Page 1 of 1

An Inspired Walk

PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:48 pm
by Driver84

Having read Del246's report for this walk (sorry, unsure as to how to link in a report), and with a longer, daunting prospect lying ahead of me - Devils Point to Breariach from the Linn of Dee - I was fully inspired to do this walk as a reconnaissance mission!

Stuck at work for this past week, envious of those outside enjoying the weather, I was filled with a certain amount of glee when the MWIS posted good news for the Saturday! :D A prompt to the FiL (father-in-law) and after a very brief phone call on Friday night, this walk was agreed! :)

The bag packed on Friday night, it was off to bed and although not picking up the FiL until 630, I was fully awake at 5! To do this at the weekend we must all be filled with a certain passion for this past-time to which others surely can't understand! Having filled up the car on Friday night amongst the fuelling frenzy I headed straight to his and we left bang on 630am.

The drive up through Glenshee turned optimistic feelings sour as the road past the ski-centre was barely visible through the clag and falling rain - don't remember MWIS mentioning rain! :( Driving onwards into and through Braemar we take the road along to the Linn of Dee car park. £2 parking fee paid, boots on, and waterproofs left in the bag (still slightly drizzly) we were on our merry way for 845. A quick 5 mins walk through the path cutting the trees surrounding the car park, crossing the wooden bridge in between, we hit the main track and swing left. The track/road makes for real easy walking. With the woods on the right and the land clearing to the left you come to a large wooden bridge crossing the Lui Water, once across stick with the main track, again, swinging left. Although slightly undulating the track still makes for easy walking - views soon start opening up, and what I believed to be our target for the day was clag covered.
Looking bleak

Please MWIS, be right and let us have the clearing skies late morning/early afternoon. Please.
Some hope...!

After about an hour we reached Derry Lodge. Following the track beyond DL you come to another footbridge after which signage confirms the way to go!
Back of Derry Lodge

You wanna go this way - honestly, you do!

There is a slight boggy section here to contend with - there is a track that skirts this, but due to the dry weather we made a direct attack across it with no issues. The dusty, stony track continues for ever - this has been our longest walk-in to date, but it is of no hassle, the weather making it enjoyable. Soon our hill is getting closer and it looks as though the cloud is lifting. Through a deer fence the track works its way through the woods and runs next to the river - the track splits here and gives you the option to rock-hop/wade through, or continues on to use the footbridge further up. We went for the rock-hopping option. Once across we took a short break (a quick fuel stop) enjoying the views and general surroundings - it is just such a lovely place. :)
Nearing the river crossing

The track continues up a short, steep section of steps before levelling off slightly as you make your way through another deer fence. Follow the track on again, and upon reaching a clear split in the track take the one biased to the right. This is in line with the track you can see making its way up the south side. Though relatively steep, it poses no problems and height is quickly gained in the quick burst to get up.
the climb ahead

There are a number of worn tracks higher up, to which without realising we went off on one (away from the WH map) but took us to the same place. Our path didn't lead us to the Southern Top, but on approach we could hear the familiar sound of rotor blades once again. Hard to tell for sure what direction the helicopter was as the wind was whipping. Was it close??? We don't know. But it sure wasn't as close as our time up Cairngorm. :shock:

As our path skirted around the southwest of the South Top the view of Cairn Toul came into sight - F€#k me! What a sight! :o So intimidating. We were already at 950 (or so) meters and here was Cairn Toul looming over.
First view of Cairn Toul

Not that I had been lagging on this walk but a renewed energy hit me and I made a rapid final ascent onto the bealach at 999m, and was almost running to the summit. The cloud had lifted from most, and the wind was biting cold, but the views were magnificent! Although not the highest summit in the CG's by a long shot, to quote Karl Pilkington :? "You're better off living in the hole and looking at the palace, than living in the palace and looking at the hole" To me this was totally applicable. I haven't done much walking, but to me, this is one of the best views I've ever had the pleasure to witness - and though close, photos cannot capture the feeling, and sense of awe I had when I was there.
Beinn Bhrotain, Glen Geusachan, and The Devils Point

Looking over to Cairn Toul

Cloud covered Macdui

Soon to be my way up...!

Summit pic

I could have stayed up there for hours - and if it wasn't so cold (Cairngorm registered -3.2 degs the same day!) then I may well have. But with lunch enjoying the views our rest had come to an end and we made our merry way back off the mountain - this time taking in the South Top and going straight of the other side.
Off the South Top and the walk-out ahead...

A whole lot of tracks were now visible, and I think it's pretty much safe to say that they all join up with one another at some point, at in no-time at all we were back on the steep descent and soon last (now first) deer fence was coming into view. We were back down at the river crossing within 45mins or so. A quick hopscotch to the other side

we were soon tearing up the track again - the sky now almost cloud free and the heat building, every now and then being blown away by gusts of biting wind. Another 45 mins had past when we hit Derry Lodge once again. Crossing the bridge we sat on a fallen tree and took on more fuel and liquids looking back to what we had left behind.
Looking back from Derry Lodge

10 mins later we were on our way again - this time the track seemed to go on for EVER - yes it was long - took us the hour again to get back to the first bridge we had crossed, but the day we had just experienced made it easier. I could easily imagine the walk back would have been horrendous had the weather not been anywhere near as nice. Once at the bridge another 15-20 mins we were back at the car.

But what a magnificent day, truly. I am so glad that the MWIS got the forecast bang on and allowed me to see such a beautiful and wonderful landscape. Those views will certainly rank as some of my favourite of all time. :D

Re: An Inspired Walk

PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:43 pm
by simon-b
A spot on report, I'm glad you got the views. Sounds like a top day out.

I'm hoping to do this and some of the other Cairngorms from the Braemar side in June, so this is inspiring as well as inspired.

Re: An Inspired Walk

PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:35 pm
by Driver84

Thanks Simon. :) I know there wasn't much description of the route out - but it was exactly the same as the inward hike - only much more enduring. But glad it is inspiring you also.

I'm hoping to be back up myself, from the Linn of Dee the last week of April.

Here's hoping that we both get the weather for our walks as I got graced with yesterday! :D

Re: An Inspired Walk

PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:38 pm
by simon-b
Driver84 wrote:

Here's hoping that we both get the weather for our walks as I got graced with yesterday! :D

Cheers. I can't complain about the ratio of clear summits to clag I've had in Scotland so far. But I've yet to get a view from a Cairngorm peak. Hopefully that will change soon.

Best of luck with your return to the gorms, too.