It was another top day for walking, warm, blue skies with just a smattering of cloud. Visibility was great. We parked at Linn of Dee car park and having never visited this area before we were very impressed. Braemar was a really attractive village and I rather fancied a look around the gallery and crafts shops (but one for another day, we'd got a Munro to bag).
As we are NT members we didn't have to pay for the car park (that put a smile on my Yorkshireman's face) and the composting loos were decidedly un-smelly (which pleased me and Alice).
The long, long walk in through Glen Lui was truly stunning and apart from a group of rather daft teenage boys at Derry Lodge we came across no-one.
I was too busy admiring the heather in all its purple/pink glory but Alice had set her eyes on the skies and so she was the first to spot a bird very, very high up directly above Carn Crom. Unsure of whether it was a buzzard or an eagle we broke out the "nocitors". At this point the bird drifted so high up on a thermal that it was lost in the fairly high cloud which was well above the top of the Cairngorms.
We walked on for a bit hoping for the bird to make a reappearance, which it did. I attempted to photograph it with my "big lens" and got several outline photos. We then watched as the bird made a spectacular dive towards the crags far below it and Hubs managed to see it (through the binoculars) with something large and furry (probably a hare). Hubs could also make out a distinct reddish-brown hue to the bird.
All this excitement put a spring in our step and we strode out towards the Luibeg burn and bridge. Down by the bridge were several very large rocks and so we opted to have our lunch in this beautiful spot before the ascent began in earnest.
The ascent involved a rocky zig-zag path which was really straightforward to follow (a bit like the path up the side of Ben Wyvis) and pretty soon we came to the Top at 1014m. We disturbed some ptarmigan and a lone golden plover as we posed for photos on the Top marvelling at the great views.
We walked onto Carn a'Mhaim summit and have to say that the views up there really take some beating.
To date, these were the best views in the Cairngorms.
We could see for miles as it was so clear and could clearly pick out the barns atop Bheinn Mheadhoin (which we'd climbed a few days ago). We could really appreciate the massive bulk of Ben MacDui (we climbed it in snow and cloud last July!!!) and so it was good to get a feel for the mountain. The Lairig Ghru looked impressive far below and Carn Toul and the dramatic Devil's Point were challenging us to climb them. Definitely a challenge for another day.
Having already climbed Ben MacDui we didn't progress on and so turned around back the way we'd come, rather reluctantly at having to leave such grand views behind us.
On the slightly boggy bit approaching Luibeg burn (we were lucky as the ground conditions were extremely dry underfoot for the entire walk) the Hubs spotted a male adder. It was quite a size.
"Eighteen inches" said the Hubs proudly.
None of us had ever seen an adder before and so it was a real treat. We could clearly make out the "V" at the back of the head and the snake's marking were beautiful.
Just past Derry Lodge I was the first this time to spot an adder. This one (like the previous adder) was stretched out taking advantage of the heat. Again we marvelled at the beautiful markings but this adder was smaller the Hub's eighteen inch whopper.
Adders, an eagle but above all the truly spectacular views made this a truly memorable walk.
Just as we returned to the car a dirty great cloud blew across the sky and it rained. A lot.
All in all a pretty perfect day and the thought of homemade custard and apple pie once we'd got home rounded it off just nicely.
Walked by David (46th), Sarah (46th) and Alice (35th)
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.