Whiteburn's Wanderings

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

Gaick Forest

A forecasted break in the weather saw me with another 55 Club ticket, this time headed for Kingussie with a 2 night trip that I’d had on the back burner for a while in the offing, a little meander over the 4 Corbett’s around the Gaick Forest. IMG_0682 I made it to Kingussie just before 2:00pm, a bit overcast with rain not looking far away, the forecast looked as though it was turning out right. The plan for today was a simple meander over towards Glen Feshie and pitch up somewhere around the ruins of  Baileguish/ Corarnstilmore, a nice spot and only about 9km which would set me up for the ascent of Carn Dearg Mor in the morning.   I arrived around 3:30pm, the weather had deteriorated a bit and a light rain was falling. IMG_0683 I decided it was too early to stop so I headed off south on the foot path over to Carnachuin in Glen Feshie with the idea that if I spotted a place to pitch up before the descent into the glen I’d do so, if not I’d head for a spot about 2km south of Glenfeshie Lodge. The footpath wasn’t as overgrow as I thought it would be given the Carnachuin’s bridge demise and most traffic heading towards the bridge near Auchleum, but it seems like regular MTB traffic has kept it clear.  I didn’t spot anywhere decent to pitch up so ended up following the track down into Feshie. IMG_0684 Change of plan 2#, the Feshie wasn’t as swollen with the recent rains as expected, a straight forward knee deep wade saw me heading for the Ruigh-aiteachain bothy.  It even quit raining, the little 15km jaunt had taken 4hrs. IMG_0686 Surprisingly there was a few folk already in residence and more expected to arrive later, I opted for the luxury of a private room a few steps away. IMG_0687  Friday, 6th June 14. – 23km, 1030m ascent. 6 June   8:00am and after saying bye-bye to everyone I headed off up the glen to ford the Feshie about 1km upstream, getting across was easier here with the multiple channels between pebble islands. The weather forecast seemed to look a little on the optimistic side as the glen was definitely looking a bit glum with cloud base around 600m. IMG_0688 The ascent of Carn Dearg Mor proved pretty straight forward following a LRT all the way to the summit, definitely one for the navigationally challenged and took less than a couple of hours.  The cloud had lifted a little but visibility was only around 60m on the summit. IMG_0689 I think I must have at least 3 photo of summit cairns in the clag for every one where it’s clear. Rather than descent back down to the main track I decided on heading over Carn Dearg.  ATV tracks led over the summit and part way down the west ridge from where it was just a hop down into the bealach.  The footpath N-S over the bealach shown on the map wasn’t that obvious, not much more than a deer trail, but I did note an old stone drainage culvert confirming that it did once exist.  I also noted a good camping spot here, dry despite the recent rain, level, the grass wasn’t too tussocky and a nice wee burn. IMG_0690 I fully expected the climb up Meallach Mhor to be 80% bog and heather bashing so I was pleasantly surprising to come across an overgrown LRT running up the ridge with stone built shooting butts alongside. IMG_0693 The LRT faded as the plateau was reached but the going was easy across stunted heather/ grass, even the cloud was lifting making the day a little nicer but there were still the annoying heavy rain showers.  I reached the summit around 12:00, time for lunch, the rain started again. IMG_0694 No lunch stop, I headed down steeply west for the bridge across the Allt Bhan.  Rain continued for around 1 ½ hrs so I was around 3km up the glen before taking a late lunch enjoying the view down Loch an t-Seilich towards Gaick Lodge.. IMG_0696 Even after a long lunch stop and amble up past Gaick Lodge to the end of Loch Bhrodainn it was only 4:00pm but a good staging point for tomorrow’s jaunt. IMG_0701 It turned out a pleasant evening, warm, sunny, just enough breeze to keep the midge away and nothing to do but to slob around and take in a few pod casts. Saturday, 7th June 14 – 22km, 1110m ascent. 7 June The alarm woke me at 6:00, I’d a rendezvous with a train at 3:55pm so wanted a sharp start, the snooze woke me again 10mins later.  I was breakfasted, packed and away an hour later. The NE ridge of A’Chaoirnich felt every bit as steep as it looked from the campsite but once up the steep bit it was a nice stroll for nearly 1km to the inconspicuous summit cairn in a seemingly huge landscape. IMG_0705 The descent down the southern ridge to the bealach about Stronphadruig Lodge was a pleasant amble, even the boggy ground down in the glen to get to the main track was easily traversed dry shod. I’d been spying An Dun during the descent trying to pick out an easy ascent route, I finally decided that as with A’Chaoirnich straight up was the order of the day, steep but practical. IMG_0707 The tiny summit cairn again seemed out of place in the seemingly expansive landscape. IMG_0708 Once down the 200m descent to the bealach west of the summit my stomach said it was time for a second breakfast while studying the route ahead. Across the glen I noted what looked like the line of an overgrown stalkers path striking up across the steep face, it definitely appeared too linear to be natural or a deer trail. IMG_0709 Even if it proved otherwise it seemed that once gained it offered a reasonable route to the plateau.  I intersected the ‘path’ about half way up the ascent. IMG_0711 It definitely appears to be an old stalkers path and there was even a cairn marking it terminus at the edge of the plateau. On the way over Vinegar Hill I literally stumbled upon a Red deer calf ‘hiding’ amongst the peat hags, I backed off 10m before taking the photo. IMG_0712 The route over Meallan Bhuidhe was drier than expected making for swift progress; on the downside a stiff SE wind had been building making it decidedly chilly. By the time I was approaching Carn na Caim I’d donned the windshirt and gloves and lunch was taken huddled down amongst the peat hags. The track from Carn na Caim down to Dalwhinnie was never one of the most attractive bits on the Cairngorms but the ongoing Beally – Denny works have definitely made it even more unpleasant. IMG_0713 I suppose now we have to look forward to the horizon to the north being filled with wind turbines courtesy of our idiotic SNP government. I made it to Dalwhinnie with over an hour to spare so hit the Tolbooth Cafe (bunkhouse next door) for Tiffin before the inevitable train journey back to ‘civilisation’.


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This entry was posted on June 8, 2014 by in Trip Reports and tagged , , .

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