Sunday 5 April 2015

Carn na Caim & A'Bhuidheanach Bheag

Easter Sunday dawned sunny and clear - as forecast - so we headed east to pick up a couple of Munro's just east of the A9. There was snow on the summits and the sky a glowing blue...

Above the A9 as we set off on the ascent of Carn na Caim
Views south west to Sgairneach Mhor, Beinn Udlamain and Geal Charn

We parked up in a layby just south of the Dalwhinnie turn off and followed the A9 north for a short distance before taking a gated track east (NN639821) through a works parking area for the Beauly/Denny electric transmission line construction. It wasn't very pretty - but we were soon through and were onto the track up the open hillside. 

The track cut across the heather covered hillside between burns, gradually ascending the A'Bhuidheanach massif. As we gained height, we were soon encountering the snow that had blown into the cutting. The higher we got, the more snow...

Ascent of Carn na Caim - Views north west over Dalwhinnie Distillery

It was fairly hard going, but we made reasonable time.

Jim - ascent of Carn na Caim (NN646810)

The views were opening up around us, west across to Geal-Charn and A'Mharconaich, Sgairneach Mhor and Beinn Udlamain and the Ben Alder group.

Views south west from ascent of Carn na Caim

Jim and Rafe - Ascent of Carn na Caim

The track continued to the summit plateau, and as the ascent eased, the snow cover increased, covering the path. We continued south east towards the spot height at 902m at NN660801.

Nearing the summit plateau between Carn na Caim and A'Bhuidheanach
Views south sect to Drumochter Munros

Rafe and Jim - nearing the summit plateau between
Carn na Caim and A'Bhuidheanach

Views west to Ben Alder massif from spot height 902m (NN660801)

The views were expansive and marvellous - sparkling snowy mountains and blue skies as far as the eye could see...

Rafe - Looking north towards Carn na Caim on summit plateau

We headed off across the plateau, north east towards Carn na Caim, our first Munro objective of the day.

Golden plover near Carn na Caim

There were a few people about, enjoying the early spring sunshine and the perfect mountain day. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a golden plover, calling across the heights.

Rafe and Jim - Ascent of Carn na Caim

The white stuff was deep enough and soft enough to be hard work - we chose to follow a route through the snow that had cut by earlier walkers...

A beautiful day on Carn na Caim

Jim - Nearing Carn na Caim summit - Rafe's already there!
(Munro 233, 941m)

Most of the snow had blown off the summit of Carn na Caim (Munro 233, 941m) - Rafe made bee line for the summit cairn getting there well before us - standing and laughing at the slow coaches.

Views north from Carn na Caim summit to Loch Cuaich and Meall Cuaich

The views were wonderful again - across to the north east was Meal Cuaich, climbed last March and west to Ben Alder.

Ben Alder and friends from Carn na Caim

Jim - heading back (south) towards spot height 902m (NN660801)
from Carn na Caim

Our route now took us back across the plateau to the 902m spot height again...

Views west to Drumochter Munros and Ben Alder massif from spot height 902 (NN660801)

We were soon crossing new ground, south east across the minor dip between ABhuidheanach and A'Bhuidheanach Mhor - it didn't look far, but perspective is difficult on these rolling heights.

Views over Coire Chuirn to Sgairneach Mhor and A'Mharconaich

The snow was softening further in the warm sun - the walking was hard work...

From A'Bhuidheanach to A'Bhuidheanach Mhor

But the views were superlative.

Jim - descent from A'Bhuidheanach - views to A'Bhuidheanach Mhor
(walker in the distance for perspective!)

Rafe and Jim - Ascent of A'Bhuidheanach Mhor

Rafe and Jim - Ascent of A'Bhuidheanach Bheag - other walkers at the summit cairn

There wasn't too much in the way of ascent, we continued to follow in the footsteps of other walkers ahead and we were soon nearing the summit of our second Munro of the day.

Jim and Rafe nearing A'Bhuidheanach Bheag summit

It was truly beautiful.

Views south from A'Bhuidheanach summit

The views from the summit of A'Bhuidheanach Bheag (Munro 241, 936m) opened up to the south - the whole of the southern Cairngorms and beyond to the Perthshire hills.

A'Bhuidheanach summit (Munro 241, 936m)

Many photographs were taken.

Views back (north) towards Carn na Caim

Rafe and Jim - return towards spot height 902m

We returned the way we had come, across the snow fields, tiring now - to the 902m spot height. We were avoiding the snow as much as possible, picking our way between grassy patches.

Views to Drumochter Munros and Ben Alder massif from A'Bhuidheaneach

The views were as good as ever - the changed light of the afternoon made them new again.

Rafe and Jim descent towards Glen Truim from A'Bhuidheanach plateau

We were soon back on the track back down into Glen Truim and to the A9 - so much easier now that we had gravity on our side.

Descending into Glen Truim - views west

Once beyond the snowfields the going got even easier - we cut off the corner and headed directly for the Beauly/Denny line car park - yomping through the heather.

Rafe and Jim - descend towards Glen Truim

There were a few mountain hare hopping about amongst the vegetation, their winter coats showing up bright against the brown of the undergrowth.

Mountain Hare

Views south west from descent from A'Bhuidheanach

We were soon down in the glen - basking in the later afternoon warmth - it really felt like spring.

Looking back to A'Bhuidheanach from near A9

It had been a great hill day - but one that had been rather more strenuous than we had anticipated! - all good practice...

Rafe and Jim in the Beauly/Denny Line works yard by the A9 at the end of the walk

Route:  Layby on A9 S of A889 turnoff to Dalwhinnie (NN639821), track initially NW, under pylons and through works car parking area (NN642823), continue on track (overall SE) to minor summit 902m (NN661802), N over minor summits,  892m, 914m, sh 894m following fence posts, Carn na Caim South Top (Munro Top  914m), NE to Carn na Caim (Munro 233, 941m), return to minor summit 902m, S to A'Bhuidheanach, SE to A'Bhuidheanach Mhor, SW and S along fence posts to A'Bhuidheanach Bheag (Munro 241, 936m) return to minor summit 902m, return NE to start.

Statistics:  Distance: 19km  Ascent: 850m  Time: 6 hours

Map:  OS Explorer 394 Atholl

Carn na Caim

A'Bhuidheanach Bheag

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