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Carn a 'Mhaim, Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm
by nathan79 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:42 pm
Munros included on this walk: Ben Macdui, Carn a'Mhaim, Derry Cairngorm
Date walked: 22/08/2011
Time taken: 11 hours
Distance: 32 km
Ascent: 1691m13 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Day started off badly, slept through my 3am alarms. I'm almost certain i shouted some profanity in my state of semi-slumber. No matter, plenty of daylight so i set off at 8am, arrived in Braemar about 10, porridge and a coffee then along to park up at the Linn of Dee.
Fair few cars in the car park. Soon as i stepped out of mine the midge horde attacked. slapped on some smidge and got moving asap to escape them.
Pleasant walk in. Nice breeze to keep the midgies away.Walked in with a guy who was camping up by Derry Lodge. A knowlegdeable guy who'd spent many years the mountains. He cut off the path to find a sppot to pitch while i continued on my way. Derry Lodge is such a waste of a nice looking, big building sitting there boarded up and unused.
Good view of Carn a'Mhaim on the walk in, the path up is clear to see. A few bikes at various points by the path. I think cycling in the first 3 miles or so may be a preferable option to the walk.
Already aware of the prospect this young greying man may have to face Ben Macdui's old grey man, i was met with the sight of this ghostly frog carcass as i approached the ascent to Carn a'Mhaim.
Sat down with the intention of enjoyng lunch where the path for Carn a'Mhaim cuts off from the one leading to the Lairig Ghru. As soon as i did, the breeze disappeared and the bloodsuckers were at me again. Abandoned my lunch plans and continued on up to summit number 1, hoping to find a windier, midge-free spot.
Nice high cloud level was giving fantastic views all around when i stopped for lunch.
I thought i'd almost missed the CaM summit carn initially but of course this was the 1014m cairn, south of the actual summit cairn. Reached the first summit of the day in just over 3.5hours.
I'd been looking forward to getting a good view of the Devil's Point. The view over it just get's better as you get higher. I've never been attracted by the prospect of long flattish treks, but i think teh Lairig Ghru would be a fantastic walk now i've seen the sights it passes by. I wondered what the bothy at it's base was, i didn't realise that was where Corrour bothy was.
Got myself a fancy new phone and i've been checking out a free HDR app i downloaded to see if it's any good.
Onwards over the ridge towards big bad Ben Macdui. It's a nice enough ridge, not narrow by any means. Not looking forward to what looks like a fairly steep ascent.
I guess the ascent up tio Macdui wasn't too bad, although it required careful going over the boulder field. I met a couple doing the reverse route. I think i had the better lot heading up this than they did going down. Took some pics of Cairn Toul and it's neighbours for a pano.
Glad to reach the plateau and be within spitting distance of the top.
Knew i was nearing the summit cairn when i passed the Sapper's bothy.
At last. Summit of the big boy reached at about 16:35. Happy to sit here for a bit to eat and take in the views and the knowledge i was on Britain's number 2 summit.
Spent a good half hour or so refuelling and savouring the views before heading towards Derry Cairngorm. After 5 now so i needed to get shifting.
Awesome looking crags at the wall of Coire Sputan Dearg.
Continued on down towards Loch Etchachan. Met a guy ascending back up Macdui way where he was camped out (brave man). Still air on this section so the midgies were dining out again so after a brief chat we continued on out respective ways. Looked like there was a tent over by the NE side of the Loch. I'd been wishing i'd brought my tent, but the bloodsuckers had me glad i didn't.
Missed the path to skirt around Creagan a'Choire so i had to head up and over the top. Damn and blast.I'd felt i was on the home stretch descending Macdui but i was feeling the fatigue at this point and i didn't have much food or water left.
Found it strange heading towards Derry Cairngorm. Looking over at Cam it looked so small in comparison to the massive Ben Macdui and it felt weird still being so high above Munro height yet still looking up at Macdui.
Glad to reach the summit at about 10 to 7, but still a good few miles to gobefore i could sit in my car and enjoy a coffee and the half a muffin i'd left from the morning.
Finally time to start heading back to the car. I'd seen Ptarmigan dropings all day, but hadn't caught sight of any, but on the stretch between Derry and Carn Crom i spied 10. All i had left to eat was a bag of nuts and my water supply was done.
A bit of exposure along the route i took along past Coire na Saobhaidh, one bit where i had to down poles and use my hands just to be safe. Nothing major though. I was more concerned on what the path down through the crags was like, glad to find my worries were unnecessary. It's a good path all the way down back to Derry Lodge. I'll admit to emitting a groan or two as i climbed over the two styles.
Down low at glen level, the midge horde immediately found me. I had to stop to get some more smidge on and stick a hat on. They were a blessing in a way, powered by midge rage i kept up a good pace along Glen Lui back to the car park. About 8.45 by this point and light was fading, but there was no need to break out the head torch just yet. A guy cycled past me making his way back along towards the Linn of Dee. I was tempted to ask him for a lift! Kept my eyes peeled for any dusk-loving wildlife, didn't see too much though. A few toads hopping across the path and the bats were out feeding as i crossed the bridge over Lui water.
At last! The path into the woods and i was almost there. Donned the head torch through the trees and after a long day i was back at my car just after 9:30. Gear dumped in the boot and drove along to Braemar where i had the other half of tha muffin and finished my flask of coffee.
My route ended up being just over 20 miles and i was disappointed that i just missed beating the 11hour mark. So glad to get some fluids down me, and as a bonus i'd forgotten i'd left an apple in my coolbag.
10:15 when i set off on the 2 hour drive home, the odd car coming along the opposite direction along the A93 and at one point a daredevil/idiotic sheep nonchalantly chewing away on the northbound side of the road. Home after midnight. I'd been looking forward to beer and a bath, but there was no way i was having the latter at that time of night. Shower, pizza and beer then mich needed sleep.
by soulminer » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:15 pm
- Posts: 804
- Joined: Mar 18, 2010
- Location: Johnstone
by gammy leg walker » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:15 pm
by malky_c » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:48 pm
This remains one of my favourite days out ever in the hills, and went a long way to ensuring that the Cairngorms are one of my favourite ranges. We did it on a stunning blue sky day in March, when there was plenty of snow left on the plateau, but it was essentially summer walking. Good memories
by Stretch » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:51 pm
By the way, was that a large Pizza Hut pizza?
by pigeon » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:03 pm
by Graeme D » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:05 pm
by rockhopper » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:18 pm
by nathan79 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:41 pm
This is one area i'd definitely like to visit under a blanket of snow(and ideally clear blue skies!). I'd definitely like to camp up there in midge free conditions.
Stretch, i wouldn't call it a scramble, just maybe about a 3 foot slab of rock that you can't really just stroll across. And i wish it was a pizza hut pizza. I kept thinking f what my post-walk feast would be be, unfortunately getting home after midnight meant i just had to raid the fridge. It just wasn't the same.
by ChrisW » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:17 pm
by Alastair S » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:03 am
I had a crackin' day & took some of my best photos that day + I hit the 50 mark on Ben Macdui (50 on Macdui). I entered a couple of the photos from that day in the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition but sadly didn't get short-listed
by nathan79 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:16 pm
Yeah, so far i wouldn't say that HDR app's delivered a snap that looks anything like an HDR image! It did add some jazzy colouring to one shot i tool whilst simultaneously reducing the image quality. I think i must accept there's no shortcut.
by JGKES » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:31 pm
by iainwatson » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:11 am
i'm eyeing the south ridge for the saturday in kintail if you fancy it?