Carn Dearg Mor scotland
The combination of mountain bikes and mountain walking is a good one in an area like the Cairngorms and after an embarrassing day trying to negotiate my bike down one of the easier mountain bike courses at Laggan’s Wolftrax trails I reckoned I should stick to roads and forest trails.
So instead of black and red graded runs I took my mountain bike and thrashed the disappointment out of me all the way down Glen Feshie. It wasn’t long before the exercise and the sight of Feshie’s glorious Scots pines helped lift the previous day's disappointment and by the time I cycled past Feshie Lodge the purple heather and blue hills were beginning the healing process. By the time I abandoned the bike and started climbing the track up to Lochan an t-Stuic my mind had shifted to more immediate things, the call of a buzzard, the bobbing and curtseying of a dipper on a mid-stream rock and the thought of far-flung views from the two Corbett summits I hoped to climb.
A broad bulldozed track runs down Glen Feshie and climbs up through a pass, just beyond Loch an t-Sluic, towards Glen Truim. At the high point of the track you can easily climb to a shallow col between Carn Dearg and Carn Dearg Mor, 2813ft/857m, one of the easiest Corbetts you’ll hope to find.
The view from the summit of Carn Mor Dearg was immense, with the Cairngorms’ Feshie hills rising in purple profusion behind me and to the west, beyond the notched outline of Creag Meagaidh, the rounded head of Ben Nevis peeking over the long ridges of the Aonachs
Leathad an Taobhainn, 2991ft/912m, my second Corbett, lies within a hundred metres or so of the summit of the Minigaig Pass, the ancient through-route between Atholl and Kingussie. It’s eastern summit represents the high point of a remote and sprawling mountain fastness that has been described as a “rolling wasteland of peat”, a rather harsh description but certainly one that gives a hint of its wildness.
Much of this wildness has been tamed by the bulldozed track that runs from the Lochan an t-Sluic track to the summit of its close neighbour, Meall an Uillt Chreagaich, but beyond that only a sketchy footpath drops down to the intervening bealach, past the ruins of some old dwelling, a shelter perhaps used in the days when cattle were herded in the corrie below before being driven over the pass and down the Minigaig to Atholl.
From the bealach it was an easy climb to Leathad an Taobhain’s stony summit plateau. By now the early evening sun had flooded the broad slopes with a brittle radiance, spilling shadows into every scoop and hollow. Far and wide under the infinity of a milky sky the land stretched away, ridge over ridge, horizon over horizon, rolling moor and shadow-stained glen, clear-cut land and glistening water. I lay against the cairn for a good forty minutes and just drank it all in. By the time I wandered back to my bike I had been healed, I had given up the notion of being a mountain biker and the disappointment of the day before was behind me.
Distance: about 9 miles/15km
Time: 5-7 hours (from Loch an t-Sluic)
Start/finish: Tolvah in Glen Feshie GR842997
Map: OS 1:50,000 Sheet 43
Route: Park near Tolvah in Glen Feshie and walk or cycle the 7 miles up Glen Feshie, past the Lodge, to Lochan an t-Sluic. From the lochan continue on the main track as it bears N and then W. At its highest point another path breaks away N and climbs to the shallow col between Carn Dearg and Carn Dearg Mor. From the col climb easily in a NE direction to the summit cairn. Return to the track above Loch an t-Sluic and follow it to the summit of Meall an Uillt Chreagaich. It is possible to cycle this track on a mountain bike. At the end of the track follow the narrow footpath that drops down to an old ruin in a narrow col below. Cross the stream and climb the slopes in a S direction to the summit plateau and trig point of Leathad an Taobhain. Return to the col, climb back to the summit of Meall an Uillt Chreagaich before descending by your outward route back to Loch an t-Sluic
This walk has been written by TGO’s Cameron McNeish. To upload your own walks, click here: http://www.tgomagazine.co.uk/walks/upload-walk/