Hills: Bynack Beg, Bynack More, A' Choinneach and Creag Mhor
Date: Tuesday 11th August 2015
Company: Just myself
Distance: 32.4km, Ascent: 1340m
Time: 8Hrs 45Mins
The weather forecast for Tuesday looked pretty-good so I booked a last-minute day off work to go for a wander in the Cairngorms.
The MWIS forecast suggested 40% cloud-free Munros increasing to 80% by late morning.
I didn't have any particular route in mind but was keen to ascend A' Choinneach; a demoted Munro from the original 1891 Munro list. I therefore drove to and parked at Glenmore Lodge
and made up a route as I went along.
From Glenmore Lodge, I set off along the excellent-quality track which is both a right of way to Braemar (Lairig an Laoigh) and a right of way to Nethy Bridge.
Every time I walk this track, I stop to photograph An Lochan Uaine. This is a beautiful green lochan which I assume is green due to
natural copper minerals in the water.
An Lochan Uaine:
On reaching the track junction, a short distance beyond Lochan Uaine, I took the Lairig an Laoigh track which leads through to Braemar. I last walked the
full Lairig an Laoigh in 2002.
Bridge over the River Nethy:
During the ascent of Bynack More, the cloud level rose from c.700m to just above the summit.
Ascending the lower slopes of Bynack More:
Before ascending to the summit of Bynack More, I decided to ascend it smaller neighbour Bynack Beg. Bynack Beg has a drop of only 23m, so hardly warrants its Munro Top status.
Bynack More and Bynack Beg:
Heading for Bynack Beg:
From the summit of Bynack Beg, I made my way across to Bynack More. This was my third ascent of Bynack More with previous ascents in 1997 and 2010.
Looking back to Bynack Beg during ascent of Bynack More:
Unfortunately, as I approached the summit of Bynack More, the cloud level dropped to below the summit resulting in minimal views.
At the summit of Bynack More:
Limited views at the summit of Bynack More:
After taking a few photos and having my first drink and bite to eat of the day, I set off towards A' Choinneach. En-route to A' Choinneach, I visited the wonderful Barns of Bynack. If ascending Bynack More, a short diversion to the Barns is a must.
The Barns of Bynack:
I scrambled to the top of the highest barn. The ascent was an easy scramble up course granite.
View from sitting atop the Barns of Bynack:
Barns of Bynack:
The camera stayed in its bag between the Barns of Bynack and A' Choinneach as it rained throughout this section of walk.
A' Choinneach is one of 32 original 1891 Munros that no longer make the current list. Having now ascended A' Choinneach, I have only one 1891 Munro remaining to complete the 1891 list.
At the summit of A' Choinneach:
At the summit of A' Choinneach, instead of returning the same way, I decided to trust that the weather would improve, as forecast, and continued onwards with a view to dropping down to Loch Avon.
A rainbow in the mist:
First views of Loch Avon:
During the descent, it was nice to get views of Beinn Mheadhoin. Like Bynack More and Ben Avon, it has a number of granite tors at its summit.
Looking across to Beinn Mheadhoin:
The descent to The Saddle was straight-forward. The track from the Saddle to the end of Loch Avon was a bit trickier with numerous boulders to negotiate along the
Descent from The Saddle towards Loch Avon:
Loch Avon is one of my favourite lochs. I have visited Loch Avon several times previously but always to the Shelter Stone end. This was my first visit to its East end.
Panorama of Loch Avon:
On reaching the East end of Loch Avon, I stopped for some lunch. It is an idyllic lunch spot.
It was now past late-morning and there was still lots of low cloud and drizzle. MWIS got the forecast correct but the timing wrong. Instead of the weather improving late-morning, it improved early-afternoon.
Panorama from the end of Loch Avon:
Outflow of the River Avon from Loch Avon:
From Loch Avon, I followed one of the worst sections of track I have walked along in quite some time. The track from Loch Avon to the Fords of Avon is pretty-much a mudfest.
Looking back along the River Avon:
On approaching the Fords of Avon shelter, I could see a group some of whom were sitting on the roof of the shelter. They didn't see me approach but on spotting me they quickly jumped down from the roof knowing full well they should not have been sitting on the roof.
Approaching the Fords of Avon Refuge:
The Fords of Avon Refuge Hut is not a bothy in the conventional sense in that it is not meant to be used for planned overnight stays. It doesn't have a sleeping platform and doesn't have a stove. It is however very nice inside.
Fords of Avon Refuge:
Inside the Fords of Avon Refuge:
There is good information about the refuge hut on Neil Reid (Cairngorm Wanderer)'s page:
click here to read.
From the Fords of Avon Refuge Hut, I walked back along the Lairig an Laoigh towards Glenmore.
Looking back towards the Fords of Avon from the Lairig an Laoigh:
However, on passing Creag Mhor it was simply too close to ignore. I had to ascend to its summit. I last ascended Creag Mhor in 2002.
Ascending Creag Mhor:
Beinn Mheadhoin from Creag Mhor:
Looking towards the summit of Creag Mhor:
Beinn a'Chaorainn from Creag Mhor:
Looking across to Bynack More from the summit of Creag Mhor:
The summit rocks of Creag Mhor are very interesting in that they have at least seven
small circular pools. There are two very similar but larger pools near the summit of Sgor Mor.
Creag Mhor summit rocks:
From Creag Mhor, I returned to the Lairig an Laoigh and followed it back out to Glenmore Lodge.
Back onto the Lairig an Laoigh:
Looking back towards a now distant Creag Mhor:
Bynack More and Bynack Beg:
Looking towards Meall a'Buachaille during descent:
Before reaching Glenmore Lodge, I again took the small diversion to view An Lochan Uaine. I resisted the temptation to also visit Ryvoan Bothy, as I have already re-visited it this year.
An Lochan Uaine:
The Cairngorms are a wonderful mountain range with countless circuits and traverses as well as great climbing ... and they are close to home.
Looking forward to my next Cairngorms visit in just a few days time