Sunday, December 21, 2008

81-83. The Cairnwell (245), Carn a'Gheoidh (180), Carn Aosda (278) 20/12/08

Having had a bit of an ordeal the previous day, our enthusiasm for traipsing out into the wilderness had waned slightly and we decided to try and find some accessible hills. This took us to Glen Shee, where the road rises to nearly 600m (cheating really, but our legs were grateful). Here is probably the only place in scotland where 3 munros can be climbed in little over 4 hours. The weather was uncharacteristically beautiful, the only difficulty being a bit of wind (though this could only really be called a stiff breeze in comparison to the howling tornado experienced on the previous day) and possibly a bit too much sun, since it began to turn the snow into ice in some places. Fortunately most of the walk was flat, so the ice wasn't an issue. We set off from the ski slopes at a leisurely 11.30 and shinned up the side of the Cairnwell. This was possibly slightly steeper than we had thought and we had to resort to kicking each step and climbing the snow like a ladder, but we made it and although the slopes were slightly spoilt by all the ski development, the summit did afford spectacular views. We walked around the edge of a corrie and then over the snowy plateau to Carn a'Gheoidh, where the views were better and the slopes were untouched by the hand of man. Some Munro writers complain heatedly about the ski slopes in Glen Shee and on Cairngorm, but i think one has to appreciate that some people like to ski and so there is a business for it and that it has to happen somewhere. If not on the Cairnwell, then on some other hill - at least it is getting people into the mountains. Anyway, we made our way across to Carn Aosda and ran down the ski-runs back to the car. This was another walk that greatly benefitted from being done in winter.

Looking east across Glen Shee.

Looking west from CaG

Approaching the summit of CaG.

CaG from the Cairnwell.


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