Whiteburn's Wanderings

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

Ryvoan outing

9 – 11 Feb

The weather still didn’t look good but I needed a couple of days in the hills, the southern Cairngorms was still getting pasted with snow so I thought I’d head further north and perhaps tick a couple of Corbetts.  I had a relaxed start from home and a leisurely drive over to Aviemore, finally parking up below Glenmore Lodge and set off back down the valley on the Old Logging Trail around 11:00am.


Once up through Badaguish on the well worn and boggy path towards Craiggowrie I took a lunch break in the shelter of some small pines anticipating the exposure of the ridge above.

The summit of Craiggowrie (687m) proved a breezy spot 40+mph westerly and I was glad of the cairn/ shelter to dig out warmer gloves and ski goggles.


The summit of Meall a’Bhuachaille (810m) proved a really drafty spot with horizontal snow reducing visibility to around 10m.   I didn’t even break stride passing the cairn with the snow shoes making for a little easier passage over the soft snow.

Once down below the snowline (~700m) the wind dropped considerably and it was only a short wander to where the Ryvoan Bothy came into view.


I had planned to camp by the footbridge over the Nethy (NJ 021105) and was packing the Trailstar and bivi but decided to call into the bothy for a brew.   On entering the bothy I found it empty but a nice coal fire burning in the grate.

Over a brew and toasting the toes I decided to stay the night,


….in the unlikely event a hoard of neds turned up and then it would be an exit to the grouse lecht just below to bothy.

A little later Will from Ullapool turned up on his bike bristling with panniers, it turned out Will was attempting a continuous Munro round, had ticked 170 and was setting up to tick the Northern Cairngorms.

The next day we got kicked off before 9:00am with Will heading off down the valley to hide his bike in the woods and myself heading off up the track towards Bynack More.

At around 750m on the northern slopes the snow shoes were donned and steady progress was made across the plateau towards the summit ridge, Will caught me up at the initial steepening (on snow shoes too) and after a quick assessment of the snow we headed off straight up.  The show shoes helped a lot providing good traction on the crusty snow and we were soon sheltering out of the wind behind the summit tor with its nice ice sculptures.


SE over towards Ben Avon the weather looked quite favourable.


South towards Glen Derry and further west heavier cloud seemed to be moving in.


I left Will on the summit:


Descending NW into the bealach towards Bynack Beg before swinging north to rejoin Will who retraced his steps down the north ridge.


Will and I parted ways back on the plateau, he was heading off to his next tick and I’d decided to trek over to Creag Mhor (Corbett) to the south.

The passage across to rolling plateau was straight forward and it probably only took 45 mins to get onto the ridge of Carn Dubh and then a quick down and up towards Dagrum and down the broad ridge south.    The wind across the summit of Creag Mhor (895m) didn’t seem as bad as earlier in the day but I didn’t hang around long as the sky to the west looked threatening and a heavy snow squall blew in, it was a quick snack of trail mix and off again.

The trek back to the Ryvoan was uneventful though a bit tiring, the snow shoes definitely helped but lugging nearly an extra 1kg on each foot provided the legs muscles an additional work out.

I’d originally planned to skip back home but having spare food I decided to stay the night, I soon had the fire going and settled down to a peaceful evening.  Thanks to the person who left the small supply of coal, much appreciated; and as always a big thanks must go to the Mountain Bothies Assoc. for maintaining these fine shelters; if you’re not a member I would urge you to become one, without support they will eventually disappear.

By the morning the weather had taken a turn for the worse, the wind was fair rattling the bothy’s tin roof, a fresh 2-3 cm of snow around the bothy and occasional snow showers whipping through.  I even put the goggles on for the short stroll back down to the car, though once on the trees they weren’t needed.


2 comments on “Ryvoan outing

  1. willcopestakemedia
    February 28, 2014

    Great blog Paul. Stumbled across it in a post on UKC. It was fantastic sharing the bothy with you, I thought you might be interested in a few pictures of you during the day on the hill:

    If you fancy getting in touch my website is:



    • Paul Atkinson
      February 28, 2014

      Thanks for the photos Will. They do make the weather look perfect, the wind doesn’t show up!
      It was good to meet up even for such a short time.
      Hope the bike trouble gets sorted.

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This entry was posted on February 12, 2014 by in Trip Reports and tagged , , .

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