Sunday, 5 June 2011

Cairngorms - May 2011

I set off from home at 9:45 on 21 May for the long drive North to Braemar, arrived just before 6pm at the SYHA Braemar. Settled in nicely for a few days...

Sunday 22 May, getting used to my new surroundings - thought it'd be a good idea to get the bike out and cycle down to the Linn of Dee, then onwards to Derry Lodge with the thought of doing a hill from there. Clouds level was quite low on the hills from there, so I got my map out and decided to have look at doing a Corbett from Linn of Quoich. Back on the Bike - 4 more miles, then started to walk with the intention of going to Carn na Drochaide, but the cloud was lifting and I had the idea of going for the two Munros further on (Beinn a' Bhuird and Ben Avon), so I continued into Glen Quoich and eventually started making my way up Beinn a' Bhuird. On reaching the summit plataeu, I realised it was quite a way from the true summit (and I was now feeling the full force of the gales), managed to get some shelter at the summit cairn for a brew and a bite to eat. Headed on down to The Sneck then up to Ben Avon (the wind was even stronger up there). At the summit I shuffled up on my backside to touch the top, then hastily retreated and was walking into the wind back down to the Sneck. Returned to Linn of Quoich by way of Slugain (was no quicker), got back to my bike at 9pm. Cut through the Mar Lodge estate to return to Braemar. Got back to the hostel just before 10, quick shower, Pizza in the oven, then survival Sunday on Match of the exciting!!

 looking west along the Dee

 looking east along the Dee

 Linn of Dee

Carn na Drochaide from Linn of Quoich

Morrone from Linn of Quoich

Glen Quoich. Beinn a' Bhuird in background

Beinn Bhreac from Glen Quoich

   Beinn a' Bhuird from Glen Quoich 

 Beinn a' Bhuird

 ascending Beinn a' Bhuird

 Beinn a' Bhuird

 Ben Avon from Beinn a' Bhuird

rainbow on Ben Avon

  Beinn a' Bhuird from Ben Avon

heading down to Slugain

  Braemar from across the Dee

Monday 23 May, was a complete wash-out. Add to that even stronger winds and it was not a day to be out walking, on the hills or anywhere else for that matter. So, I stayed holed up in the hostel all day.

Tuesday 24 May, drove out to Linn of Dee, then biked in to Derry Lodge. Hiked up Glen Derry, got some good views as the cloud base was just above the summits.
Glen Derry and Derry Cairngorm

Glen Derry

upper reaches of Glen Derry

Hutchison Memorial Hut

me, in the hut

I did get to feel the full force of the wind, the higher up the Glen I ventured. The Hutchison memorial hut was a welcome sight and gave brief respite from the wind and a chance to sit down and have brew. I carried on up to Loch Etchachan with the intention of getting up Beinn Mheadhoin, but it was not possible to cross the burn as the water was running too fast - funneled by the wind whipping off the Loch. So, I headed up to Derry Cairngorm and got caught in a snow shower which became a white-out. Luckily, it didn't last too long (though the wind never eased) and I made it to the bouldery summit despite being considerably buffeted by the gale force winds.
 Beiin Mheadhoin from Loch Etchachan

cliffs above Loch Etchachan

 Loch Etchachan, Ben Macdui in background (note: the waves on the Loch)

 Loch Etchachan and Beinn Mheadoin, on the ascent to Derry Cairngorm

 Sron Riach from Derry Cairngorm (Cairn Toul in background)

Glen Lui and beyond from Derry Cairngorm

I followed the long ridge south from Derry Cairngorm, got caught in a shower on the descent, but did see a rather nice rainbow.

 Rainbow over Meall an Lundain

rainbow over Meall an Lundain

  Glen Lui

Creag Bad an t-Seabhaig

Wednesday 25 May

Another drive down to the Linn of Dee and cycle into Derry Lodge. My aim for the days was the two Munros on the opposite side of Glen Derry from Derry Cairngorm, namely Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a' Chaorrain. Got some views on the ascent then almost nothing from the summit of Beinn Bhreac and absolutely nothing from Chaorrain.

Derry Cairgorm from the ascent to Beinn Bhreac

Thursday 26 May

Forecast was not good for today, so I decided just to set my sights on Morrone, the Corbett overlooking Braemar. Wasn't too bad, got views for most of the way up, but was walking in thick mist to the summit.
Braemar from path to Morrone

Had a look around some of the shops in Braemar when I came down, here is a photo of the Butcher's

Friday 27 & Saturday 28 May

After staying all week at the youth hostel in Braemar (and enduring some pretty lousy weather for the time of year), I decided to go for it in terms of an ambitious traverse of the Devil's Point - Braeriach ridge, with an intended wild-camp somewhere near the head of the Lairig Ghru. Day 2 was to be an ascent of Ben Macdui thrn return to Glen Luibeg over Carn a' Mhaim.

Started off so well (apart from the saddle breaking on my bike halfway along the track to Derry Lodge), but it was an enjoyable (if long) walk in to Corrour bothy, and it seemed as though I would be in for a good day at least. After basking in the sunshine for a lunch break outside the bothy, I made my way up the steep path to Devil's Point. No sooner than I'd got to the top then the clouds started to close in, rapidly. I did try to progress along my intended route, but then soon lost heart when it started to snow...there was only one option for me,  and that was to bail out for the shelter and safety of Corrour Bothy.

It must have been about 4pm when I returned to the Bothy, there was no-one else around. I dozed off for a while, 2 blokes came in, then a group of women on a Hen-party, would you believe. I was glad of the company, even more so when they got the fire going, and with a bit of a drink on the go it was quite a convivial atmosphere. Had a really good night's sleep in the Bothy, sheltered from the rain and wind outside.

Devil's Point & Cairn Toul

Lairig Ghru

Devil's Point & Cairn Toul

Cairn Toul & Sron na Lairige

Devil's Point

Ben Macdui

 Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir and Cairn Toul

 Lairig Ghru and Ben Macdui from Devil's Point

Living it up at Corrour Bothy

Lairig Ghru
 Devil's Point and Corrour Bothy

Carn a' Mhaim

Ben Macdui, Sron Riach
Devil's Point from Carn a' Mhaim
 Sron Riach and Derry Cairngorm
Carn a' Mhaim
 Rainbow, seen from Inverey
The Saurday morning actually started off quite bright, the air was very clear and I got some great views of the hills early on. I was following a path that was heading towards Ben Macdui, but I went a bit too far and had to descend a bit to find the path over to Carn a' Mhaim. The wind was blowing something fierce all the way along the ridge, and it came as something of a comfort to get down to a lower level. Back to Braemar for me.

Sunday 29 May

Last day of the holiday for me, and I decided to head for the Corbett, Carn na Drochaide. Still got buffeted by gale-force winds (as I had been all week long), some decent views though when it cleared up.
 Ben Avon from Carn na Drochaide

 Beinn a' Bhuird from Carn na Drochaide

 Lochnagar from Carn na Drochaide