I had booked Friday off work especially for this trip. Kevin and I were meeting Stephen and Lee in Dunkeld for 2:30pm. I was faffing around the house thinking I had loads of time when I suddenly realised I was running late. Me faffing around and busy traffic in Edinburgh and Perth meant we were nearly an hour late.
We finally arrived at Oykel Bridge at 8pm. Kevin and I plus all the gear got chucked in the back of Lee’s 4×4 and he drove us all down to the walker’s car park just before Corriemulzie Lodge. Head torches on we set off in the darkness startling a barn owl as we walked passed some of the out buildings. The deer were rutting and every so often the light from our head torches would light up their eyes like cat’s eyes.
Even with heavy packs full of coal and beer the idle chat between the four of us ensured the kilometres soon racked up. Occasionally we had to check the map when approaching a fork in the track. Thankfully Storm Brian didn’t get near the North West of Scotland meaning the potentially difficult river crossings did not cause us any bother. We arrived at the bothy within 2 hours. We lit the fire, picked our spots and settled in for the night. The wind and rain picked up throughout the night making it a bit of an unsettled sleep, the rain was battering off the metal roof.
By the time we all woke up the weather had calmed down and was it looking promising. We decided on doing the Corbett, Carn Ban first to hopefully allow the cloud to clear off the main attraction, Seana Bhraigh.
We set off just before 9am and after a quick confab we all agreed to head around to the south of the crags at NH314887. Pretty steep straight from the bothy but we were up onto the ridge fairly quickly.
More deer appeared before disappearing back down Coire Mor to avoid us. Up at 750 metres the gradient eased off as we passed the 779 metre unnamed top before reaching the summit of Carn Ban. A sole ptarmigan ran off as we neared the summit.
We got the maps out to decide on our approach for Seana Bhraigh, we agreed to skirt under the second unnamed summit then drop down to the lochans. From here the terrain becomes more complex and rough. Littered with rock and wet ground, the going was quite a bit slower.
I spotted something in the bog, it was bright pink. Not the sort of colour you’d associate with the flora and fauna you would normally see on Scottish mountains. On closer inspection it was a decomposing balloon, miles from anywhere and off the beaten track. A good enough reason not to release balloons and Chinese lanterns into the sky!
It was a bit of a long slog to the 906 metre top the ground was wet and soggy with the recent amount of rainfall. Once over the 906 metre top we could see the summit of Seana Bhraigh a kilometre away and were at the top in no time at all. The cloud had rolled in by now, obscuring our view to the south.
We dropped off the summit to shelter from the wind for a quick break before heading back down to the bothy via Seana Bhraigh’s NW spur passed the lochan at NH284883. We dropped off the to the east before the crags towards Loch a’ Choire Mhoir.
We reached the river, Stephen had already waded through with his boots on and it looked deep. The three of us opted to remove our boots and cross barefooted. I tried to walk the last 500 metres to the bothy barefooted but gave up and put the boots back on for the last stint.
Back at the bothy for 4pm, we had the whole evening ahead to chill out, have a few libations and enjoy the music and craic.
Three of us carried in some lager, Lee opted for more bang for his buck by bringing port and sloe gin!!!
A fine evening was had, plenty laughs but the fire eventually fizzled out and we retired to our beds. I was out like a light and had one of my best bothy sleeps, nothing to do with the alcohol of course as I woke up in the morning with a sore head. We packed up after breakfast, swept up and left the bothy in good condition for the next guests. The walk out seemed to take longer than it did coming in. As it happens it was actually around 10 minutes quicker with much lighter packs.
This was my third time on Seana Bhraigh, all from three different routes. It’s a fantastic remote hill and the northern approach is definitely the best route and possibly the easiest.
Corriemulzie to Bothy:
- Distance: 9km
- Ascent: 166 metres
- Time: 1hr 55mins
Carn Ban and Seana Bhraigh:
- Distance: 16.5km
- Ascent: 941 metres
- Time: 6hrs 45mins
Bothy back to Corriemulzie:
- Distance: 9km
- Ascent: 18 metres
- Time: 1hr 40mins