The bubble of heat was truly upon us by Tuesday, and even in the midst of the mountains it had been a very warm night. I planned, therefore, to set out for Bynack More early, hoping to finish the run before the Glens reached their forecast 35-degrees! The forecast was also for a bit of an oddity; a cloudless inversion, with the peaks of the Cairngorms basking in 29-degree heat early in the morning.
- Bynack More (1090 m) Munro
- A' Choinneach (1017 m) Munro top
- Bynack Beg (970 m) Munro top
With the warmest days of the summer forecast, and increasingly dire warnings about the danger of a 40-degree heatwave reaching the UK, I was lucky to find myself having made plans months before to visit Glenmore, with a view to finishing off the central Cairngorm Munros. On Sunday I caight the train up to Aviemore from Queen Street, and then walked the 10km from the station up to the youth hostel, arriving in good time to take a (wetsuited!) swim in Loch Morlich (it being two weeks until the Loch Lomond triathlon, which I’m slowly starting to feel, if not confident, then less worried about).
- Carn Ban (942 m) Munro top
- Carn Dearg (945 m) Munro
- Carn Dearg SE Top (923 m) Munro top
- Carn Ballach (SW Top) (919 m) Munro top
- Carn Ballach (NE Top) (919 m)
- Meall a' Bhothain (909 m)
- Carn Sgulain West Top (907 m)
- Carn Sgulain (920 m) Munro
- A' Chailleach (929 m) Munro
With perhaps the worst conditions of all the Bog and Burns so far, Cairn Table started in a downpour, and had no view at the summit (though I was briefly able to see the enormous cairn at the summit from the start line). At times more akin to an obstacle course race than a hill race, with plenty of boards laid to bridge some of the worst areas of bog, which could themselves be more of a liability to negotiate than the mud. A very runnable clim, followed by a good descent made this one of my better races of the season, and it was the only one where everyone got a medal at the end.
- Cairn Table (593 m)
It was yet another sunny day as we drove up the A9 to reach Pitlochry, and start up the winding, steep singletrack road to the start of the route up Beinn a’ Ghlò. There’s a small car park at the start of the walk, just beside a small area of forestry plantation. From the start of the walk the first hill of the day was clearly visible as a pyramid rising from the lower ground, and while we had a short walk-in to get to it, it provided a very quick climb up to the high level of the ridge. From the first Munro, Càrn Liath, there were good views across Perthshire, and we were left on the fine, gently meandering ridgeline out towards the next two Munros.
- Càrn Liath (1061 m) Munro top
- Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain (1070 m) Munro
- Airgiod Bheinn (1061 m) Munro top
- Càrn nan Gabhar (1121 m) Munro
There had been the threat of rain most of the day, but things stayed clear, however conditions were very windy. The climb started slightly further up the hill than the previous week’s Law Breaker, which avoided the bottle-neck up the steps from the car park. I felt weaker than the previous week on the ascent, though it seemed to go more easily, and I felt pretty good coming off the summit of The Law, to be hit by the strong wind (almost as bad as Tinto in 2021!) on the run across to Ben Cleuch, though the terrain was good and dry, and despite the wind I made fairly fast progress. From Ben Cleuch onwards I had a much-needed tailwind out across to Andrew Gannell Hill, and then much of the descent was extremely runable, even by my standards, with just the last 500m or so presenting any really steep terrain.
- The Law (638 m) Donald top
- Ben Cleuch (721 m) Graham Donald Council Top
- Andrew Gannel Hill (670 m) Donald top
While we passed through a heavy shower on the drive across, we were fortunate to just arrive in time for the weather to clear. The race route started at the car park in Tillicoultry, and went straight up the steps towards the Mill Burn, and presented a bottleneck at the start of the race, which I probably failed to fully recover from during the climb. The climb itself was harsher than I’d anticipated; this was by some way the greatest elevation in a race I’d done since Beinn Dubh which felt a long time ago. The race route presented at least two false summits, which was somewhat demoralising, and I probably walked the route a bit more than I’d have liked. However, once I’d made it to the top the descent went pretty well and fairly fast. If nothing else, a good warm-up for Maddy Moss the next week.
- The Law (638 m) Donald top
The final set of hills for my big trip to Braemar were to take me back into some of the remoter parts of the national park. It was a warm and clear day, and I set off with the bike one last time on the Linn of Dee Road, and then onwards to White Bridge. I left the bike around 500m past the bridge, and set off at a jog towards the hill, feeling my relative lack of fitness (I’d been nursing knee pain since the end of May which was still affecting me while running).
- Beinn Bhrotain (1157 m) Munro
- Monadh Mòr (1113 m) Munro
I’d been in the Cairngorms for over a week, but the start of that period I’d kept away from the big hills thanks to high wind forecasts (and, as it turned out, high winds in reality). So the second week of my trip was going to involve back-to-back days of hills, and this was the third in a row. I was just about starting to feel it, and my legs grumbled a little at cycling out to Linn of Dee yet again. This time I was joined by Andrew and Shona, who were themselves up in Braemar, also here to climb Munros. We met at the Linn of Dee carpark and then cycled on along the same track I’d taken two days earlier to get to Derry Lodge.
- Beinn Bhreac (931 m) Munro
- Beinn a' Chaorainn (1049 m) Munro
After excellent conditions the day before on the Macdui horseshoe, I was out again in search of more hills the next day. This time the forecast was slightly less favourable, and I’d have a substantially longer walk-in, to reach the most easternly region of the plateaux, and the impressively large Ben Avon.
- Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe (1172 m) Munro
- Cnap a' Chleirich (1174 m) Munro top
- Beinn a' Bhuird (1197 m) Munro
After a weekend of high winds over the massif, and a general lack of favourable walking conditions, on Monday the forecast had finally turned favourable. So it was that I set off on an early bike ride from Braemar, past Linn of Dee, and out to Derry Lodge, ready to tackle one of the bigger rounds from this trip. Compared to some of the other ride-ins in these parts, this one felt like a breeze, though I took a slight detour from the road, and took the landrover track which I’d climbed Creag Bhalg from a couple of days earlier. On the way out I passed a fair number of walkers and cyclists (including one braving the landrover track on a road bike): clearly the hills and walks from Derry Lodge were in demand.
- Càrn a' Mhaim (1037 m) Munro
- Sròn Riach (1113 m) Munro top
- Ben MacDui (1309 m) Munro Council Top
- Creagan a' Choire Etchachan (1108 m) Munro top
- Derry Cairngorm (1155 m) Munro
The poor weather outlook was set to continue for at least another day, though by now I was itching for something a little bigger than a Graham, and decided that it was finally time, on my third visit to Braemar, to actually climb the hill which rises above the town: Morrone.
- Morrone (859 m) Corbett
- Morrone South Top (823 m)
The forecast was for strong winds on the main plateaux of the Cairngorms, and all of my remaining big hills for the trip were up in that direction, so I decided that it was time for an easier day, up a slightly less celebrated, and hopefully less exposed hill. Once again taking the bike from Braemar I headed out (for the first time) to Mar Lodge across Victoria Bridge, and then headed up to the road on the far side of the valley, failing woefully to find the landrover track I’d planned to take to get to the hill.
- Creag Bhalg (668 m) Graham
The weather forecast was not fantastic, but looking ahead things didn’t appear to be getting any better. So I took a risk, and set off on what was to be the longest and most remote of my planned walks for this trip, which would take me deep into some of the remotest mountains on the margins of the Mounth and Atholl.
- Càrn Bhac (945 m) Munro
- Càrn Bhac South West Top (918 m) Munro top
- Beinn Iutharn Mhòr (1045 m) Munro
- Càrn an Righ (1029 m) Munro
- Glas Tulaichean (1051 m) Munro
- An Socach (944 m) Munro
- An Sochach East Top (938 m) Munro top
It was day one of a holiday which had already got off to a somewhat chaotic start. I’d relied on getting the train to Aberdeen, and then the Stagecoach bus in to Braemar in order to get a mountain bike up for a grand expedition into the mountains.
- Càrn an Fhidhleir (994 m) Munro
- An Sgarsoch (1006 m) Munro
I’d spent a lot of time trying to decide on the perfect hill to complete my first century, the ton, of Munros on. I’d thought about trying to make it something spectacular (maybe this was the time to do Ben Nevis?) or geographically appropriate (my first was the most southernly, Ben Lomond, maybe I should aim for another cardinal direction?). I’d actually planned to make Mount Keen my hundredth, and then realised that over the winter I’d misremembered my count, and carefully laid plans to start the year on number 100 turned into plans to climb my 99th.
- Càrn na Caim (940 m) Munro
- Càrn na Caim South Top (914 m) Munro top
- A' Bhuidheanach Bheag (936 m) Munro
Closing-in on a milestone: 99 Munros Bagged. Part 4
100 Munros Part 4
It was a sunny, and fairly warm evening; good turnout (presumably the best for the whole series). I probably had a slightly slower start on the tarmac through the university grounds than I’d have liked ideally, but once I was up and through the forest it was pretty good going all the way to the top. Got a very brief, but good view as I summitted, and then was very happy with most of my descent, though was almost taken out by a Stirling runner who tripped just above me on a tree root.
- Dumyat (419 m)
This post is a vague collection of things I regarded as moderately noteworthy this week, or interesting things which I found, read, or did during the course of the week. I’m not really sure anyone else would want to read it, but please feel free.
Once again we had good conditions for a race, and a nice local venue. There was a reasonable walk up from the car park, but aside from the first 100m or so which was along a boreen which joined the main path up through the Whangie, the route was pretty familiar to me. The conditions underfoot were muddy fairly much the whole way around, but overall a good race.
- Auchineden Hill (357 m)
Squinting at the night sky, the Ancients (and sometimes, the surprisingly moderns) allege to have seen the figures of twins, fish, virgins, sextants, and giraffes imprinted on the heavens. In comparison I normally expect geology to be… down to Earth. I’ve spent the last few years trying to muddle my way through learning little bits of Scottish Gaelic, and while it’s been fascinating at times, it’s had a rather catastrophic effect on my understanding of the romanticism of the hills. “Beinn Dearg” becomes simply a red hill, “Beinn Dubh” the dark hill, and “A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag” the little yellow place. Perhaps a little mystery and romance is left in some of the places after all… A hill name where this romance and mystery is not lost through greater knowledge, however, stands above the small town of Ballachuilish (the town of the narrows) on the A82 between Glasgow and Fort William. Its name, Beinn a’ Bheithir, is often translated as “the hill of thunder” or something along these lines, but really, this hill which bares over the aforementioned narrows, is named for a mythical dragon or serpent.
- Sgòrr Bhan (947 m) Munro top
- Sgòrr Dearg (1024 m) Munro
- Sgòrr Dhònuill (1001 m) Munro
This post is part of a series of quick astrophysics explainers I’m trying to put together, partly so that I can link to something when I talk about some of these things elsewhere rather than frequently repeating myself! Hopefully it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to read, and you’ll come away knowing a little more about gravitational waves.
Given that the course reccie for this race had involved snow at the summit a few weeks before, conditions turned out to be nearly perfect, with good visibility, good temperatures, and no rain to open my Bog and Burns campaign. The race started from the field just on the far side of the timber bridge over the A82, and is fairly steep the whole way up, slightly more gradual for the first kilometre or so, and then getting onto some slightly rougher terrain near the top. The ground was pretty dry, and the total amount of bog was relatively minimal the whole way. I was pretty pleased with the run, given it’s the largest ascent I’ve done in a race since Tinto in 2021.
- Beinn Dubh (508 m)
Anyone who has ever visitied or lived in Glasgow is probably aware that it’s a fairly hilly place. You’ll be especially aware of this if you’ve ever lived on one of those hills and reguarly had to cycle or walk up it with shopping! This all left me with a question: just how many hills does Glasgow have?!