Carn na Caim (941m)
A'Bhuidheanach Bheag (936m)

Sunday 30th September 2018

Distance: 20kms - Duration: 6hrs - Group Size: 2

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Day two of our weekend at Blair Atholl, and Lawrie and I were off to bag two more of the Drumochter Munros, Carn na Caim and A'Bhuidheanach Bheag; two Munros which are almost invariably described as "uninspiring", "a bit of a trudge", "unimpressive" and "lacking in interest". With reviews like that and on a day with sleet, light snow and strong winds forecast one might ask; "Why?"

It was raining as we arrived at Layby 87 on the A9 just south of Dalwhinnie, and so it was full waterproofs, gloves and hoods up right from the moment we crossed the road and headed up the estate track towards the distant bealach which was just visible below a cloud base that hovered above it's high point at the 900m height. The track splits at the bealach, to the right, lies A'Bhuidheanach Bheag, and to the left, Carn na Caim, both almost equidistance from this point, and therefore the choice of which one to head for first is rather immaterial.

We opted to go for A'Bhuidheanach Bheag first, and set off on a southerly direction following the track as it first dipped, and then climbed to the minor top of A'Bhuidheanach, at 879m and sporting a rather unusual small marble topped cairn. A cairn which distracted us such that we continued on beyond the cairn before realising that we had missed the point immediately below the cairn where the track takes a dog-leg dipping down off the top and skirting around to the south. Checking the compass and taking a couple of bearings to determine our options it was easier to retrace our steps to the cairn and regain the track where it contoured below A'Bhuidheanach to the point at which the track ends as it meets the headwaters of the Allt Coire Chuirn; that is not to not imply it is a wide river, it took a single step to cross the trickle of water and gain the grassy bank beyond.

Ahead of us a faint path wound up a relatively easy grassy slope to the indistinct bealach which separates the minor top of A'Bhuidheanach Mhor from the summit plateau of A'Bhuidheanach Bheag; and once on the bealach a broken fenceline and more distinct path led us easily to the cairn marking the 936m summit of a'Bhuidheanach Bheag. Featureless, windy, and wet, we stayed just long enough to take our summit photos, and then departed, retracing our steps all the way back to where the track forked at the head of the 900m bealach.

Munro number two for the day was a similar story; from the 900m bealach, we followed the track generally northeast before taking a final section up, alongside an old fenceline and out onto yet another featureless plateau, and the cairn marking the 941m summit of Carn na Caim. Retracing out steps we returned once again to the 900m bealach and then directly downhill for our descent back to the A9 and our start point at Layby 87.

Twenty kilometres and two Munros in 6 hours is the only redeeming feature about these mountains; reluctantly I must agree with the descriptions I outlined at the start. uninteresting and featureless, and if it wasn't for the good track which covers almost every step of this walk, it truly would be a drag. One for Munro Baggers only.

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