/ Ben Avon and Beinn a' Bhuird

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Ramblin dave - on 11 Oct 2017
Hi folks!

This is a bit of an "idea for an idea" at the moment, but I've been thinking about sleeper-train plans, and wondering about a wildcamping trip to try to get Ben Avon and Beinn a' Bhuird done in a long weekend. It looks like it might be possible, but there's a lot of potential route options, and I'm not sure which one would give a couple of fat ramblers the best chance of getting both hills done...

Anyone who knows the area got any thoughts?

Based on my reading of the sleeper and bus timetables, we'd be able to start from Aviemore slightly before 8AM, from Tomintoul at half ten (via buses), or from Braemar at about midday. We could happily finish at any of those places. I'd imagine that we'd want to spend three days (and two nights) out.

Thanks!
inboard - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Could you not start earlier from Braemar by getting sleeper to Aberdeen and bus up Deeside?
JJ Krammerhead III - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Have been over both hills a couple of times and bivvied under the summit of Ben Avon. The summit tor offered some protection on a wet night. You can do a round trip starting at Glen Quoich cutting across to Ben Avon and back over beinn a bhuird. Wild camps up high might be tricky if its windy and you'll be a long way up. It's a fantastic trip in good weather! A long one mind. Good luck (you've a good chance of seeing golden eagle!)
Ramblin dave - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to inboard:

That's how you get there for midday! The buses are slow, and timed badly for the sleeper...
Neil Pratt - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

The loop over both from Invercauld or Linn of Quoich is always a good bet. You can even kip a night in the Secret Howff. The through route past Fords of Avon and either round Bynack More to Glenmore or over the plateau to the ski Centre is also fun - that would give you options for kipping at Faindouran or the Fords of Avon refuge if the weather was pish.
davidbeynon on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

If you go in from the Braemar side then a bike will save a huge amount of time, particularly on the way out. I usually hire one from Braemar Mountain Sports when I'm going in that way.
Simon Caldwell - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

When we first did those hills, we cycled from Invercauld to just before the Slugain ruin, and walked from there. We were travelling light, but managed to do both summits plus all the Munro Tops in 9.5 hours walking and 1 hr40 biking. So you shouldn't have much trouble getting both done over a more relaxing 2 or 3 days.

On a later trip we camped near the Slugain ruin, lots of flat grassy areas around there. And on the same trip we camped here
http://streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=310532&Y=801121&A=Y&Z=115
but the weather was good! There are probably more sheltered spots a bit lower down that stream (and maybe the next stream to the north) but when we were there they were all under snow from the previous winter.
tom.fox on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

found a good camp site just below the sneck-5 mins walk -on the r of the path up much to my relief as we were tired and not too much on the way up!easy to bag both summits then back to Aviemore
BALD EAGLE - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

> If you go in from the Braemar side then a bike will save a huge amount of time, particularly on the way out. I usually hire one from Braemar Mountain Sports when I'm going in that way.

Seconded! A 2 to 3 hour slog by foot or a 30 minute exhilarating freewheel back to the car park if you use mountain bikes...
Simon Caldwell - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to BALD EAGLE:

Unless your inner tube explodes and you've brought a spare for the wrong bike, in which case it's a boring 2-hour bike push...
Guy Hurst - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:
When I did that trip we cycled in from Braemar in the late afternoon, left the bikes at the bottom of the path up to the Sneck, walked up to about 750m and camped there. There were lots of flat and reasonably sheltered spots to choose from. We knocked the two tops off the next day, cycled out again (with no exploding tyres) and were back in Braemar in very good time.
Anybody doing this needs to be careful of the drainage channels cut into the otherwise very good track, which are cunningly angled to grab a bike wheel. They're easy enough to bunny hop over, but only if you see them.
Post edited at 13:25
CaelanB - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Yeah, definitely do-able in a long weekend. Myself and a friend were up that way to climb on the west wall of mitre ridge last weekend. Managed to get over to very near the summit of beinn a bhuird in about 3 hours with bikes from invercauld. To me the south approach seems the most "sensible" particularly if you don't have bikes because the amount of horizontal travel is much less than the north approach.

In terms of places to kip when coming from the south you've got the "secret" bothy, though its not very far in on the approach so maybe isn't best placed if you want to do both munro's as you'll have to do some to-ing and fro-ing. also there's the smith winram howff at the foot of the dividing buttress between coire an dubh loch and coire nan clach of beinn a bhuird.

I'd only recommend the north approach (from tomintoul or I guess glenmore lodge if you wanted to be even more leisurely) if you've got bikes, or you simply want to make your trip very leisurely. The bonus of the north approach is your sleeping options are better. Faindouran is a pretty nice bothy, and is just a little way up the track from the wire bridge that takes you up the glen towards beinn a bhuird. Fordsof Avon refuge is only applicable if you're coming down strath nethy from glenmore lodge, it's also pretty spartan.

Ramblin dave - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to CaelanB:

Some interesting information here - thanks everyone!

I'm sort of wondering about something like coming in from the South, camping up at the top of Glen Gairn and then covering the two hills the next day before descending to Faindouran, and then walking out in the general direction of Aviemore on day three.

What do people mean by the sneck?

Thanks!
Simon Caldwell - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> What do people mean by the sneck?

http://streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=311707&Y=801028&A=Y&Z=115
Eric9Points - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

You could get a bus from Aviemor to Coire Cas.

From there walk up onto the plateau via Fiacil a Coire Cas then round the Loch Avon basin and over Beinn Mheadoin and then camp in Larig and Laoigh.

Next day do Beinn A Chaorainn, Beinn A Bhuird and Beinn Avon and then drop down into Glean an t Slugain.

Third day, head for Braemar.

Don't know how fit you are but certainly do able if you get good weather.
StuDoig - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Another alternative (esp with bikes!) if Tomintoul (or better, Corgraff) is one of your start points is to head in to where the track following the river Avon splits at Dail Builg. Head up the ridge line towards Meall Gaineimh and up over East and West Meur Gorm Craig and hence over all the summit torrs (worth taking the time to explore them all!). This ascent takes you through fantastic torrs and rock formations - much nicer than the approach from the south IMO. The Glen part of the approach is awful without a bike though!

From summit, nip over Beinn a'Bhuird then drop down to Faindouran for the night. Long walk back to your bikes is the only downside.

though you could walk in and camp in the Glen, then head up and over the next day, camp in the fairy glen, then out to Braemar on day 3. Bacon butties in "The Bothy" in Braemar will then be well deserved and recommended!

Cheers!

Stu
malky_c - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Not sure which bus timetable you're looking at, but I'm pretty sure there's only a couple of buses a week to Tomintoul, and they don't go from Aviemore. Worth watching out for, unless something has changed recently. Used to be a regular service from Aviemore to Braemar via Tomintoul but no-one used it so it got cancelled.
Ramblin dave - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to malky_c:

Oh crikey, yes. Google Maps suggested a route via a change at Grantown, which looks like it was legit but only because I happened to check for a Wednesday, which is the day that the bus runs.

Okay, scratch the Tomintoul option!
Ramblin dave - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to StuDoig:

> though you could walk in and camp in the Glen, then head up and over the next day, camp in the fairy glen, then out to Braemar on day 3. Bacon butties in "The Bothy" in Braemar will then be well deserved and recommended!

Actually, that brings me around to the other question - is there actually anywhere in Braemar to get a decent post-walk burger and a pint?
davidbeynon on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:
Define decent. The Hungry Highlander will sell you a burger...

If you can get a post walk bus or thumb a lift to Ballater then there are two decent curry houses, numerous pubs and some good independent hostels.
Post edited at 11:45
Mike-W-99 on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Not the greatest place for it. The moorfield normally has a couple of ales on draught but the food is pricy.
StuDoig - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

There's the Moorfield as mentioned above - a couple of ales on tap normally. Fife Arms still shut and don't even consider the Invercauld!

Braemar lodge is supposed to be good, hotel prices though!.

The Bothy does good food as well, but closes at 1800 so not ideal if you're looking for something in the evening.

There's plans for a new pub opposite the butchers, but not imminent!

Cheers,

Stu

auld al on 15 Oct 2017
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

> Unless your inner tube explodes and you've brought a spare for the wrong bike, in which case it's a boring 2-hour bike push...

Ha ha, done exactly that in the fisherfield but just rode it out with a flat, was hard going

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