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devils point

devils point

Postby paul2610 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:58 pm

Route description: Cairn Toul - Braeriach traverse

Munros included on this walk: Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Sgòr an Lochain Uaine, The Devil's Point

Date walked: 28/09/2011

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thanks for all the patting on the back about my efforts thus far - I feel so overwhelmed by it all I've decided you need to endure another of my commentries of dare deviling and high adventure amongst the pink rocks of the cairngorms. Their is also an added benefit to this one just for those who hate static photo's and prefer to actually see the patron suffering under severe stress, pressure - i.e. having the time of his life and loveing every moment of it!! This walk was filmed and apart from the glossy GPX file attached, below is a link to a flash presentation I produced, wrote and even allowed my allustrious dorset voice to par-take in; (flash as in the software adobe flash - flash as in fantastic it is not!) Oh and better point out that this was from a year or so ago and the chairty stuff has finished, just left it in to show off my techy abilities!!


So on with the show and first up we have the sugar bowl nestled just under the ski centre, a round potholed car park with the wierdest name but lined with loads of trees for all those important pre-trek unloading of the early morning acumulated coffee and tea waste!

from there it's via one of the better redeeming features of this walk, and that is a short stretch of woodland, nothing much I know but when you spent along time amongst the treeless forest of the highlands, a little bit goes along way. This leads down into a narrow, shallow gorge or the grand canyon of cairngorms as I refer to it but with a bridge over the sweetest sounding river leading upto the reindeer paddocks (which if not there are somewhere out in the wilderness).

Sense would dictate that the best views come as you gain height but like my mind, thats all wrong in the cairngorms and just after reaching the top above the gorge look back - near to the path you should see a lone pine, well not totally along but bigger then the others and just to the right of it is the gap way down by the green loch; depending on the season, light and time of day you can get some great B & W or colour moodish photos of that scene.

OK the next destination is the chalamain gorge (could say that this walk is so full of gorgous.....no maybe not!) the walk to it is quite boring unless of course the skies are clear and theirs no haze but I guess thats what happens when the paths are so well maintained that the walking is a breeze and not a slog - that comes soon - so up above the paddacks turn right and follow along, desend down then follow a gradual climb over the most luzurious path I've seen here (like a marble avenue) atleast it feels that good once you enter the gap that is chalamain; like some april fools day trick it feels like the builders of the path before took all the large and wierd shaped rocks and thrown it all over the place in the gorge to hopfully cause as much differculty as possible - if your not a fan of scrambling over rocks and I'm sure many of you adventourous types just eat them up!!! then their is a faint track going over the gorge on the right side, which if your inclined allows you to hear and perhaps snigger at the sufferings of those below in the gorge.

Lets re-cap, so far you've had oxford street to walk over and then the earthqauke avenue, after that comes the peak fields. Sometimes they can be spongy and you just bounce down to the river at the start of the lairig ghru, but other most times they can be a quadmire with the sucking power of a blackhole where you may just loose your boots - even so the views are fantastic of where your heading just north down to the woods and the straingest looking flat area's above the river - are they man made or really just moraines!

Before starting the climb upto braeriach do not think that because your coming back this way that your leave that photo till them...tut tut..I promise you it wont be the same so take it now.

After crossing the river, still dry, we start the asent upto the west plateau of the cairngorms or the eden cheese as I call it due to its shape i.e. the highest point along the red coating is the ridge we are to follow, the steep side is the cliff face dropping into lairig ghru and the long gradual slope is the other side going down to loch nan cnapan.

Ye now that I've dashed all all great lliterature about these parts we hurry on. The climb upto the plateau is similar in character to all walking climbs upto the plateau, its long, never ending but atleast on this day for me cloud hide the top and the occasional depressing glance above of a top that did'nt seem to get any nearer was deprived. From memory of eariler walks I remember that the top once reached is quite wide and long initially looking like a football pitch and the views are obviously fantastic looking down the lairig viewing first hand the destructive but poetic work of glaciers; the huge boulk of Ben Macdui refusing to the demands of the glacier and not allowing it to create the corries, gullies and hidden lochs which appear along this ridge your on, that all come in and out of view as you progress along it and seem much much more immense, grand and real viewed up close and personal.

After the football pitch turn right preferably before dropping off the edge (in dense cloud bearings and pacing would be handy!) and head upto towards the braeriach summit. You might think in bad weather that it would be just easier to follow the edge of the ridge (which should be on your left) but after braeriach that is not agood idea as the cliff edge is not that well defined and their are few cairns to mark the way, not that following the cliff edge is a good idea any where but expeically here as can be seem on my video there is still alot of snow up here in summer and any cornaces will definetly be very weak so use bearings and pacing alot.

But no worries you guys will be doing it in clear weather like sensible people and the route round to cairn toul will be very visible and your be snapping away like over eager japanese tourist at the constant (almost) 360 degree views. In clear hazless weather these can be stunning.

On this day the cloud started its swooping in and out just under the wells of dee and despite my many visitations to this ridge a huge sigh of relief came over me as I hate walking on bearings - always the fight with whether their right or not! plus just after this point the wind seemed to calm down not like on other visit when it just got stronger. I remember a few years ago when it was so bad that I had to opt out down the corrie under cairn toul when any possible advance was done on all fours - that was fun believe me!

Talking of the wind, just because the forecast might say its in a westerly direction, do not think that within these deep glens that it does just blow in that direction, some trips have seen me walking against the wind along the entire trip and others with it - all just adds to the fun of it!

Referance a defined track along this ridge, past the football pitch it tends to dimish and turns into many fiant little ones as people wander but seems to get a grip of its self again just by the pools of dee and runs down to the climb of cairn toul with another leading upto angels peak.

From this point you are offically entering 'all the hard work done, now enjoy it' stage of the entire walk, so if you want to stop every 5 minutes to soak up the views, the atmosphere and pure wonder of one of earths great vistas, then do it, whats the rush, if done in june you have more then enough daylight - forget the work load, chores, worries, up here your in another world far from that, where the air is fresh, your free and alive.

After the hike upto the cairn toul cairn it is a simple matter of following the path down the spine of the cliff edge which eventually leads to devils point and your destination not forgetting to turn round now and again to see the views behind you. by the cliff edge under the summit cairn of devils point you get to be the lucky viewee in clear weather of the grand meeting of four glens; the lairig, geusachan, dee and luibeg - the wind rushes up the cliff to try and pull you away but fight it and marval in the huge expanse of their meeting where rivers fight, winds fight, clouds swirl and tiny ants scurry along narrow paths - and that little child in you screams 'I'm king (or queen) of the hill'.....please don't say I'm the only one who does that sort of thing!

You have to wonder, devils point - angles peak two very odd names amongst mountains dominated by gealic names ; braeriach (Brindled greyish upper part), Cairn toul (Hill of the barn), Ben Macdui (Hill of the Black Pig) etc. I did read somewhere that it was originally called devils penis but period modesty had it changed to point and that each was brought into being to counter each other - the good, the bad I guess with what being the ugly, perhaps the wind! That all sound very OK but every time I think of how that name was picked I always see two very georgan gents wondering up glen dee in breeches with thick pipes and shot guns in hand followed by countless maids, servants and hounds around them.

'I say old boy, that peak yonder has the most parculiar shape'
'by jove regonald I think your right - reminds one of.....a penis!'

reginald clears his monicle and takes a closer look

'by devil, it does..shocking, shocking'

So swiftly moving onto other things......next is the steep desent into the bowls of the lairig leaving behind all the vistas and other bits behind as the dark sides of the glen close within you as you delve deeper into the machinary that is forever changing this landscape or atleast cross it on a nice little bridge (river dee) after passing the well maintained but small refuge shelter (corrour bothy) - refuge being its main purpose I am told during periods of mother nature having a tantrum but used for over nights as well I think despite to me they always seem to have the insulation properties of a sheet of tiolet paper in a blizzard.....don't know really but always remember that the cold hard metal of the shelter on ben nevis offered very little during a blizzard once.

The long walk up the lairig can be interesting sometimes; most times it feels good on the flat, you start to meet many other fellow adventours and after the overflow of excitemnt and fullfilment up on top this relative easy walk back to man made machinary and pint of ale is soothing if not offering out of the wind a chance to reflect and unwind - or am I just talking total rubbish....again. All I know is at over 40 and after a 12 mile walk a change of pace is better then good, plus after passing the worsed pub crawl dieaster in local history (taillear stone) a slight stretch on its flat top is more them welcome while eating the last of the caesars salad and peppered salmon steaks.

After this short rest, the path starts to raise slowly on its route to the summit of the lairig at the pools of dee and once again the corries around braeriach and cairn toul start to come into view again but from a much different perspective then before like huge hollowed out basins like some huge stone eating dinsaur just chomped them out leaving clean cuts and lots of crumbs for all the little'ns. Oh and a few more water falls come into view whose sound is pretty much un-misstakable and makes it hard to discuss important topics of the day with any one. Nearing the pools we enter the 'lets have a laugh and leave odd shaped boulders all over the place' zone just like in chalamian, so beware can't remember the amounts of times I've scratched my calfs on some of these boulders.

After the summit you gain a nice path which leads you back to where you started climbing up to the plateau, from their on just re-trace your steps back to the sugar bowl.

One last thing - upon leaving the sugar bowl car park and if on your own, the sharp bend makes it hard to see any on coming traffic, so have the window open and music off to aid hearing any cars then just go for it when clear and do visit the pub (as long as you do not drive afterwards - I talking to all you reckless mid age old reberious teenagers out there)cause you have just done one of the longest days walks in the cairngorms and seen the best views on offer and all it cost was a few mm of sole leather.

sugar bowl-devils point-pub.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

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Re: devils point

Postby taylor94 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:13 pm

Nice report

I will be climbing the devils point in November I have always loved the look of that mountain.

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