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The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with photos)

The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with photos)


Postby Mountainlove » Sun Sep 04, 2016 12:04 pm

Route description: Cairn Toul - Braeriach traverse

Munros included on this walk: Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Carn a'Mhaim, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, The Devil's Point

Date walked: 27/08/2016

Time taken: 16.5 hours

Distance: 43.6 km

Ascent: 2366m

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Door slamming is a wonderful revenge on a campsite! :-x Don’t worry the only other camper at the Braemar camp ground was already awake. The two tents who had appeared once I was asleep, had camped right behind me and had woken me at 4:30 am :shock: with loud party noises (whats wrong with people?). The camp site ducks must have been equally annoyed, as they started a loud quaking noises right outside their tent. 8) Revenge is sweet! :angel:

I drove off towards the Linn of Dee car park which was already busy and swarming with midges. :shock: Not losing time I was ready in a flash and on my way minutes later. The midges were HORRIBLE! Swarms hovered everywhere and not even my brisk walk could keep them at bay. I breathed them in, my clothes were covered and there was nothing I could do. :-|
The intensity of the swarms changed depending on the surroundings, but stopping was no option. When I reached the area around Bob Scott Memorial Hut, I could not believe when I saw the masses of midges which swarmed around the set up tents- millions. :shock: The whole area was a breeding place. I so wanted to take a video, but there was no way I could stop, so I picked up speed, crossed the bridge and walked towards Glen Luibeg.

The glen is lovely and many people on bikes cycled past me. It was a busy area and 90 min into my walk Carn a’ Mhaim came into view. The path continued around the mountain until I spotted Corror bothy in the distance. I have heard so much about it and it was great to finally see it. It took me 2.40 hours to step into the door and I collapsed on a chair. I could finally rest. On the window ledge a layer of midges lay dying, wriggling in pain. With an evil grin :twisted: I watched them in satisfaction. Looking out of the window, dark clouds of midges were swarming outside the window and I was glad I had found shelter! I stayed for a good 30min having my lunch and chatting with a man and his son, before I shouldered my gear and entered midge hell again.

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The Devils point and bothy (the small white dot in the distance)

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Closer up if you haven't spotted it

Its amazing how much you don’t mind carrying all your gear up a hill, when the alternative is hell. :lol: The path up towards the Devils Point was pretty easy, even with my 15 kilo backpack and once I reached the bealach I dumped my bag and walked up to the top. The Devils Point reminded me about the Buachaille Etive Mor. The views down to the valley are equally stunning and I made a mental note that I had to come back at some point. I stayed for quite some time, taking in the views while chatting to a group of people who arrived shortly after.

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The walk up Devils point with the bothy below

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Views from the Devils point

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The River Dee

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Views down towards the Lairig Ghru

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The Lairig Ghru higher up

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Me at the summit cairn

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Across towards Carn a'Mhaim

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The walk ahead towards Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir

Its incredible how non flat the Cairngorms looked from that point. Not surprising, as the journey climbs 3 of the 5 highest mountains in the UK. I set off to gather my backpack and made my way up towards Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir a 1.5 km boulder climb from the bealach. Once I reached the top, the Devils point was was dwarfed by its much larger neighbor. Not staying long I continued towards the second Munro of the day, Cairn Toul. On the way I met Black Panther and her husband. (Hello if you read this, it was great finally to have met you :wave:) We chatted for quite some time, before I made my way up towards Angel’s Peak. The 3 peaks are very similar. Scattered with boulders which make the walk down difficult and required a lot of attention. The highlight are clearly the views down towards the Lairig Ghru.

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Views towards Ben Macdui


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Cairn Toul

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Cairn Toul and Angel's Peak

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Carn a'Mhaim on the left and the Devil's Point dwarfed from higher above

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Angel's Peak and Braeriach in the distance

On Angels Peak I met a lovely group of people who had hired a guide to do a 4 day trek over the Cairngorms. Saying my good byes I made my way towards Braeriach, which was pretty easy and rewarded with great views down the gullies.

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Braeriach

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Braeriach and the waterfall (which forms at the Wells of Dee, the start of the river Dee)

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The wee lochan

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Snow patches in the distance

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Its a long way down

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The full length of Braeriach

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Down one of the gullies

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The view back

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Looking back

It wasn’t even 5pm when I arrived at the wells of Dee and unbelievable there were no midges. :D The ground was also amazing, really soft and even and setting up my tent was a pleasure.
Once everything was up, I went for a short walk to the Wells of Dee the official start of the River Dee. The water was crystal clear and freezing cold and tasted lovely (at least before I parked my feet in it) :lol:
The clouds thickened and when I returned to cook my pasta, some midges had appeared together with some rather annoying small black flies. The amount of midges were bearable, the flies however were a different matter, kamikaze like they dived into my boiling pasta. Disgusted I looked into my pasta, which had a good helping of dead flies and some midges swimming in it. :? There are times when hunger wins over and picking off the most obvious ones, I ate the remaining pasta alla midges/fly with grim determination ...die midges die 8) :lol:
It was still early when I climbed into my tent to read my book, just in the nick of time, as by the time evening approached the wind died down completely and the midges were out in full force. I had planned to watch the sunset, but peeking out of my tent door and seeing the swarms outside at dusk, I decided that it could wait for another trip.

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Home for the night

I don’t know what it is about tents, but shortly after 9pm when it was too dark to read I drifted off to sleep and did not woke until 7:15 am during the next morning.

Rain drizzled on my tent and not willing to move, I read my book for a while while having my self made muesli bars for breakfast.
A good 45 min later I packed my gear up and made my way towards the summit of Braeriach, which was an easy walk away. It was still drizzling when I reached the summit and looking down towards Lairig Ghru clouds were rising slowly from the valley below and hugged part of the mountains. It was lovely.

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Misty mountains from the top of Braeriach

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From the top I followed a clear path north until I reached the area above Coire Ruadh. A small cairn marks a zigzag path down the steep hillside and I followed it until I reached the path on the Lairig Ghru – hello Midges!

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The cairn which marks the down climb from Coire Ruadh

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The Lairig Ghru

The Midges were out with force and the path was really busy. I continued alongside Ben Macdui until I reached the burn called Clach nan Taillear. From there a horrendous hike up knee deep heather began. I have nothing against knee deep heather, but it was the place was a breeding ground for midges. Each time I wiped my face I wiped off 30 dead midges. Regardless how many times I sprayed Smidge, the buggers kept on biting me, crawled into my clothes and drove me insane. Oh how nice was it when suddenly, after a good 30 min of hell the wind picked up. Relieved I stood still, held my face into the wind and had a breather. About the same time a path started (which isn’t on the map) and made the climb a lot easier. I continued until I reached Ceann Crionn Carn a'Mhaim, the closest what resembles a ridge walk in the Cairngorms.

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The Ceann Crionn Carn a'Mhaim ahead

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Misty mountains across the valley

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Looking back the path with Ben Macdui on the right

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Panorama of the 'ridge walk'

On my way up I met the group with the guide again and stopping we shared stories from the previous evening. Saying my good byes the climb up Carn a'Mhaim was easy, but had quite a few blind summits. The walk was also special for me, as it would be my last Munro of the Cairngorms. Once I stood on top and looked back, I congratulated myself, but also knew that I knew that I would have return. :D

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Towards the Devils Point and the Lairig Ghru

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Towards Braeriach looking back

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The Lairig Ghru panorama

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Myself on the summit. The Cairngorms are completed

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Carn a'Mhaim summit cairn


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The 4 Munros on the right

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The walk back down

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Glen Luibeg in the distance

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Glen Luibeg a bit closer

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Lui Water

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Lui Water

The walk back followed the same way I came the previous day and was rewarded with a slight breeze which kept the midges away and allowed me to take some photos. Rain started just after I passed Bob Scott Memorial Hut and with the rain, the midges returned in horrendous masses. :? Walking as fast as I could, I returned to my car and shut the door…horrible little buggers.
Looking back I had to admit that I just had one of the best days in the Cairngorms. What an amazing area :D

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Mountainlove
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby Mountainlove » Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:59 pm

Ups forgot to add the photos first time around :roll:
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:38 pm

Beautiful, not in the slightest jealous :mrgreen: :mrgreen: I've been wanting to do this round for a while, but the logistics of getting dog sitter and good weather when we're free to go have defeated us! Your report proves it is worth persevering, thanks :clap: :clap: :clap:

Eating midges is not fatal, just extra protine :lol: :lol:
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:47 pm

Great stuff! You certainly make the Cairngorms look attractive with pics like these (not so much the beastie stories...).

When I looked at possible walks in the Cairngorms a few years ago, it never occurred to me to come at it from the side you did, and I must say, it looks pretty darned good.

A propos beasties: can you not get on with a midge net? I don't think I've ever experienced midges like you describe, but for normal levels a head net, really tight wrist and ankle cuffs, and masses of Deet on my hands, have worked for me. I'll probably get a horrible shock when I experience the Cairngorm variety...
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby ancancha » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:18 pm

A nice read and some great photos :clap:
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby Mountainlove » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:54 pm

@ Huff_n_Puff - I agree on the midges and its also a good revenge for being pests :D Make sure you will get a good day for those, the views are lovely and its certainly well worth the wait.

@ Alteknacker - I feel that I have to challenge you to finally head t the Cairngorms. 8) Regarding a midge net...I now own a midge jacket :thumbup: ...no way on earth I will ever walk through hell like that without one. :lol:

@ancancha - Many thanks :D
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:46 pm

I hope we didn't delay you too much! :D

Yes, midges were horrible... How did you survive the overnight camping, brave girl! I can't remember the wee army so bad since I moved up to Scotland, I think it's the mild winters recently, midges just breed without control!
They were bad yesterday as well (we did Sgulaird) plus the keds are out, too. We spent some time plucking them out of our hair and clothes :?
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby Lakeswalker » Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:44 pm

Great report and photographs. Brought back memories as these are some of the very few Munros I have climbed and that was 40 years ago. We climbed them in winter, camping near the big bend in the river with the island when viewed from the Devils Point. It did mean no problems with midges, boulders or deep heather. :)
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby dogplodder » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:09 pm

Your photos capture the beauty of those views so well and you so saw so much more from the top than Moira and I did when we were up Devil's Point in June. But we had a midge free day so I'm not complaining too much! :lol:
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby Borderhugh » Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:11 pm

Some great pics there Maja. All of these hills hold interest with fantastic views to boot. I particularly liked Carn a Mhaim and Devils Point. The ascent between the hills on the CT traverse is incredibly deceptive. Thankfully I didnt have the swarm of midgies but it sounds like you felt the force. Good protein for your diet. A bike to Derry Lodge and Luiblea makes a lot of sense if u dont fancy getting eaten. Mind you fishing for dead midgies out of your eyeballs isnt particularly pleasant. Looks like you took the more sensible descent and ascent routes off Braeriach and CaM. Planning a LG adventure in winter time. Well done!
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby goth_angel » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:58 pm

Great report and photos.

The midges at Corrour Bothy are horrendous. We camped there the night before doing the first 3 of your hills. Couldn't face another night of that so ended up missing out Braeriach and walking out!! :roll:
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:17 pm

Ach they is nó real midgies in the East Highlands ...West is best for midgies :wink:

Good stuff been a while since i did this round :D
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby Mountainlove » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:18 pm

@ BlackPanther- Glad you agree with the midges..thought I am getting soft. Congratulations also on reaching 200!! :clap:

@ Lakeswalker - Many thanks and have you thought about a return?

@ dogplodder - I remember looking at your report while planning this one :-) You are right , at least you had a midge free day saying that...I had free choice of chairs when I walked into the bothy.

@ Borderhugh - many thanks Hugh and yes you did the more crazy approach to the 5. Not sure if I woudl have liked the bike approach...even everyone on bikes had full midge protection on.

@ goth_angel - I am not blaming you for walking out, I don't think I coudl have done even one night at the bothy.

@ Collaciotach - They must have been on a field trip that day
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby litljortindan » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:08 pm

Fantastic next morning pics of/from Braeriach. Must have been nice to see clouds of clouds for a change instead of clouds of our little biting friends.
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Re: The misty mountains- summit camp up Braeriach (with phot

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:51 pm

Mountainlove wrote:
@ Alteknacker - I feel that I have to challenge you to finally head t the Cairngorms. 8) Regarding a midge net...I now own a midge jacket :thumbup: ...no way on earth I will ever walk through hell like that without one. :lol:



Well, I accepted the challenge and did a route very similar to yours last Wednesday. Regrettably I didn't have such good weather as you, but I was mightily impressed nonetheless :shock: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: . I think the point about the Cairngorms is the scale of them, which is something that pictures can't well convey. Anyway, if you look at the report, you will recognise it - even the beasties!! (I suffered, but I don't think quite as badly as you did!!)

The other thing that struck me was the mix of terrain - bouldery stuff, and deep heather, both of which seem to take an age to cross; and then long stretches of flat paths along which one can move very rapidly.

BTW what is a midge jacket? It sounds like a very attractive concept, I have to say!

AK
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