here was nothing specifically planned when leaving Mullach Clach a’Bhlair as my last Munro in the Cairngorm area. In fact we contemplated ticking this off when we did Sgor Gaoith a couple of years back on our Honeymoon. The fact that this last Cairngorm would be one of the best running trips I have done was just down to the fact that it just worked out that way. One thing that is for sure is that ever since I took the decision to climb all the Munro Tops in addition to Munro’s then my trips have been inspired. Not only are these subsidiary tops less frequented, they are often better than their parent and offer some great views.
Mullach Clach a’Bhlair does not have any tops but there was two tops belonging to Sgor Gaoith that are actually closer to Mullach Clach a’Bhlair than they are to Sgor Gaoith. Obviously, how Tops are determined has nothing to do with how close they are to the parent but actually it is all about prominence. Anyway, it takes a little extra planning when including Tops in a route as due to the way they lie you often add on extra distance. This route seemed pretty straight-forward though. Park at the car park one kilometre from Achlean in Glen Feshie then follow mostly trails in an anti-clockwise direction back to the car. Should be about 20km or so with about 1000 metres of ascent.
We took our time in the morning as the weather forecast was better for the afternoon but by late morning we were on the A9 heading north towards Aviemore. Personally, I think the introduction of the Speed Cameras on the A9 have been great. Just stick the cruise control on 60mph, sit back and relax. No cars flying up behind and no more dodgy overtaking manoeuvres. It was an uneventful journey and after a couple of hours we were parked up and ready to run.
We headed down the road and then skirted around the back of the farmhouse at Achlean. From here we were on a wonderful path that undulates up and down and fords a stream and then the Allt Garbhlach. There has been a bridge of sorts erected over the Allt Garbhlach. Just a few wooden logs trussed together. It provided safe passage however and avoided a fording of the Allt which although had a low water level looked pretty fast flowing. On the other side the path passed through a wonderful Scots pinewood plantation and out into a stunning glen.
We left the plantation behind and arrived at a crossroads. From here we turned left and followed the wide track which would take us high above Coire Caol and onto the summit plateau. It was a wonderful path, wide and easy to walk on and never too steep. Even Emma who was a little concerned about her “hill-fitness” breezed it.
Once on the plateau first point of call was the Munro itself. It was only a kilometre and with hardly any additional height gain we were on the top in no time. The top was a little disappointing though. Just a wide plateau with a small cairn. There was some good views over to Carn an Fhidhleir and An Sgarsoch to the south though. It was about three kilometres to the Munro Top Meall Dubhag and this was achieved by initially following the wide track just past the coire then picking up a trod that headed north-west. Meall Dubhag was simply stunning.
The views across the coire were amazing and we spent plenty of time on the summit snapping off pictures. From here it was just a case of heading north-east across the plateau to our third and final peak, Carn Ban Mor. In misty conditions it would be tricky navigation across this featureless plateau but with great conditions we could see the peak clearly so just took a direct line. Even though there was no path the plateau was not rocky so we were able to run across easily.
The wind was beginning to pick by now so we just headed up to the summit cairn, bagged it then descended down to the path which would take us down alongside the Allt Fhearnagan to Auchlean and then the car. The path was simply amazing. Smooth and easy to run on you could blitz down at full pelt without the worry of going over on your ankle on a loose rock. Typically when descending a hill, Milo pull so hard on the harness that you have to slow down for fear of going so fast that you would not be able to stop or even worse going arse over tit! Maybe it was just the day we were having or something but for this descent Milo was as good as he has ever been and kept the line just taught and more importantly slowed down when I told him too. This meant that I could enjoy three kilometres of epic descent. Perfect! The path dropped us back at the farmhouse and from here it was just a quick trot along the tarmac to the car. What a great day to nail my last Cairngorm Munro.
Cairngorms, job done? Not quite…
So with all the Munro’s in Cairngorms done it is job done then? Well not quite. Whilst I have climbed all the Munro’s there is the small matter of the Tops. Unfortunately, when I had already climbed many of the Cairngorm Munro’s before I started ticking off the tops. This means there are a number of gaps and I will have to go back. The map below shows the current state of the situation. Red Icons are Munro’s and Pink Icons are Munro Tops. If the centre of the icon is white then it has not been climbed.
There are 49 peaks in the Cairngorms that are either a Munro or a Munro Top (18 Munro’s and 31 Munro Tops). I have now climbed all the Munro’s and 15 Munro Tops. That leaves 16 remaining. The good news is that now I have an excuse to get back into what my opinion is the best mountain region in the United Kingdom. Cannot wait!