Footprints Across Scotland
Why not make a few of your own!
15th March 2009
Blowing the cobwebs away on Carn Bhac.
John sometimes takes as many as three attempts to get up a hill so this being only the second on this particular one I was a little unsure of the outcome. The elements usually conspire in some way to stop him reaching a summit first time and certainly did when we came out to do this hill in January. After being battered by gale force winds and sliding around on the uncompromising hard frozen hillsides we retreated defeated back to safer ground. The winds appeared to have eased up from the day before and we were hoping that Paula's presence would maybe see the weather gods smiling. The grey skies didn't appear threatening and the cloud base seemed to be mostly above the summits, just occasionally lowering to spread some mist over the tops. We eased our way up Glen Ey being passed by a trio of cyclists before reaching the foot of the heathery slopes that lead up Creag an Lochchain
John, Paula and destination Carn Bhac
There were still a few snow patches on these lower slopes but they did little to camouflage a number of artic hares as they scampered across the brown heather in their white coats. Further up recent burning had shortened the undergrowth and provided for easier walking. There seemed to be a large number of grouse about and their weird chuntering noises would provide accompaniment throughout the walk. A large number of deer grazing on the slopes of Carn Creagach seemed unaware of our presence for a while, but its wasn't long before heads were raised and pointing in our direction, then after a long inquisitive look they headed away up the hillside at a fairly relaxed pace. The wind increased as we reached the broad ridge that leads from Creag an Lochchain over to Carn Creagacch. Despite the noise of the wind and our hats acting as mufflers it was still possible to pick up the high pitched whistle of a plover.
Beinn Lutharn Mor
We started to feel the full force of the wind as we gained height and it was with cold faces and watery eyes that we approached the top of Carn Creagach. Nestling behind some of the many boulders we tried to get out of the chill breeze to enjoy a small bite to eat. A couple of Ptmargin burst from cover as we hobbled across the uneven surface and started our decent from the rocky top. The stony ground soon gave way to grass before we reached the boggy bealach that sits between Carn Creagacch and Carn Bhac. After a steep ascent crossing some banks of snow we soon gained the top of Carn Bhac.
Nearly there as the mist descends
The mist descended for a short while as we reached the summit before clearing to allow the views to open up again. The cairn at the top provided little shelter so we decided not to hang about and pressed on to find a more suitable spot for lunch. After making our way around the top of Coire Bheairnaist we started descending down grassy slopes onto the ridge that leads to Carn Damhaireach. As the ground leveled out we stopped for a while to enjoy our well earned lunch before heading off in the direction of the Battery top.
The ridge to the battery top
The terrain was quite boggy in places and we had to weave our way over and around many peat hags. One of the pools held a couple of frogs and in another we saw our first frog spawn of the season, spring must be on its way.
Negotiating the peat hags
While heading up the gentle slopes to the Top of the Battery we were confronted by tens of pairs of Antlers. A herd of deer were heading straight in our direction, I think they were as surprised as we were, but with just a brief break in stride they changed direction crossing the ridge a short way in front of us.
Deer on the battery top
Before beginning our descent into Glen Ey we enjoyed the panoramic views taking in our route around to the south and the main Cairngorm hills to the North.
Carn Bhac from the battery top
The ridge narrowed for a short while as we dropped easily down the first slopes. Longer heather proved a little more testing as the gradient increased during the final drop into the glen to pick up the path near Allt Connie. Crossing a small bridge we forded Alt Cristie then after a short rise gained the more substantial track that would lead us home.
Heading back down to Glen Ey
It was a pleasant walk alongside Alt Connie with the swift running water tumbling its way down through a narrow ravine. After passing through some Pine's and Larch we were soon on the road near Inverey and a short distance from the car.
All in all a pleasant walk with good company and no doubt at least one or two pairs of tired feet!
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