Derry Cairngorm from the Linn of Dee

Having been back and forth through Tomintoul recently I really will have to stop by the Whisky Castle again. If only to see if the new owners are as helpful and welcoming as the previous guy. I could hear the bottles calling me as I passed. I was early, as in the day before. Crash out in the car park overnight and walk the next day being the plan. Even with this a bank holiday weekend I figured at 7 o'clock in the evening the car park would be quiet enough. It was and I found a space or two at the far end big enough to park alongside the track. Backed Florence the camper into a lovely little spot and killed the engine. Lovely lovely silence, among the hordes of cars parked everywhere barely half-a-dozen other spaces available.


Length: 13.8 miles 22.2 kmAscent: +900m -901m
Start: 2018-05-06 08:14:23 BST End: 2018-05-06 16:30:23 BST
Elapsed Time: 8h 16m 0s Ave. Speed: 1.67mph 2.68kph
Moving Time: 6h 38m 19s Ave. Speed: 2.08mph 3.34kph

Up, a good breakfast, and off the next morning at a reasonable hour. I let myself warm up a bit and then stretched out the pace to eat the miles to Derry Lodge. Only one cyclist passed me - I really will have to get the Felt ready so I can dump it at the end of a bike-in. I crossed the Derry burn by the walkers bridge, the water running fast, and took a narrow path directly ahead. No signposts here just anonymous paths through the heather. Soon into the woods the path meanders up ever steeper slopes. A dead tree here is covered in ants, a good home for while at least I guess. Roots criss-cross the path, plenty of grip today but I don't fancy it in the wet.

An un-promising start - Derry Cairngorm
An un-promising start - Derry Cairngorm

MRT hut behind Derry Lodge - route is straight up the hill
MRT hut behind Derry Lodge - route is straight up the hill

Out of the trees the breeze picks up, it's light so far but the forecast is for it increase as the day goes on. I look back. The air is hazy or is it mist, and Lui Water snakes across it's glacial valley. Breather over it's time to get on up the hill.

Young trees above Glen Derry
Young trees above Glen Derry

Glen Lui looking to Beinn Bhrotain
Glen Lui looking to Beinn Bhrotain

My path skirts Creag Bad an t-Seabhaig to the right and climbs a steep set of stone pitched steps to clamber onto the ridge line above. Here the only things that grow are hardy mosses, and some grass otherwise on the ridge it's typical Cairngorm granite tundra. On the east facing slopes, where the path bypasses Carn Crom and the 1040m top there is a lot more grass, but it doesn't last as I'm back on the ridge soon enough.

South east ridge of Carn Crom
South east ridge of Carn Crom

Looking to Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir
Looking to Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir

On the ridge are tedious boulder fields topped by a real cracker at 1030m to the summit. Reaching this seemed to be the cue for the wind that had been steadily increasing through the morning to really have a go at knocking me off every single boulder. Especially the ones that move! Holding the camera vaguely steady was hard thank you image stabilisation in the camera for some reasonable shots. The summit cairn(s) offering little respite from the gale and bluster. An open wind shelter had no chance. On the way back it wasn't until I was into the trees above Derry Lodge that I found any respite. Down in the glen it was a lovely day, sunshine, a slight breeze and I was able to take my windproof and fleece off for the 3 mile walk out.

Derry Cairngorm summit cairn
Derry Cairngorm summit cairn

Spot the two ptarmigan
Spot the two ptarmigan

Eastern coires of Carn Toul and Sgor an Lochain Uaine
Eastern coires of Carn Toul and Sgor an Lochain Uaine

Beinn a' Chaorainn
Beinn a' Chaorainn

Tags: munro, outdoor, scotland Written 06/05/18 

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