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Winter in the Cairngorms - but isn't it Spring?
by Delice » Mon May 02, 2016 11:24 pm
Munros included on this walk: Ben Macdui, Carn a'Mhaim, Derry Cairngorm
Date walked: 30/04/2016
Time taken: 9.5 hours
Distance: 32 kmRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
We pedalled in to Derry Lodge through the forest. Not long before the snowy peaks came in to view, glistening under a deep blue sky. Magical. I think the skiers call it a bluebird day? After a bit of a debate about whether to cycle on a bit further to save a few K on the way back, we left our bikes behind the hut and headed over the new [to me anyway] bridge to the far side. A really nice path wound its way up the SE ridge off Carn Crom through beautiful open pine forest. A bit above that we came across the snow - not something you'd expect at the end of April, but fortunately someone had been there before us and we could follow in their footsteps! Crunch cruch crunch!
A really lovely ridge right to the top, with fantastic view back south to the Glenshee hills and Lochnagar, east over Glen Derry to Beinn Bhreac and beyond, west across the Lairig Ghru to the Devils Point et al, and north towards Beinn Mheadhoin. Slowly the cliffs off Ben Macdui emerging over the summit, with Cairngorm beyond. It was one of those Whoop Whoop days!
We checked our timings on the summit but of course we couldn't remember it once we came back down! A quick bite to eat and then the long white drop down north in the direction Loch Etchachan. The Barns of Bynack More were picked out clearly in the dazzling snowand and I think it must be the granite tors on Beinn Mheadhoin on the horizon? We could just see 2 small figures in the far distance heading towards the summit of Ben Macdui. It kept going in and out of the sunshine as the cloud had started to thicken from the west. It was still well above the plateau and all the summits though.
We swung round onto the spur that leads onto the rim of Coire Sputan Dearg - admiring the nice sharp cliffs to one side and envying the activities of the ski tourers to the other. A steady slow burn to the ridge line and then nearly due west towards the summit, passing the snow blasted shelter just below. Arriving at the cairn there was a crowd already there - little groups of 2s and 3s - most of them having skinned up from Cairngorm on skis, with a lovely prospect of the ride back down. The split snowboard combo seemed a popular option. We rested a while enjoying the views and watching the performance of putting away the skins, assembing the boards etc.
Our route back down was over Carn a'Mhaim. A steep drop down the side of BM made really easy with the deep powder snow cushioning each stride - much easier than normal conditions I imagine. We made a point of following the snow fields and avoiding any of the rocky patches - the opposite of the way up where the rocky places made for firmer, faster walking. We counted the false summits we would have to go over to reach the last top - looked like about 5, but anyway a lovely narrow ridge with more amazing close up views across the Lairig Ghru to Braeriach, Angel's Peak, Carn Toul and Devils Point. A few needle hail showers were passing over those high peaks and we caught the edges of the cloud, but bursts of sunshine between the shadows too. Certainly nothing to complain about.
Back down in Glen Lui we managed to miss the turning to the bridge above the Robbers Copse and the river was just a bit too high to take the risk on the stepping stones, so we had a short detour up the river bank. A long tramp back to the bikes, but even so, it was the right decision not to try to take them further in the morning - the SW spur onto Carn Crom didn't look so interesting.
A short ride back to the car - who doesn't love a bike at the end of a long day! And we were back just after 6.30. Plenty of daylight left, but glad to get back - a pretty epic day!
- Munro Nr 182 - I'm on the long count back down from 100!
by monarchming » Tue May 03, 2016 10:33 am
You passed me early on the path from the car park
I was the guy with the blue top and black rucksack
I was out to get Beinn Bhreac and try my new tent out in Glen Lui
I remember seeing a guy on his bike with a rucksack like a fridge freezer!
Great route you guys picked and although I have climbed Ben Macdui it sounds like a fab day out
Glad you had a good day and great effort!
by prog99 » Tue May 03, 2016 7:54 pm
- Posts: 1367
- Joined: Aug 14, 2013
by Delice » Tue May 03, 2016 9:19 pm
by Delice » Tue May 03, 2016 9:22 pm
by prog99 » Tue May 03, 2016 9:42 pm
Delice wrote:I was very jealous of the ski tourers. There were a lot of you out and it looked amazing. Never tried it but I think I must! The route back from Ben Macdui to Cairngorm looked so cool!
Ah, I don't like that way too much, bit too shallow. We went down taillears burn which is one of the best in the country but has a downside of a bit of a hoof out of the lairig ghru!
Expensive hobby but on days like this!
Enjoy Beinn Bhreac and hope for dry conditions underfoot.
- Posts: 1367
- Joined: Aug 14, 2013
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