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Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!


Postby dooterbang » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:49 pm

Route description: Cairn Toul - Braeriach traverse

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Mheadhoin, Ben Macdui, Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Carn a'Mhaim, Derry Cairngorm, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, The Devil's Point

Date walked: 20/07/2013

Time taken: 13.5 hours

Distance: 48.1 km

Ascent: 3275m

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The central Northern Cairngorms is an area I've read much about but yet to set foot in...yep, shocking! I was actually over the 100 Munro mark before making my first visit into the Cairngorms, I think the vastness of the landscape put the frighteners on me slightly due to the prospect of getting lost and having to call for help.

My improved map reading skills and navigation afforded me to do the Southern, East and West Munros but I still had 8 to walk centre North. I really fancied a big walk linking all these 8 together. So over a couple of days and some advice from Malky C I devised a route which would see me tackle the 8 in a clockwise direction.

Kerri would be joining me part of the route as she was off on her own challenge doing her 1st solo walk - Beinn Mheadhoin & Derry Cairngorm. Plan was to meet at Loch Etchachan and make Derry Cairngorm our last Munro of the day - Kerri would sunbathe whilst waiting on me.

We would be spending Friday & Saturday night in the Fife Arms Hotel Braemar which would enable us to cut down on traveling time. Up at 6am Saturday, parked up at Linn of Dee 7.30am and on our bikes 7.45am cycling to Derry Lodge - the start point for both our walking routes.

At 8.15am we wished each other well and headed off in different directions, Kerri headed North and I West along Glen Luibeg. The heat was intense at this early hour and my hay fever was rampant - I would be sneezing, sniffling and rubbing my eyes the whole walk!

Glen Luibeg & Carn a Mhaim
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Summit of Carn a Mhaim (CaM) looking towards Ben macdui
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Summit of Carn a Mhaim looking towards my next Munro - Devils Point.
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The drop down into the Lairig Ghru from CaM was steep and over 500M - I was only on my backside 4 times!
Didn't take long to reach the Lairig Ghru but I was very careful descending.

Corrour Bothy & Devils Point.
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From Corrour Bothy follow a path West to the bealach and then ascend SE to summit number 2 - Devils Point.

Met Gordon from Kirkintilloch who was out on only his 4th solo walk and was scared of heights, he had walked over 200 Munros...was nice chatting to him.

Was taking in plenty fluids so used the opportunity here to refill from the Allt a Choire Odhair.

Summit of Devils Point looking to CaM with Ben Macdui North - Have drawn a black line showing my descent from CaM to Lairig Ghru.
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The route ahead commonly known as the Breariach Traverse, which includes Devils Point.
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Cairn Toul
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Before I reached Cairn Toul I stopped for a quick bite to eat and reapplied the factor 50, I also text kerri to inform her of my progress - I predicted I would reach her at 4pm...yeah rite!

This was now boulder heaven and progress would become a tad slow due to the constant hopping form rock to rock...the rest of the route was in similar vein and really did stop progress, but the views made up for this.

Summit of Cairn Toul -CaM in the background.
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Looking North to Breariach
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Angels Peak, my 4th Munro, was not far away at just over 1km NW and I reached its summit quickly.

Looking back to Cairn Toul
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Breariach Plateau ahead.
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Walking around the massive plateau to Braeriach was the most enjoyable part of the walk for me. I felt like I was on some lunar landscape and I had it all to myself...well apart from some wildlife.

The views back to Angels Peak and Cairn Toul very impressive.
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Family day out...taken whilst refilling water bottles from the Falls of Dee.
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More views from the Plateau...
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Reached Braeriach and met a father and son who were doing the Braearich Traverse from Cairngorm Ski Centre. We discussed route options up to Macdui from Lairig Ghru before doing the courtsey of taking each others photo - cheers.
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Text Kerri and I was on my way...

Met another walker who informed me he knew of folk who had ascended March Burn from the Lairig Ghru so I took this on board and decided to give it a try.

Looking South down the Lairig Ghru
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My descent route down into the LG was again slow due to being pathless, rocky and steep. Have drawn a line showing route taken and planned route of ascent to Macdui Plateau.
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Looking up at the March Burn I spotted some snow near the top of it so decided to take a route just right of it.
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The pull up to the plateau was incredibly steep in parts and at one point I found that I could neither go up or down!! I hadn't bricked it on a hill for some time but the fear did rip through me. My first thought was I may have to call MR followed by what Kerri would be thinking if I didn't show at agreed time, her being on her 1st solo mission and all.

I calmed myself down and realized it was safer to head upwards so I took my time with every move across the grass and loose boulders and eventually hit another boulder field...but this time I was overjoyed as I felt safer knowing I had a decent grip.

I hit the plateau and made my way across it 2k South to the summit of Ben Macdui - Munro number 6.
When I reached it I simply took a photo and went on my merry way!
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By this time I was starting to feel really tired...can't think why!

Headed NE on the path that links Macdui to Beinn Mheadhoin, passing the beautiful Loch Etchachan.
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Kerri was waiting here and informed me she had no difficulty in navigating to BM. It was 5pm, I was an hour late, and Kerri had been sunbathing the last 4 hours.

We took a break here and I had some more food, enjoying the wonderful surroundings...bliss.

I took of my rucksack and with renewed vigour took 40mins for the 4k return trip to BM from LE.
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View South to Derry Cairngorm - the final Munro.
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Hooked up with kerri again and she led the way for our final munro.

looking back to the tors of BM.
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Finally we reached the Summit of Derry Cairngorm and what a great feeling it was. The sun was shining brightly and from here I could see the whole of the Cairngorms.
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My route...
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We sat on the summit for 10 minutes before the lovely walk 5k South to Derry Lodge. Didn't hang around at DL due to the midges and promptly got on our bikes and sped back to the Linn of Dee car park.

I walked for 12.5hrs and cycled 1 hour. If doing again I would try this in reverse and alter the route slightly to incorporate more paths and less steep ascents/descents.

Next day we did Mount Keen form Glen Tanar which was absolutely brilliant. The 20k cycle through woodland by the riverside is great with the views from the summit pretty decent. Cycling back we stopped at some big slabs and got to rejuvenate our feet in the river - bliss :D
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.614627475224172.1073741843.100000307757280&type=1&l=c9404d64aa

Fantastic day out on the hills yet again... :D 8)
Last edited by dooterbang on Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:03 pm

That's one big day out DB - well done for getting through it, though sounds a bit serious in parts.
Surprised you didn't shrivel up with the heat and the exertion involved :lol:
Haven't done any of the cairngorms yet and have been planning to do a large number of them in late august over a week - had something similar lined up for most of these ones. although starting off at the ski centre & doing cairn gorm as well, but over 2, not 1, days. Might have to rethink routes given the steepness you encountered :wink:
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby Collaciotach » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:24 pm

Gle mhath a bhalaich :clap: :clap: :clap:

An epic indeed and good going in that heat .... thinking of doing the remaining seven I have as a overnighter ...when it is cooler :D
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby Stretch » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:55 pm

Yowsers Paul, my feet and knees hurt reading this. That said, the pics prove that it was a fantastic route and trip! :clap:
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby wilkiemurray » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:56 pm

Nice one dooterbang - that's one heck of trip! Bet your feet enjoyed the soothing waters later !! Well done :clap:
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby pollyh33 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:06 am

An epic epic indeed- well done :clap: :clap:

I would have given you 10 out of 10 for you photos but extreme reduction in Dooterposer pics means its going to have to be a 9. :D :D
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby malky_c » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:43 am

You couldn't really go wrong with the weather on this :D . Looked like a brilliant day out!

I apologise for getting some of the info incorrect. When I said I thought there was a route up Allt a' Choire Mhoir (which there may well be), it was more likely the March Burn that I meant (haven't done either of them).

I'm going to have to get out on the Cairngorms again this year, although probably only to do half of that distance :shock:
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby foggieclimber » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:52 am

Epic walk Dooterbang in what looked to be fantastic weather. Not sure I'd fancy that steep ascent though :lol:.
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby SusieThePensioner » Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:09 pm

What an epic walk in such trying conditions! :lol: Although heat can, of course, be just as dangerous as the cold. Well done, Paul, now I know you really are the sun god!!! :wink:
Fantastic photos :thumbup:
dooterbang wrote:at one point I found that I could neither go up or down!!
I know exactly how you must've felt :roll:
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby gammy leg walker » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:33 pm

Now that is an epic.
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby ChrisW » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:50 am

Stunning DB, what an epic round and made even more so by the heat. Love the photos of the beautiful cairngorms even if they add to my homesickness triggered by Malky doing Lochnagar and Conachcraig :lol:

Fantastic report, really enjoyed it :clap:
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby kev_russ » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:19 am

Braw stuff. Love the Gorms :)
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby dooterbang » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:42 pm

dooterbang wrote:at one point I found that I could neither go up or down!! I know exactly how you must've felt :roll:
I'm sure your mind can go up and down :wink:

malky_c wrote:I apologise for getting some of the info incorrect. When I said I thought there was a route up Allt a' Choire Mhoir (which there may well be), it was more likely the March Burn that I meant (haven't done either of them).:
I think it was possible but would add more ascent/distance. I would defo do this route in reverse with the ascent to Braeriach being the only pathless ascent.

pollyh33 wrote:An epic epic indeed- well done :clap: :clap:
I would have given you 10 out of 10 for you photos but extreme reduction in Dooterposer pics means its going to have to be a 9. :D :D
Nine is good in my book, and far better to view the hills than me :)

weaselmaster wrote:Haven't done any of the cairngorms yet and have been planning to do a large number of them in late august over a week - had something similar lined up for most of these ones. although starting off at the ski centre & doing cairn gorm as well, but over 2, not 1, days. Might have to rethink routes given the steepness you encountered :wink:
Drop me a line if you require advice.


Thanks for all the comments - Loving the Cairngorms.
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby davetherave » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:46 pm

Has been a long time since I last read one of your reports Dooterbang. Im glad I took the time.
Shows what ive been missinf for to long.
Thanks.
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Re: Rockhopping in the Cairngorms - A Sunshine Epic!!

Postby PeteR » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:46 pm

Superb report and pictures dooterbang :D

I still have Braeriach to do and fancy doing it including the traverse over to the Devil's Point and back through the Lairig Ghru. Want a day like you had though :D
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