A Winter's Tale

Date walked: 15/03/2003

Distance: 91km

Hi folks.

Thought you may be interested in one of my solo escapades and note its pitfalls. OS maps and compass were used for the walk; gps waypoints added later are indicative.

I arrived at Coylum Bridge campsite early evening, set up my Akto and had a meal. It was unusually warm and I slept badly. Nonetheless I was fine in the morning.

Day 1 Intent: walk to Ryvoan Bothy - 10 miles.

Carrying 20kilo's of full winter rig, I set off along the tracks through the Rothiemurchus Forest to Glenmore Lodge. Clear and cold weather. Obtained a forecast at the lodge - snow. Reached unoccupied Ryvoan Bothy around 15.00 and made a meal. Some coal but didn't light the fire. Read then turned in early.

Day 2 Intent: ascend Bynack More then to Fords of Avon/Hutchinson Memorial Hut 12 miles.

Plenty of porridge and off I went. Crossed the bridge at Bynack Stables and stopped at the foot of Bynack More. Left my sack and went up the snow-covered North Ridge. Before the top it started snowing. At the summit it was eerily quiet. No wind, dark grey sky and large snowflakes. I turned to look back and following in my footsteps were half a dozen white ptarmigans. I stood and they skirted past me.

Picked up the sack and continued south to Fords of Avon. Cleared the snow from the door, inside wet and inhospitable. What to do, it was 14.30? Decision made - press on! But first cross the river. It was fairly deep but with poles, 4-season boots and high gaiters I went for it. Not bad, a wee bit damp!

Slow and steady south over pathless terrain due to the snow. Then, roughly at NJ033 005, my right leg plunged between snow-covered rocks and jammed at the knee. Ouch! Leaning heavily on the poles I went at a snail's pace. It was 19.00 when I reached the Hutchinson aided by my headtorch. There I cleared the snow from the door (should get a job with the council) and happily crept in.

After a brew and a hot meal I began to take stock. Knee was cut and swollen but I had food and fuel so I could stay on. One thing I promised myself was to buy a gps to avoid aiming off to find foot bridges in the dark. Bandaged my knee then turned in.

Day 3 Intent: do nothing.

It was still snowing, I hobbled about, ate and did a crossword. Around 15.00 a couple of guys turned up from Linn of Dee. A nice evening and a wee dram kept the conversation flowing.

Day 4 Intent: reach Braemar 15 Miles.

Snow stopped and knee much better. Bid farewell to the two Munroists and aided by the poles went down Glen Derry. From Derry Lodge I continued to Victoria Bridge via Mar Lodge. There I hoped to get a lift as I headed to Braemar - no joy!

The Braemar YH was a welcome site. Nice patrons, hot shower and a good fire. After the evening meal I met Ralph (Munroist) we exchanged stories then got the maps out. A nice guy - hope you read this!

Day 5 Intent: walk to Corrour Bothy about 8 miles.

Ralph kindly gave me a lift to the Linn of Dee then walked with me slowly (his expense) to Derry Lodge. From there a steady plod brought me to the ford - no way, I walked up to Luibeg Bridge. The knee by now was much better and I soon reached the bothy. Apart from a chilling wind it was a nice day. First there was no fuel in the bothy so I went foraging. Plenty of dead heather but little dry peat. Nonetheless I managed a fire of sorts. Water was running across the concrete floor so I laid polythene bags below my Thernarest.

After the evening meal the wind got up and so did the chill factor. I propped a shovel against the door and turned in early. Around 20.30 there was a banging on the door so out of my warm bag I leapt and let a guy and his girl in. They were amazed anyone would be in the bothy. Grumpily I got back in the sack but was cheered when they passed me a dram.

Day 6 Intent: walk to Coylum Bridge/Aviemore 11/13 miles.

In the morning, about 08.00, a rescue helicopter landed nearby. They asked if Ralph ----- was within. I said no! Why? Apparently he didn't return to Braemar YH last night. Luckily I could furnish them with his route. Fine weather. My new found friends were off to Garbh Choire Bothy, crazily I joined them. After a while however the west bank of the Allt na Lairig Ghru was too heavy going for me so we parted company. Crossing the river proved difficult. At a narrow spot I crawled over a snow bridge and dragged the pack behind me.

From there the only hazardous area was traversing the Pools of Dee - plenty of soft snow over rocks. I arrived at Coylum Bridge around 18.00 then walked to Aviemore YH. Once settled, fed and showered I rang Braemar YH regarding Ralph. Alaister said he had been found on Carn a Mhaim in an orange emergency bag. He had a leg injury resulting from going down a snow hole in the rocks.

A salutory Winter's Tale.

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John's Cape Wrath Trail

Attachment(s) Date walked: 27/06/2002
Distance: 340km
Views: 6014


Activity: Stravaiging
Pub: None
Mountain: Skye ridge
Place: Skye
Gear: Compass
Member: BMC, Ramblers Assoc.
Ideal day out: All aspects of mountaineering

Munros: 157
Corbetts: 6
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Cape Wrath Trail   

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Trips: 1
Distance: 91 km


Trips: 1
Distance: 340 km

Joined: May 30, 2012
Last visited: Aug 21, 2014
Total posts: 2 | Search posts