Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Beinn A’ Bhuird Bimble

10 – 12 Jan; 46km

The weather forecast wasn’t perfect with high winds predicted to be effecting the Cairngorms but at least it seemed in the doable range and I was probably feeling a bit stir crazy watching one storm after another rocket across Scotland every couple of days so it was off to Braemar with a fairly gentle 3 day trip planned (and lot’s of alternatives in the back of the brain).

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Day 1

11am starting up the track from the Linn of Quoich up the western slopes of Carn na Drochaide there was little sign of the predicted high winds and it was an easy ramble for the first couple of km.  Once the higher slopes were reached the wind steadily increased and on reaching Carn na Criche it was definitively within the 35–45 mph predicted and the occasional snow shower sweeping through definitely made it really feel like winter.

Cloud base was down to around 750m, Beinn A’ Bhuird and the surrounding tops were cloaked in low cloud

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It was time for a lunch stop but the wind made me press on down NE to the Gleann Slugain track.  The wind lessened but it was still chilly so I quickly pitched up the Trailstar and made a brew, 5 mins later the rain and sleet hammered down and went on for half an hour, sometimes I get it right!

The stroll up the glen was uneventful and I reached my planned overnight halt just short of the ‘Sneck’ by 4:00pm.  I soon found a nice level stretch of hard packed snow and started to pitch up but soon found the hard snow was only a 10cm crust with sugar snow underneath, not wanting major excavations I headed back down the glen a little ways to a patch of tussocky grass alongside the Glas Allt Mor (~NO 116996), around 800m elevation.  The spot was fairly sheltered but the forecast was for a strengthening wind building from the SW so I pitched the Trailstar low with the tail down the glen.

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It was dark by 5:00pm, another long Scottish winter night lay ahead, some find it taxing I find in it quite relaxing.  An unhurried supper, a few chapters of the paperback I’d brought along, listen to a podcast while watching the ice crystals flicker in the candle light or the occasional snow shower before finally snuggling down at around 9:00pm.

Somewhat after 10:00pm I was awake by a lot of rattling and flapping, the wind had shifted 180 deg and the Trailstar was inflating like a parachute, it was well nailed down with 6 Easton stakes and 4 MSR blizzards but I thought I’d better re-pitch and it was off into the night in underwear, down jacket and boots for a hasty reconfiguration.  5mins later I was back in bed not to be disturbed again that night.

Day 2

7:00am, still pitch dark and stiff wind rattling the tarp, time for a lazy breakfast in bed.  It was nearly 9:00am by the time I was saddled up and heading up towards the Sneck into a stiff wind as the slope increased the Kahtoola Micro Spikes went on making for secure footing up the hard packed snow.

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The Sneck proved a pretty drafty spot with loose snow and ice crystals being swept around but it did provide a good view into Garbh Choire with Mitre Ridge looking in climbing condition

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Next stop the ‘top’ of Cnap a’ Chleirich (1172m) straight into the teeth of a bitter westerly, the wind felt like it was in excess of the 35 mph forecast making for a head down trudge and I was glad to take a short break in the shelter of the snow plastered tor.

Looking back the granite tors of Ben Avon looked an inviting wander in the sunshine; wind doesn’t figure on camera!

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Head a couple of km across the rolling plateau lay Beinn A’ Bhuird (North Top)

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It was a straight forward but breezy dawdle over to North Top and then heading out west across Moine Bhealaidh, in summer this section a one big bog, today underfoot was a delight.

Further west, beyond Beinn a’Chaorainn, Cairngorm looked still to be cloaked in low cloud.

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I’d originally thought of heading south over Beinn Bhreac and then down to Derry lodge but the wind provoked an alternative plan, I headed SW to pick up the Glas Allt Mor and a direct route down into Glen Derry.

After a lazy late lunch I strolled off down the Lairig Laoigh.  I pitched up amongst the pines around 100m north of the Derry Lodge footbridge it was only 3:30pm, another relaxing evening lay ahead.

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Day 3

7:00am, a very chilly morning, ice coated the inside of the MLD Superlight Bivi and the platy was frozen.

9:00 another lazy start heading west up Glen Luibeg enjoying the path across the now frozen bog, I did see a group of around half a dozen Black Grouse around 50m from the path but they took off before getting close enough for a picture.

Ford the Luibeg Burn or take the bridge?  I choose ford, the river was reasonably high but doable apart from the coating of ice on the stepping stones!  Brainwave…..on with the Kahtoola’s!

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The wind picked up as I followed the Lairig Ghru up towards the bealach over to Glen Dee, before reaching the bealach I cut off across the Allt Freas nam Meirleach directly towards Creagan nan Gabhar

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The ‘normal’ boggy morass was delightfully frozen solid so it didn’t take long to reach the granite tors and start the short hop to Sgor Mor.

Sgor Mor has probably one of the best panoramas available in the Cairngorms.

North , the Carn a’Mhaim, Ben MacDui,  Lairig Ghru, Devils Point and Cairn Toul

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South the upper reaches of the Geldie Burn, An Sgarsoch, Carn Fhidhleir and beyond Beinn Dearg and Beinn A’Ghlo

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The stiff wind meant that I didn’t fancy hanging around for long to admire the views, the whale back ridge across to Sgor Dubh was a delight to cross but the descent to Carn an ‘lc Duibhe made for increasingly difficult going as the heather deepened, my route finally descended down quite steep heather slopes to the pine woods above the Linn of Dee where I finally stopped for a brew and an overdue lunch.

I took a recent forestry track East to the main Glen Derry track and then a 5km sprint down the hated black top past Mar Lodge back to the car (at least there was no traffic).

All in all an enjoyable nice little trip that definitely blew the cobwebs out and nothing too taxing after 6 weeks of not carrying anything heavier than a day sack!

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4 comments on “Beinn A’ Bhuird Bimble

  1. Lone Stranger
    January 15, 2014

    Great trip, thanks for sharing.

    • Paul Atkinson
      January 15, 2014

      Thanks, less wind would have been ideal, but still an enjoyable outing!

  2. Pingback: Cumulus Down Gear | Whiteburn's Wanderings

  3. Lone Stranger
    January 16, 2014

    Oh I meant it was a great trip for me, sitting here in my comfy chair sipping on a cup of hot coffee. You had to do the hard part and actually get out there!

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This entry was posted on January 14, 2014 by in Trip Reports and tagged , , .
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