Hill: Cnap Chaochan Aitinn
Date: Friday 25th June 2010
Company: Myself and Beinn
Time: 5Hrs 10Mins


From a quick review of Multimap and Google Maps before setting off, I could see that a good road/track now went all the way to the summit. I therefore decided to ditch my boots and walk the hill in trail shoes.

 I parked at the car park approximately 1km from Tomintoul.

Car park:


Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I had walked the initial section of this route back in September 2009 but turned back after being advised by a grouse-shooting party that if I continued I might end up in their, “crossfire”. Their recommendation was to go back. No shooting as yet this year, so no problems today.

Looking towards Liath Bheinn from track:


Cnap Chaochan Aitinn in distance:


The walk in today was pleasant apart from thousands of blackfly. These annoying beasties followed me for miles. Thankfully, they don’t seem to bite.

There are many birch trees alongside the track. Horse hoof fungus on the dead ones can be useful as tinder for fire-lighting.

Horse Hoof fungus (Fomes Formentarius):


After passing through the gate at Birchfield, we continued along the track as far as the bridge over the River Avon. We crossed the bridge and carried on to Wester Gaulrig.

Bridge over Rivon Avon near Auchnahyle:


Wester Gaulrig:


Beyond Wester Gaulrig was a problem, a field with a number of Highland Cattle including several small calves. Despite still being some distance off from them, I could see they were not happy at the sight of Beinn. We initially tried to skirt round the field at the other side of the fence. We had to return as we arrived at a tall fence with no way over/under for Beinn. We then tried skirting round the field at the opposite side of the field to where the cattle were standing. This worked as the field is on a slope and we were out of their sight.

Stile and gate at far end of field beyond Wester Gaulrig:


Beyond the field, we continued along the track initially through trees and then through open countryside.

Beinn:


Looking back towards Wester Gaulrig (zoom):


Looking towards summit of Cnap Chaochan Aitinn:


Until now, I had seen loads of wildlife but had been unable to photograph any of it – hare, ptarmigan with chicks (parent doing the broken-wing act), mallards with ducklings, oystercatcher, curlew, sandpiper, roe deer, stonechat, etc. While Beinn was off the lead for a short while, I saw him take an interest in something. He looked alert, excited and was nudging something with his nose. I ran over to discover he had found a mole. First one I have ever seen. The mole was larger than I would have expected and wasn’t keen to stick around. I got a few photos before it made its escape.

Mole:


Mole:


Mole:


Views were fairly limited until a few hundred metres from the summit. Cnap Chaochan Aitinn is not itself the most exciting of hills but you get great views of Ben Avon and Beinn a’Bhuird from its summit.

Ben Avon:


Ben Avon and Beinn a’Bhuird:


Beinn at the summit of Cnap Chaochan Aitinn:


The weather station at the summit is a bit of a mess as are the multitude of tracks on this estate.

Weather station at the summit of Cnap Chaochan Aitinn:


Cairngorms:


Ben Avon:


Ben Avon:


I set my camera up on the weather station and then had to sprint back to the summit to get into the picture.

Myself and Beinn at summit:


From the summit, we made our way towards Geal Charn.

Heading for Geal Charn (616m):


From Geal Charn made our way down towards Dalestie with a view to crossing the River Avon via the footbridge marked on the map.

View towards Inchrory from Geal Charn:


On looking down to the river, I could see the footbridge marked on my map was no longer there.

Dalestie and River Avon, where’s the bridge?:


I wasn’t going to let a small thing like a river get in the way of our plan so it was off with my trainers and socks before wading across.

River Avon (where we crossed):


I wondered if I could use my gaiters as improvised sandals by placing them over my bare feet and pulling the draw-cords tight. It actually worked really well. It made the crossing quite comfortable and avoided cut feet.

Improvised sandals:


Drookit dog:


The walk out was straight-forward; a tarmac track much of the way followed by an unsurfaced track.

Looking towards Auchnahyle:


I saw lots of nice blue flowers on the way out. Possibly speedwell?

Common Field Speedwell?:


Looking back towards Cnap Chaochan Aitinn:


Enjoyed the day, especially the views of Ben Avon and Beinn a’Bhuird and the mole sighting