Hill: Ben Avon (Creag an Dail Mhor, Carn Eas and Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe)
Date: Friday 1st March 2013
Company: Just myself
Distance: 34.1km, Ascent: 1300m
Time: 10Hrs 35Mins

I set off from home nice and early this morning arriving at the walker’s car park at Keiloch by 5:45. After paying the £2.50 car park charge, and getting suited and booted, I set off along the tarmac road towards Invercauld House with the intention of ascending Ben Avon via Creag an Dail Mhor and Carn Eas.

Creag an Dail Mhor and Carn Eas are both currently Munro Tops of Ben Avon. Both of these hills were Munros in the original 1891 list.

I didn’t need my headtorch this morning as the moonlight was sufficient to see where I was going.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

My one and only previous ascent of Ben Avon was back in 1997. During that ascent the one thing that stood out in my mind was falling in the burn on the way back from neighbouring Beinn a’Bhuird.

Looking back towards start of walk:

The early morning colours today were lovely. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky .

View towards Inverey:

Looking back towards Lochnagar (zoom):

Looking back:

After passing Invercauld House and Altdourie, I set off along Gleann an t-Slugain.

Gleann an t-Slugain:

Looking back at sunrise from Gleann an t-Slugain:

I took a good number of photographs of Beinn a’Bhuird today. It is an impressive mountain.

Beinn a’Bhuird:

Circa 1km before reaching the ruin, I opted to take the upper path which bypasses the ruin. After spending the last two weekends in almost snow-free North-West highlands, I was surprised today to find the snow in the Cairngorms down to such a low level.

Beinn a’Bhuird from just beyond ruin:

Circa 1km beyond the ruin, I left the main track to ascend Creag an Dail Mhor via Carn Eag Dhubh. The snow was mostly soft so no need for crampons.

Start of ascent of Carn Eag Dhubh:

Boulder summit of Carn Eag Dhubh:

Heading for Creag an Dail Mhor:

As I made my way up Creag an Dail Mhor, I could see two large cornices and avalanche debris on Carn Eas.

Looking across to Avalanche debris on Carn Eas:

Beinn a’Bhuird from Creag an Dail Mhor:

View South from Creag an Dail Mhor:

Looking towards Beinn a’Bhuird from summit of Creag an Dail Mhor:

After a couple of minutes break at the summit of Creag an Dail Mhor, I made my way towards Carn Eas. I avoided the cornice in the next photo by ascending to the left of it. The ascent was steeper than it looks in the photo.

Carn Eas from Creag an Dail Mhor:

During the ascent of Carn Eas, I stopped to take a photo of a ptarmigan. This was the first of at least a dozen seen today. I also saw lots of red grouse, a black grouse and a mountain hare.

Ptarmigan on Carn Eas:

Snowy ascent of Carn Eas:

On reaching the summit of Carn Eas, I again stopped for a few minutes to take photos and to upload a photo from my iPhone to Facebook. Was nice to receive a comment from my pal with whom I ascended Ben Avon in 1997. Comment: "Don't fall in the stream this time."

Beinn a’Bhuird from the summit of Carn Eas:

The circa three kilometres from Carn Eas to Ben Avon involved crossing a lot of snow. My legs were already feeling tired thanks to wearing my heavy Sportivas. By the time I crossed all the snow, there and back, I was pretty-much exhausted.

Looking towards summit of Ben Avon from Carn Eas:

View South from Carn Eas:

Snow plod to Ben Avon:

Beinn a’Bhuird:

During the ascent of the SW top of Ben Avon, I again stopped to photograph a ptarmigan. I always enjoy watching these birds on the hill.


Summit of Ben Avon from SW Top:

On reaching the summit tor, I carefully made my way up the icy granite to the top. There is no way I would have went up there without ice axe and crampons.

Heading for the summit tor:

Icy ascent of summit tor:

Icy ascent of summit tor:

Looking down from tor:

View from the summit of Ben Avon:

After taking a couple of photos at the summit, I made my way back down to safety and had my first bite to eat of the day.

During the walk back, I had to walk through mist for circa 30 minutes.

I decided to return to Carn Eas and then have a look at the South-West shoulder as a possible descent route. I prefer sticking to ridges and avoiding coires in Winter.

Misty traverse back towards Carn Eas:

The South-West shoulder of Carn Eas turned out to be an excellent descent route.

Descent of South-West shoulder of Carn Eas:

Looking back at the descent from Carn Eas:

During the walk out, I met two climbers heading for Beinn a’Bhuird with the intention of camping there tonight and climbing tomorrow. Their packs looked seriously heavy.

The walk out was hard work. On the way out, I took the lower path past the Gleann an t-Slugain ruin. I then returned to Keiloch via my in-bound route.

Approaching the Gleann an t-Slugain ruin:

Gleann an t-Slugain ruin:

Track leading back towards Altdourie:

Nice to venture into these hills in Winter .