Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuird with camp at the Sneck

Munros: Beinn a'Bhuird, Ben Avon

Date walked: 24/05/2018

Time taken: 28 hours

Distance: 39km

Ascent: 1500m

We are very good at changes of plan and this walk was a good one. Due to a family emergency we didn't end up going up the Deargs for two nights camping as planned, but instead managed to fit in a two day/one night trip which made the best of the lovely weather and leaves us only one red balloon left in the Cairngorms.

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

We parked at Invercauld where the charge is £2.50 per visit and the machine does not give change. However I thought £3 was a small price to pay for such a lovely trip.
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view to beinn a'bhuird from near Invercauld

Setting off at about noon, we took the WH route to Ben Avon up past Invercauld House, through Glen Slugain to Glen Quoich and up to the Sneck, stopping for lunch just outside the forestry and for a cuppa at the ford where the path crosses the 650 contour.
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lunch stop at burn crossing just out of the forest

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it was the kind of hot day when you wet your buff and put it on your head to keep cool - only Rudolph couldn't find his buff so used his hanky.

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Take the left path up the Fairy Glen

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where has the water all gone?

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Emerging into Glen Quoich, wonderful sense of space

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looking down Glen Quoich

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cuppa tea time

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crossing the burn - one of many Glas Allt Mor despite the dry weather was full of snowmelt.

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looking back to the corries of beinn a'bhuird

At the Sneck there is a flat area which is marked on the Harvey map as a bog, but it was bone dry. It made a grand camping spot. We pitched the tent and left the overnight stuff in it before heading up to the top of Ben Avon.
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tent in the evening sun

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Looking north from the Sneck over Slochd

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and similar

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crossing the tundra to the summit tor

We weren't exactly sure which bit of the summit tor was the highest so we went to the one we could reach most easily as we weren't entirely sure of being able to come down from the other one. I've had a good look at other people's trip reports and nobody has said we were wrong so I consider the summit bagged.
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Rudolph on top. And nobody can tell exactly where he is standing !!!

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and me. I shall never be elegant but I can still be happy!

It was a beautiful evening and very warm out of the wind and we spent some time exploring the summit tor, before returning to our tent and having our tea. It was still a bit early for bed so we went and had a wander round the jumble of rocks at the Sneck, soaking up the last remaining rays of sunshine before the sun set behind the northern cliffs.
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interesting ripples in the sand at the Sneck

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a hole cut in the rock by a stone whirling about?

There was some difficulty avoiding stepping on the little red spots which were everywhere on the ground, the little buds of a lovely pink flower which I think is a kind of saxifrage. In fact it felt a bit wicked stepping anywhere on this mountain where the vegetation looks like it clings on to the grit by sheer willpower in places.
Considerable discussion was had about our new voyager tent, which only has one door. We like to sleep with our heads uphill, but get out of the tent downhill feet first. The only way to make this work is to sleep with heads at the narrow (feet) end. We slept surprisingly well, but it was a still, quiet and dry night!
Anyway in the morning it was again promising to be a gorgeous day with very little wind.
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Rudolph putting the kettle on for breakfast in the camp kitchen

We didn't have to climb very far to reach the plateau of Beinn a'Bhuird, which is relatively flat, huge and spacious with fantastic views in every direction. It was quite hazy but the rest of the Cairngorms were all laid out before us as well as the White Mounth all the way from Mount Keen to Ben a'Ghlo. Not to mention the dramatic Eastern corries of Beinn a'Bhuird itself.
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the northeastern corries of Beinn a'Bhuird

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looking back to Ben Avon

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Looking south from near the summit

We'd had a wee wager on when we would see our first person.. Rudolph said 9.30am and I said 11am. Rudolph won. We reached the summit at just after 9.30 to find a man there eating a banana. He kindly took our picture before heading off to Ben Avon.
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and here we both are on the top of Beinn a'Bhuird

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it was easier to make out all these hills in real life, but there is ben macdui and a bit of braeriach peeping out behind, with cliffs, among others!

At this point I have used up all my attachemnts but it is too hard to pick only 25 of 200 pics so I will add more on a second post. :-)

We headed off to find the South Top which was quite fun as there is no cairn on it and it is quite broad and flat at that point. Whether there has been a cairn in the past is a good question as one is marked on the Harvey's map and the OS shows a cairn a little way south of the spot height. However we confirmed for definite on two electronic devices we were definitely on it, before heading off downhill towards Carn Fiaclach. We stopped at the top of Hourglass Buttress (as marked on the 1:25000 map) for elevenses.
Descending the nose here we soon realised that we were clambering over boulders while watching a man coming up nice grass further into the corrie. A bit of adjustment ensued and we picked up a path which took us down to the nicely graded stalkers path down the west side of Carn Fiaclach, round the bottom and across to the Quoich Water, then up the other side with a nice gentle climb to reach the top of Glen Slugain again.
We stopped for lunch in the Fairy Glen, a remarkable place with wild flowers and frequent sounds of hidden running water, but the burn appearing and disappearing. While we were sitting enjoying our oatcakes and cheese with hard boiled eggs and tomatoes - and butter - the man we had met on the top passed us on his way back down.
From there it was just a plod plod down the glen, through the fragrant pinewoods and back to the car park where we arrived a few moments before 4pm. Two days of an absolute treat!

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Comments: 10

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User avatar
Location: north yorkshire moors
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: just gimme a cup of tea
Place: Everywhere
Gear: the Map
Ideal day out: waking up in a tent in the middle of nowhere and then doing 2 or 3 munros followed by a hot bath
Ambition: Lots more hills

Munros: 216
Corbetts: 10
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Wainwrights: 36
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