Beinn a Bhuird wild camp October 2009

Date: Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th October 2009
Distance: 33km
Ascent: 1500m

The weekend forecast had us rummaging through the wild-camp route folder. Initial plans for a Kintail camp were dampened by the forecast suggesting early west coast involvement in an oncoming weather front so Cairngorms were chosen.

Driving up on a beautiful morning the temp was -2C with clear skies. Parked up at Linn of Quoich at 0800 – sun just rising.

On with the big rucksacks – a high camp planned and the possibility of a cold one had some extra insulation and a heavier sleeping bag in the sack.

The target was Beinn a Bhuird – we’ve climbed it twice via the An Diollaid track but I’d had a hankering to try the Carn Fiaclach route, and also to explore the link between Glen Quoich and Glen an t-Slugain.

Beautiful Glen Quoich – Caledonian Pine and birches:

The birch leaves were falling like snow, albeit snow of a colour you shouldn’t eat. 😉

Pine in a puddle:

Overflown by a very large flock of fieldfares here.

View back to Lochnagar:

There’s a good track out into Glen Quoich and some lovely old Caley pines. I always seem to take this picture:

We’d heard tell of a track linking the road running E along Quoich Water and the track from Gleann an t-Slugain but never looked for it. It exists – some parts are cycle standard, some parts fade, but for the walker it was easy progress.

Old Caley pine woods – wood ants are choosy, these were really active as the sun had just risen over Carn na Criche:

A Chioch and Cnap a Chleiridh become visible:

Joined the track from the Invercauld side and started up Carn Fiaclach.

Lochnagar soon becomes visible above the top of the Slugain gorge:

The track is good underfoot all the way but the heat was sapping – we were probably a bit overdone in terms of insulation and I was sweating like a pig.

Finally reached the flatter top area near A Chioch. I’d looked at the rock formation forming the E of A Chioch before and fancied a gander.

Pano across to N top:

Link to larger pano

A great table for lunch with lovely views.

An odd looking spider looking for a lift:

Tors and Ben Avon:

Left the rocks and headed up to the A Chioch top:

Then round the cliff lines towards the N top. Great views to the ‘Gorms:

There was a snow patch under the cliff line – first snow of the year for me:

The N top is way too flat to get great views from so we hastened on to the tor over Cnap a Chleirich. Must admit the original plan had been to head over to Ben Avon and find a pitch in the lee of a tor. The forecast had suggested strengthening winds from the SW overnight.

A nice looking pitch was spotted on the N side of the current tor and after a quick confab an early pitch was approved.

The pitch was about 40m descent from the tor, on some flat grass with shelter to the SW. Nice view of Leabaidh a Diamh Bhuidhe:

Lounged around in the tor cooking tea and generally slobbing til the sun began to set.

Lochnagar:

Over tent to Stob an t-Sluichd:

Red rocks and shadows:

Must learn night photography:

The wind really did pick up overnight – a less than good night’s sleep but the tent stood up admirably. A bit disappointingly the temp stayed up above freezing so much of the heavier kit was superfluous.

Up at 0720 when it was noticeably lightening:

A quick jog up the hill at 0800 to see the sun rising:

The clouds seemed to be covering everything S and W and quickly engulfed us too.

Dropped down to the Sneck:

We wondered about climbing up Ben Avon but in the higher winds and cloud, and having been up there 8 weeks ago we decided to just descend from the Sneck.

Overcast most of the way.

Rather than walk out round the glens we thought the direct route over Carn na Drochaide would be fun. Carn na Criche is only 130m up from the track at the Quoich/Slugain split.

The clouds transiently cleared on Carn na Criche:

Continued over to Carn na Drochaide and then down the Carn Dearg arm. View to Braemar:

A great walk and a different way up and down Beinn a Bhuird for us. Great sun up and sun down. We do like high camps. 😀

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