the end of the glen I was walking on roads all the way back along the River Dee. Once of the roads my feet were starting to hurt – no wonder as I was almost at the 30km mark :shock: :lol:

The locals had stopped eating and started…doing whatever :crazy:

Back at the car I was very happy to get the boots off but I’d had a fantastic day! It was time to get back to the Hostel for the pub quiz 8)

Sunday 15th April
Mona Gowan & Morven
952m ascent
4 hours 25 mins

Mona Gowan & Morven.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

With plans to meet a friend in Ballater later on, I had Morven in my sights. A quick run down to the Mountain Sports shop in Braemar got me the correct map and after I’d said my goodbyes to everyone I was off down the road in the beautiful sunshine 8)

I parked up near the start of my route and booted up. Walking a few metres down the road I followed the track uphill towards some old ruins.

Looking ahead – Mona Gowan in the distance

Looking back to the ruins and Mammie with radio mast behind

I followed the track alongside the burn, crossed at the fords (without getting too wet :lol: ) and then followed it uphill towards the bealach between Tom Liath and Mona Gowan. There was quite a bit of snow in this section as it was in the shade,

On the bealach looking towards Mona Gowan – the track continued further in this direction than was marked on the map – huzzah 8)

Glen More and Cairnagour Hill

Looking out towards Morven

Past the end of the track I was walking through heather and bog and snow which made it all a bit more difficult :lol: But finally I was at the summit and the huge cairn


Ben Avon

Very hazy Lochnagar

It was cold in the wind so it was time to get a move on. Plus I had a deadline :thumbup: I followed the fenceposts East off Mona Gowan and picked up something that resembled a path! This led me towards a very steep section which required a bit of avoiding :lol:

I followed the ridge and then cut slightly across country towards another large cairn. Morven was starting to look a bit closer…

From the cairn I followed bits and pieces of path downwards towards a bealach before heading back uphill again. Morven looked like a beast from here :crazy:

Looking back over my route so far

There were a few patches of snow initially and one steep bit that required some wading :lol:

As I approached the 731 top I managed to cut across peat hags which were filled with snow (this was actually a good thing :lol: )

There was more snow here, and I picked up a path and some footprints as I made my way up alongside the fenceposts

A couple of ptarmigan

And I made it to the summit – it was windy!

Looking down the standard route up

Standing on top of my throne - the large cairn

I hid behind the trig point to shelter from the wind and met someone else doing the same – it was nice to have a wee blether. Soon it got cold and we both headed off in our separate directions.

I dropped back down to the 731 top where a boggy track appeared to be going in the correct direction (and no I didn’t fall into the same trap as on Friday :lol: )

I found some very epic looking snow 8)

I met the track heading for Morven Lodge and narrowly missed a cyclist :lol:

Looking back to Morven

It was an easy walk along the track, a wee bit of ascent that my legs were definitely feeling :lol: I also saw a giant bird devouring a rabbit :shock:

My final nemesis….


Back at the car I was roasting but it had been a fab day. I had a quick dip in the river (intentionally :lol: ) before heading for some socialising.

A brilliant weekend – thanks to Tommy for organising and to whoever did the sun dance 8)

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Comments: 6

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Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Cruachan
Date walked: 11/04/2018
Distance: 12.63km
Ascent: 1328m
Comments: 7
Views: 623

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Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Nevis, Carn Mor Dearg
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Distance: 20.86km
Ascent: 1714m
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Attachment(s) Munros: Mullach nan Coirean, Stob Ban (Mamores)
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Distance: 14.44km
Ascent: 1305m
Comments: 8
Views: 628

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Attachment(s) Corbetts: Baosbheinn, Beinn an Eoin
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Distance: 28.78km
Ascent: 1758m
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Ascent: 681m
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Attachment(s) Grahams: Uamh Bheag
Donalds: Beinn nan Eun, Uamh Bheag
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Distance: 15.78km
Ascent: 1127m
Comments: 8
Views: 736

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Attachment(s) Corbetts: Hart Fell
Grahams: Beinn a'Mhanaich, Beinn Chaorach
Donalds: Hart Fell, Swatte Fell, Under Saddle Yoke
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Distance: 27.72km
Ascent: 2332m
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Corbetts: Beinn Damh
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Ascent: 3765m
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Attachment(s) Corbetts: Ben Vrackie
Date walked: 17/12/2017
Distance: 11.08km
Ascent: 1016m
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User avatar
Location: Glasgow
Occupation: Musician, adrenaline junkie and baker
Interests: Walking, running, skiing, playing good music with good people, baking cakes and snuggling.
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: Star Wars Cantina
Mountain: Garbh Bheinn
Place: Anywhere with a view
Gear: Rab jacket

Munros: 174
Corbetts: 64
Grahams: 33
Donalds: 45
Wainwrights: 53
Hewitts: 39
Sub 2000: 15

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Trips: 9
Distance: 238.06 km
Ascent: 16761m
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Trips: 57
Distance: 3300.44 km
Ascent: 73828m
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Corbetts: 48
Grahams: 23
Donalds: 36
Sub2000s: 9
Hewitts: 9
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Trips: 46
Distance: 756.5 km
Ascent: 51428m
Munros: 100
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Sub2000s: 2


Trips: 12
Distance: 203.15 km
Ascent: 12086m
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Joined: Aug 08, 2011
Last visited: Apr 22, 2018
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