M245 | 933 m. | 3061 ft.
Translation: From Gaelic Carn Bhalg, hill of bags
Pronuncation: cairnwell

2008 This was the only day in the May 2008 “campaign” where we took a break – sort of at least. I had driven Alex to Aberdeen Airport early in the day and had returned to Braemar in mid morning. We drank some coffee, sat in the sunshine and dozed a bit. Then Frank proposed to do the three Glen Shee Ski Centre Munros. Well, I had done them before in late winter a few years before but of course Frank still needed these three.

So at one p.m. we set off from the car park below Bucharts Corrie and headed up the track in the corrie until another scar in the hillside branches off and heads to the ridge of Carn Aosda. We reached the summit, looked at Glas Maol on the other side of the glen and soon headed for the connecting ridge leading to Carn a’Gheoidh four kilometres to the west. The waters of Loch Vratachan (nice name) reflected the sunshine. A good day for very easy hillwalking. We rested on the ridge close to Carn nan Sac and then continued towards the summit of Munro No. 2, the only one of the group not disfigured by ski tows and bulldozer tracks. Then we returned and went back almost to the col between Carn Aosda and The Cairnwell. Shortly before rehing the col we used traces of paths on the western side of the north ridge of the latter to gain the increasingly rocky crest of the ridge (track). After the final steep section we reached the summit of Munro No. 3.

What can you say? We touched the summit cairn, stayed a few minutes and walked back to the car park via the grass in Bucharts Corrie sticking to the line of poles supporting the ski tows. After a little more than three hours we were back at the restaurant’s parking and sat in the grass by the road. Hardly any other hikers on the hills, sunshine, no hassle, no traffic jam, good views. Not too bad for this trio of hills. Let’ be honest, it’s not the hills fault that things look so bleak there :-). Another three ticked off.

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Total distance: 11261 m
Max elevation: 967 m
Min elevation: 606 m
Total climbing: 795 m
Total descent: -745 m
Total time: 03:17:49

2001 This was the last day of the spring 2001 vacation in Scotland. After the memorable day on Lochnagar I had spent the night in Braemar which appeared to be quite deserted for this time of the year due to Foot-and-Mouth-Disease. Starting from the hotel on this day I did not go straight to the hills but first visited the Linn of Dee. On the Linn of Dee parking walkers were advised not to visit Ben Macdui since two American fighter planes had crashed there recently and the search parties were still exploring the huge plateau. From the Linn of Dee I returned to Braemar and followed the A93 to the summit of the road in Glen Shee and to the ski centre there. The weather was fair and not too windy. Although the skiing season was almost over I felt that many, many people were there. From the car park I crossed the street, walked to the foot of the Cairnwell and started climbing the steepish slopes to the summit of the hill. Here a house, antennae and a thick cable leading down to skiing area greeted the innocent hillwalker. I met two Englishmen who were also quite aghast at the structures on the hill. Soon I descended down the N ridge of the Cairnwell keeping to its western side and slipping down a slope covered with very hard snow (no crampons on this easy walk) for a few metres. I reached the col and climbed up the ridge leading to Carn an Sac (which I passed on the North). South of Loch Vrotachan I took a more or less direct line over the gently sloping terrain to Carn a’Gheoidh from the summit of which some good views of the Cairngorms could be had on this day. In due time I returned to the head of Butchart’s Corrie and all its ski tows and climbed N than NE to the summit of Carn Aosda where I paused for a well-earned snack. With the snow on them Creag Leacach and Glas Maol on the other side of Glen Shee were beautiful and there was even a nice cornice on Creag Leacach. From the summit of Carn Aosda I simply trodded down one of the bulldozed tracks, crossing one or two of the pistes. I reached the car about four hours after I had started the walk. I took of my walking gear, stuffed all my things neatly into my travel bag and headed down south along the A93 and then further west to Loch Lomond since I had to catch a plane the next day at Glasgow Airport. An easy day out. Many people on the ski slopes, but not many people on the hills. I guess it was a good day for these particular hills.


Description These three hills are near the summit of the A93 road between Glen Shee and Braemar. The Cairnwell and Carn Aosda rise directly above the road, and with Butchart's Corrie between them they form the western half of the Glen Shee ski area. Their slopes above the road are covered with ski tows and snow fences, which make them visually the least attractive of Scottish hills, but they are also the two easiest Munros to climb. By contrast, Carn a' Gheoidh is a more remote and unspoiled hill, the highest point between Gleann Taitneach and Gleann Beag, the two northern continuations of Glen Shee.The ascent of these three hills is an easy day, for it involves little ascent if one starts from the top of the road. From a point opposite the large carpark climb south-west up quite steep slopes of heather and heath with a few patches of scree to reach The Cairnwell. Go north-west past the top of the chairlift along the ridge above the ski slopes for 1 kilometre and then turn west and south-west along another ridge over Carn nan Sac to Carn a' Gheoidh. Return along this ridge and descend to the col at the head of Butchart's Corrie, from where Carn Aosda is climbed by its south-west ridge. The quickest descent is to go south down ski tracks to reach the road at the Ski Centre.