Thursday, August 19, 2010

112-115. Ben Avon (17), Beinn a'Bhuird (11), Beinn Bhreac (249), Beinn a'Chaorainn (58). 16/08/2010

Ben Avon and Ben a'Bhuird are quite big and far from anywhere, so they are usually climbed in a long day from some car park about 20km away. That didn't sound particularly efficient to us, so instead of a return trip we decided to turn our backs on civilisation and continue walking to a couple of other hills in the area before finding our way to a high-level bothy for the night.

This idea proved sound, but we were probably quite lucky since we would have been a bit stuck if the weather had been poor or if others had been at the bothy - the 'Hutchinson Memorial Hut' only really sleeps two. Nevertheless, we have a great (if rather strenuous) day.

Jon on the way up Ben Avon.

We started out from Tomintoul at shortly after 8am and sped along the track down Glen Avon. It wasn't long before we were mounting the slopes of the plateau and pondering the huge granite torrs on the top - in fact the summit of Ben Avon is itself a torr, but not one of the more difficult in terms of rock climbing. Then we marched across the elegant 'Sneck' to Beinn a'Bhuird, which has some great corries gouged out of its eastern flanks. There were also midges here at almost 1200m, which we thought was a bit cheeky.

The torrs on the plateau, taken from the summit of Ben Avon.

The Sneck leading across to Beinn a'Bhuird

Our next objective was the rather small looking Beinn Bhreac, some 266m lower and at first glance it hardly seemed like it could be a munro. The slog across the 5km of peat hags was probably the hardest part of the walk however and we were very glad when we eventually stumbled across some semblence of a path. As is sometimes the case when a smaller hill is amongst loftier neighbours, we had really good views of the whole of the Cairngorm National Park from the top. Then it was north again over the peaty plateau to Beinn a'Chaorainn, before dropping down to the west into the corrie below Loch Etchachan. In 10hrs and just shy of 40km, we reached the little bothy and decided to call it a day.

The bothy.


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