On the bike to the side of Clachan Yell before ascending Little Cockcairn on foot. The weather started off fine but clouded over rapidly, and by the time I reached the summit it was raining heavily, so I didn’t hang about. Let down by the forecast again. Managed to spot buzzard, kestrel, peregrine falcon, grey heron, red grouse, stonechat, goldcrest, wren, blackbird, swallow, coal tit, blue tit and treecreeper.
Very wet run around Little Cockcairn last Saturday. I was out for over two hours and only saw four other people. Two of whom were fellow Deeside Runners Ben and Clare who were coming back from a CP!
Marie and I headed up from the Tanar car park, past the Halfway hut and over the 2 bridges by Etnach. We then forded the river and headed up over the col,waving to the Gathering Cairn and promising a visit another time. We dropped down to traverse the side of Clachen Yell before taking the track heading east and slogging up to Little Cock Cairn. Here we met Jane Kerrdige, also Lairig training, in a badly timed hail storm. After a brief chat, photo taking and donning of waterproofs (that came off 5 mins later) we carried on the track past Cock Carin and down to the Water of Allachy. A lovely little glen with some great wild camping spots to return to with the kids. We then avoided the Capercaillie hot spot by heading up the last little hill to join the Firmounth Road back to the car park.
A bit excessive a journey to claim a single cp, but a small celebration as it was my 50th. Now about the other 50 …….
After a few days layoff for family committments, we were keen to get back on the cp trail.
We had read Warren’s route going firstly to Tom Giubhais then Little Cockcairn but since he then did Baudy Meg and we have already done it, we had the alternative of trying for Little Cockcairn first. Hopefully this would avoid the slog up the north of Little Cockcairn which he had to suffer.
Gentle run (and walking) out to the track up Little Cockcairn from the west.
The old land-rover track between the lower slopes of Little Cockcairn and Tom Giubhais leaves the track at NO460 906 but is virtually impossible to find from here. Once up on Little Cockcairn you can come off the top to the north and head for (roughly) NO464 911 to the west of the heather-burn to pick up the track all the way to Tom Giubhais. Its good(ish) running most of the way, though wet, and at least you are down-hilling through the heathery bits.
Warning: The track south of the Allachy bridge (Tuesday long run) is temporarily closed since there is a male capercaillie claiming territorial rights over it. There is a sign by the parking meter (which we didn’t see – honest) and another closing the path. Coming out of (or going into) Tom Giubhais and fording the river near the rickety bridge technically takes you via the closed path for about thirty metres. We did see said bird and apologised profusely for any disturbance.
photo 1: View of Clachan Yell from Little Cockcairn
photo 2: On Tom Guibhais (Evelyn seems to have acquired some victor’s laurels)
Wed 18th March
A lovely afternoon out in Glentanar. Bike to the gateway before Fairy Loch and changed to running shoes.
Run the first section of the long Tue night run, past the first of the ‘2 stone bridges’, go past the hut about 3-400m, look out for very shaky footbridge. Alternative ford crossing a little further on. Across the burn (Water of Allachy), look for landrover track heading up the hill directly to Tom Guibhais. Not much of a cairn there to mark the top.
Then follow track off to south towards the steep track up to Little Cock Cairn. This track gets a little indistinct for short sections, but then reappears after crossing the Birken Burn. Slog up to Little Cock Cairn – where the cairn is not on the top; the top is marked with a few boulders lying low, a little further to the east.
Then follow track eastwards to the Grouse Butts and when it turns sharply to the south, strike off across the heather, following a contour initially, then descend diagonally to where the Burn of Monrae meets the track. Then follow the track all the way to Baudy Meg. There was some lovely evening sunshine through the Glens to admire, before heading downwards across the heather to pick up the track once again. Descend down the woodland track back to the bike. 19.5 Km, 800m of total climb, about 2.5 hours running time.
GPX file for the route:
This is a nice wee route for picking up a few CP’s; starting at the Dinnet car park we headed off around Kinord on the South side and started slaloming through the ramblers dressed in full survival gear, good thing most of them were in luminous colours as it was pretty misty.
After about 2 miles we turned off the main track to take in the board walk, it gives access to a pretty good example of tertiary succession wetland (essentially a bog). We carried on towards the Burn O’ Vat road, crossed over and took the path through the woods and starting climbing up Cnoc Dubh, this is always a lovely place to run, soft underfoot, mostly singletrack and very undulating. About three quarters of the way up Steph decided to test my tired legs and I decided that my legs were tired – I uploaded a Strava segment for the Cnoc Dubh climb for you KOM baggers.
We stopped at the top to admire the shafts of sunlight shining on Pannanich and then blasted down the descent to try and find Duncan’s shortcut to the Upper Vat. We failed miserably in our quest and nearly had to imitate Jules Lines but decided to not downclimb the cliffs but to traverse the easy shoulder and down into the Vat. This is definitely an otherworldly place when the mist is down, half expected to see a few hobbits popping out of the rocks and was prepared for the tree in the picture to come to life, I shouldn’t have re-read Lord of the Rings the other day.
Wandered down the slightly difficult to run path to the sinkhole and out into the real world, headed off back round Kinord via the most direct route, there appears to be some path upgrading going on at the path to the North East of the loch near New Kinord. We met the luminous ones again just before we got back to the car park, not sure they understood what “we are on your left” meant but we did manage to engage in a couple of tangos as we negotiated our way past them.
Overall about 8.2 miles and about 650 feet of climbing, very relaxing way off picking up three CP’s and a very varied route.
Share your experiences of this challenge point.