It was quite early when the sun woke me, as its rays warmed the tent. I wasn’t in a hurry today so I fired up the stove for a brew, before settling back down for another hours snooze.
My rough plan for Friday, was to climb the Munro of Leabaidh an Daimh, and then find a high camp on the Ben Avon plateau or at the Sneck. I was packed and on my way by 7:45am, the day was perfect, with blue skies and bright sunshine, as I wondered up the track listening to the birds and enjoying the solitude. At Slugain Lodge I stopped for a snack, before continuing up the path which soon leaves the confines of Gleann an t-Sluggan for open moor land with a superb view of Beinn a’ Bhuird
The path from here is excellent, it follows the sometimes distant Glas Allt Mor, before crossing the river, and climbing through a steep sided valley were it breaks out onto the open hillside, some distance below the rocky boulders of the Sneck.
I had considered leaving my rucksack at the Sneck, and returning for an overnight camp after visiting the main summit of Ben Avon and some of its subsidiary tops, but there was a very strong wind blowing which put paid to that idea. Maybe if the wind was confined to the col, I’d be able to find a sheltered spot by one of the summit tors where I could spend the night.
When I reached the Leabaidh an Daimh, I dumped my rucksack and scrambled to what I hope was its highest point. The wind was still blowing fairly briskly so a wild camp on the Ben Avon Plateau would have to wait for another time, I took one last look at the summit and returned to the Sneck, to fill my water bottle at the infant Glass Alt Mor and have lunch.
The climb from the Sneck to Beinn a’ Bhuird starts off up steep stony path which played havoc with my tired legs, but once the initial climb is over it’s a straight forward if lengthy walk over a subsidiary rocky top to the North Top, which at 1197m is the highest point of Beinn a’ Bhuird. The summit itself is a disappointment just a pile of stones set on a rolling grassy expanse, but the fabulous view made up for this. Ben Avon looked miles away and I could hardly believe that less than three hours ago I’d stood on its granite tors. To the west Ben Macdui and the Central Cairngorms looked close enough to touch, it was just magic!
However, closer to home, finding a place to camp was uppermost in my mind, the wind was still strong and I had the feeling that weather might change fairly quickly, and frankly I felt pretty tired, certainly too tired to contemplate a stormy night in such a bleak location. So I laboured over the A’Chioch and descended the grassy slops between a late snowfield that stretched down from the South Top and the boulder strewn edge of Coire na Cliché. When I reached the col before Care Fiaclach, I could clearly see the path that descends its western slopes, before turning east, crossing the Glass Allt Mor and rejoining the path to Slugain Lodge.
I followed the path down, then as I crossed the heather slopes to the river crossing looked in vain for a decent pitch for the night but nothing appeared, eventually I resolved to camp in the grassy banks in the beautiful little gorge below the ruin of Slugain Lodge.