walkhighlands

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I dont have to get high to be happy...

I dont have to get high to be happy...


Postby jstalker66621 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:39 pm

Date walked: 07/01/2012

Time taken: 4 hours

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A low level reminder of what I find so beautiful and appealing about the Cairngorm national park...My intention was to revisit an old walk today at Cairnwell (the three Munro circuit above the Glenshee ski centre) which I first did a few years ago with Chris and Mark in beautiful summer weather.

Recently I have been all about walking new Munro's, bagging summits, visiting new locations, meeting new people to walk with...and today would have been no different if the weather forecast wasn't so bad and I had stayed somewhere overnight to get an early start without a long drive. As it happened I had hoped for company today but others wanted to do the whole weekend and I didn't feel like it (for once). So off I set this morning heading to Glenshee with the intention of taking Jelly McBaby up a route he had not previously been on with me. However, the first problem of the day was when I arrived at Glenshee to find it absolutely hoaching with skiers...a full car park as well...everywhere I looked they were there. Not one for crowds I opted to u-turn back to Braemar and head out to Linn of Dee instead. I decided to walk along Glen Derry for as far as I could in the conditions (wet and blustery) and set myself a target of enjoying my day out regardless of how far I got or what the weather did.

After parking up in Linn of Dee and paying the ticket machine (which I almost forgot) I set along the trail through the trees, crossing the slatted wooden concourse, up through more trees then onto the path proper.

When I started walking Munro's back in 2006 my first few adventures were in the Cairngorms, along this very path, which I grew to hate with each trip along and back. Such is the length of the walk in to any Munro in this area that you are always faced with a long walk back afterwards...it can be soul destroying after walking and climbing for anything up to ten hours on some routes...every step back along the path from Derry lodge to Linn of Dee would be felt as though my legs were ready to drop off.
P1070034.JPG

And as it's the main route into the Cairngorms you are left with no alternative but to walk it more than once (unless you fancy a long weekend camping out on summit plateaux to bag them all together).

The main difference today, except that I haven't done it since 2010 (Derry Cairngorm with Mark and Chris), was that today there would be no target to reach at the other end, meaning I felt less intense walking along the path and could enjoy it for what it is...an excellent access path to one of the best areas in Scotland.
P1070027.JPG

As I headed in along the path towards Derry Lodge the weather reminded me of why I wasn't up a hill today...blustery swirls of rain battered against me and I pulled my hood tighter and my buff higher on my face. The path was quite slippery with ice and had a fair amount of snow on it in places, not what I was expecting at such low level. The summits that I could start to make out through the blizzard above them were covered in snow, unlike so many other areas recently, the Cairngorms holds onto its winter covering sometimes well into the summer months.
P1070016.JPG

As I approached Derry Lodge I could start to make out Carn Crom through the swirls of sleet and snow, rising high above the lodge across Luibeg burn...temptation almost took me across the bridge towards it...but I resisted and stayed on the right bank of the burn and followed the rising path along Glen Derry, leaving the lodge behind. Derry lodge is a fine looking building that is unfortunately boarded up permanently. It is owned by the NTS and in my opinion more use should be made of such facilities.
P1070014.JPG

This is yet another fine path that gives access to Beinn a'Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac on the right side of Glen Derry and fine views of Derry Cairngorm's sloping flanks along to Carn Crom on the left of the Glen. The path rises to a height of approx 515m before turning downhill again...it is at this point that you would head off to your right and follow a faint path through the trees, if you were heading for Beinn Bhreac.
P1070002.JPG

But I followed the path down in front of me as I continued on my merry way (merry and wet and cold) to wherever I felt like stopping and turning back. With the time I was taking to trudge through thick snow (even at this low level) I calculated reaching not much further than the last bridge across Luibeg burn before having to about turn and head back. There were plenty of deer tracks along the path, but no sign of any deer. There were a few sets of old boot prints, complete with crampons (the tell tale marks in the snow give it away)no less, heading along the track as well, surely from this morning as opposed to yesterday.
P1070001.JPG

As I dropped down into the Glen again I could barely make out anything in the distance, when I had been hoping to make out Beinn Mheadhoin and the slopes curving around Derry Cairngorms lower reaches at the very least. I could see the start of the deer fences, erected to protect the new saplings from ravenous deer, but not much else beyond that. The wind was picking up, the sleet was getting wetter and I was getting colder...Brrrrr time to head back me thinks.
So I crossed the bridge over the burn and followed the path back on the other side of Luibeg burn...what a mistake that was!!
P1070009.JPG

The snow was even thicker at this side and no-one had been through it in days (if at all) so I kept plunging through to freezing cold puddles beneath the surface as I followed the path back.
P1070018.JPG

I forgot that the path on this side follows closer to the burn so would naturally be wetter than the higher one I took out...but at least the trees were thicker and provided more protection from the elements above (except all the ones that Mother nature had toppled over in a strop...PMT me thinks!!).
P1070019.JPG

I trudged back along to Derry lodge, crossed the wooden structure carefully (vibram soles and wet wood don't go well together) and took a slight detour off route to Bob Scott's bothy.
P1070028.JPG

P1070029.JPG

My first trip into this area was with Asima and a few others doing the Lairig Ghru in 2006, where we spent a night camping out at the bothy. We even built a camp fire and toasted marshmallows, as well as a perfectly good pair of socks that got just a little too close to the flames when I tried to dry them out whilst still wearing them (oh you live and learn).
P1070026.JPG

This only left the last walk back to Linn of Dee from Derry lodge to go...the source of much suffering previously was a canter today. I passed a few other walkers on the way, a young family whose kids were already fed up of peddling bikes so the Father was left pushing them along, and a couple of lads dressed for the arctic but without any packs on.
P1070035.JPG

The red bridge (not it's actual name, though I don't know why) was crossed and the last leg was upon me...time for some last minute reflection...before I made it back to the car and my flask full of custard and ginger cake (a lesson learned here today also, if using custard make sure its full fat custard and not the low fat version...it turns watery as it cools...I ended up almost drinking it).
P1070036.JPG

It doesn't matter what your preference is; crampons or microspikes, walking poles or ice axe, bladder or bottle, map and compass or GPS, soft shell or hard shell...the list goes on...these are just some of the material things that we use to help us get from A to B safely and in comfort on the hills...What is really important to remember is that the most undervalued asset at our disposal as we tackle all of these challenges before us is passion. Without passion we wouldn't set foot out of the car and head into some of the weather we experience across this beautiful country of ours, be that rain, snow or heatwave (we each have our own preference for walking in) as we strive to achieve happiness from one of life's simple pleasures (and something that we all take for granted at one time or another). People talk about battling against all the odds to make it to a summit...but I prefer to think that we embrace rather than battle...we embrace the challenge set before us and hold onto all the fond memories we collect along the way, even the bad days are used to mould into experience to use on the better days when everything goes our way.

As I passed the halfway mark of Munro's last year I started to think about targets for the year ahead and also about where I would like to do my final Munro, if I make it that far, and in a way I now feel that I lost sight of what is important to me (from a hill walking perspective). It matters not that I do them all (though it would be a nice achievement) but that I get out and do them at all. I love this country of ours (from a natural beauty perspective) and want to continue travelling around it, seeing every part of it at least once, meeting new people to walk with and share my adventures along the way.
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby Tomsie » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:56 pm

Another good report John.

Have never being to Linn of Dee but sure I'll be there sometime this year.

Thanks for the tip on the custard :lol:
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby jstalker66621 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:02 pm

Tomsie wrote:
Thanks for the tip on the custard :lol:


Pity I couldn't give you a tip on keeping soup hot 8)
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby Tomsie » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:07 pm

jstalker66621 wrote:
Tomsie wrote:
Thanks for the tip on the custard :lol:


Pity I couldn't give you a tip on keeping soup hot 8)


Binned the flask :(
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby mrssanta » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:17 pm

Custard and ginger cake in a flask - what a fantastic idea!
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby Tomsie » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:52 pm

mrssanta wrote:Custard and ginger cake in a flask - what a fantastic idea!



Last one looked good too
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby pollyh33 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:20 pm

mmmmm have I read this before somewhere???? :lol: :lol:

Whether its here or elsewhere Mr Bloggy, it is a fantastic read.

Well done John - loved it :D :D

PS don't know about Mother Nature having PMT but have you and Tomsie checked your testosterone levels recently??? :lol: :lol:
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby JGKES » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:00 pm

Very good report and pics which took me back to my walk in July this year from Linn of Dee to the summit of Carn a' Mhaim .Actually I enjoyed the walk out,the combination of beautiful river and pine woods being one not often savoured in England;not by me,anyway.I know what you mean by the Cairngorm hills holding snow well into the warmer months. I remember clearly visiting the sandy shore of Loch Morlich in early June 1978 on a warm and cloudless day with snowline at 3000 feet and the blue lake backed by Cairn Gorm and Cairn Lochan whose upper reaches were plastered in snow. It was almost surreal,and again not a sight to be seen in England at such a time of year.
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby mountain thyme » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:10 pm

Ive been along there 3 or 4 times now. But ive always taken my bike (high spec Alistair S calls it!!) See his recent report on the corbett here.

The path at Derry Lodge looks fantastic compared to when i climbed Beinn Bhreac a few weeks ago. I must of came of my bike at least 10 times.
I prefer to take the bike because like you the thought of walking it back after the munros is a killer . Much better with a bike when tackling the munros around this area :D
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby jstalker66621 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:26 am

mrssanta wrote:Custard and ginger cake in a flask - what a fantastic idea!


It's darn tasty MrsS, but as I found out it's also rather sickly if the custard thins out in the flask :o
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby jstalker66621 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:32 am

pollyh33 wrote:mmmmm have I read this before somewhere???? :lol: :lol:

Whether its here or elsewhere Mr Bloggy, it is a fantastic read.

Well done John - loved it :D :D

PS don't know about Mother Nature having PMT but have you and Tomsie checked your testosterone levels recently??? :lol: :lol:


Perhaps you imagined it all again Polly...like the semi naked pic on CMD of me and Jelly McBaby you "think" you saw one time :shock: :shock:

Wasn't going to post it, as I said, but your feedback persuaded me that it was okay :)

I had a check of my testosterone level as you suggested...twice last night and once this morning 8) 8)
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby jstalker66621 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:38 am

JGKES wrote: Actually I enjoyed the walk out,the combination of beautiful river and pine woods being one not often savoured in England;not by me,anyway.


The walk out is pleasant, as I found on Saturday, but when you do it on a regular basis (as I did in the early days to reach a number of routes in the Cairngorms) it grows almost tedious in nature and certainly was becoming a slog on the return journey (I think this is one of the main reasons I tend not to repeat walks for at least six months, to let the familiarity wane). Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder in this case. :)
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby jstalker66621 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:44 am

mountain thyme wrote:
The path at Derry Lodge looks fantastic compared to when i climbed Beinn Bhreac a few weeks ago. I must of came of my bike at least 10 times.


There were certainly areas of ice remaining on the path, mostly between the car park and the red bridge, and fresh snow lying quite deep at times, for a low foot path, up beyond Luibeg bridge. :o
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby SusieThePensioner » Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:32 pm

I went for the option of reading this report rather than getting "blogged" down :lol:

Thought it was a great report, really enjoyed reading it and, your photos :thumbup: Where was y***y ****y *****y?

jstalker66621 wrote:if using custard make sure its full fat custard and not the low fat version...it turns watery as it cools...I ended up almost drinking it).
Yuk :(

jstalker66621 wrote:we embrace the challenge set before us and hold onto all the fond memories we collect along the way, even the bad days are used to mould into experience to use on the better days when everything goes our way.
Thats a good maxim. How very true and that is even more relevant to me, now that I can't walk anymore :)
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Re: I dont have to get high to be happy...

Postby jstalker66621 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:18 pm

Susie, the custard was not as bad as it sounds, though clearly it should not be repeated as I think all my fillings melted!!!
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