Yesterday I was on Bynack Mor in the Cairngorms the forecast was for gusty winds high up 30 – 40 knots. I have a pal who is recovering from a serious illness and this was to be her third Munro this year, she is so driven to get fit. The forecast said that the weather may get worse later on in the day so as she lives in Onich near Glencoe we had an early start. I got a call at 0600 that she was leaving and we would meet at 0800 at Glenmore. The weather would change later in the day so it was an early start. Sue was working till late that night so it was great to hear she was on time.
I was getting sorted when she called to say she was leaving and I was making a bacon roll to have when we met. I was putting my bag in the car in between when the boot did not open all the way and I bashed my head. It was early – pitch dark and I was rushing it was soon that my head was bleeding heavy. Head wounds do this and though only a small cut I must have looked like a “mad axeman” as the paper boy passed. It was get sorted in between by now the bacon was burnt and my clothes needed changed. As with any bump on the head I felt rough but soon had a cold flannel and lots of paper towels and headed off praying I was not stopped on the way. It could only happen to me!
Sue was there on time and after a break we parked up near Glenmore Lodge and headed of it was a great morning but no sunrise.
The car park is tight when it is busy but not this morning. The track follows a good path passing through the attractive Ryvoan Pass, huge trees Caladonian pine with the magic Lochan Uaine (green loch on the route.The track soon crosses the Allt a’Garbh-choire and reaches the site of Bynack Stable an old bothy. This corrugated iron hut was never a tempting shelter, but it was finally blown down in 2005 after previously being reprieved of demolition by the RSPB. All that remains is a pleasant patch of grass, an inviting mountain camp spot in fine weather. It was tidy and clean as we stopped for a break after about 50 minutes’ walking.
This path is part of the Larig an Laoigh a mammoth cross-country trek along an ancient route from Aviemore to Braemar; much less well known than the celebrated Larig Ghru even tougher with a tricky river crossing at Fords of Avon. The wind was picking up and we put on some more clothes Sue did not want to stop so we pushed onto the plateau. The path is superb and well maintained it used to be very boggy the path makers have done a great job. “Blessed are the path makers”
On the ridge you turn right onto this path which heads directly towards Bynack More This area is very open and limited shelter and we reached the big boulders before the steep ridge. Here we put on more warm gear, gloves and hat, the odd gust was now about 20 -30 mph. Higher up the path steepens as it tackles the north ridge of Bynack More, winding on the sides of the ridge to avoid the rocky crest. We stayed to the lee side but at times when we neared the ridge the gust were powerful and the ski poles were great to keep balance and the wind was now gusting to about 40 mph. We met a few hares white now and about 15 ptarmigan sheltering they were also white ready for the winter. Sue was going great and pushing the pace it was not the day to hang about but I managed to get some photos. It is a wild place with so much space and wildness and the wee rise of An Lurg where the Wellington in the war crashed looked very lonely today. The path is still superb and only near the top gets a bit muddy but it looks like they are working on it. The mountain bikers had been about lower down and this is becoming a well-used track into the heart of the Cairngorm’s.
We were soon on the summit just under 3 hours from starting a fair time and we found some shelter a bit of lunch and took it all in. The hot flasks were great Sue had hot chocolate and I had mint tea there was cloud on the Northern Cairngorms but we were cloud free but by now a bitter wind, winter is not far away. The summit the Munro at 1090 metres and its location at the North Eastern edge of the Cairngorms makes it a superb viewpoint and this is a great first Munro for a winters day. If you have the time, you can continue southwards to visit the Barns of Bynack. These huge granite tors – amongst the largest in the Cairngorms – are not in view from the summit (those are the ‘Little Barns’), but a descent to the Little Barns and then a steeper downhill to the east will soon lead to them. From the Barns, it is still quickest to return the same way; another option is to traverse the Top of A’Choinneach – (Boggy Hill) which, at 1017 metres, used to be a Munro but was demoted in the 1981 tables reorganisation.. For the top collectors the hill has two subsidiary tops. Bynack Beag (964 metres) lies a kilometre to the north west and can be easily climbed when approaching the mountain from the north; Bynack More and Bynack Beag are twins and look impressive from the north above Strath Nethy.
Sue was a bit wary about heading down into the wind but we picked the most sheltered line and were soon back on the main path and kept going all the way to the bridge where Bynack Stables used to be.
We met one lassie and a wee dog struggling in the wind and a man in all the sports gear but no hill bag heading up the path. He would be cold higher up. We had a good stop at the river some more lunch and then the magic walk back through the trees stopping at the Green Loch you have to, its is so special as are the huge trees . There were not many about and we were soon back about a 6 hour trip. My foot was sore I have a bad heal pain and diagnosed as despite trying all the exercises it was really painful and will need rest. My Chiropodist said it could be plantar fascia and I have an appointment to see the doctor. The Plantar fasciitis is a tough and flexible band of tissue that runs under the sole of the foot. It connects the heel bone with the bones of the foot, and acts as a kind of shock absorber to the foot. Sudden damage, or damage that occurs over many months or years, can cause tiny tears (microtears) to develop inside the tissue of the plantar fascia. This can cause the plantar fascia to thicken, resulting in heel pain.
Anyway it was a stop at Rothiemurcus Café for a coffee and a sugar rush, then home. I made it home by 1700 for the Friday Fish and Chip van. The sunset was amazing and after tea I drove up to the Coastguard station, walking was to painful for a great sunset and so many from the village out for the free show.
What a great day thanks Sue you were going great and good to see you. Today I can relax after my flu jab and rest the foot any tips on the the injury.
I have the exercises and the golf ball exercise one on the sole of the foot helps and seems to give instant relief. Rest as always is the answer?
Today in the Cairngorms forecast this is the forecast.
Storm force west to Northwesterly winds all day across Scottish summits
and often gale force winds even further south.
Westerly 60 to 80mph with gusts over 100mph Cairngorm plateau
Drizzle on western slopes
with extensive low cloud. Breaks to lee of higher tops. Mild but
temperatures falling markedly from north overnight.
British Mountain Summary:
Based on forecast chart for noon 28 October, 2017
Headline for Cairngorms NP and Monadhliath
Storm force winds. Drizzle western slopes.