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Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm


Postby Frogwell » Sun May 22, 2011 10:48 pm

Route description: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Macdui, Derry Cairngorm

Date walked: 22/05/2011

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The plan was to walk up past Derry Lodge on Thursday afternoon and camp somewhere up Glen Luibeg, but by the time I'd got to Derry Lodge the wind was substantial enough with a forecast for it to increase through the night that I really wanted to camp somewhere as sheltered as possible. With that in mind I stuck the tent right next to the lodge. Not the most exciting wild camp spot I grant you, but listening to the wind through the night I'm quite glad I picked there. Well, almost glad anyway, a couple of hours after I pitched a couple came and plonked their tent right next to mine and one of them snored like a freight train most of the night. I was okay with the wind howling and the heavy raining drumming on the tent, but that snoring was unbearable and that's the first time I'm ever had to use ear plugs while camping. I think next time someone tries to camp right next to me I'm going to try and look as antisocial as possible - I'll read the Daily Mail or something.

I'd set my alarm for six thinking that would give me plenty of time to get my stuff together, head off along Glen Luibeg, up Carn a Mhaim, along the ridge to Macdui and then back down via Derry Cairngorm. Six saw the rain still coming down by the bucket load though, so I reset my alarm for seven. Same thing - eight. Same thing - eight thirty. I couldn't force myself to sleep any longer though so I just got up and started to pack my stuff up. Fortunately by the time I'd got my sleeping bag and whatnot away the rain had stopped and a quick peek out the door revealed increasing amounts of blue sky. Excellent. well, almost excellent, there was still a substantial amount of wind.

It was about ten before I was actually leaving Derry, a full three hours later than planned and by the time I got to the Carn a Mhaim/Macdui junction I just couldn't see how I was going to do all three Munros and be back before dark - which I needed to be as the batteries in my head torch seemed to have died. A little less happy I headed to Mcdui. Pretty uneventful for the first mile or so, although crossing the Luibeg burn was a little touch and go due to all the rain in the night.

It's got to be said, there's an awful lot of uphill to Macdui. The higher I got the more the wind picked up too and by the time I got to about 2200 feet it was fierce. The buffeting was severe and a few times it almost blew me right over. I met another guy who had been ahead of me but turned back deciding that the wind was just too much. By this point I was glad I didn't do Carn a Mhaim, that ridge would not have been fun in the high wind. Anyway, I plodded on, and on and on. Eventually I actually made it to the summit and had to myself for a few minutes before half a dozen others appeared from the North East.

I was quite pushed for time by this point and was trying to make good time. That, along with the relentless wind making navigating the boulder fields tough going and the increasing number of passing snow/sleet/hail showers made photography a little harder, so for the most part I left the camera in the pack. Shame though, I really wish I'd planned better as I found it to be one of the better looking corners of the Cairngorms.

On the way back I went up Creagan a' Choire Etchachan and Derry Cairngorm - the former sort of by accident actually, I'd got it in my head that it was Derry Cairngorm, not sure why, but I did. I made good time on the way down (and what a lot of down there is), and my knees complained about the punishment every step of the way. The area round Derry Lodge had really got busy - Thursday night had ten other tents, but Friday had at least twice that and there was still people heading up as I was heading down. In one gaggle of tents I counted four Scarp1's - a good showing I thought. They were quite exposed to the West and the forecast was for substantial wind through the night, so if any of those Scarp owners are on this forum I'd be interested in hearing how they got on.

Bloody chip shop in Braemar closer right as I was walking to the door - that's twice that's happened to me in the past month or so after a walk. Still, the roads were pretty clear so I made good time back to the chip shop in Perth, although at one point I almost ran over an Otter. That's a first for me.

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Frogwell
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby trailer » Mon May 23, 2011 2:53 am

Super shots and a great report too.

Out of curiosity were you using an ND Grad or processing (or otherwise) on some of the shots?
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby Frogwell » Mon May 23, 2011 8:34 am

ND Grad and circular polariser on most of them. Cheating I know, but such is life :)
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby trailer » Mon May 23, 2011 10:08 am

Personally I think it works very well :) It can be difficult sometimes to get away from having that "washed out" sky look.
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby Alastair S » Mon May 23, 2011 12:35 pm

Yes, weather has been particularly wild of late. Some really nice photos in there still.
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby ChrisW » Mon May 23, 2011 12:49 pm

Great report Frogwell and as always - cracking pics, it's not cheating to use an ND Grad or polariser (or both), you are just using the tools available to get the best shot possible :wink: :D
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby NevJB » Mon May 23, 2011 2:19 pm

Great report - using filters is not cheating - artistic license. However, even contemplating reading the Daily Mail is worrying - the snoring must been loud :D :D
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby pollyh33 » Mon May 23, 2011 2:25 pm

I don't know anything about cameras, lens, filters et al, but I do know that those photos are smashing and the report is pretty good too- loved it! :D
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby Frogwell » Mon May 23, 2011 4:38 pm

Thanks for all the comments :)

It was actually your route I was trying to follow Alistair. Out of curiosity, do you save any of your gpx files from your walks?
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby EACHANN AN DOIRE » Mon May 23, 2011 8:16 pm

Great photos there - one or two in particular are really excellent.
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby Alastair S » Mon May 23, 2011 9:39 pm

Frogwell wrote:It was actually your route I was trying to follow Alistair. Out of curiosity, do you save any of your gpx files from your walks?

Yes, I save them all and upload them for all my reports (since I got my ViewRanger / GPS phone). The mapping facilities on this site are superb and its this feature that really makes WH outstanding for me.
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby Stu101 » Mon May 23, 2011 11:36 pm

Frogwell wrote:ND Grad and circular polariser on most of them. Cheating I know, but such is life :)


Great report and picks.

Would this work with a digital slr?
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby Frogwell » Tue May 24, 2011 9:30 am

Stu101 wrote:
Frogwell wrote:ND Grad and circular polariser on most of them. Cheating I know, but such is life :)


Great report and picks.

Would this work with a digital slr?


Yup, it's a Nikon D90 DSLR I use. I use the Cokin P filter system which allow me to take them off and on very quickly.
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Frogwell
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby Astronick » Tue May 24, 2011 12:28 pm

Frogwell wrote:The area round Derry Lodge had really got busy - Thursday night had ten other tents, but Friday had at least twice that and there was still people heading up as I was heading down. In one gaggle of tents I counted four Scarp1's - a good showing I thought. They were quite exposed to the West and the forecast was for substantial wind through the night, so if any of those Scarp owners are on this forum I'd be interested in hearing how they got on.


I'm fairly sure that gaggle of tents including the four Scarps will have been people on the TGO Challenge - a lot of people were reporting hunkering down in the Derry Lodge/Linn of Dee area to shelter from the wind.

I have a Scarp 1 and have to say it is impressive in the wind though I wouldn't have been keen to test it over the last couple of days...

Excellent pictures - definitely worth battling the elements for that dramatic light and views.
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Re: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm

Postby gagfax » Tue May 24, 2011 2:55 pm

That you ditched the wee red comp Nick? :shock:
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