Carn Ealasaid

Corbetts: Càrn Ealasaid

Date walked: 09/06/2019

Time taken: 3 hours

With F1 on later in the day I was looking for a quick up and down Corbett that would stretch the legs. I had settled on Carn Ealasaid and if I felt there was time then also Carn Mor. I tackled Carn Ealasaid from the north. There's plenty of space to park opposite the old cottage as described in the Walkhighlands route.

Cottage opposite parking area

Track leading the way. Beinn a'Chruinnich in the background

The track through the gate leads to the bealach that you have to cross to start up the north slope of Beinn a'Chruinnich. The bealach is very boggy but you get across quick and there is a track on the other side that takes you up the hill alongside grouse butts. The track soon disappears amongst the heather but keep following the butts and before long the antenna of the communications tower soon comes into view. All good so far except...

As I approached the tower the sky above was filled with seagulls. I guess I walked into their breeding ground. No matter I thought, should be Ok. I headed for the tower to have rest and hopefully get a few pics. Within moments I immediately realised this was a bad idea. The noise from the gulls was deafening and they weren't happy I was there. As soon as I stepped away and into the open the dive bombing started, and boy were they close at hitting me. Quickly I ran back to the tower for shelter and plan my escape. I really did not want to step back into the open and away from the tower. I checked the map and planned my route. I made sure I had everthing and my rucksack was secure and ran...
Before I even reached the cairn they were on me. The seagull Stukas were doing a good job. The whooshing noise as they dive bombed me, passing over my head, made me hit the deck a couple of times and even as I lay on the heather this did not stop them. They were angry. I had to move fast. As I moved further away from the tower the seagull Stukas eventually let me be.

Comms tower with seagulls

The cairn on Beinn a'Chruinnich and my escape route

The bealach between the hills was nothing but peat hags. There was no way to bypass them which was a shame as it was crossing peat hags two years ago that I came a cropper and snapped the ACL in my left knee. I took my time and before long I was heading up the slope of Carn Ealasaid. The ground became firm higher up and a track leads the way up.

The bealach between the hills

It didn't take long to reach the summit cairn and with the weather holding up it was nice to sit and relax.

Carn Ealsaid summit

I had planned to go back the same route as this was the quickest way back. I retraced my steps back down the slope and across the peat hag filled bealach, but instead of climbing back up to the tower I skirted around the lower slope of Beinn a'Chruinnich. I hoped by going this route I would manage to avoid any more seagull related incidents. The gulls were circling high above, following me as I nervously made my way back. The noise of the gulls soon petered out and before long I was back at the car.

Even though Carn Ealasaid is just a big uninspiring lump, this was still a nice walk. This may be an unexciting Corbett but you still get the same sense of solitude and wilderness you get elsewhere in the Cairngorms.

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