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Sgor Mor Bivvy and a Cairngorms Panorama

Sgor Mor Bivvy and a Cairngorms Panorama


Postby GariochTom » Tue May 29, 2012 7:13 am

Route description: Sgor Mor circular, from the Linn of Dee

Munros included on this walk: The Devil's Point

Corbetts included on this walk: Sgor Mor

Date walked: 27/05/2012

Distance: 31 km

Ascent: 1190m

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Having been given 'The Book of the Bivvy' for Christmas, I couldn't wait for the summer to arrive so that I could try my bivvy bag out for the first time. Then, last week it seemed that Summer had arrived early, so I hatched a plan to bivvy out on Sgor Mor over the weekend.

After much deliberation I decided to opt for my 4-season sleeping bag rather than my 2-season one. I also decided to take my tent, just in case.

I set off from a very busy Linn of Dee just after 5pm, and headed west up the track that leads to White Bridge. My rucksack was very heavy, and the weight was particularly noticeable when I started the ascent up the heather-clad hillside, towards Carn an 'ic Duibh. It was a hard slog up the slope, and I stopped frequently to catch my breath, taking in the view down Glen Dee.

It was a relief when I the gradient eased and I knew that the top was near. Once I reached the plateau it was an easy walk to the cairn, from which I enjoyed the view north, up Glen Derry towards Beinn Mheadhoin. How different the conditions were when we walked up that hill last month, when it seemed like mid-winter.

Image
P1030703R by GariochT, on Flickr

After a short rest I set off again, up a gentle slope towards Sgor Dubh. This next top featured both a cairn and a trig point, along with great views across to Derry Cairngorm and Ben Macdui, so I stopped here for a while too (any excuse to relieve my shoulders from the weight of my heavy rucksack).

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P1030717R by GariochT, on Flickr

I continued west along the ridge, over slightly boggy ground, the views north getting better and better.

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P1030791R by GariochT, on Flickr

The Sun was now quite low, which made it difficult to see the way ahead when negotiating the rocky area around the summit of Sgor Mor, but eventually I reached the top. I dropped my rucksack off by the cairn then wandered around, to take in more views and find a suitable bivvy spot. There were several tor-like features to the southwest, beyond which in the distance I recognised the many-corried Beinn a' Ghlo. By now, much of the hills and glens to the north were in shadow.

I found a relatively flat piece of ground, sheltered by a low rocky crag but close to the summit, which seemed good as a bivvy spot. I set out my inflatable mat and put my sleeping bag into the bivvy bag (which is almost as difficult as putting a cover on a duvet). Then I settled down with a beer and a rhubarb pie, to wait for the Sun to set. The first swig of beer went straight to my head – must have been the altitude, or the heat.

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P1030837R by GariochT, on Flickr

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P1030842R by GariochT, on Flickr

Eventually the Sun descended behind The Devil's Point, leaving the hills bathed in a yellowish glow.

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P1030860R by GariochT, on Flickr

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P1030883R by GariochT, on Flickr

After constant fidgeting to get comfortable and slipping off my sleeping mat, I realised that even gentle slopes are not the best bivvy spots. I moved the setup a few metres, to a flatter but slightly less sheltered bit of ground. And eventually fell asleep.

I woke at around 1am. The night sky was surprisingly light, and despite this I could see the stars clearly, including the Plough directly above me. The hills were crowned by a reddish-blueish hue.

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P1030896 by GariochT, on Flickr

I set my alarm for 4am, so that I could catch the sunrise. There was no need; I was awake again before then.

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P1030909R by GariochT, on Flickr

The 'golden hour' of excellent light for photography lasted a good three hours, during which time I kept snapping and had my muesli.



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Morning from Sgor Mor by GariochT, on Flickr

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P1030941R by GariochT, on Flickr

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P1030992R by GariochT, on Flickr

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P1040003R by GariochT, on Flickr

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P1030985R by GariochT, on Flickr

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P1030957R by GariochT, on Flickr

At around 6.30 I dragged myself away from the summit and headed down the western slopes, which were indeed very wet in places as I had been warned. I skirted around the side of Creagan nan Gabhar, but on checking the map and double checking with my GPS I realised that I had gone further west than anticipated. I was not far from the path up Glen Dee, so I decided to join this for easier walking, and pay a visit to Corrour Bothy, rather than negotiate more boggy ground by the lochan. Whilst I was there I might as well pop up The Devil's Point.

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P1040009R by GariochT, on Flickr

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P1040012R by GariochT, on Flickr

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P1040026 by GariochT, on Flickr

After some unexpected boggy ground before joining the path that skirts the base of Carn a' Mhaim, I crossed the bridge and reached Corrour. There was no way I was going to take my big rucksack up The Devil's Point, so I packed a fleece, waterproof, map and bottle into a stuff bag to take with me and left my rucksack in the empty bothy.

I was very glad to have lost the rucksack when I ascended the steep path up Coire Odhar. There was a snow cornice just below the bealach, and the ground at the bealach itself was sodden, with many small rills - probably the result of recent snow-melt. I then negotiated the rocky way to the summit.

There were excellent views from the top, over to Cairn Toul and up the Lairig Ghru, and south down Glen Dee with the cliffs of Beinn Bhrotain.



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Cairn Toul and Lairig Ghru from Devils Point by GariochT, on Flickr

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P1040042R by GariochT, on Flickr

I returned to the bealach. It was so, so tempting to continue along the ridge to Cairn Toul and beyond, but I knew I still had a long walk back. In this heat, and with my heavy rucksack (have I mentioned that before?) that would be tiring enough. So, I carefully headed down the gravelly path, back to the bothy. I wrote in the bothy book, collected my rucksack and started on the path towards Glen Luibeg.

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Beinn Bhrotain and The Devil's Point by GariochT, on Flickr

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P1040066R by GariochT, on Flickr

I passed the lochan which I had missed on my descent from Sgor Mor, and eventually reached the enclosure of trees around the Luibeg Burn. Here, someone with a huge rucksack (even bigger than mine!) passed me. He was walking in his bare feet! I made my way down to the burn, and was tempted to wade across it (that would cool me down) but opted for the safer option of diverting to the bridge.

I passed through the trees on the other side of the river and a chaffinch flittered close by.

Image
P1040079R by GariochT, on Flickr

My iPod made the long, hot march back to the Linn of Dee seem not quite so long, but the bridge over the Lui Water in the distance was a welcome sight – not far to go!

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P1040083 by GariochT, on Flickr

An excellent weekend, and a successful first bivvy!
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Last edited by GariochTom on Wed May 30, 2012 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
GariochTom
Wanderer
 
Posts: 142
Munros:148   Corbetts:34
Grahams:9   
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:1
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Sgor Mor Bivvy and a Cairngorms Panorama

Postby Cairngormwanderer » Tue May 29, 2012 9:25 am

What a great trip - and some great photos from it too. Glad the weather turned out great for you - it's great to wake up in the open air, but not so good if you're curled up trying to keep the mouth of your bivvy sack closed to keep out the rain! :lol:
Cairngormwanderer
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Posts: 689
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Re: Sgor Mor Bivvy and a Cairngorms Panorama

Postby Rudolph » Tue May 29, 2012 12:44 pm

Great Stuff, Sgur Mor looks a super hill which i'd never have thought of trying.

I've never quite got the hang of a bivvy but you've encouraged me to try again. It's not as heavy as a tent! Just need to find a way of stopping the wind blowing on my big (red) nose. I'll put the mat inside the bag so we all slip down the hill together!

We're off to cairngorms next week so might give it a go then.
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Rudolph
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Re: Sgor Mor Bivvy and a Cairngorms Panorama

Postby Alastair S » Tue May 29, 2012 1:23 pm

Nice one Tom - Sgor Mor provides a great viewpoint for the Cairngorms and you certainly got them in super light.
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Alastair S
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Re: Sgor Mor Bivvy and a Cairngorms Panorama

Postby kevsbald » Tue May 29, 2012 1:46 pm

Nice one Tom - can't commend an overnight camp in the Cairngorms any better than your report shows.
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kevsbald
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Posts: 2132
Munros:258   Corbetts:113
Grahams:74   Donalds:51
Sub 2000:12   Hewitts:8
Wainwrights:15   
Joined: Jan 15, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Sgor Mor Bivvy and a Cairngorms Panorama

Postby GariochTom » Tue May 29, 2012 5:46 pm

Thanks all :D

The views from Sgor Mor are definitely more impressive than the view of Sgor Mor! :)

I was very lucky with the weather, but I think a tarp would be very useful for some extra shelter in the event of rain or if it was windier.... one of those is now on my wish list!

Rudolph wrote:I've never quite got the hang of a bivvy but you've encouraged me to try again. It's not as heavy as a tent! Just need to find a way of stopping the wind blowing on my big (red) nose. I'll put the mat inside the bag so we all slip down the hill together!

We're off to cairngorms next week so might give it a go then.


Yes, mat inside bag is a good idea - I tried that but it wouldn't quite squeeze in with my big sleeping bag...
Good luck if you go bivvying next week, hope you have as good weather as I did!
User avatar
GariochTom
Wanderer
 
Posts: 142
Munros:148   Corbetts:34
Grahams:9   
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:1
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Location: Aberdeenshire

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