It was pouring when we got up and it was a planned Moray Mountaineering bus meet to Glen Feshie. The club organised about 10 bus meets every year. Gordon the great “Bus monitor” organises it a thankless task. We managed to nearly fill our small bus due to his efforts.

Gordon and Graham two club stalwarts .

It’s hard seeing the rain battering down as we picked up the bus at Forres just after 0715 . Then it travels to Nairn and Inverness picking up more members on route . Then down the A9 watching the burns pouring of the hill and then the tight we road to the car park.

Wild river in the Feshie hills

After the heavy rain the rivers can be very dangerous care has to be taken. As always a large group went to climb one of the nearby Munro depending on the rivers others had a walk to the wonderful bothy at Ruigh Aiteachan that has been refurbished. It’s a busy area for Duke of Edinburgh Groups as it was today.

Photo Gordon MMC

The two Munros in Glen Feshie group couldn’t be more different – Sgor Gaoith is craggy on its east side with long drops. There was early climbing in this area and Alpine length routes in winter that few climb nowadays. Mullach Clach a’Bhlair is the highest point on a vast plateau south-west of Braeriach and Cairn Toul. It has an estate road that takes you onto a wild plateau in bad weather that can be tricky in high winds and navigating.

Heather, juniper and forests cover the lower slopes, with good tracks and paths to access. Higher up, ground is pretty flat and can be very diffcult to navigate on in mist. One of our groups headed for Mullach Clach a’Bhlair : ‘summit of the stone of the plain’. Once you cross the rivers a road takes you onto the summit plateau.

From Steve Fallon website.

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Video of the wild river.

I had decided to go for a wander down the Glen and maybe visit a small Glen I had never visited before . We watched the other group on the other side of the river cross and start up the hill.

The Munro baggers a happy bunch in search of their summit. A bit of rain never stops them.

Another group decided to climb a nearby Corbett. Carn Dearg Mor. They left us as we continued up to our Glen.

Though not a particularly distinguished summit,the Corbett Carn Dearg Mor has a great position on the west side of Glen Feshie which makes it a good viewpoint.

Landrover tracks aid access via the Slochd Mor to the south, whilst an alternative route is along the north ridge. I had fine this hill a while ago with some DofE groups so I wanted something new.

We crossed the river by the bridge and headed up the tarmac road( wish I had my bike) It was raining heavy at times and we took a break out of the weather in the wonderful trees. The sun keeps coming out and I even took my jacket off that was soaked. We could see the others heading up the track on to the Munro.

This is a wonderful place with the trees and erosion by the vast amount of water and the erosion of the river banks. There is a great attempt to re wild this estate by the current owner and I think he is doing so well. It’s great to see the estate looking so well.

Big Glen Big space !

The Bridge has been gone for many years that takes you over to the bothy. I hope one day it will be replaced but it will be a costly business .

The missing bridge ! ted bothy. TERRAIN Rough path up east side of glen with burn crossings; tarmac on west side. Please note: Carnachuin Bridge was swept away in 2009; a replacement may be built in future. At present it is only possible to walk up the east side of the Feshie to the bothy as an out and back route. Do not attempt to cross the Feshie at the bridge site.

Break in the forest and the sun is out.

It was great to get off the tarmac road and then head up the remote Glen Slochd Beag. It was a fun wander up a old stalkers path to see the waterfall near the beleach. This is rough ground so wild yet so wonderful with the waterfalls falling down the hillside. I was in no rush stopping and seeing the view. The flowers are out and the dreaded midges hiding. Colours changed greys became blue skies and then the rain came sweeping in. It was ever changing.

The wild Glen and it’s heathery steep hillsides.

The rain came down even more then stoped and we sat and enjoyed the view then the sun came out.

The waterfalls were still pouring down and there is scope for winter climbing here. I thought if Andy Nisbet was alive I would have sent him photos he would most likely have climbed them.

It’s a wild place with steep craggy hillsides lots of thick Heather and scree and so much space.

The high moorland above would be heavy walking today off the paths. In winter this is a wild place as I know from previous visits.

The waterfall with the rain sweeping in.

Time was moving on I headed down, the sun came out and shed some clothes and had a drink. I was soon down at the tarmac road and then back to meet other who had visited the 5 star bothy.

I always think of the young keeper we met on our winter traverse in 78 at Linn of Dee. We had just come off Ben Dearg a 13 hr day in deep snow. We got feed by the keeper and his wife and then stayed with a young keeper in the bothy down the road. We had and epic from Beinn Alder to Gaick and over the remote Munro’s in that Dec Walk when we were crazy and so driven.

1977 the West to East winter Traverse of Scotland.

This was when the A9 was closed due to snow. Exhausted we stayed the night with him at Linn of Dee and continued to finish the hardest 3 weeks of my life on Mount Keen after another big day on Lochnagar Munro’s and then at last Mount Keen.

A few months later we were called out on a search and sadly it was the young keeper who had died on that track in a big storm of Hypothermia . He was such a lovely young guy and I spoke to him about the hills when we had met him. Despite being exhausted I we shared a dram and I said we would met up. It sadly did not happen.

This is from the SMC Journal Mountain Accidents 1978. A great help when researching mountain accidents.

Jan 11/1/78 – A Ghillie was found dead from exposure at the Landseer Falls. Poorly equipped for the extreme weather conditions. He had set off to walk from Linn of Dee to Glen Feshie Lodge to visit a friend.

From my diary “Feshie bothy – Carn an Fhidleir-An Sgarsach-Linn Of Dee, Jim and Terry had not done these Munros so it was an incredible day. The snow was so deep we all broke Step all day changing leads in the white room all day. I was at the end of my powers after such a hard few days. It was relentless.

We nearly walked over Cornice,a  huge day at the end we were completely exhausted tricky navigation, all the time whiteout all day on the tops. JM fell in river and was very nearly exposure case, had to stop at Linn of Dee at Keepers house to exhausted to continue to Braemar.

Hardest day yet ” we were navigating to stay alive” no paths and awful ground really struggling. The toil of 20 days on the hill was telling we were on our knees at the end.

Met young keeper in bothy we were staying at who was killed the next winter 1978 in Glen Feshie in a blizzard, very sad story.” He was following our route to Feshie and got caught in a big storm.

Distance 35 kilometer’s and 1323 metres in very deep snow.

“A Life changing few days.”

Photo Gordon MMC

We had a breather they crossed the river easily and met so many enjoying the bothy.

Heading of to the sun.

We had a pleasant walk back the river had gone down and the sun was out. It’s hard to believe how wild a place this can be.

Everyone was pleased with there day the weather and rivers were kind to us and it was a happy bus that headed into Aviemore for a drink.

Many were taking about their next plans for hills and trips. It’s great to see such enthusiasm and thanks to Club for keeping the tradition of the Bus going.

It’s never easy when the rain is battering at the windows and the roads are awash. Yet it was a great day.

Thanks Gordon and the MMC for a interesting day.

please if you can and in the Moray Club support the Bus .

Sometimes Its not easy getting out of bed early at weekend when the weather is poor but it is always a lot better than you think.

Top tip/ Ella book on the bus !!!!

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 Articles, Bothies, Corbetts, Corbetts and other hills, Friends, Gear, Hill running and huge days!, Mountaineering, Munros, Other hills Grahams & Donalds. Bookmark the permalink.

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