Carn na Caim & A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag

Route: Càrn na Caim and A'Bhuidheanach Bheag, Drumochter

Munros: A' Bhuidheanach Bheag, Càrn na Caim

Date walked: 02/09/2012

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 14km

I had been dreading these two. Many have suggested that they are probably the most boring of all the Munros, so I set off from the A9 lay-by with some trepidation. The start of this walk is through a site where construction workers (who are replacing the pylons) keep their equipment and site office porta-cabin! Not the most encouraging for those seeking peace, quiet, and wilderness, but the track soon leaves it behind as it climbs rapidly upwards, giving increasingly good views of Dalwhinnie and the surrounding hills.
Track up from Dalwhinnie

The forecast had stated that the best weather would be east of the A9, and how right they were, with clouds engulfing the higher of those hills to the west. Loch Ericht gradually came into view to remind me that I still had to enjoy the bike ride down its shore to get to Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil.
By the time I reached the remains of the old quarry near the top, the noise of the A9 had disappeared and a few gaps were appearing in the clouds above. I set off north'ish along a good track (not marked on my map) that, after crossing a small stream, rose up onto broad, open grassland. It felt good being able to walk this easily so high up, with some great views to distant hills all around. the tops of the central Cairngorms were clear of cloud, and even the Ben a' Ghlo massif to the southwest was clear now. Poor old Ben Alder was still enshrouded though, making me feel that I had made the right decision for once!
With the exception of a couple of boggy bits, this was a lovely path considering the recent rains, but I went too far along it to a small cairn on what must be another top. I should have kept right to follow the line of fence posts - it didn't matter, it was only a 100m back-track to rejoin it. And as I did so, the sun came out to warm both body and soul.
Carn na Caim track.jpg
The Carn na Caim track

It wasn't long before I was climbing the steady rise to Carn na Caim's summit and its view over A' Mharconaich to Meall Chuaich to the Northeast, with the Cairngorms to their right. I had the sunshine, but most of the surrounding hills still held onto the cloud as I made my way back along the same route.
Carn na Caim summit.jpg
Carn na Caim summit

When I reached the top of the ascent route, I carried on following the track as it weaved its way around smaller tops to reach A’ Bhuidheanach. I dropped into the deep gully to shelter from the now cutting wind that had arrived with the loss of the sun about 10 minutes earlier. I sat by the stream for an early lunch, wondering what had happened to the path I had been following.
I set the compass and headed straight up in the direction of A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag, passing another A’ Bhuidheanach Mhor thinking that whoever named these summits must have suffered from a lack of imagination. As I crested the steep, boggy slope, there was A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag dead ahead. I finally found the path again, coming from A’ Bhuidheanach Mhor to my left, and followed it up through glistening quartzite rocks to the summit. A pile of rusty fence posts appeared to mark the summit, although there seemed to be a higher mound off to the right. I'm not sure if those fence posts are meant to be art or a convenient scrap heap!
A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag summit.jpg
A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag summit

I walked over the top to get better views of the glens and rolling hills to the south, and once again, the sun came out.
Again, I returned by virtually the same route, but used the path this time. There is an alternative descent west over Meall a' Chaorainn, but I didn't fancy the walk back up the A9 to the car.
This walk was much better than I had expected, but would be extremely boring in poor visibility, so I recommend that you do it when those views are available.

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Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: An Teallach
Place: The hill I am on
Gear: Most of it!
Member: JMT, Cairngorms Campaign, SWLT
Ideal day out: Ridge walking, such as Aonach Eagach

Munros: 282

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Trips: 9
Distance: 197 km
Munros: 14

Joined: May 20, 2012
Last visited: Feb 05, 2014
Total posts: 11 | Search posts