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4 days and 8 Munros in the Cairngorms by public transit

4 days and 8 Munros in the Cairngorms by public transit

Postby FearCearc » Mon Jun 06, 2022 3:41 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Mheadhoin, Ben Macdui, Braeriach, Cairn Gorm, Cairn Toul, Derry Cairngorm, Sgòr an Lochain Uaine, The Devil's Point

Date walked: 06/02/2022

Time taken: 24 hours

Distance: 91 km

Ascent: 3417m

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This was my first solo backpacking trip in Scotland, and I owe many thanks to the other users on this forum, as I built a lot of my planned route based on your reports. This is also my first forum post, so please excuse any formatting/etiquette errors!

After getting less than a single wink on the sleeper train to Aviemore the night before, I enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Cobbs Cafe to fortify myself before taking the bus up the mountain. My trip kicked off around 10am at the Cairn Gorm ski area, where the unyielding gradients were mercifully brief. After making short work of Cairn Gorm, where I was pleasantly greeted by a pair of snow buntings, I continued on to Cairn Lochan before cutting down to connect with the Ben Macdui trail. I made it to the crowded summit in time to enjoy a sunny lunch, as well as a golden eagle sighting, then pressed on towards Loch Etchachan, my destination for the night.

After navigating what felt like an endless field of boulders, the beautiful view from the summit of Derry Cairngorm was the highlight of the day and well worth the detour. The steep descent to Etchachan revealed over a dozen tents huddled around the loch, so I crossed the pass, camping beneath the cliffs of Carn Etchachan without another person in sight. Right after I got the last peg in the ground, a brief hailstorm charged across the plateau, luckily moving on in time for a peaceful night.

Campsite night 1

I woke up shortly after 5am to a light-filled tent, so I went for an early summit of Beinn Mheadhoin. I wasn't the first one there, however - another solo walker gave me a helpful tip on how to climb the rocky summit tor. The air was still cool at this time, and the heather held a golden glow that faded as the sun climbed higher.

Beinn Mheadhoin summit

After descending Beinn Mheadhoin, I packed up before passing through Glen Derry, then went off-trail to traverse the pass below the summit of Beinn Bhreac. This was a mistake, as I burned a lot of energy pushing through the waist-deep heather with a pack on. As a result of this effort, and well aware of the brutal climb ahead of me the next day, I modified my plans slightly and took the next pass (much easier with an established path :wink:) back into Glen Derry to camp for the night.

Glen Derry

Another early start had me arrive at Corrour bothy before 10am. After a nice chat with some other backpackers that had taken the same train up as me, I began to ascend to the high plateau. After getting to the Devil's Point still feeling quite fresh, I had to push harder than expected to tackle the rocky succession of Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, and Carn na Criche under the beating sun. Finally arriving at the wells of Dee was a relief. After setting up the tent, I ambled across the plateau for views of Loch Coire an Lochain and Loch Einich.

The beautiful river Dee

One of many views from the Devil's Point

Camp by the wells of Dee

My final day started with an easy ascent of Braeriach. Being completely alone on this sunny summit was an experience I won't soon forget! I took my time peering down into the corries and scrambling along the rocky promontories, and shortly after the summit, I spotted a curlew and a male ptarmigan, which I had been hoping to see all trip.

Somewhere along the Braeriach ridge

Descending off the plateau, the final miles through the Rothiemurcus were surprisingly beautiful and went by all too quickly. A rather anticlimatic stop at the Aviemore Tesco marked the end of an incredible trip.

Descending into the Rothiemurcus

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Last edited by FearCearc on Tue Jun 07, 2022 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 7, 2022

Re: 4 days and 8 Munros in the Cairngorms by public transit

Postby R1ggered » Mon Jun 06, 2022 7:23 pm

Fantastic effort. Great report and photos. :clap: :clap:
Mountain Walker
Posts: 129
Joined: Nov 28, 2012

3 people think this report is great.
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