M221 | 946 m. | 3104 ft.
Translation: Hill of peat-banks
Pronuncation: kaarn vachk

The longest self-propelled tour of the perfect week we spent in Braemar in spring 2008 led us to the Glen Ey Munros of An Socach, Beinn Iutharn Mhor and Carn Bhac. From the shop where we had rented the bikes Alex, Frank and me followed the road Linn of Dee road up to Inverey. There we left the tarmac road and cycled the track leading up Glen Ey. The track climbs beside the Ey Burn and debouches in the upper glen where two successive grassy flats make for easy progress. It finally ends at the ruins of Altnour Lodge which is set in a very scenic location among the Munros of upper Glen Ey. We left the bikes, crossed the Ey Burn and climbed the north ridge of An Socach.

Quite exhausted we reached the end of that very steep climb and proceeded on the fairly level ground to the summit of An Socach where we had a break by the cairn (shelter) in the sunshine. From An Socach we turned south and descended steeply to a wide col before climbing quite moderate slopes to the flat summit of Carn a’ Chlarsaich. The cool waters of Loch nan Eun beckoned and so we continued over the grassy terrain to the shores of this remote loch. Again we took a longish, refreshing time-out before climbing semi-steep slopes to the col between Beinn Iutharn Bheag and Mam nan Carn. At the col we turned west and soon stopped to refill our water bottles with melt water flowing from one of the snow fields of the last winter still lingering on the hillside. Then it was another steep pull up the stone studded grassy south ridge of Beinn Iutharn Mhor to the summit perched above tiny Lochan Uaine in the corrie formed by the very steep scree slopes and outcrops of rock on the north side of the hill.

The path continued for a few hundred metres along the corrie rim and then it dropped down a very steep grass and scree slope into the northern corrie. We ran down snowfields and scree and soon reached the flatter terrain in the wide corrie floor. From there we struck a more or less direct line to a low point in the ridge of Carn Bhac about a kilometre west of the summit of this last Munro of the day. On the way we crossed a wide field of peat hags and bog. Thank providence that it hadn’t rained for three days. Otherwise this 2 kilometre stretch of very, very Scottish soil would have certainly gotten the better of us. But we were lucky and finally reached the ridge above dry-shod. On we walked to the Munro’s summit, rested again for a few minutes, ate some muesli bars and started the descent towards the Alltan Odhar were we picked up a developing path leading back to Altnour Lodge. Once there we stuffed our walking gear back into our rucksacks, took a few more photographs and cycled back to Inverey enjoying ourselves immensely on this very swift ride down Glen Ey!

What a fine end to this exhausting walk. Having reached the road we took our time and cycled back to lovely Braemar, some bottles of cold Coca Cola and our comfy cottage. A great day on remote hills, about 30 kilometres of cycling and 25 kilometres of walking. We slept very well that night!

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Total distance: 54008 m
Max elevation: 1039 m
Min elevation: 183 m
Total climbing: 1971 m
Total descent: -1815 m
Total Time: 09:42:51

Description Beinn Iutharn Mhor and Carn Bhac are the highest hills in the area south-south-west of Inverey between the headwaters of the River Tilt and the Ey Burn. Beinn Iutharn Mhor is a big hill at the head of Glen Ey, forming a great horseshoe with its two lower tops, Mam nan Carn and Beinn Iutharn Beag. Carn Bhac is a lower rounded hill 4 kilometres to its north, lying at the edge of the National Trust for Scotland's Mar Lodge estate. A good track goes 8 kilometres up Glen Ey from Inverey to the ruins of Altanour Lodge, and this gives the best route of access to both hills, particularly as it is possible to cycle to the lodge ruins. From there go up the north bank of the Alltan Odhar for about 2 kilometres, bear north-west to the col between Carn Bhac and Carn Creagach and climb the broad ridge to Carn Bhac. Continue south-west for 1½ kilometres to the South-west Top of Carn Bhac and then go south along a broad undulating ridge of eroded peat banks which ends under the scree slopes of Beinn Iutharn Mhor. Climb steeply to the main ridge of the hill ½ kilometre north-east of the summit.The most direct return to Altanour Lodge is down the long north-east ridge, but it is possible to extend the traverse by going south to Mam nan Carn and then north-east to Beinn Iutharn Beag along broad stony ridges, finally descending to reach the headwaters of the Ey Burn 2 kilometres upstream from Altanour Lodge.