Why do we do it? I mean, get up at 6am on a Saturday, drive 80 miles, then get soaked almost as soon as you set out on a walk? The plan for today was Carn a'Mhaim, and possibly Derry Cairngorm as well, from the Linn of Dee. Heading up to the Lecht in constant rain and limited visibility, I seriously planned to turn round at the ski centre and head back home - except that, on crossing the county boundary, the skies ahead were clear and blue, no sign of rain, and the hills were almost cloudfree. So I carried on, as you do.
Got to the Linn of Dee car park, and joined the crowds heading up to Derry Lodge. And within 20 minutes, the rain started, heavily. Judith had suggested it would be light showers scudding through during the day, not a drenching! With the Cairngorms ahead shrouded in heavy rain-filled cloud, and the heavy-duty wetwear still in the car, a Plan B was very quickly formed, influenced by the clear sunny skies to the south. So, back to the car, and a short drive to Inverey to tackle Carn Bhac via Glen Ey. Ok, I'd spent an hour and a half on the hoof already, and I'm sure all the walkers and bikers heading up to Derry must have wondered where I'd been, but there's little pleasure in carrying on like this.
The walk down Glen Ey on a good fairly level estate road was very pleasant in the sunshine, and I got to the ruins at Altanour after a couple of hours or so. The track is clearly suitable for bikers, and that would have saved some time. I had only planned to climb Carn Bhac, having done Beinn Iutharn Mhor from Glenshee last year, so followed the faint ATV track over the moor as best I could. The ground was soggy underfoot, but the rain held off, so far. I ended up following my nose generally northwestwards to the summit ridge, instead of heading westwards towards Carn a'Bhutha as suggested in the WH report (which I read when I got home...). Made the summit after about 3 1/2 hours at my pace, with plenty stops as per usual
This was one of the briefest summit stops ever, as no sooner had I got to the shelter cairn than the heavens opened, driven by gales, so I got soaked again very quickly. Time, just, for the standard summit shot, then offski for some shelter. The rain soon cleared and the sunshine meant I dried out before too long. As for the route back, I straight lined it towards Carn Creagach then followed the burn northeastwards to come out behind the ruins at Auchelie (this bit took about 2 hours, so probably a bit quicker than going back down to Altanour, and then the long walk out on the estate road). From there, it didn't take long to get back to the car park at Inverey; total time about 6 1/2 hours.
This marked my 150th Munro, so cause for a little celebration. As this is only my 5th season of Munro-bagging, I'm quite chuffed with myself, and look forward to some more before the year is out. Of course, the weather this summer has been very frustrating and limiting, as, as you may tell from the foregoing, I'm a fair weather walker. I've really enjoyed the whole experience, and never thought that I would take to it. Thinking about it, I enjoy the scenery, the solitude, the silence, and yes the satisfaction too. And a very special thanks to all at WH, an essential resource. The walk reports have been a marvellous help, and it's great when you go somewhere and it's, yes, I recognise that, or yes, I've been there.
I haven't posted a walk report before, partly because I haven't made notes of all the timings etc which would be of benefit to others. I also haven't cracked how to attach photos to reports, and these add so much to the reports. Anyway, here I am at 150, so roll on whatever is number 151! And DC and Carn a'Mhaim will still be there the next time I head to the Linn of Dee.
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