walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Winter in the Cairngorms - but isn't it Spring?

Winter in the Cairngorms - but isn't it Spring?


Postby Delice » Mon May 02, 2016 11:24 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Macdui, Carn a'Mhaim, Derry Cairngorm

Date walked: 30/04/2016

Time taken: 9.5 hours

Distance: 32 km

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

More snow during the week + good forecast + longer days = ideal for a walk in the Cairngorms! So off we went - and it didn't have to be too early which was also ideal! Ten to 7 on the last day of April saw Ben and I heading up the road to Braemar from Fife with a nice feeling of anticipation! I thought we were going to do Derry Cairngorm, but Ben said as an add-on he'd trade me Ben Macdui [I hadn't/ he had] for Carn a'Mhaim [I had/ he hadn't]. So that turned into the plan - a perfect round of 3 munros. A nice quiet drive - where was everyone on this Bank Holiday weekend? Not many cars in the car park at Linn of Dee but a few others with bikes unpacking and heading off. Ben had the most unfeasibly large rucksack ever - he blames the 45lbs on his winter walking course some years ago - I don't know what he was carrying - I suspect a woodburning stove and a set of bunk beds at least! But I was quite happy as it kept his speed down a bit on the climbs!
P1090530w.jpg

We pedalled in to Derry Lodge through the forest. Not long before the snowy peaks came in to view, glistening under a deep blue sky. Magical. I think the skiers call it a bluebird day? After a bit of a debate about whether to cycle on a bit further to save a few K on the way back, we left our bikes behind the hut and headed over the new [to me anyway] bridge to the far side.
P1090531w.jpg
A really nice path wound its way up the SE ridge off Carn Crom through beautiful open pine forest. A bit above that we came across the snow - not something you'd expect at the end of April, but fortunately someone had been there before us and we could follow in their footsteps! Crunch cruch crunch!
A really lovely ridge right to the top, with fantastic view back south to the Glenshee hills and Lochnagar, east over Glen Derry to Beinn Bhreac and beyond, west across the Lairig Ghru to the Devils Point et al, and north towards Beinn Mheadhoin.
P1090534w.jpg
P1090537w.jpg
Slowly the cliffs off Ben Macdui emerging over the summit, with Cairngorm beyond. It was one of those Whoop Whoop days!
We checked our timings on the summit but of course we couldn't remember it once we came back down!
P1090544w.jpg
P1090549w.jpg
Looking back at Derry Cairngorm
A quick bite to eat and then the long white drop down north in the direction Loch Etchachan. The Barns of Bynack More were picked out clearly in the dazzling snowand and I think it must be the granite tors on Beinn Mheadhoin on the horizon? We could just see 2 small figures in the far distance heading towards the summit of Ben Macdui. It kept going in and out of the sunshine as the cloud had started to thicken from the west. It was still well above the plateau and all the summits though.
We swung round onto the spur that leads onto the rim of Coire Sputan Dearg - admiring the nice sharp cliffs to one side and envying the activities of the ski tourers to the other.
P1090550w.jpg
P1090552w.jpg
P1090555w.jpg
A steady slow burn to the ridge line and then nearly due west towards the summit, passing the snow blasted shelter just below. Arriving at the cairn there was a crowd already there - little groups of 2s and 3s - most of them having skinned up from Cairngorm on skis, with a lovely prospect of the ride back down. The split snowboard combo seemed a popular option. We rested a while enjoying the views and watching the performance of putting away the skins, assembing the boards etc.
P1090560w.jpg
P1090561w.jpg
P1090564w.jpg

Our route back down was over Carn a'Mhaim.
P1090566w.jpg
A steep drop down the side of BM made really easy with the deep powder snow cushioning each stride - much easier than normal conditions I imagine. We made a point of following the snow fields and avoiding any of the rocky patches - the opposite of the way up where the rocky places made for firmer, faster walking.
P1090567w.jpg
P1090569w.jpg
We counted the false summits we would have to go over to reach the last top - looked like about 5, but anyway a lovely narrow ridge with more amazing close up views across the Lairig Ghru to Braeriach, Angel's Peak, Carn Toul and Devils Point.
P1090571w.jpg
A really zoomed in shot of the distant tors - on Beinn Mheadhoin I think?
A few needle hail showers were passing over those high peaks and we caught the edges of the cloud, but bursts of sunshine between the shadows too. Certainly nothing to complain about.
P1090574w.jpg

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Back down in Glen Lui we managed to miss the turning to the bridge above the Robbers Copse and the river was just a bit too high to take the risk on the stepping stones, so we had a short detour up the river bank. A long tramp back to the bikes, but even so, it was the right decision not to try to take them further in the morning - the SW spur onto Carn Crom didn't look so interesting.
A short ride back to the car - who doesn't love a bike at the end of a long day! And we were back just after 6.30. Plenty of daylight left, but glad to get back - a pretty epic day!
Attachments
P1090541w.jpg
Munro Nr 182 - I'm on the long count back down from 100!
User avatar
Delice
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 27
Munros:243   Corbetts:2
Joined: Jul 3, 2012
Location: near Culross

Re: Winter in the Cairngorms - but isn't it Spring?

Postby monarchming » Tue May 03, 2016 10:33 am

Ha! Well done you two! :clap:
You passed me early on the path from the car park
I was the guy with the blue top and black rucksack
I was out to get Beinn Bhreac and try my new tent out in Glen Lui
I remember seeing a guy on his bike with a rucksack like a fridge freezer! :lol:
Great route you guys picked and although I have climbed Ben Macdui it sounds like a fab day out
Glad you had a good day and great effort!
User avatar
monarchming
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 257
Munros:158   
Joined: Aug 25, 2009
Location: South Ayrshire

Re: Winter in the Cairngorms - but isn't it Spring?

Postby prog99 » Tue May 03, 2016 7:54 pm

What a day indeed. We were two of the ski tourers although our paths probably didn't cross as we saw no-one on the summit of Macdui. Must have been a wee bit earlier than yourselves on the summit.
User avatar
prog99
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1051
Joined: Aug 14, 2013
Location: Sunny Edinburgh

Re: Winter in the Cairngorms - but isn't it Spring?

Postby Delice » Tue May 03, 2016 9:19 pm

yep, I remember passing you Monarchming! I think I said 'cracking day' or something like that! Which it was. Beinn Bhreac is still to come - going to combine it with Beinn a' Chaorainn I reckon. How was the camping? There were quite a few tents out around Derry Lodge that evening but did the weather change in the night?
User avatar
Delice
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 27
Munros:243   Corbetts:2
Joined: Jul 3, 2012
Location: near Culross

Re: Winter in the Cairngorms - but isn't it Spring?

Postby Delice » Tue May 03, 2016 9:22 pm

I was very jealous of the ski tourers. There were a lot of you out and it looked amazing. Never tried it but I think I must! The route back from Ben Macdui to Cairngorm looked so cool! 8)
User avatar
Delice
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 27
Munros:243   Corbetts:2
Joined: Jul 3, 2012
Location: near Culross

Re: Winter in the Cairngorms - but isn't it Spring?

Postby prog99 » Tue May 03, 2016 9:42 pm

Delice wrote:I was very jealous of the ski tourers. There were a lot of you out and it looked amazing. Never tried it but I think I must! The route back from Ben Macdui to Cairngorm looked so cool! 8)

Ah, I don't like that way too much, bit too shallow. We went down taillears burn which is one of the best in the country but has a downside of a bit of a hoof out of the lairig ghru!

Expensive hobby but on days like this!

Enjoy Beinn Bhreac and hope for dry conditions underfoot.
User avatar
prog99
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1051
Joined: Aug 14, 2013
Location: Sunny Edinburgh

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests