hike these munros with us...
We set off in the Campervan on Friday evening and pared up near Pitlochry so we didn’t have to set off super early in the morning – which was a great idea!
The next morning as we woke up, it felt like th eperfect start to the date, cold and crisps but clear. We layered up and paced up the camper before setting off for the 20 min drive up to the Drumochter Pass. These Munros are on the East side of the A9 and have been described as “The Featureless Munros” and I once heard someone say “They are just a really long dog walk”. Having done the research on this pair, it was said that the best time to climb them is on a crisp day as they can be boggy.
So we’re driving up the A9 and the further North we go, we see more and more snow on the tops of the hills. I had some apprehensions as I do not classify myself as a Winter Hiker – in fact the opposite – very much a fairweather hiker!
We decided to set off and head up to see what the conditions were like as the first mile up the track was completely clear. It’s a kind of landrover track, similar to the track on Ben Chonzie. After about an hour on the path we hit the first of the snow. It was quite daunting as the whole track was covered, although we saw footprints up the side ofwhat would be the track, so decided to follow them up.
The route itself is an out and back for both Munros, so actually once you’ve done the climb, the walk out to the (very small) cairn at the top of Carn Na Caim was relatively easy. By this point the snow had deepend, although was more the powdery snow you’d find in Canada, so didn’t actually cause too many issues, just added a bit of extra effort.
We were really lucky when we got to the Cairn to show the top of Carn Na Caim, the clouds that had formed on the walk up were clearing and we had some spectacular 360 views at one point. After the necessary sarnie and snack we set off back to the split and to head across to A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag. It was on the journey bac to the split we realised the snow had started to melt which was causing things to be a bit slippier under foot.
As we headed to claim our second I was so glad we did Carn Na Caim first as had I done this one I think I’d have sipped Carn Na Caim. Not only was the tip to the trig point more “hilly”, the but hills were oozing water with the melting of the snow. Having read up on the route I knew they were a grade 4 boggy on WalkHighlands, so expected some ground like this, but at one point I was knee deep in bog! Our grit determination got us moving (well when your feet are wet, they’re wet and you’re still up a mountain, may at least get the obligatory trig point picture!) and we summited A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag. Not looing forward to the walk bac to the split to head back down, it was a case of just getting on with it.
All in all we were around 7hours 30mins to complete (I think we could have probably knoced an hour at least off if it wasn’t for the snow!). I wouldn’t rush back to these hills, the views were spectacular at points, but without the snow I think it would have just been boggy ground for the majority of the route and probably less exciting.
Frequently asked questions about Carn Na Caim and A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag:
Where do you park to climb Carn Na Caim and A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag?
We, along with others had parked in Layby 87 on the A9 North. You have to then very carefully cross the A9 and walk slightly further North where you’ll see the start of the route, and the cattle grid to cross and enter the field.
How long does it take to climb these Munros?
The suggested time to bag these two is around 5 hours and 30 mins, however that’s in perfect conditions. We were 7 hours and 30 minutes in wintery, snowy conditions.