Ben Avon from Invercauld – Torist route. August 2014

Date: Saturday 9th August 2014
Distance: 34km
Ascent: 1400m

Forecasting for the weekend had a lot of “low confidence” statements. Picked a trip to Braemar. With Saturday looking better than Sunday we thought a decent walk length was in order.

Swithered between heading north from Invercauld to Ben Avon and heading south to Lochnagar. Plumped for the north route.

The most common Ben Avon approach goes up Gleann an t-Slugain and up to the Sneck. It gives decent views of Beinn a Bhuird but misses out any tors other than Leabaidh an Diamh Bhuidhe.

We’d gone over the Culardoch/Carn Liath bealach as an approach in 2009 and it gives a better option to see a bit more of the Ben Avon massif. Headed this way.

Lochnagar from Keiloch:

Turning north on a track at Invercauld House the walk takes you up through nice pine woods. After a km the view opens west along the glen to Inverey.

A nice track through the woods and on over the open head of Glen Feardar. Spotted an emperor Moth caterpillar.

Emperor Moth Caterpillar:

As the track ascends towards the Culardoch/Carn Liath bealach the view S to Lochnagar opens up.

H and view S to Lochnagar:

There’s a rough path heads over the bealach north into Glen Gairn. Ben Avon looks quite close from here.

Ben Avon from descent into Glen Gairn:

As marked on the map the River Gairn is bridged at NO 172 998. On the north bank is a rough but reasonable path.

Another emperor moth caterpillar:

There is a path heading up the Allt an Eas Mhoir – rough in the lower reaches and better further up.

Corrie ascent:

Startled a few deer herds and were chided by a ring ouzel family here. Clach Choutsaich comes into view from the coire – headed up grass to aim for this.

These tors look quite wee….they are not.

Clach Choutsaich:

Leabaidh an Diamh Bhuidhe:

Clach Choutsaich is a big chunk of rock – and a fine wee scramble.

Clach Choutsaich:

….needs done:

Had lunch out of the brisk wind behind the Clach. The cloud was breaking a bit so sun patches were coming and going.

H and Clach Choutsaich:

Headed round the high ground around our ascent coire to approach the summit tor.

View back SE:

A quick nip up Leabaidh an Diamh Bhuidhe while here.

H approaching Leabaidh an Diamh Bhuidhe:

The tor is a distant distraction on the drive into Braemar.

South to Braemar and Glen Clunie:

A nice view of Garbh Coire reminds me we still have to go in from this direction.

Garbh Coire:

On this occasion we headed down to Stob Dubh an Eas Bhig to pick up a descent arm and back to our route of approach.

Back to the summit:

Tor on Stob Dubh an Eas Bhig:

Coire of ascent – tors on top:

Dropped down to the path and back to the River Gairn path – started up a few hares and ptarmigan on the way.

Once back on track we pointed ourselves in the direction of home. Nearly stood on an adder on the path – it quickly headed off path.

Adder on heather:

Adder on peat bog:

Adder reclimbing a bank:

To reclimb to the Culardoch/Carn Liath bealach there are 2 branches – the rough path direct down the Allt and a 4×4 track just E which ends up 70m above the bealach on the wrong side. We took the 4×4 track – more ascent but easier walking.

Ben Avon from Culardoch reascent:

From the bealach it is a long walk back – or a freewheel on a bicycle if you have one.

Lochnagar under cloud:

Pleasant walking in evening sunshine back to Invercauld House.

West to Inverey:

…and then back to Keiloch.

Lochnagar from Keiloch:

I quite like this route – much the same distance and a smidgen more climb than the red route but a better wander on the massif. Like to return some time.


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