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Carn a'Mhaim, Ben Macdui, Derry Cairngorm

Carn a'Mhaim, Ben Macdui, Derry Cairngorm

Postby skuk007 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:22 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Macdui, Càrn a' Mhàim, Derry Cairngorm

Date walked: 28/06/2011

Time taken: 9.75 hours

Distance: 31.8 km

Ascent: 1541m

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Things were looking good when I woke up this morning, bright blue sky and not a lot of cloud. Felt like I had a long day on the cards so after a quick breakfast I was on my way to the Linn of Dee car park again.

When I passed the Inverey YH I noticed a herd of stag in the field next to the road so I quickly pulled over to take a picture. My main camera was in my rucksack in the boot so thought I'd grab a picture on my phone quickly as they were already starting to move away. Memory card full! Och bother! They had scarpered now so chance missed.

Parked up and set off on my bike by 07:20. Really nice ride along to Derry Lodge in the sun today. I carried on over the footbridge behind the Lodge today as I wanted to see if I could cycle all the way to near the ford of the Luibeg just down from the bridge. The path over the river from Derry Lodge was initially soft and boggy so I found it easier to walk my bike across this as I kept sinking. Must get that diet started.

Once on the good path I still had to stop a lot of times to step across the gaps in the path where the streams run down from Carn Crom. I'm not confident enough to stunt-jump teen style across them. I eventually got to the fork in the path where the left path takes you into the woods towards the ford. I had to walk the bike the last 50 yards or so as the path was quite narrow. Got to the ford by 08:20

I locked my bike to a small tree and stashed my spanners and pump under a bit of heather nearby (I like to be prepared incase of punctures but dont want to carry the tools any further than I need to). I debated whether or not to try the ford but there was still a bit of water coming off the hills so I decided to go upstream to the bridge. Followed a path along from the ford all the way.

Once across I followed the path on the other side back down above the river to the gate in the fence. Here I picked up the good path leading to the ridge up Carn a'Mhaim where the good path continued.

Every time I looked behind me I kept noticing this big lump in the distance. I assumed it was Lochnagar but am happy to be corrected if it's not.

It was really quite warm now and there were great views up the glen and across to Derry Cairngorm. I took this opportunity to check out my descent route for later, from Derry Cairngorm back down to the glen. The path was good all the way and it wasn't long before I got my first glimpses of the infamous Devils Point.

I soon reached the first summit at 10:00

Stayed here for a little while just soaking it all in.

I could have stayed longer but had to move on, two more to bag today. I wasn't sure what to expect with the arete from the Carn a'Mhaim summit but it wasn't a problem at all today. What did look tricky was the ascent to Ben Macdui. I got to the small lochans at the start of the ascent by 10:55.

The path started of well but was steep, then about a third of the way up it just changed to a boulder field and the path disappeared.


As usual when this happens I pick a point on the ridge ahead and go straight for it. This bit was hard going so I took several stops to catch my breath, eventually clearing the boulders around 12:00 where I met a group of walkers heading down to the bothy. I noticed a path leading off to the left so headed for that and I took the opportunity to top up my Travel Tap bottle in the Allt Clach nan Taillear when I crossed it. I plodded on past the big shelter and got to the top at 12:20. There were quite few other walkers around taking in the splendid views all across the Lairig Ghru.



There was no mist for the grey-man to hide in today so I didn't get any weird feelings. After a spot of lunch I took a bearing (just for practice more than anything) and headed towards the next summit.

I really enjoyed the walk down towards Loch Etchachan. Great views down the gullies of Coire Sputan Dearg, snow patches, and views over the loch to the other massive Cairngorm hills.




When I was almost level with the loch I turned right and found the path which led all the way to the summit of Derry Cairngorm. Good views across to Lochan Uaine.

Got there at 14:20.

I was quite glad there was a little nip in the air otherwise I could easily have settled down for a long nap. The descent started off quite bouldery but then eventually reached the slope I wanted to take back down to the glen. It was quite steep but mostly dry and in places the heather was knee deep so I was on full tick alert. Great views across to the ridge path leading to Ben Macdui from the glen.

With my walking pole put to good use and a bit of care I was down on the glen path by 15:40.

Now I was on the higher path I could see there was a fence stopping me from reaching the Luibeg Bridge and I couldn't see any obvioud paths/gates path down to it. I decided just to retrace my steps back to where the path forked then double back through the woods to my bike which I reached at 16:10.

My feet were aching a bit now so was I glad to get back on the bike and start heading for the car. Just before I reached the car park at 17:10 I realised I had forgotten something quite important - my tools. What an eejit! The bike wont fit in the car while it still has it's front wheel on.

I debated for a few seconds whether I should go back and get them but then realising I didn't need my bike again after this walk I decided to just ask some people in the car park if they had a 15mm spanner in their car I could borrow. Unfortunately no-one did. I eventually just stuffed the bike in and tied the hatch down with a bit of string so I could get back into Braemar. Luckily the YH had an adjustable spanner which did the job.

So, if anyone is around the ford of the Luibeg (approx 016939) and fancies having a quick scout around under the heather for a bright green dry bag containing some shiny spanners and other tyre stuff I'd be greatful. If you find the treasure and fancy posting it back I'll gladly pay any postage.

Small disappointment on what was otherwise a fabulous walk. Sad to be leaving the Cairngorms after today, but heading west the next day to tackle some more.

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Re: Carn a'Mhaim, Ben Macdui, Derry Cairngorm

Postby rockhopper » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:52 pm

Great report and photos skuk - and enjoyed the video - well done :D Some very helpful detail in the photos for planning - cheers.

With regard to the bike, what you really need are Quick Release wheels and a spare inner tube - no need for tools and repair kits 8) (unless you get more punctures than you have spare tubes as once happened to me :lol: )
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Re: Carn a'Mhaim, Ben Macdui, Derry Cairngorm

Postby monty » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:48 am

Lovely report Skuk007,
That looks like a nice round to do and you certainly got good weather for it. :D Shame about loosing your bike tools. :(

Re: Carn a'Mhaim, Ben Macdui, Derry Cairngorm

Postby dooterbang » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:38 am

some cracking photos. Great day for it.

Yet to do these so TR very handy indeed.

I'll make sure i keep my tools close though :D
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Re: Carn a'Mhaim, Ben Macdui, Derry Cairngorm

Postby dogplodder » Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:30 pm

Great photos and enjoyed video!

Reminded me of when we got caught in thunder storm on top of Carn a' Mhaim. Tess (lab supposedly from gun dog stock) is so frightened of loud bangs she walked literally under my feet - a weird feeling when surrounded by miles of empty space!
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Re: Carn a'Mhaim, Ben Macdui, Derry Cairngorm

Postby Tomsie » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:37 pm

Nice photo's and enjoyed the video
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