Tuesday, July 29, 2014

169, 170. Carn Bhac (221), Beinn Iutharn Mhor (88). 28/07/2014

It may have taken the midgies most of the night to find us, but they were there to wish us good morning when we opened the tent. Not the swarms of the valley, but enough to be a pest when putting the tent away. The other slight problem we had was being a little low on water (due to losing a bottle cap the previous day), so we opted for malt loaf rather than porridge to break our fast. Of course the weather chose to be hot and sunny to make us appreciate our lack of water all the more, still we managed to ration our remaining 1.5l fairly well.
Perhaps midgies like orange...

Our campsite (middleground, right of picture), with the Cairngorm massif behind

Setting off from the tent at 7am, it was a fairly easy walk to the top of Carn Bhac amid stunning views. We also shared the hills with a herd of deer and many sheep - no doubt also trying to avoid the worst of the midgies by being up high. We were able to spend half an hour without the packs as we climbed to the summit, before tackling the route across to Beinn Iutharn Mhor. We were well aware that this part would be tough, but all things considered it perhaps turned out a bit less than expected. First we had to cross a mile of peat bogs, but fortunately the relatively dry weather had meant that this was pretty easy. We could see that in wet weather it would have been horrendous. Then we had to ascend the 200m wall on the side of the 'Big Sharp Edged One'. It was sweaty work with packs no doubt and at first looked almost impenetrable, but tiny paths helped us find the least steep contours and we knew once at the top things would be much easier.

Reaching the summit was a good feeling and the views in every direction were splendid, but since it was after 10.30, we decided it would be too much to include Carn an Righ today (which proved a wise decision) and instead we headed west for the path to Glen Tilt.
The clearly marked Glen Tilt from Carn Bhac

The walk down to Glen Tilt was easy going and we picked up some splendid water along the way, but it took a little longer than hoped due to the windiness of the path. Once in Glen Tilt, we knew we just had to plod along to Blair Atholl and progress began well. After passing the Falls of Tarf, we were glad to see the path became a hard track, but this was a mixed blessing. After a few miles it became quite punishing on the soles of the feet and by the time we reached the town, I had slowed considerably - the 13 or so miles ended up taking us over 5 hours. We were both very glad to see the hotel (with a 'bothy bar') by the station and we hobbled in for some well earned refreshment.

A successful trip through the Cairngorms, but with a little too much left to do on the final day.


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