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Camping for Carn a'Mhaim

Camping for Carn a'Mhaim


Postby ed_hill » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:01 pm

Munros included on this walk: Carn a'Mhaim

Date walked: 27/04/2013

Time taken: 24 hours

Distance: 31 km

Ascent: 1400m

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I needed to do a "dry run" for mine and Flynns (2 year old cocker spaniel) up and coming, longer cross Cairngorms adventure. I'd done plenty camping before - but with a dog, now that was a different kettle of fish all together! I needed somewhere I could camp for a night, but that offered easy retreat if things turned pear shape! It was with this in mind that I chose Derry Lodge and Carn a'Mhaim as the target.

I arrived at Linn of Dee shortly before 4pm, it was hailing quite steadily so waited a few minutes before setting out to see if it would ease off - no such luck! So with full waterproofs on I made my way along the track to Derry. I could see my prey up ahead shrouded in black cloud.

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By the time I had got to the lodge the rain and hail had eased so popped up my tent and got set up in dry conditions. It was now (and later whilst cooking) that I became incredibly thankful for having the foresight to take a tether for Flynn - he would have been a nightmare otherwise! Far too easily excited!

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With camp set, I headed up Glen Derry for a wee evening wander. Amazingly, the weather held and the sun came out and I was treated to the most glorious Cairngorm evening. I walked up the west side of Derry burn as far as the small bridge and returned down the east side. With the lowering sun glinting on the snow on Derry Cairngorm, bird song in the air and the bubble of the burn I found a lump in my throat as the trees thinned to reveal the full vista of the Glen. Must be getting soft!

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As I got dinner on the stove (Carbonara with extra bacon) the rain came back on, so it was quickly shovelled down - 'al dente' and luke warm :D

I retreated to the tent and read Touching the Void for an hour or so before turning in - maybe not the best choice of literature before a day in the hills - all the stories of collapsed cornices and 4000ft falls gave me the heeby-jeebies! I slept relatively comfortably, and to my surprise Flynn was remarkably well behaved too - anything novel and he's usually boiling over with excitement, but I told him once and he settled down really well. It was a cold night but I was well wrapped up and Flynn had his wee jacket and we cosied up to share body heat. (I think he took more than he gave!). I awoke to a woodpecker working steadily diectly above me, the morning brought fresh snow on the ground and Carn a'Mhaim was now white from top to bottom. Porridge was made and shared before heading out for an 8am start.

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On setting out I found 5 Mountain Rescue landrovers parked at the hut. I grabbed a quick chance to chat to a couple of the guys and get an updated weather and avalanche forecast. S-SE slopes about 800m were to be ropey but a 90% chance of cloud free munros was great news!

Could there be a more reassuring sight starting a day in the cairngorms??
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I made good progress along the track to Luibeg Bridge and from there shouldered round the base of my hill to climb up its SW slope (this was a steeper, more bouldery route, but I was keen to avoid potentially hairy SE slopes). The ascent was hard going through fresh snow and heather before turning into fresh snow and big boulders, but the views were opening up to the beating heart of the 'gorms - Devils Point and Cairn Toul looking magnificent in sparkling snow, ice and granite.

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I soon reached the summit of Carn a'Mhaim with stunning views over the Lairg Ghru, Derry Cairngorm, south to Bein a'Ghlo and Big MacDui coming and going through the cloud. I decided rather than simply retracing my steps I would continue along the ridge before climbing up to Sron Riach and descend from there. The ridge was enjoyable but had a couple of narrow points with enough exposure and cornice build up to make me pay attention!

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During the ascent up to Sron Riach, I heard, then saw the rescue seaking come into the Lairg Ghru before circling and landing for around 20 mins in An Garbh Coire. I hope it was on training and not a real rescue. Seeing a huge vehicle such as the seaking looking absolutely miniscule in such surroundings gave you a real sense of humbling perspective.

Looking back to Carn a'Mhaim from Sron Riach:

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I got lunch at large granite tor on the ridge and soaked in the views (and the whisky...) before making a boggy return to the main path in Glen Lui. I soon got back to the lodge where I somewhat reluctantly packed up and shouldered the tent and headed back off to the car for a 4pm return. What a stunning 24 hours soaking in the Cairngorm magic - it gets into your soul!

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ed_hill
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Re: Camping for Carn a'Mhaim

Postby Logan_Rogue » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:37 pm

Great report!

Looks like Flynn had a great time too!

I have a Spaniel/Lab cross and a Collie/German Shepard cross who both love being out on the mountain. Never tried camping out with them though. Might give it a try now
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Logan_Rogue
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Re: Camping for Carn a'Mhaim

Postby ed_hill » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:25 pm

Cheers! You'll need a bigger tent with those two :D - definitely worth giving it a go - me and Flynn loved it!
ed_hill
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Re: Camping for Carn a'Mhaim

Postby Sabbathstevie » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:58 pm

:lol: Very enjoyable - thanks for sharing. Not so sure I'd go camping with my mad Jack Russell but on second thoughts would be better than camping alone!
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Sabbathstevie
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