East Drumochter Munros

20 October 2011

18.4 km/833 m/06:00 hrs

Munros: Carn na Caim + A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag (Nos. 202 + 203)

I couldn’ t wait to try out my new Páramo Ladies’ Velez Adventure Smock, that I had ordered after my last walk and that had arrived a few days ago. The weather forecast wasn’t very good, and I didn’t fancy a long drive, so I decided on two of the “not-so-attractive” Munros down the A 9 that I still had to do.

I parked in the lay-by 1 km south of the turnoff for Dalwhinnie, crossed the A 9 and walked up the Landrover track.

Geal-charn and A’ Mharconaich on the other side of the A 9.

When I encountered a grouse shooting party, they offered to wait until I had walked past – and I rushed up the hill a bit faster than I would have normally walked.

After passing the quarry, I headed for the line of fence posts which would take me almost directly to the summit of Carn na Caim. I was surprised to see another walker approaching from the south, it was Peter, a retired rheumatologist from Ayr, and we walked to Carn na Caim together.

I was glad to have some interesting company on an otherwise boring walk across a featureless plateau. The clouds lifted occasionally, but most of the time the scenery around us was hidden in a blur of grey and white.

The summit of Carn na Caim.

We walked back to the quarry, where Peter made his way down the Landrover track as he had started his walk with A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag, while I still had to find my second Munro of the day somewhere in the clag…

On the way down to one of the tributary streams of the Allt Coire Chùirn, I sank into a thigh-deep snow drift and fell forward into the snow because my right foot had got stuck in a boghole hidden under the snow. Immediately, my boot filled with freezing cold, muddy water – not nice!

Walking on a compass bearing, I was pleased when I eventually saw the trig point on A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag emerging from the mist.

The summit.

More of the same on the way back – low cloud, wide plateau, no views to speak of.

From the quarry, I walked back down the way I had come up.

This wasn’t one of the most interesting days on the hill, but at least I had nice company on the first half of the walk, and I got two more Munros done.

My new jacket performed well, on the uphill section I warmed up quickly, but with the venting zips open and the sleeves rolled up, I felt fine. On the plateau I was walking in an ice-cold wind and occasional light snow showers, and it kept me warm and dry. All I need to find out now is how it will cope in heavy rain for several hours/days (Challenge-style)… 😉

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