We have been meaning to do this circuit for ages, drove passed it many a times and admired its steep scar up the mountain from afar.
I’m not entirely sure why it took us so long to do…weather, time, COVID or something else has somehow got in the way…today we were going to conquer Beinn a’Ghlo at long last!
We chose to do the Beinn a’Ghlo Circuit which involves 3 Munros and a Munro Top. This would involve either an overnight camp, a bike to cover distance, or a very long day to complete all four. We chose the very long day hike.
The summits are pretty rounded, but the steep flanks and sculpted form of this great massif combined with the rest of the walk make it a round trip of more than 32km (20 miles). However this would make for a good strenuous, memorable outing on the hills and these type of days out leaves me with a sense of achievement.
We arrived at the base of the hill relatively early. Weather conditions stipulated as the day progressed we would have 70% chance of cloud free Munros. This meant depending on how quickly we reached the summits we could potentially have amazing views…or not!
We began our hike along a farm track road which cut left and took us through a boggy, grassy track that was being worked on by three guys doing back breaking work – tremendous job you guys are doing!
From this point it was pretty much a straight direct path up which ensured we had reached the first Munro of the day in excellent time. Infact I was that surprised on reaching the top that I had to question if it was the real summit! We were in-fact on top of Carn Liath.
Happy to have reached this so quickly and also because the only cloud in the sky had decided to form its way all around us, just for a laugh, which meant we had no real view we headed straight on for Munro No2.
We quickly desended, arrived at the bottom and began our second ascent of the day in order to hit the top of Munro No2, Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain only to find surprise surprise no real views once again.
As we began our descent down heading for Munro No3 the clouds began to open up and hallelujah we began to see where our route was taking us and boy did it look amazing.
The route followed a delightful ridge, curving left, then right and then left again to reach the bealach. From the bealach we then undertook a steeper climb up towards our third and final Munro for the day, Càrn nan Gobhar.
By this point the weather had improved dramatically and we now had blue skies and great visibility just what we needed considering we were on a beautiful twisting ridge walk offering views of secret corries.
Rising above the Blair Athol area with relatively easy access to get to these Munro’s we still felt quite isolated and hidden here.
The views on offer were fantastic from the Munro summits across Glen Tilt and beyond, the empty expanse of the southern Cairngorms, adds to the remoteness.
Every single time I am on the hills I always appreciate the sense of freedom offered from them, just to be able to disconnect from a world that is now online 24/7 feels like magic, its great to escape.
Our day was not done. We decided to complete the whole circuit of this route by adding a final peak, a Munro Top called Airgiod Bheinn and from where we were standing it looked just as impressive or possibly even more so than any of the Munros we had just undertaken.
We were on the summit relatively quickly and once again views were stunning.
From the top of this we decided to take the longer, steeper, off the beaten path route down which was definitely slower as the terrain was loose, slippy and steep….but the route less travelled is always my preference!
Once on relatively flat ground the return route to the car was a further 8km, to complete the circuit.
The final walk out always feels the longest but we powered out along the path on a warm and calm night in the best conditions we could have asked for.