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Cairngorms 2016 - Day 2 and Day 3

Cairngorms 2016 - Day 2 and Day 3

Postby pacol » Sun Jul 03, 2016 3:03 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Mheadhoin, The Devil's Point

Date walked: 07/06/2016

Time taken: 12 hours

Distance: 24.3 km

Ascent: 1082m

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This posting covers Day 2 and Day 3 of my five day walk in the Northern Cairngorms, taking in Beinn Mheadoin, Glen Derry, Glen Luibeg, Glen Dee and The Devil’s Point. Day 1 covering Cairn Gorm and Ben Macdui can be found here. The route for these days was -

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Day 2 - Beinn Mheadoin and a washout

Day 2 of my five day walk found me waking up next to Loch Etchachan with conditions much the same as they had been the day before on Day 1 over Cairn Gorm and Ben Macdui. Blue skies and very light winds.

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My plan for the day had been to walk via Derry Cairngorm and then drop down to Derry Lodge before walking to Corrour Bothy via Glen Luibeg. Having spent the evening looking at Beinn Mheadoin across Little Loch Etchachan, after breakfast and having packed the tent I realized I couldn’t leave without paying it a visit.

The fairly steep and rough slopes up the first 200m of path from Little Loch Etchachan gave excellent views back to the lochs and Ben Macdui.

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Once onto to whaleback summit plateau of Beinn Mheadoin it was a pleasant if rough walk across the stones to the summit outcrops. Away to the south the cloud was starting to build, much earlier than the day before.

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The summit outcrops add a final scramble to reach the high point of Beinn Mheadoin.

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Looking northwards, the sky remained blue and unthreatening.

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To the south it was clear that the weather was going to close in earlier today, but after descending from Beinn Mheadoin I was still hopeful of including Derry Cairngorm. However, as I started to climb away from Loch Etchachan and up the ridge that would take me to Derry Cairngorm the darkening clouds and the first rumbles of thunder away to the south over Glen Derry made me think again. That was the point at which I decided to drop down off the tops and into the glen.

Returning to Loch Etchachan I followed the path down into Choire Etchachan past the Hutchinson Memorial Hut and down into Glen Derry.

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Just as I started the descent the clouds were looking very threatening, although after the great start to the day I was hopeful I would get away with a few rumbles of thunder and maybe just a little rain. Some hope…

Luckily I was well down into the glen as just after 11a.m. the lightning started to flash along the ridge of Derry Cairngorm, and then the rain hammered down turning the paths into torrents.

The storm continued for the next two hours – I thought I was unlucky and stuck in a storm centred over Glen Derry / Glen Luibeg, but over the next few days I heard the various stories of the electrical storm that had erupted over the whole of northern Cairngorms from Aviemore to Braemar. I met people who had been on Ben Macdui at the time and abandoned their rucksacks and gear and got off the mountain to the safety of Corrour Bothy as fast as possible, the people who has been on Sgor Gaoith , and the locals who would ask “did you get caught in the storm on Tuesday…”

Some hours later I arrived at a very quiet Corrour Bothy, with me fairly wet as the driving rain was able to find ways past my waterproof layers. The rain eased in the evening and I was able to start the drying out process…

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Looking back on the day, I wish I had taken the time to get some photos of the conditions - the rain washed paths and the spectacular torrent running under the Luibeg Bridge as the flash flood made its way down off the hillsides but when you are caught up in the middle of it, just getting through the day seems more important.

Day 3 – The Devil’s Point and back

After the drenching of Day 2 I opted for a quiet day on Day 3.

Waking to high cloud, with some lower lying mist / cloud in the glen

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the sun soon cleared the ridge of Carn a’Mhaim and gave a very pleasant start to the day

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I had decide that The Devil’s Point was going to be my initial objective for the day so following the well maintained path up into Coire Odhar

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I was soon on top of The Devil’s Point / Bod an Deamhain.

Looking into the upper reaches of Glen Dee, Ben Macdui was clear of cloud but fairly thick cloud / mist was sat in the Lairig Ghru. Watching it through the day the mist in Lairig Ghru didn’t lift and looked to get thicker as the day wore on.

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Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir and Cairn Toul looked inviting but I decided to leave them for another day, mainly because I was concerned that the slowly building cloud was going to lead to a repeat of the day before and I didn’t fancy being on the tops if a storm struck.

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In retrospect, I think Tuesday had cleared the air, literally, so the chances of a repeat were slim and as it turned out all that happened weather-wise was a rain shower that moved up the glen in mid-afternoon.

While not the deep blue skies of Monday, the views off The Devil’s Point were excellent. South into Glen Dee …

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and West to Glen Geusachan and Monadh Mor...

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Leaving the summit I dropped down into the coire and back to where I had left my tent. I spent the afternoon enjoying the sun and the solitude as until about 4p.m. there was barely anyone in sight.

The full five day route was -

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and the trip profile was...


and the last two days, Day 4 and Day 5, of this trip can be found here.
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