Creag Mhor a grand hill in the heart of the Cairngorms ! A day of bikes,sunshine, scenery, scramble great views and new walking stick .

My friend Bab’s was after a day on the hill and a new Corbett if possible the forecast was incredible with even  advice on the effect of the sun and sunburn! The East was best so we headed forour local Cairngorms. We had planned to take the mountain bikes to save a bit of time on the walk in! The hill Babs wanted to climb was behind the Munro Bynack More and involves a fair walk in 12 kilometres  from Glenmore Lodge. It would be a fun day hopefully in the sun.

Getting the bike ready I found that I had lost my padlock key and had to cut the lock before I went to collect Babs ! Not the thing I needed as we had an early start as I imagined the hills would be busy with such a great forecast! It was a easy drive over the Dava Moor with the Cairngorms looking at there best with a bit of snow and a blue sky day ahead!  I love that view of the huge Cairngorm peaks standing proud.

The parking at Glenmore Lodge is tight but we arrived early and there was plenty of room! We were soon off up the forestry road past the Green lochan and though the pass of Ryvoan heading for the Bynack Mor track. We were leaving the bikes above the river. I struggled a bit at the start with an upset stomach but took it easy it was already hot and had plenty of drinks with me. I travelled as light as possible as I have to nowadays.

I had done this Corbett before in 1997 with the neighbouring Munro Bynack More making it a long walk out via The Fords of Avon and Strath Nethy! These were big hill days showing the troops the big walk outs after or during call -outs.  I sadly had limited memories apart from the long walk back .
The track is now excellent and follows the Bynack More path up to the main ridge then drops down into the huge Glen. The path has been improved and is in great condition and seems well used by walkers and mountain bikers. Thanks again to the path builders.

From the ridge line where the track bifurcates our path follows a grand line below Bynack Mor which dominated the views. The Larig an  Laoigh is a big Glen and a wild place in winter of huge heather clad moors and such space. Today it was exceptional and apart from one lassie heading for the Munro we saw few people. They would all be on the popular big hills of the Cairngorms, chasing snow patches or Munros. It was very dry and warm and I walked in a tee shirt for most of the day! It was so good to see the sun and feel it’s warmth, spring is sprung?

These were great views all day we stopped every hour  to enjoy them this was not a day to rush but to be enjoyed and I was glad Bab’s had the same thoughts! We sat several times looking a the peaks naming those huge Cairngorm summits taking it all in. So many memories.

The Barns of Bynack big granite tors.

The birds were about but we never saw them we heard grouse and saw plenty Tarmachan feathers on the heather. All day as we passed the high moorland we heard a bird that sounded like a bicycle squeak in the heather, it was with us for some time? Any ideas what it was?

As you pass the Barns of Bynack these big Cairngorm granite Tors tower above you and  look incredible and I must visit them again the light was hitting them as we wandered on! The snow was still lingering on the big hills some of the gullies were still full of snow and shinning in the sun and vanishing as we watched in the heat.

the last of the ice on the way up.

From here is is a gentle pull of about 150 metres up to the granite tors of our Corbett. There was still some ice about as we headed of the path and climbed the granite tor on the ridge. It was easy walking with a stop for more drink and take in the views we could see the Shelterstone cliff popping it head out as we gained height.

The magic Cairngorm granite, warm rock and a bit of snow.

There was a bit of snow on an outcrop just below the main ridge but the rock was warm and dry and I had a little fun on the last scramble up onto the ridge. I saw someone else in the snowfield below a tiny figure and our first other person since the path on Bynack Mor. I loved the warm rock and the warm Cairngorm granite how I miss the climbing.

A short scramble in the sun

The figure I saw was Ian from Glasgow he was bagging some Corbetts and we had a grand chat. He spoke of wet heavy snow on the Grey Corries and a great week in the sun.  The big hills Beinn An and Ben a Bhuird were looking superb in the sun with the snow and huge plateaus and cliffs making this some place to view these hills.

New Corbett for Bab’s

It was then a wander along to the main summit again some lovely Cairngorm granite on the summit and exceptional views. Bab’s went ahead and loved the thought of a new hill and i just wandered behind loving this place. On the summit we met Ian again and took the odd photo and sat in the sun.   There were a few potholes in the granite stunning work of nature beautiful natural circles with some ice in them. Nature is amazing!

The big hills were looking stunning the snow and sun making this a day to remember.  I could have slept here it was so warm and wonderfully peaceful.

It ended up a long break a place to linger and enjoy. Ian was off before us and we headed back the 12 kilometre walk ahead. It was enjoyable even the wee pulls up to the Bynack ridge and the path was so good, there has been some work here by the path builders! How far do they walk in or do they camp in here? It must be a camp I fear, imagine the midges in the height of summer?

Proper bikers!

On the way back we met a young couple off to Findhouran Bothy for the night on their bikes loving the weather and we had a chat. It was then a few stops to fill up the water bottles and replenish the fluid intake. It is a vast wild area and what a place to be especially on a day like this, yet there was still little wild life about.

Time to stop and stare.

We stopped at my favourite viewpoint as we headed off the Bynack ridge a big pink granite boulder. This was where after visiting the nearby Wellington Crash site on An Lurg  that crashed during the war in 1944,

Wellington crash An Lurg Poppy visit!

I visit this site often. Recently I was with the son of one of the crew who was born 6 weeks after his father was killed. On this spot he produced several medals that were his Dad’s it was a day I never forget.

The wildness of this high heather moorland and the sad remains of the Wellington.

It was his first visit to the crash site on An Lurg a vast plateau that we had visited and for a 70 year old he and his sons made it some day. The views down Strath Nethy and of Cairngorm are always wonderful here.

As we wandered off two Black grouse came out of the heather and we met another cyclist pushing his bike up the hill. It was then down to the river by the site of the old Bynack stables Bothy where we met a couple who had a great day on the Munro. They were sitting taking it all in by the river what a location. No one wanted to push on but time was moving and at my age you get stiff sorting so after a good chat and then headed off for the bikes.

It was a great cycle back a lot easier than on the way in for me! There were so many out walking in the early evening from Glenmore enjoying the last heat of an incredible day.We sorted out the gear and headed home pretty tired. Again it was a superb drive home with the hills looking great and the back roads via Nethy Bridge busy!

Clear crystal water and grand views.

I dropped Bab’s off at home and had a brew with her and Mike  her husband he had kindly made me a walking stick with the words of “Will you go lassie go” on it what a surprise.
Oh the summertime is coming

And the trees are sweetly blooming

And the wild mountain thyme

Grows around the blooming heather

Will ye go, Lassie go?

And we’ll all go together

To pluck wild mountain thyme

All around the blooming heather

Will ye go, Lassie go?

I will build my love a tower

Near yon’ pure crystal fountain

And on it I will build

All the flowers of the mountain

Will ye go, Lassie go?

And we’ll all go together

To pluck wild mountain thyme

All around the blooming heather

Will ye go, Lassie go?
What a way to end the day it was soon home and get the bikes off I got donated a bike from Bab’ s for Outfit Moray a charity that I am helping! I was very tired but happy a grand day after last weeks soaking in the Fannichs !  I was stiff all day on Sunday but it was so well worth it. These mountains are magnificent and the Cairngorms so unique it is such an area to cherish give me strength to keep on walking and enjoying this place. After a week of sadness in London what a way to clear the head and get back to real basics.

Now for some rock climbing maybe or a new Corbett !

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Aircraft incidents, Bothies, Corbetts, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Other hills Grahams & Donalds, Poems, Weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Creag Mhor a grand hill in the heart of the Cairngorms ! A day of bikes,sunshine, scenery, scramble great views and new walking stick .

  1. Ian McLelland says:

    Hi Heavy. Good to meet you and Babs on Creag Mhor on Saturday. A fine wee hill on a truly superb day! All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

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