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Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route


Postby Gordie12 » Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:18 pm

Munros included on this walk: Derry Cairngorm

Date walked: 10/10/2015

Time taken: 8.6 hours

Distance: 36.4 km

Ascent: 1212m

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You know what? It's okay to go in to the hills and not climb any of them (honestly, I mean it) and that was the plan for today. The forecast for both the west and north west suggested clag bound tops so I decided to head for the Cairngorms and finally, after years of getting close, walk along the side of Loch Avon.

I was walking by 6.45am from Linn of Dee car park so it was time for the head torch until I was through the woods and ten minutes up the main track. Another flat calm morning and a few degrees above freezing so just the one layer required although it was a long sleeved top for the first time since about March.

I'm not sure how many times I've walked up to Derry Lodge but fair to say it's a lot so I don't hang about and after 55 minutes I'm at the mountain rescue hut and heading for Glen Derry.

1.jpg
Looking up the glen towards Derry Lodge


2.jpg
Arriving at the mountain rescue hut


3.jpg
Misty view from Derry


Just beyond the hut there is a warning of severe flood damage to the track but I prefer the views from the east side of the Derry Burn so continue on anyway. There seem to be a number of pockets of mist both on the glen floor but also on some of the tops. The walk through the Scots Pines is always a pleasure and it's no different this morning although there is no sign of any sunshine. There were two points where the track was affected by the flooding, the first was easy with a plank in position to help walkers and non purists over the mess and the second required a short jump which was easy but the landing rock was damp so a little more problematic.

Leaving the woods behind I'm now out in the open walking along the floor of Glen Derry. At last I hear the red deer rut albeit just a couple of them off to my left somewhere.

4.jpg
Looking back down Glen Derry


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I defy anyone to walk past a dead tree without taking a pic


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Mud slide


The climb up to the split of the track (Hutchison Memorial Hut to the left and Fords of Avon to the right) is very gentle and good underfoot so I make decent time up to this point.

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Looking back down the glen


8.jpg
Hutchison Hut looking tiny with the hills surrounding it


10.jpg
Looking beyond the ford towards Bynack More


A few more deer are off to my right just as I take the Fords of Avon track and they are making a bit of noise then a group of around twenty cross the track ahead of me, with the autumn colours, if they didn't move they would be very hard to see.

The path down to the Fords of Avon was just as I remembered it, quite slow going and damp in patches. The crossing looked OK so I kept the trainers in the rucksack and was able to use stepping stones to get me over the burn.

11.jpg
The crossing


12.jpg
River Avon


13.jpg
First sighting of Loch Avon


Rather than cross the River Avon (which would definitely have involved getting the trainers out of the rucksack) I chose to take the path along the south bank. Initially quite lumpy, the path levels off once the loch comes in to sight and the views are just fantastic. I don't know how many times I stopped for photos but it certainly took a long time to reach the shelter stone before starting the climb up to Loch Etchachan.

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The climb away from Loch Avon and up to Loch Etchachan felt quite steep but was reasonably short lived. Close to Loch Etchachan I noticed three Ptarmigan and luckily I had brought the bigger zoom lens with me and so I was able to get a half decent shot of them.

21.jpg
Ptarmigan


22.jpg
Loch Etchachan


At Loch Etchachan I had a decision to take, the initial plan had been to drop down on the path that would take me past the Hutchison Hut and out in to Glen Derry but with the tops clearing I decided to head over to Derry Cairngorm which would allow me to do a circular route back to Derry Lodge.

After the loch I took the Ben Macdui path then branched off to head over towards Derry Cairngorm.

23.jpg
Derry Cairngorm


The climb up Derry Cairngorm is fairly straight forward with a path leading to a boulder field then it's just a case of rock hopping to the top on a reasonable incline which is a lot easier than the climb away from Loch Avon.

24.jpg
Derry Cairngorm summit


I spent 5 minutes at the top before deciding to get myself off the boulder field and head down the obvious track which would take me back to Derry Lodge. The descent is straight forward but the last section before the Scots Pine wood is steep and I was glad to cross the bridge and arrive back at the mountain rescue hut bedside Derry Lodge.

25.jpg
The walk back to Linn of Dee lies in front of me


On the far side of the bridge I stopped to grab a sandwich out of my rucksack which I ate as I walked down the final section of my walk from Derry Lodge back to the Linn of Dee car park. The legs were quite tired now so the pace wasn't dramatic but I made decent time back to the car.

26.jpg
Odd shaped cloud


The plan had never been to take in Derry Cairngorm but by doing so it did make for a more varied walk. Never really saw the sun all day but still really enjoyable and at last I've been to Loch Avon. I hadn't really appreciated how dramatic the west end of the loch is, a special place and one I'd love to return to, hopefully from the north next time. It's a fair trek at 22.6 miles but well worth the effort.
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby teaandpies » Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:28 pm

Nice details in the report. Yet to visit this part of the 'gorms. I'll keep this report in mind when I do.
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:52 pm

Enjoyed that Gordie :clap: Only walked once to Derry Lodge and that was once too many, always take my bike now :wink:

Here's what the Hutchison Hut looks like when the white stuff is around :wink: :wink:
Image
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby dooterbang » Sun Oct 11, 2015 11:33 pm

Great photos. Cairngorms looking very atmospheric. Loch Avon is stunning :)
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:16 am

It's always nice to throw an unplanned summit into your basket :wink: Did you hear loud meowing from the north-east direction by any chance? :lol: We were on Bynack More that day and spent 2 hours lurking and scrambling over the Barns.

The Dee approach looks enjoyable. We added Derry C to a large circuit McDui - Mheadhoin - Loch Avon - Cairngorm. Must try the other side some time :D
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby SecretSquirrel » Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:24 pm

Cracking looking walk. I've only ever seen Loch Avon from above, I'll need to make an effort to get there. I like the idea of an adhoc Munro :clap:
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:30 pm

teaandpies wrote:Nice details in the report. Yet to visit this part of the 'gorms. I'll keep this report in mind when I do.


When you get to this part of the Gorms teaandpies, disregard this report completely (unless you prefer the less direct route to the top).
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:32 pm

Fife Flyer wrote:Enjoyed that Gordie :clap: Only walked once to Derry Lodge and that was once too many, always take my bike now :wink:

Here's what the Hutchison Hut looks like when the white stuff is around :wink: :wink:
Image


Thanks FF - not a fan of the bike but I can well understand it for the first part up to Derry Lodge.

Might not be long before the white stuff is back by the Hutchison Hut.
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:34 pm

dooterbang wrote:Great photos. Cairngorms looking very atmospheric. Loch Avon is stunning :)


Thanks dooterbang - I'm really glad I took the time to investigate Loch Avon as it's been on my mind for yonks and it was brilliant.

Next time I'll walk in from the north and take in a couple of tops but that will probably be next year now.
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:38 pm

BlackPanther wrote:It's always nice to throw an unplanned summit into your basket :wink: Did you hear loud meowing from the north-east direction by any chance? :lol: We were on Bynack More that day and spent 2 hours lurking and scrambling over the Barns.

The Dee approach looks enjoyable. We added Derry C to a large circuit McDui - Mheadhoin - Loch Avon - Cairngorm. Must try the other side some time :D


Sorry BP - didn't hear any meowing and only one or two red deer for that matter.

I nearly joined you on Bynack More, had the crossing of the River Avon not involved stopping and getting the trainers out of the rucksack I was thinking of adding it on but when I saw the flow I decided just to head up Loch Avon and then on to Derry Cairngorm.

Looks like there were a lot of walk highlands peeps in the area on Saturday.
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:43 pm

SecretSquirrel wrote:Cracking looking walk. I've only ever seen Loch Avon from above, I'll need to make an effort to get there. I like the idea of an adhoc Munro :clap:


Thanks SecretSquirrel - like you I had only seen Loch Avon from above but it's really worth the effort of getting down to the loch side and taking in all the rugged surroundings.

Adhoc Munros are my speciality, probably explains why I've done Carn ant Sagairt Mor 13 times now when most of the time I just planned to walk round Loch Callater :shock:
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby DaveH82 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:09 pm

Great report and photos. I enjoyed reading that. My first Munro was Derry Cairngorm, after walking along the side of Loch Avon the day before and a night in Hutchison memorial hut.
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby John Hassall » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:03 pm

So that must be a new tactic Gordie after the crossing of the Quoich Water burn last summer on the way back from Beinn a Bhuird - "trainers in the rucksack" - now that is specialist equipment!

Do you remember that two days after our Ben Avon / Beinn a Bhuird walk the bridge at Derry Lodge was washed away completely (and Braemar Open cancelled due to waterlogged course!)

Many, many years ago I walked down to The Shelterstone, when we were climbing on Shelterstone Crag - awesome surroundings from the head of Glen Avon with spectacular rock scenery all around! A grand place!

(I also went that way over Derry Cairngorm the day before our meet last summer!)

All the best

John
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:01 pm

DaveH82 wrote:Great report and photos. I enjoyed reading that. My first Munro was Derry Cairngorm, after walking along the side of Loch Avon the day before and a night in Hutchison memorial hut.


Hi DaveH82 - I'm a bit jealous, I've never spent a night in a bothy or camped out in the hills. Should do it one day (or should I say night).
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Re: Derry Cairngorm - The Daft Route

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:14 pm

John Hassall wrote:So that must be a new tactic Gordie after the crossing of the Quoich Water burn last summer on the way back from Beinn a Bhuird - "trainers in the rucksack" - now that is specialist equipment!

Do you remember that two days after our Ben Avon / Beinn a Bhuird walk the bridge at Derry Lodge was washed away completely (and Braemar Open cancelled due to waterlogged course!)

Many, many years ago I walked down to The Shelterstone, when we were climbing on Shelterstone Crag - awesome surroundings from the head of Glen Avon with spectacular rock scenery all around! A grand place!

(I also went that way over Derry Cairngorm the day before our meet last summer!)

All the best

John


Hi John - sounds like you know the area far better than me. I was looking to see if anyone was climbing Shelterstone Crag when I went past but there was nobody in sight.

My specialist equipment consists of a left trainer with the front soul hanging off and a right trainer with the heal hanging off. Having tried to cross a fast flowing river last year (in bare feet) and doing the splits then tipping over head first in to the drink I now carry my specialist equipment when I know there is a river en route.

My memory of crossing the Quoich Water was you skipping over then having to wait ages on me as I used an island then sat down in the heather to get the socks and boots back on while being feasted on by the local midge population - happy days :lol: :lol: :lol:
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