Hills: East Meur Gorm Craig and West Meur Gorm Craig
Date: Tuesday 15th November 2016
Company: Just myself
Distance: c.32km, Ascent: 1050m
Time: 8Hrs 15Mins


With clear night skies forecast, and the largest moon in sixty-nine years, I decided to take advantage of this combination to undertake a fairly long walk, given the time of year, by using the moonlight to light my way for part of the walk.

Having ascended Ben Avon twice previously from the south, I liked the idea of again ascending Ben Avon but this time approaching from the north. However, this time it was not my intention to head for the summit but instead to ascend East Meur Gorm Craig and West Meur Gorm Craig both of which are Munro Tops of Ben Avon.

I set off from home nice and early to arrive at Cock Bridge, my starting point, around 05:30. On reaching Cock Bridge, I parked in the Corgarff Castle car park.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Before setting off walking, I put on a thick fleece, down jacket and windproof jacket as the wind and windchill made it feel cold. I also took out my headtorch but there was no need to use it.

Walking under the light of the supermoon towards Inchrory:


As I made my way along the glen, I stopped to take some photos of the supermoon. Having already taken some trial photos at home before leaving, I knew all the necessary manual settings to get a reasonable pic.

Supermoon:


As I passed Inchmore, it was still completely dark except for the moonlight. The tranquility was however shattered by a disharmony of barking dogs which could hear me walking through the glen.

It would have been nice to have taken more moonlight photos but I wasn't carrying a tripod and would have needed one to take pictures with multi-second exposures.

As I continued on, I could see the sky getting lighter to the East. It would soon be sunrise.

Pre-sunrise:


With daylight now replacing moonlight, I could make out Ben Avon ahead. It still looked a LONG way off.

Ben Avon ahead:


After almost two hours of walking, I passed through a gate into GlenAvon Estate and was soon approaching Lagganauld.

Approaching Lagganauld:


Circa five to ten minutes beyond Lagganauld, I arrived at the very impressive lodge at Inchrory. I wondered who owns this fine building and expansive estate, so I looked up "Who Owns Scotland". The >20,000 hectare GlenAvon Estate is apparently owned by a group registered in the Cayman Islands. This estate allegedly receives >£500,000 per annum in subsidies from the state for doing almost nothing. The beneficiary is unknown. This is not good! (Information courtesy of Andy Wightman, Who Owns Scotland website).

Inchrory:


Beyond Inchrory, I walked a short distance alongside the River Avon and then a short distance alongside the Builg Burn before crossing the bridge over the Builg Burn to start heading up.

River Avon:


Builg Burn:


During my initial ascent of Carn Fiaclach, I passed a number of grouse butts and numerous grouse. Great to see that a good number have survived the grouse shoots.

Onto the track ascending Carn Fiaclach:


The ascent was really pleasant; good track/path, short grass and dry underfoot.

Looking back towards Inchrory:


Ascending Meall Gaineimh:


Once above Meall Gaineimh, I passed large areas of solifluction - movement of ground due to freeze/thaw.

Looking back towards Carn Fiaclach and down to Inchrory:


As I progressed onwards and upwards, I followed a good path which skirts round Meall Gaineimh. The height of Meall Gaineimh was fairly recently measured accurately but found to be below 3000ft so it was not promoted to be a Munro Top.

Skirting round the top of Meall Gaineimh:


This side of Ben Avon has a good selection of lovely granite tors. I would have been happy to spend the day up there just exploring the tors. I might come back!

Tors on Clach Bhan:


Looking back to Clach Bhan and Meall Gaineimh:


To reach my first intended target of the day, I had to leave the path and make my way up short heather to reach the summit of East Meur Gorm Craig.

Approaching the summit of East Meur Gorm Craig:


I visited two potential high-points as I wasn't sure which was higher. I think the small cairn is at the high point

At the summit of East Meur Gorm Craig:


From East Meur Gorm Craig, I next made my way towards West Meur Gorm Craig.

Looking back to the summit of East Meur Gorm Craig:


Again, I passed a lovely collection of granite tors en-route to West Meur Gorm Craig.

Granite tors between East Meur Gorm Craig and West Meur Gorm Craig:


West Meur Gorm Craig:


Looking back to East Meur Gorm Craig:


On reaching the summit of West Meur Gorm Craig, I stopped for my first drink and bite to eat of the day. Having already walked 16km and ascended nearly 1000m, I should probably have stopped for sustenance a good while back as I was running on empty.

Summit tor on West Meur Gorm Craig:


Looking down from atop the summit tor:


During the ascent of these Tops, I checked in on Facebook to let friends know where I was. I received several messages back, one from my friend Heavy Whalley enquiring about the weather, the amount of snow and to tell me to look out for plane wreckage. I didn't spot any wreckage but Ben Avon is a vast mountain so I would have needed a grid reference to locate it.

Looking back to the summit tor from another potential high point:


While having some food, I took some photos looking back towards East Meur Gorm Craig with a rainbow.

East Meur Gorm Craig and a rainbow:


I made my way back to the car via the same route with the exception of a couple of short sections where I skirted round East Meur Gorm Craig and took a more direct line down from Carn Fiaclach.

Descent back towards Inchrory:


On reaching Lagganauld, I had my second stop of the day for another drink and some jelly babies.

As I progressed back from Lagganauld towards Cock Bridge a solitary jet flew through the glen. I have no idea what type of plane it was but it did make me think of Top Gun!

Jet flying through the glen (full zoom and cropped):


The walk out was long and I was glad to eventually reach the car.

Long walk out to Cock Bridge:


Now looking forward to more long days out in the Cairngorms exploring more of the remote tops. The Cairngorms are great.