Wednesday, 3 October 2018

At the back of Carn Bhac

Carn Bhac (rocky hill of the peat banks) is one of the less visited of the Munros, requiring a fairly long walk.  The usual route is to combine the hill with another Munro, Beinn Iutharn Mhor, from Inverey on Deeside.  With a full day in early September to spare, I decided on a walk from Inverey which would take me to Carn Bhac by a round-the-back sort of route.

The track heading south from the war memorial in Inverey passes a couple of fine traditional buildings, one a shooting lodge.  One of the estate garrons - sturdy, strong hill ponies often used to bring deer carcasses down from the hill - eyed me up speculatively but obviously decided I didn't look like I had a spare apple since it soon went back to grazing.

Across a patch of level ground another track can be seen angling up the edge of a pine plantation.  This was the path I intended to take, but had walked out on the main path to visit a pleasant spot.

A small rapid on the Ey Burn drops into rich brown pools of peaty water, edged with gently sloping slabs - a picnic spot for a future visit.

I crossed the burn to pick up the track to the west of the Ey Burn (you can also get to this point by walking along the road from Inverey and crossing a small bridge then taking the track leading south).  Ahead, the track climbs steadily up a small valley holding the tiny burn of the Allt Cristie. The angle of climb seems perfect for that steady rhythm of walking which gradually ticks off height gain with little effort.

The track emerges onto a slightly boggy bealach (col) with a nice view back down the glen.  A distant speck resolved itself into a Golden Eagle working along the steep slope, but too far away for a photograph.

To the south, a broad undulating ridge of wind-clipped heather gives easy walking with a real feeling of space and super views.  The jaws of the great pass of the Lairig Ghru were sunlit, but roofed in with summit clouds.

To the north a series of ridgelines marched away in alternating light and shade, one of the features of these great spaces in the sky is the breadth of ground for such plays of light.

At the end of the broad ridge, a view opens up to Carn Bhac, my objective for the walk.  From this angle the hill appears as a breaking wave of scree.  A low intervening ridge was scabbed with the peat banks from which the hill takes its name.  In the whole time I'd been out I'd seen just one other person; it's grand and lonely country at the back of Carn Bhac.


  1. I've done it around 30 years ago back in the days when I climbed hills in any conditions that came up but have no memory of it at all. Nice to see from your photos how enjoyable a hill it is given fine weather. Too many of my Munro summits were either invisible through blizzards, driving rain, hill fog or grim light- I'm amazed I enjoyed them at all... must have been the innocence of youth.

  2. :o) I've done my fair share of that Bob - the addiction of "the tick"! Funny how much more enjoyable hills can be when one waits for the right day!