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Cairngorm dawdle

Cairngorm dawdle

Postby whiteburn » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:24 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Bhrotain, Beinn Mheadhoin, Ben Macdui, Derry Cairngorm, Monadh Mòr

Date walked: 01/11/2012

Time taken: 18 hours

Distance: 50 km

Ascent: 2300m

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Glob smacking weather, blues skies, cold and no wind. Packed the rucksack sack with a couple of days worth food and headed for Braemar, it was nearly 5pm by the time I arrived at the Linn of Dee car park after taking a leisurely drive, lots of cars around in the car park, where are all the people?
By 6pm I was at Bob Scott’s bothy, 2 other were in residence and the stove was blazing. Knocked up the usual dinner and quaffed the beer I’d carried in, chatted for a while before hitting the sack early with the alarm set for 6:30.


Was on the road before 8 am, 3cm of fresh snow fall, crossed the foot bridge and headed straight up through the woods towards Derry Cairngorm, the tops were still in the clag but it looked like being a good day.

After an hour or so I was up in the clouds. Hard going with 15-20cm of snow, lots of boulders, low visibility, howling gale and multiple ‘false’ summits before the real summit was finally reached, by the time I’d got there I was in the full Gore-Tex armour as protection against the biting wind.
Getting across to the bealach by Loch Etchachan was as taxing as getting to the top of 'Derry', lots of boulders and low visibility meant that I probably didn’t choose the optimum line.
Was ready for a rest stop but the wind drove me onwards and upwards to Beinn Mheadhoin, didn’t hang around here either, just about faced and legged it back to the Loch.
The path upwards towards Ben Macdui was hidden by the snow cover and visibility was less than 20m so again it was down to simple compass work to make the ascent.
After 1/2 hr or so I was getting a little tired of the constant pummeling by the wind and since I couldn’t find a suitably sheltered spot I finally dig out the bothy bag. Life inside the bag was considerably better than outside and I had some lunch and drank the water that wasn't frozen!
Finally got things packed up again and restarted the slow plod up the hill fighting the wind which seems to get worse the higher I got, it was after 2:30pm when I finally got to the summit and again it was a quick about turn and back down the way I'd come. After 10 mins of descent I made a turn to the south to pick up the Allt Clach nan Taillear and the descent towards the Lairig Ghru. The descent proved easier than anticipated but slow going with the snow cover, about 250m above the Lairig Ghru I picked up a faint trail than improved as the descent continued. Finally cut straight down to the Lairig Ghru track where I found a rucksack with a sleeping bag laying by the side of the path. :crazy: :crazy:
It didn't take long to get to the Corrour bothy arriving just after 4pm and found I was the only person there, for the moment. I’d just finished unpacking, getting water and getting a brew on when I heard a helicopter. Sticking my head outside I saw the rescue chopper slowly making it’s way down the Carn a’Mhaim ridge before making a wide turn and then an approach into the wind to land on the summit. A few minutes later he was up and away towards the Linn of Dee.

½ hr later a party of 3 arrived and proceeded to disgorge huge rucksacks around the bothy.
6:30pm and the chopper put in another appearance, big search light panning across Carn a’Mhaim, he seemed to land again then flew off north following the Lairig Ghru, strange goings on?
A little later another pair of walkers arrived, again with huge rucksacks, at least with this many bodies the bothy was going to be a little warmer.


The 6:30 alarm didn’t seem to disturb the others and after a slow wake up I climbed out of my bag and started the breakfast routine. The continual snoring made me glad that I’d been wearing the ear plugs, as one stopped another started! :lol: :lol: The multi-coloured snoring caterpillars only wriggled a little as I had breakfast and packed my meager rucksack before setting off it the snow before 8am.
It’s a steep climb straight from the bothy up to the bealach, had thought about going up to Devil’s Point but decided that with the conditions I’d bypass it today and headed off west contouring around towards Loch nan Stuirteag. I didn’t see anything apart from occasional glimpse of hills at a temporary parting of the mist, most of the day was spent in less that 20m visibility. Finally made it to the Loch after struggling through heavy snow for what seemed an age, the ascent of Monadh Mor was pretty uneventful apart from the <10m visibility which made navigation an interesting compass exercise. From the summit I again just followed the compass over Point 1110m and then down to the bealach at 975m. I could see a faint path ascending the flank of Beinn Bhrotain but this soon disappeared amongst a boulder field which seemed to cover the complete westerly approach. Finally gave up trying a picking a 'good' line and headed straight up, this seemed to take a lot longer than necessary but boulder hopping in the conditions was tricky going.

Thought about stopping for lunch on the summit but the clag and wind drove me onwards. Finally stopped 1/2 hr or so later after descending out of the clag.
Got back to the car just after 5 pm after 9 hrs on the trail, a lot longer than it would have taken in 'normal' conditions.
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Re: Cairngorm dawdle

Postby Paula Hubens » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:59 pm

Wow, that’s some walk to do in the snow! :clap:
It looks very cold!
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Re: Cairngorm dawdle

Postby rjpatyou » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:27 pm

i was up Corrour bothy tues on 30th oct it was bad up tops that day thursday was best day, you had the shed loads of snow that night to walk throu too :shock: well done on difficult walk in bad conditions great compass work :clap:
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Re: Cairngorm dawdle

Postby whiteburn » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:22 am

Paula Hubens wrote:...some walk to do in the snow....It looks very cold!

I had the luxury of being able to use 2 great bothies (thanks to the MBA).
I left the tent behind so the rucksack was less than 10 kg, at the outset :D
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Re: Cairngorm dawdle

Postby quoman » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:07 am

Thats some going in the conditions you had.
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Re: Cairngorm dawdle

Postby Caberfeidh » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:09 am

whiteburn wrote:I had the luxury of being able to use 2 great bothies (thanks to the MBA).

Bob Scott's bain't MBA, or at least it wasn't, lots of weird politics there...
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