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A Cairngorm epic - day 3, The Braeriach traverse

A Cairngorm epic - day 3, The Braeriach traverse


Postby Flo-go » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:54 pm

Route description: Cairn Toul - Braeriach traverse

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

Date walked: 17/07/2013

Time taken: 8.45 hours

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Woke up at 7am to clear skies which meant that the Braeriach traverse (which I had been really looking forward to) was on. Noted that man and son had already gone and wondered briefly if I'd catch up with them.
At half 7 on the dot I left the bothy and immediately headed up the steep path towards Devil's point. Filled my water up just up from the first fords as I hadn't felt the need to carry it from the bottom. After 45 minutes the bealach (and the wind) was reached. I took the opportunity to dump my bag and make the quick detour up Devil's point. The views were incredible but my camera had difficulty with the brightness. Half an hour later I was back at my pack and hopped into a little shelter just off the bealach to have my breakfast (yet more flapjack). 15 minutes later I was on my way again. I stayed away from the edge to Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir and avoided the boulder fields until I got near the top. Not sure why I avoided the boulders as I actually really like boulder hopping uphill - time seems to go much quicker when hopping from rock to rock. Not as keen on rockhopping downhill so in retrospect did the traverse the right way round :D. From the top the big triangular peak of Cairn Toul dominated.

Soon I was on the way up to Cairn Toul over the boulder field. I was starting to get used to the wind and dared to make my way up closer to the edge. The views were great. A quick snack water break and on the way to Angel's Peak. I met yesterday's couple coming down off Angel's peak, they were heading back down the way they had come as they had come in from the linn of dee and their bikes were stowed near derry lodge.
After Angel's Peak I took my time heading up to Braeriach, the views of the mountain with its impressive corries seemed to change with every step! The wide expanse of the plateau was reached and I couldn't see a soul. It did really seem vast up there and I can see why it would be difficult to navigate with poor visibility. I stopped briefly by the fledgling river Dee to fill up my water bottle and reminisce about all the good days I've had in that river further down stream.

Again I took my time up to the summit. The patterns made by the radioactive green lichens on the small smooth boulders were amazing. After a surprisingly long time the summit cairn of Braeriach came into view. I had another break with more flapjack and just soaked it in. Had the mountain to myself for a good 15 minutes with others appearing from the aviemore side as I was getting ready to leave. Despite putting more layers and my hat on it was getting cold just sitting. Had a chat and started the descent. My knees soon decided that 9 munros in 3 days was a silly idea and started to be quite sore. They had held up remarkably well for the rest of the trip so I forgave them. It did mean quite a slow descent. I stopped for lunch and a good break at a fairly steep part towards the bottom. Here I was overtaken by one of the guys I'd met on the summit and we had another chat. I love how nice everyone in the hills seems to be be once you get off the super tourist trail and how willing for a chat. Mind you I'm not sure I'd want to stop and chat to every single person when going up say Ben Nevis, you'd never get anywhere!

When almost at the Lairig Ghru I thought I could see 2 familiar figures ahead of me heading towards the Chalamain gap. This spurred me on and once on flatter ground I realised that my legs weren't actually that tired and had plenty of go in them. Quite enjoyed the clamber through the Chalamain gap although I'd like to do it without a big pack some time. When I was about halfway through I saw man and son just finishing the clamber and heading down the path. At this point I wasn't actively trying to catch up, but I was gaining ground quickly. Caught up just before the path crosses a stream. They told me of their plan to follow the faint path along the river and then cut across to the ski centre. I decided that the longer way round on a good path (towards the sugarbowl car park and then up parallel to the road) was a better option. At this point I only treated it as a race a little (couldn't help it) and by the time they got to the car I'd changed shoes, eaten an apple and told the ranger base I was safely back. If you're reading this guys - well done solid effort especially the 13yo son who did really well, 2 big days with a big bag. Hope you enjoyed the indian in Aviemore.

I had initially panned to have dinner in Aviemore myself, but it was far too early so I drove back to Glasgow, only stopping for a coffee in Perth.
Had an absolutely amazing 3 days in great weather. I'm sure there will be many more adventures to come!

Cairn Toul from the Devil's point
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back up to the Devil's point from the bealach
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Cairn Toul
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view from Cairn Toul
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towards Angel's Peak
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Locahn Uaine
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interesting rocks
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looking back at Angel's Peak and Cairn Toul
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cliffs of Braeriach
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corrie with the Falls of Dee
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radioactive lichen on the plateau
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from the summit
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Lochan Uaine from Braeriach
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Carn a'Mhaim
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looking down the Lairig Ghru
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Lunchtime, the Chalamain gap comes into view
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Lairig Ghru
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survived the Chalamain gap
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the end point comes into view
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Flo-go
 
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Re: A Cairngorm epic - day 3, The Braeriach traverse

Postby Tomsie » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:06 pm

3 Good reports and great few days, I love around the cairngorm area but be a while till I'm back unless for a Corbett
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Tomsie
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Re: A Cairngorm epic - day 3, The Braeriach traverse

Postby starless » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:54 pm

Great stuff Flo-go, can’t beat the gorms. Corrour round to the sugarbowl, imho, is as good as it gets.
starless
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