This trip report covers a walk up Creag Rainach via Loch a’ Bhraoin and the associated Lochivraon bothy originally taken on 11 July 2021. For you hill baggers, Creag Rainach is a Corbett at 870m, and like many Corbetts, is very remote and requires an off piste slog to get to the top. The reward is one of the best ever views of the Fisherfield Forest and surrounding mountains. You can find route details on walkhighlands.com.
- Start: Layby on A832, south west of Braemore junction.
- Distance: 17.5km / 11 miles
- Ascent: 620m
It’s amazing the difference an hour’s drive makes in Scotland. It was raining on the east coast at Pinewood Steading when the six of us (three humans and three furry trouble makers) got in the car for the journey westward. By the time we got to the layby on the A832, the sky had cleared to leave us with a very warm and muggy Scottish summer’s day.
The walk starts and finishes with a walk along the tranquil Loch a’Bhraoin along a clear mostly flat track. This makes for a pleasant warm up to the inevitable slog up hill, as well as a pleasing finale upon which to reflect on the day’s outing.
The walk up to the summit from the loch shore requires a patient amble uphill through heather, bog, and grass. The slow pace gave us an opportunity to admire the numerous wildflowers about at this time in July:
- Bog cotton
- Bog Myrtle
The shape of the hill makes it a recipe for endless false summits. At one point I told Jane we were 2km away, with about 200m of ascent, so about an hour left of walking. She didn’t believe me (didn’t want to believe me!) though in the end my estimate was pretty close.
As often with walks like these when you get to the top you forget the arduous journey behind you. The viewpoint from Creag Rainach is one to be savoured. In the immediate foreground is the Fisherfield Forest, with the western summits rising right in front of you like a massive wall of rock. The 360 view also includes Torridon, the Fannichs, and the mahoosive An Tealach.
After a while admiring the view and swatting flies, we started our decent down to the bothy along a welcomingly gentle gradient.
Lochivraon bothy is thus far the most luxurious bothy I’ve come across. Aside from an overall high standard of cleanliness, usual fireplace, and always nice-to-have sleeping platforms, it even has a sink and toilet (which was impressively in good working order and very clean on my visit). The building sits behind the main estate house which owns and maintains the bothy (as opposite to most bothies which are maintained by the Mountain Bothy Association (MBA)). It has one room, a “kitchen” with table and chairs, and an upstairs loft. I’ve read it’s very cold in winter due to the tin roof making it impossible to heat the place.
From the bothy it’s an easy walk back along the loch side. It was only then that it started to rain requiring the full assembly of waterproofs (having spent all day wishing I’d worn shorts). Somewhat appropriate as Loch a’Bhraoin translates as “place of rain showers”.
Back home at Pinewood Steading, the dogs assumed their position: