Footprints Across Scotland
Why not make a few of your own!
11th March 2011
A wander over the hills on the west side of the Glenshee ski centre returning alongside Baddoch burn.
The Munros, Carn Aosda, Cairnwell and Carn a' Gheoidh can be climbed with relative ease from the car park at the Glen Shee Ski centre. Carn Aosda and the Cairnwell are very much part of the ski resort and there are a number of runs down their eastern slopes. We decided to begin our walk from down at Baddoch ascending along the ridge to the west Glen Clunnie before dropping into Glen Baddoch to make the return. After crossing the bridge over the Baddoch burn we came across the resident white horses happily grazing in the sunshine. Enzo wanted to go over and say hello but was dissuaded by some stern words from Nathalie. After passing the now renovated cottage and a small burn we continued a short way before following the line of a fence uphill onto a grassy vehicle track. The track lost its grass covering to become stonier as we made the ridge line near Strone Baddoch.
Glen Clunie from Strone Baddoch
Itís a fairly steady ascent with just a couple of short sections were the gradient increases. We started to notice the strength of the wind much more as we made Carn Chrionaidh which oversees Dubh Corrie. By now the views back down the glen toward Braemar had opened up nicely. To the east across the Cairnwell burn the slopes of Carn an Turc and Cairn of Claise were still showing shades of pale winter straw. After reaching a rocky top just north of Carn Aosda it was a short drop onto a grassy col before the final pull to the summit overlooking the ski centre. Two good years of snow had done much to revive the flagging Scottish ski industry but this year had seen a return to very disappointing snowfall. We followed the well-worn track around the hillside past Loch Vrotachan and up onto the Cairnwell. A small stone topped hut in amongst some portable cabins and signal masts marked the top of the second Munro. While out of the wind we decided it was time for lunch, there would be very little shelter to be found on Carn a' Gheoidh. There are some fine views to the west of the Cairnwell across a deep corrie that bars a direct line to Carn an Sac and Carn a' Gheoidh beyond.
Carn a' Gheoidh from the Cairnwell
After eating we retraced steps back toward the loch before heading around the cliff edge toward Carn an Stac.
The Cairnwell from Carn nan Sac
A widening path leads from the corrie edge over some boggy ground toward our final top. After a short rise through a small bank of snow we were soon on the fairly level summit area and at the rocky top of Carn a' Gheoidh. A couple with their son and dog were sheltering behind the windbreak cairn as we arrived. We were greeted with the kind offer of a warming dram which was gratefully accepted by myself and Eanon, malt whisky not being Nathalie's 'cup of tea'. The flat summit area gives a nice airy feel and provides a splendid vantage point with far reaching views. The distinctive grassy knoll of Carn Bhinean stood sentry below the pointed Glas Tulaichean to the west. While the main Cairngorm range still showed a little snow cover further to the north.
Glas Maol & Creag Leacach from Carn a' Gheoidh
We headed off in the general direction of An Socach passing a smaller cairn on the way before dropping down the north west ridge.
Looking toward Baddoch from Carn a' Gheoidh
The short heather was interspersed with the occasional rocky band but part way down we picked up a narrow path that took us down to Baddoch burn. After Enzo had enjoyed a good splash in the stream we joined the nearby track for the final section and the long walk back down the Glen.
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