After spending too much time recently in front of a computer I decided I needed an antidote. So what better than a day trip with friends to the Cairngorms National Park? There were four of us who left Edinburgh on Friday evening and travelled to Braemar. All bar one of us had done the Munros we planned to do - Beinn a'Bhuird and Ben Avon - before, myself twice in winter. On both occasions I'd camped at the head of an icy Gleann an t-Slugain and walked in from Linn of Quoich. This time, we were headed again to Gleann an t-Slugain, but from Invercauld Bridge, with loose thoughts of finally stumbling upon the hidden Slugainn Howff (it didn't happen).
On Saturday, good weather saw us up early. There's a great network of paths in the eastern Cairngorms (excellent for a trail running or a mountain biking shoot) and we gained a lot of distance very quickly. The usual routes up Beinn a'Bhuird and Ben Avon are to ascend either Beinn a'Bhuird's southern shoulder or to cut off at the distinct Clach a'Cleirich stone and head up to the Sneck, a bealach between the two Munros with great views down the Slochd Mor into Glen Avon. We climbed instead up into one of Beinn a'Bhuird's great corries, towards the Dubh Lochan, and found the foot of the A'Chioch ridge for a scramble that would take us up to the plateau. From there we headed round to the summit of Beinn a'Bhuird, descended to the Sneck in 50mph gusts of wind and climbed Ben Avon before walking all the way back to the car. All in all, a good day out with lots of potential for future photo shoots - especially trail running and mountain biking.