Western Cairngorm, 4 night backpacking trip.
by mountainstar » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:56 pm
Munros included on this walk: The Devil's Point
Date walked: 09/03/2010
Distance: 74 kmRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Auchlean – Corrour Bothy – Derry lodge (Bob Scott’s Bothy) – Geldie lodge (Camp) - Ruidh Atechain Bothy – Auchlean.
Having done several trips from the north (Glenmore lodge) and the south (Linn of Dee) and although I had spent a night in Ruidh Atechain Bothy on a one nighter before, I had not done a multi day backpacking trip from this direction before, so after a bit of map studying, this route was looking good for a start at Auchlean.
Having seen the weather forecast for the week ahead, the first few days were very good, but the last couple were more unsettled, so my plan of doing a anti-clockwise route were out, unfortunately this meant the first day was the hardest (longest and highest) and all with a heavy pack with food etc. for 4 days, but I didn’t want to do the high route over the Cairngorm plateaux in poor weather.
So after travelling up from Wales on Monday and stopping in Newtonmore hostel for the night, I was ready for an early start the next day.
Tuesday 9th March 2010.
Auchlean – Corrour Bothy via Ruidh Atechain Bothy and the Moine Mhor plateaux. Approx 15 miles.
Weather. Brilliant - Sunny, cloudless and calm, visibility- perfect.
Up at 6-30am, the drive to Auchlean was interesting with 2 to 3 foot of snow drifts at the side of the road in parts. As I started walking at 9.45am thankfully the snow wasn’t too deep, making the going fairly easy up Glen Freshie.
To make the going easier, I crossed the 1st bridge to walk along the road on the west side of the river Freshie, although knowing the 2nd bridge 3 miles further up the glen, had been swept away recently,
but as the river was low, I took the chance that I could cross. I crossed where the vehicles cross just before the ex-bridge, and was no more than ankle deep.
I popped into Ruidh Atechain Bothy to drop off a food parcel for my return in 4 days time; it was good to see the usual supply of wood stocked inside.
Now the hard work began a climb up to 970 meters, up the excellent but snowy track.
Nearing the top I had some great views across the corrie towards Carn Ban Mhor and back looking to multi snow clad mountains to the west.
By the time I reached 970 meters the track that leads across the Moine Mhor had disappeared under the snow, so the 4 miles across this high plateaux in poor weather would have been a navigational nightmare, I was pleased that I had done this part today. Although it was still hard work walking across this amazing landscape (my feet were intermittently going through the upper snow crust) with total snow cover, it looked like I was walking across a white dessert of dunes, surrounded by White Mountains.
I found no foot prints on my route, only ski tracks criss crossing…the way to get about in these conditions.
Although normally crossing many burns and 2 lochs, today there was no sign of any water; in fact I could have crossed the Lochs without even knowing. As I started to drop from the 899 meter point down Glen Geusachan I was glad to find at last a hole in the snow to refill my water bottle which was by now empty.
As I reached the lower glen I passed Avalanche debris which had fallen from high up The Devils Point. Once I had turned to the North to walk the last mile op by the River Dee I left the warm sun for the freezing Corrour Bothy at last ahead.
I reached the the lonely Bothy at 5.05 pm, knackered but fully rewarded after an amazing day.
Even getting water wasn’t easy, the usual burn by the Bothy was totally covered in snow, and the river by the bridge only just had a few small holes showing running water.
It was a cold night in the Bothy, so after a meal and a dram it was in the sleeping bag for an early night at 9 pm.
Wed 10th March.
The Devils Point, Approx 2.5 miles (return). Then walk to Bob Scott’s Bothy. Approx 5 miles.
Weather. Brilliant- Sunny, cloudless and calm, visibility- perfect.
Out of my warm sleeping bag at 6.45 am, and after some breakfast and packing my rucksack ready for the off later, I left the cold sunless Bothy at 8am for the steep climb up the Corrie, after a couple of hundred meters I was in the warm sunshine again.
Again it was an amazing day, as I climbed I had great views of Ben Macdui and Cairn Toul bathed in early morning sunshine. As I neared the summit I passed some lovely cornices and once on the top the views were breathtaking.
It took me an hour to get up and another 45 mins later I was back in the Bothy, by now itself bathed in the sun.
Left the Bothy at 10.10am, no need to cross the bridge today!
......to be continued
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by mountainstar » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:14 pm
It was a lovely and easy walk down the glen with lovely view up Glen Luibeg to Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm, and down the glen towards Derry Lodge.
I reached the Bothy at 12.45pm, so had a leisurely afternoon, collecting wood for later and pottering about.
Although the wood was damp, and the fire was never roaring, I had another lonesome night, this time a bit warmer than last night. Another early night at 9.30pm.
Thurs 11th March.
Walk to Geldie Lodge, via Linn of Dee, approx 11 miles.
Weather Cloudy with sunny spells, cold winds, and wintry showers later. Visibility- Very good.
Up at 7.30, away by 8.30, the walk to linn of Dee is an easy stroll,
and more good tracks lead westward past White Bridge and through some deep snow drifts up by the Geldie burn.
Again crossing the river north of Geldie Lodge was no problem, with a natural snow bridge to help. I reached the ruined lodge at 1.30pm and was lucky to find a patch of grass in between the building and a 2 foot snow drift, just big enough to fit my tent in, shading me slightly from the biting keen wind.
I spent the afternoon and evening in the tent and sleeping bag as some snow showers started to hit me from time to time. “lights” out by 9pm, but the wind and showers gave me a poor night’s sleep.
Friday 12th March
Walk to Ruidh Atechain Bothy. Approx 9.5 miles
Weather, Cloudy, cold winds a few brief showers. Visibility- good.
Had a bit of a lie in until 8.15am, packed and away by 9.20, the first 4 miles was hard going through some deep snow and as far as I could see no path, although one is shown on the map. I finally picked it up by the waterfalls where my (old) map also shows a bridge, but unless it was higher than I could see was not there any more, but again the snow bridges made the crossing easy. I reached the Bothy at 2.20pm, and with plenty of fuel (the estate keep it well stocked) I had a good fire going from 3.30pm through to the evening when I retired to my bed at 9am, where I slept a lot better that night.
Sat 13th March
Walk to Auchlean, approx 3 miles
Weather. Cloudy, cold and breezy. Visibility Very good.
So after my 3rd solo night in a Bothy, I was up refreshed at 7.20am, and away by 8.30, again crossing the river by the ex bridge, this time a bit deeper with a bit of a thaw in the last few days. I got back to the car at 9.55, then off to Aviemore YH for a well deserved and needed shower!
by soulminer » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:29 pm
- Posts: 804
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by sloosh » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:52 pm
A favour to ask, mountainstar... any chance you could plot out your route on the map thingy? I'm useless at envisaging routes even though I've been in the Cairngorms many times.
by mountainstar » Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:31 pm
by sloosh » Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:37 pm
mountainstar wrote:I tried to do the map thingy, but got lost at what to do after plotting the route???
Download the file and save it to your computer then upload it again into your walk report (add photograph or map option). It automatically generates a map with the route overlaid.
by Paul Webster » Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:44 pm
Alternative way to use the map thing is to press on the 'draw route' button when writing a trip report (or editing one). Draw your route in the new map window, and then click 'add to report'. Saves downloading and uploading
by malky_c » Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:44 pm
Did you have any problems getting out of the corrie on your ascent of the Devil's Point? Last time I descended this route, there was a massive cornice at the top of the path, and we had to contour onto the slopes of Devils Point and descend a boulder field instead to avoid getting avalanched.
I hope Corrour Bothy is still in a good state. I noticed it had been renovated a few years back, but was concerned that all the lovely cladding and floorboards that had just been put in were destined for the fire...
by mountainstar » Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:16 pm
The bothy is still in good nick, but them floorboards did look tasty for a fire......
PS thanks for the advice on uploading the map thingy...I sorted it out.
by kevsbald » Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:56 pm
by davetherave » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:21 pm
Well done to you catching the best of the weather, you would most certainly need it on a 4 night camp.
We have never been in that neck of the woods yet, dont know why as they are the nearest hills to us that we still have to bag.
by LeithySuburbs » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:01 pm
by Astronick » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:34 pm
by mountainstar » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:51 pm
As I said it would have been better doing it anti-clockwise, so the hardest day would have been the 4th with the least weight, but I was so glad I did it as I did, as it would have been a nightmare crossing the 4 miles up high in the cloud and mist on the Friday.