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Last updated: 06/09/12


Ben Avon and Beinn a’ Bhuird
11 - 12 August, 2012

Six Club members from Aberdeen and one who’d travelled up by car overnight from London gathered at Keiloch Sawmill on the morning of Sat 11th August 2012 for a Day Meet to Bens Avon and Bhuird. The settled weather and a Saturday start provided an opportunity to bivvy on the hill and five lay down for the night high on Ben Avon above the Allt an Eas Mhoir.


Below is mostly a pictorial account of this trip which got everyone into remote corries and hidden corners which totally and completely added value to the traverse of these two splendid, massive mountains.


At Keiloch the mown grass and swallows meant it felt really summery. Ken and Willie ascended the Corbett Carn Liath (aka Creag an Dail Bheag). Creag an Dail Mhor across the River Gairn is a Munro Top of Ben Avon.


Leaving Keiloch near Invercauld


Coire na Ciche and A’ Cioch (Beinn a Bhuird)


On the good path north for Clach a’ Cleirich


After visiting the ‘Secret Howff’ for coffee it was a case of heading up towards Coire nan Clach (the corrie of the stones)


In the 'Secret Howff'


Dividing Buttress of Coire nan Clach and Coire an Dubh Lochan from small Lochan


There are a couple of small, crystal clear, lochans in Coire nan Clach and today they were literally teaming with small trout, quite a remarkable and unexpected sight really as the lochans must be frozen over for circa 3 months of the year, they were sure they were trout and not Arctic Charr.


The small fish of Coire nan Clach


Approaching the Smith–Winram Bivouac


Part of today’s itinery was a visit to the Smith–Winram Bivouac. It’s basic and compact and no doubt serves a function. An old climbing boot lay by the entrance and one must descend down into it (as you would into a submarine) Coffee was taken again here and the group topped up their suntans before being joined by Ken T. Research on “Smith” of Smith/Winram suggests he is one and the same person who gave his name to the Smith-Dey Bivouac high in the Garbh Coire of Braeriach. There may even be a Club connection.


Smith-Winram Bivouac


As time was wearing on new plans were adopted to get onto the plateau. Ken took a fairly direct route up broken crags whilst Clive led four behind him across, through and over Coire nan Clach. A flock of around sixteen Ptarmagin then a dozen or so more were spotted and Sue found a nest. A gentle grassy walk took them onto Beinn a Bhuird (just to the left of the low point picture below).


Coire nan Clach (Corrie of the Stones)


Looking across to A’Cioch and the Dubh Lochan


On Beinn a’ Bhuird (Ben Avon beyond)


After another short break a visit was made out to Stob an t-Sluichd where wreckage remains of a flight (missing presumed at sea for seven months in 1952) Follow the link below for an interesting, if sad, story. Mr Kammer was the Cairngorm Club member who found Jan’s gold watch, by chance, on this remote outcrop.


Engine Housings




A water stop on the return around the rim of Garbh Corrie


Garbh Corrie


The climbs in the Garbh Corrie were at times in sunlight and the rock was looking fantastic (and dry) yet we could see (nor hear) anyone on the likes of Square Face or Mitre Ridge. The group met Garry and Carol as they ascended towards the big barn on Ben Avon (Garry and Carol’s attendance means this meet attracted nine members in total – the same as last year)


Approaching Leabaidh an Diamh Bhuidhe (The bed of the tawny stag)


Bivvy site (Clach Choutsaich left)


Graeme at his bivvy (around 8.00pm) as the cloud rolls in ! ! !


In the morning they were up and away after hot coffee and sandwiches around 6.10am descending into the murky bowl that holds the Allt an Eas Mhoir. The cloud cleared as they lost height. A new bridge over the Gairn was a welcome sight before the last stiff pull of the day to the Bealach Dearg. The shooters bothy near the high point is now gone (did they use the timber for the bridge?)


Creag an Dail Mhor and Carn Eas (of Ben Avon) from the new bridge over the River Gairn


After a dram and with the weather getting better and better it was a very enjoyable walk back to Invercauld which was reached at 11.00am.


Culardoch from the Bealach Dearg (The Red Pass)


On the Bealach Dearg for Invercauld


Braemar from the path on the walk-in


Thanks to Ken T and to Graeme for getting everyone back to Keiloch and to all other members in attendance who made this “big” Day Meet such a success.


Author - Derek Beverley
Photos - Derek Beverley & Sue Chalmers