Cairngorms: Bag of Sh#te!
by malky_c » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:51 pm
Munros included on this walk: Ben Macdui, Carn a'Mhaim, The Devil's Point
Date walked: 02/07/2016
Time taken: 10 hours
Distance: 41 km
Ascent: 1940m8 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Date: 01 and 02/07/2016.
Distance: 16km + 25km.
Ascent: 1030m + 910m.
Time taken: 4 hours, 15 minutes + 5 hours, 50 minutes.
Weather: Showery with strong sunny spells both days.
Friday 1st July
The report title? I'll get to that later. I had an overnighter at Corrour bothy penciled in for this Friday; the planning around it was less clear until later in the week. I had hoped to take my bike on the train to Aviemore and pedal through the lower reaches of Rothiemurchus. However I left it too late to book and there was no room for it in the end, so plan B was called for. I left work slightly earlier than intended (3:45pm) and took the train to Aviemore. 50 minutes available for a steak pie supper and a pint before the last bus to the ski centre pulled in. I was off this and walking just after 5:45pm - the only person on the bus the whole way.
Despite the unpromising looking weather, I opted for the high route, and hit the path which skirts Coire an Lochain and Cairn Lochan. I got a good long way up here before I observed the bus going back down the hill.
Bus heading back to Aviemore:
At the top of the spur leading round Cairn Lochan, a heavy shower came on. I expected much more of this so I stopped to pull on my waterproof trousers.
Showers over Aviemore:
The shower fizzled out shortly after, and although there were a couple more (and some threatening clouds moving in from the west) it mostly stayed dry and sunny for the rest of the evening . Although I've often descended on this path, I've never used it directly to head out to Ben Macdui before. It definitely misses out most of the best scenery, confined as it is to the centre of the broad plateau. However, there are still spectacular glimpses over to Cairn Toul and Garbh Coire, and it is certainly a speedy way to cover the distance.
Speyside and Creag an Leth-choin:
Cairn Gorm and the head of the Feith Buidhe:
A shade under 2 hours saw me on Ben Macdui. The direct way down to Corrour bothy from here would probably only take another hour, but since it was still nice, I decided to go exploring a bit.
Carn a’ Mhaim, Devil’s Point and Beinn Bhrotain from Ben Macdui:
Sron Riach was one of those Munro tops that I had intended to go up on previous plateau meanderings, but had ended up elsewhere. It fit quite well into this evening's route, giving an alternative route down to the Carn a' Mhaim col.
Sron Riach with Lochnagar in the background:
Considering the Sron Riach ridge used to be a fairly standard way up Macdui, it doesn't have a particularly well-worn path over it. Must be because it pops up in the middle of a 3 Munro circuit - most people these days are going to want to do the full round. It was a nice little summit with crags falling away into the gloomy Lochan Uaine. An impressive corrie, but the wrong time of day to get a good look at it. As ever, I really enjoy visiting the more obscure tops in the Cairngorms - there are always interesting things to see off the beaten track up here.
Lochan Uaine and Derry Cairngorm:
Sron Riach and Lochan Uaine:
Tors on Beinn Mheadhoin:
The initial descent back towards Carn a' Mhaim was lovely easy grass, but the descending contour of the lower slopes of Ben Macdui were a little more tedious - thick heather and buried boulders. Fortunately it didn't go on too long and I was on the Macdui/Mhaim col. Another shower threatened, but I decided to push on over Carn a' Mhaim rather than drop straight to the bothy.
Rainbow over Luibeg:
Lochnagar and the White Mounth:
Glad I did - I had forgotten how attractive this ridge is. There was the odd spit of rain, but the skies also brightened as I walked along the ridge.
Carn a’ Mhaim:
Next shower coming in:
Back to Braeriach and the Lairig Ghru:
Carn a’ Mhaim summit ridge:
I do love being out at this time of the evening. 9:15pm on the summit and feeling delightfully remote. I had a quick break for the first time, and considered camping up high. However the weather was too changeable so I pushed on to the bothy instead, dropping down the SW flank of Carn a' Mhaim from a point between the two summits. This was easy higher up, but I hit deeper heather low down. Again I was on the path before things got too tedious, with just a short walk left to the bothy.
Almost there – bridge over the Dee:
Things looked busy at the bothy - I counted 7 tents outside. This is exactly why I'd brought mine along, except when I went inside, I discovered there were only 3 people in there. More to the point, one of them was just cooking before returning to his tent. Perfect . As it was getting on a bit, I went straight to bed.
Saturday 2nd July
In no great rush to get out of my sleeping bag, but the other occupants are up and about shortly after 8, so I dragged myself up as well. I was sharing with a guy and his daughter, who's plans had come a bit unstuck when his old knee injury decided to return. While they had been planning to head up Madcui, he was now just hoping his knee would hold up to get him back to Rothiemurchus. The other guy who had been in the night before re-appeared - he was walking the length of Scotland. Judging by the places he mentioned (Kirk Yetholm, Cape Wrath), he must've been doing the Scottish National Trail, but he had decided to divert into the Cairngorms for a few days to explore.
Now I was up, I decided to go for a quick excursion up The Devil's Point. It was grey outside but the Point was clear of cloud at least. I left everything at the bothy except for my camera and jacket.
Devil’s Point clear the next morning:
Corrour and Carn a’ Mhaim:
Once up into the corrie, I left the path and opted for a more direct route up the northern flank. This was mainly steep grass and large boulders, although some proper scrambling could be had if you wanted. However the rock was damp and greasy, so I stuck to the easiest line. 50 minutes saw me on the summit.
Not going to stay clear for long…
Well, I got a few glimpses of the Dee and other hills through the clag, but there wasn't a great deal to see this time. I dropped down the more usual way, picking up the path at the top of the corrie. Things were clearing now, and by the time I passed the first couple of people on the way up from the bothy, the sun was even out. Should've had an hour of extra kip!
Dee and Macdui from the summit of the Devil’s Point:
Down the Dee:
Clearing on the way down…
Shouldn’t have left so early!
And now to the main reason for my visit to Corrour, and the report title. I had offered to help out with the monthly maintenance of the toilet at Corrour, and I was due to meet Iain later in the morning, who would show me what needed to be done.
Iain and Angela turned up shortly after 11am, and I got a crash course in shite-bagging (and I said I was giving up bagging after Rum ). A bit unpleasant but not particularly difficult - so probably plenty more visits to Corrour for me in the future. After we'd burnt the rubber gloves in the fire, I collected up some rubbish and we went our separate ways - Iain and Angela back to Derry Lodge, and me over the Lairig Ghru.
Cairn Toul and Corrour from the bridge over the Dee:
The day was now spectacular, and I was on my way a little earlier than expected, leaving the fork in the path for Corrour at around midday. There was a train home from Aviemore at around 4:20 pm that I was keen to get - would it be possible? I didn't know.
Just looks better and better….shame I have a train to catch:
Back down the Ghru:
An Garbh Coire of Braeriach:
Cairn Toul and Sgorr an Lochan Uaine:
I made good progress up the Dee. Remote though it is, it was reasonably busy with people - mostly ones that had been camped around the bothy at a guess. At the Pools, I stopped for some lunch and made some quick calculations from the map. If I could manage to average 3mph all the way back, then I'd just about make the train. A bit of an ask with about a mile of boulder field coming up! I passed the pair that had been in the bothy last night - the guy was struggling on but not enjoying the boulders much. I may have underestimated the amount of boulder hopping remaining from here - apologies if you ever read this!
Pools of Dee:
There were a couple of showers passing through the highest point in the pass, then it brightened up again. I was moving at a fair rate, although a work colleague had done the hill run from Braemar to Aviemore in under 5 hours the previous weekend, which put things into perspective a bit .
Looking back to the Lairig Ghru from the first trees of Rothiemurchus:
At least the going underfoot was a little easier once I got into the forest. After the Cairngorm Club bridge, I decided to divert via Lochan Deo and Whitwell, as it looked marginally shorter than going down to Coylumbridge. The slight rise around Tullochgrue was a pleasant area of field, moorland and open woodland that I hadn't passed through before, but rather than enjoy it, I decided to run once I hit the tarmac. I kept running all the way to Inverdruie, then did a sort of walk/run along the pavement to Aviemore.
Meall a’ Bhuachaille:
Allt Druidh with the Monadhliath behind:
Cairngorm Club bridge:
Speyside from Upper Tullochgrue:
Was it worth it? Not sure, but I did make my train with 3 minutes to spare. Getting the next one wouldn't have been the end of the world, but I was supposed to be getting ready to go out to a friend's BBQ that evening, so I needed to be back really. I think the preference would have been for a more leisurely walk out!
What Poppy thought of my night away:
by simon-b » Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:26 pm
by martin.h » Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:28 pm
I see you've got a cat that enjoys helping in the route planning too
by dogplodder » Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:14 pm
Timely report for me as I'm going in to Devil's Point tomorrow - was planning route from Linn of Dee but now considering the one from the north. I guess both have their merits.
by Cairngormwanderer » Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:48 pm
Hope to see you back again and maybe meet up this time, but Ian'll have been good company at least - he's a good guy.
by Graeme D » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:00 am
by Sunset tripper » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:13 am
On Thursday I walked from Linn of Dee to Aviemore via the Carn a Mhaim ridge the Taillear burn and Coylumbridge. After Aviemore came into sight from the Lairig Ghru it never seemed to get any closer though I admit I don't do much running except in emergencies.
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by malky_c » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:25 am
Sunset tripper wrote:Nice one Malky. I'm interested how long it took you from Corrour bothy to Aviemore.
4 hours 20 minutes from the bothy to the station, with about a mile of running. Seems rather pathetic next to my mate's 4 hours 50 minutes to do twice the distance in the hill race! Sounds like an interesting variation on the Ghru route you did. It's a shame you can actually see Aviemore from that far away as it doesn't seem to get any closer like you say
by weedavie » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:06 am
malky_c wrote: I had hoped to take my bike on the train to Aviemore and pedal through the lower reaches of Rothiemurchus. However I left it too late to book and there was no room for it in the end, so plan B was called for.
We need more bike places on that line. With only 2 or 4 places, there's no chance to wait for the weather forecast then book. You find tourists have booked well in advance to get their bikes to Wick or Kyle. There's a fair amount of no-show but taking that up leaves the chance of having to abandon your machine on the platform at Dalwhinnnie or Aviemore because the return is full. It's September before access becomes reasonable again.
And, yes, Sron Riach's a surpisingly quiet access to Macdui from the south. Good route, but.
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