Carn Aosda, Carn a’ Gheoidh, Cairnwell @ Glenshee + drive to Lossiemouth & Fraserburgh

The weather and forecast wasn’t great with low cloud and a risk of showers but I was ready for another climb. The alarm sounded at 12am Sunday 31 July with two areas in mind. 1st choice was the mighty 3,789ft Lochnagar, 2nd choice was 3 munros to the west of the Glenshee Ski Area. The forecast for Lochnagar went from good to not so good and so I went for the 2nd choice, an opportunity to gain 3 ‘easy’ munros.

Distance and travel time wasn’t bad reaching the ski centre in about 2.5 hours with a route via Perth, Blairgowrie and Spittal of Glenshee.

Climbing in the Cairnwell Hills west of the ski centre was a brand new climbing area for me.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

These munros we’re easy because the start point is just beyond the 2,199ft Cairnwell Pass which marks the border between Perthshire and Aberdeenshire and is also the highest main road in the UK.

So the climb is barely 1,000ft from car park at the ski centre to the tops of all 3 munros starting with Carn Aosda, elevation 3,007ft which was reached merely 40 minutes from the car and should really have been less only I went the wrong way.

Credit: Mark Vogan

At 5.40am I reached my 27th summit.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

After an hour of walking the grassy, soggy slopes SW of Carn Aosda and past The Cairnwell I reach the 2nd and highest of the 3 munros, Carn a’ Gheoidh.

Carn a’ Gheoidh

Credit: Mark Vogan

Now heading back the way I came and en-route to munro number 3. Steady rain made for a miserable ascent of The Cairnwell.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Not long after summiting my 3rd munro of the morning and 29th overall, I see the car park.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Since I was back in the car by 9am, I decided to continue the drive north through Braemar and cutting off and onto the notorious Cockbridge to Tomintoul route into Whisky Country. I have little driving experience in Moray With time on my side I decided to take on the drive all the way to Lossiemouth passing through Aberlour, Rothes and Elgin.

I then headed east following the Moray or Banff & Buchan coast all the way to Fraserburgh, another place I had never been to.

From Fraserburgh I headed south through Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth and reached home by 4.30pm. I pretty much drove 7.5 hours with only photo stops.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Nice view of Lochnagar.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Glenlivet distillery.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Aberlour, home to Walkers shortbread.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Dark cloud hanging over East Beach in Lossiemouth

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Now the final 179 miles south to home!

Credit: Mark Vogan

Total miles and driving time.

Credit: Mark Vogan

Credit: Mark Vogan

Featured image credit: Wdgwdgwdg

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