Cairn Gorm - 1245m
Cnap Coire na Spreidhe - 1150m
A' Choinneach - 1016m

Bynack Mor - 1090m
Bynack Beag - 970m
Stac na h-Iolaire - 742m

Sunday 25th September 2016

Weather/Conditions: Sunny but rather wild. I intended to do more but the winds were up, rocking the car through the night. Eased off in time for my walk, but still blowy.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 19km / 1400m / 4h 40m
Accompanying: Alone

I think I spent longer driving to and from these hills than I was actually on them. And looking back I think it was a bit far for a day. That may not have been the case if I'd got more done, but I chopped my schedule down with the weather, then it was a long drive home.

I drove up the evening before and found Kev and Daniel McKeown in the bar by Loch Morlich. It was a good catch up. I slept around Glenmore and Morlich, but in the night the wind rocked the car and continually woke up me. When morning came, it was cold and wild and I had to throw down at least a couple cups of tea to make me feel human again. I could have felt better.

But I got going, and headed for Cairn Gorm. Typically, the legs required some effort to move. But I always find I move at broadly the same pace no matter what. Cairn Gorm was a bloody windy place and I hid in the shade of the cairn, meeting a couple girls on top, up walking their dogs.

My original plan for the day was to go bagging tops, but those plans to head into the Etchachan area were curtailed by weather. That would have been a long day. Instead I walked out to Cnap Coire na Spreidhe, a new location for me. From there I was bound for Bynack Mor, another new Munro off the Munro Round #3.

The winds on this hill were wild but the sun was coming out too. The wind roared and ripped all the time, I had that sensation of it driving you mad, with no way out either.

The summit was sunny, and there were a few folk about. It was lovely to see all the Cairngorms again, and I was glad I was here, but god it was hard conditions to do anything in. It was much more bearable in the shadow of the tors.

Bynack Beag was equally rough, and I have a phone video that is just white noise and a lot of shaky camera/rolling shutter. I gained the relative sanity and warmth of Strath Nethy from where ahead lay my last top of the day. Stac na h-Iolaire is the 'stack of the eagles', and it forms a conspicuous bump hanging onto the side of the Cairn Gorm ridge.

It's actually made of schist as far as I could tell, a change from the granite so otherwise universal in this area. It has a small coire enclosed with scree running down the inside, seemingly something you would only really see in the Cairngorms.

By now the sun was shining bright, and I had a nice walk back to the road among pines, by the lochan and via. tracks that I still all remember from the Mountain Leader training week.

I headed back to the road to the ski centre, glad to be done for a general soreness was coming on; that broken sleep had obviously affected me somewhat.

Back in Glenmore I couldn't find Kev or Daniel so headed south, stopping in by Ruthven. This was built by the government to attempt to control the Highlands, and it served this purpose until it was taken by the Jacobites who then burnt it in 1746 in the aftermath of Culloden. It sure is a poignant bit of history when you know the history.

Ruthven was the site of the dispersal of the last non-governmental army in Britain, all of who would have returned home to a 'foreign' conquest of their land, wealth and culture by the government and army. To that end, Ruthven is a pivotal location, and end of one story and the beginning of another which saw the implosion of the Highland culture and an exploitation of the people that left them scattered around the world.

A few years ago I just didn't have a clue. But it now informs so deeply the way I see the Highlands. It irrevocably altered my attitudes to the Highland culture, and made me realise the true significance of what we may lose in the Gàidhealtachd.

360° Panoramas

Bynack Mor
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 10.20am Ski centre
(0.50) 11.10am Cairn Gorm
(1.15) 11.35am Cnap Coire na Spreidhe
(2.07) 12.27pm A' Choinneach
(2.30) 12.50pm Bynack Mor
(2.43) 1.03pm Bynack Beag
(3.42) 2.02pm Stac na h-Iolaire
(4.15) 2.35pm Road head - Coire na Ciste
(4.40) 3.00pm Ski centre

Written: 2017-08-18