I had to visit the Badaguish Centre yesterday near Glenmore to have look at the facilities to remind my failing memory of what the kitchen is like in the chalets. I hope to go there in October with a group from the Charity Outfit Moray. I was going with Bernie Foran a colleague from my Catering days who may be our Chef for the trip. Part of the plan was a walk in the Cairngorms after our visit, Bernie enjoys the mountains and is always good company so he was happy to come along.
Badaguish is a great place I used it a lot with the RAF Mountain Rescue Teams and is so well situated and it was busy. We arrived at the office where Jasmine and Lorraine helped us and we were given a tour of the Chalets. It was very busy with lots of groups and with the backdrop of the local hill Meall A Buachille a special place. After a look round memory rekindled we had a brew in the Squirrel Cafe and then off to the car park for a walk. The weather was stunning and very hot it was a bit later than I usually get on the hill but there was no rush today.
I wanted to take Bernie round the top of Hells Lum Crag above Loch Avon, we had done MacDui a few times and I love this circuit, hopefully away from the crowds. It was so warm when we left the car park and headed into Coire Ant – Sneachda, then a big black cloud came over and the temperature dropped and a top was put on. We were soon in the Corrie passing the lovely heather in bloom and the great smells that filled the air.There were climbers in the Corrie and we could hear them shouting and enjoying their day. The small lochans at the base of the corrie were fairly dry and there was little water in them. We wandered up past the Rescue post and then up onto the Goat Track and the plateau. As we walked up we heard a shout of “below” as a big boulder came crashing down from one of the climbers. It was a fair bit away about 50 feet but just reminds you that you are in a wild place and to take care. This part of the cliff is loose in places as it has always a heavy winter and the erosion is constant and care is needed here in summer and early winter.
It was a bit dull and cold now and a wind but we took it easy on to the plateau and had a break near the big boulder getting a bit of shelter, it was a bit cold but there were plenty of people about. I was in my shorts but my jacket was on now and a hat yet two lassies passed by in tee shirts heading down the Goat Track. Then the dark clouds went and the sun was back and everything looked so different.
It was a great wander off the path along the cliffs and away from the crowds. From the top of the Goat Track you pass by the top of Coire Dohmain past the snow hole sight and then along the cliff top. Bernie had never seen this view before and like me was enjoying it. I enjoy this place the views and the solitude away from the crowds, where you can sit and take in the ever-changing views. We could hear climbers on the huge Shelterstone Crag but no one was on Hells Lum Crag and how massive it looks from above, with its slabs and gullies, I had some wild days here climbing in summer and winter. It was great to be above the routes and looking down into the wildness of Loch Avon.
After a climb on a winters day it can be along hard drag back to the car park but not today. There are some great names of climbs at Hells Lum – The Chancer, Devils Delight, Auld Nick, Bromestone Grooves to name a few.
There was no rush plenty of stops for a drinks and food what a place to be. When we arrived at the end of the cliff we saw the remaining snow on the Garbh Uisge Slabs and the Feithe Buidhe where there were a group of tents by the river before it cascades down the slabs, what a place to camp for the night and experience. Loch Avon is at 730 metres and an incredible place to visit.
It was easy walking now and time was moving on, this is fairly featureless plateau but the path scars the area but in winter is hidden, it is a tricky place to navigate and many learn from mistakes here. There were to be no summits today and a wander back along the plateau in the sun. We saw a few people and were soon back at the Goat Track and then along the ridge another stop to watch the climbers on the “Fingers” of the ridge.
It was a great to be here and see the climbers enjoying themselves in the late sun, there were more climbers on Pygmy Ridge further along the ridge. The corrie was looking great in the sun and soon the winter snows will be here and it will be even busier this is a honey pot in winter. There was no rush today and we were enjoying the good weather and even better no midges all day.
It was a gentle wander along the ridge and then the descent into the industrial ski area and car park, still busy with lots of visitors. It was an easy drive home and when I dropped Bernie off and got out the car I felt my age! My joints were so stiff as he was and the old aches and pains kicked in we were both laughing as we got out the car. He had some wood for me but will get it next time as the body was a bit sore and stiff even after a short day. The last thing I needed was to fill my boot up with wood and get it out at the end of the day,
An enjoyable walk along a place I love, great views and so many enjoying the weather and worth the pain to see that amazing place Loch Avon and have time to enjoy it.