Now that I’m home, I’m so glad I didn’t go with my gut and turn off the alarm this morning! It was relatively late compared with the times I’ve been running this week but it was a thought, probably as I have had so many early starts. We made it out of the house around 8 am and either due to the fine day or that slight delay, got held up in more traffic than usual. Heading for Braemar, we (Bruce) had a few options up our sleeves just in case the car parks were busy.
The target car park at Carn an Tuirc was full, so we headed back down the road for an alternative. This gave a boggy start to the walk as the path back up ran parallel to the stream and was rather wet. The initial pull up Carn an Tuirc was also pretty boggy which made me wonder what our route would be like later, bogs marked on the map where we were headed.
It was hot! Temperatures were well into the teens when we parked, and before long a layer was shed. Having missed a couple of patches on my arm running yesterday and suffering sunburn as a result (the joys of vitiligo), I was well prepared today with my sun hat and gloves, and a generous layer of suncream.
Carn an Tuirc
Heading up Carn an Tuirc for the main climb of the day, we made slow and steady progress.
Out of the boggy section, the path improved and before long we reached the bouldery section that leads to the top. We were surprised by the number of others on the hill, a few also gathered at the summit.
After a snack stop we continued on, initially following the same path as others, then diverging to head for Tolmount instead. This led us across a sweeping grassy plateau. This would not be the best terrain in poor conditions as there’s little variation. We dropped down a little before climbing again to reach the summit of Tolmount. Another snack stop, and excuse for a break in the sunshine, and on again.
The area between Tolmount and Tom Buidhe looks boggy on the map and there was indeed some peaty sections. However, they were pretty dry and very easy to cross. A few very small snow patches also lingered along the route – amazing really considering how warm it is! With little variation in gradient, we reached Tom Buidhe with ease. As with all the summits there were a few folks around, this time some bikers who’d come up from the Angus side.
Cairn of Claise
Our final munro of the day was Cairn of Claise. Again, more dry bogs welcomed us as we crossed the small hill of Ca Whims and followed the old boundary wall to lead us to the summit. At 1064 m this was also the highest munro of the day. A couple of windshelter cairns welcomed us; we sat behind one as the wind was blowing into it, possibly why it’s unseasonably warm?
Descending, we initially followed the path towards Glas Maol before cutting off to head down, aiming for the road and the bridge below Carn an Tuirc. This was steep and hard on the knees, but allowed us to make good progress and also gave great views back to Cairn of Claise and Carn an Tuirc.
Before long the car was in sight. Over the bridge we enjoyed some chat with a runner who’d done way more than we had.
Homeward bound, we managed to catch The Bothy in Braemar for a coffee, so that was a perfect end to a great day out.