Continuing Skye's hill training: Ben Macdui and Cairngorm

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You have climbed 93/282 munros.

The forecast was right! It was a windy day of 2 halves. The morning dull, overcast at best, and cloud blowing across the tops to add a little 'atmosphere', just for Ben Macdui. How appropriate, but we didn't see the old grey man. The afternoon was just as windy, but very warm in the sun.

Strangely as I was 'sniffing the air' in the car park having just arrived, a woman wandered by obviously from Cairngorm Mountain ltd (or whatever they're called at the moment) and took my number plate. For what purposes I don't know. Curious.

Date started:17/07/20
Distance:11.3 miles
Ascent:958m
Descent:959m
Time taken:26940
Moving time:6:18
Average speed:1.79mph
Maximum speed:7.23mph

Ben Macdui and Cairngorm

I wanted to step up the distance and difficulty for Skye's first long walk to 2 munros. I hadn't been to Cairngorm and Ben Macdui for a while, maybe even a few years, so I figured they would suit us both. It would also show me how Skye copes with boulder fields, rough ground, and maybe being close to cliffs.

On the northern coires path
On the northern coires path

Coire an Lochan
Coire an Lochan

I carried a full rucksack, 1.7 litres of water for the pair of us and my decent 'nearly waterproof' primaloft gold jacket from PHD as insulation. Which I was very grateful for trying to hunker down in one of the many wind-shelters on Ben Macdui. Skye carried a wee bit of lunch in her rucksack plit into a small bag on each side. I don't think she noticed it so next time I'll put in a more useful amount for her.

Lochain Uaine below Sgurr an Lochain Uaine
Lochain Uaine below Sgurr an Lochain Uaine

Ben Macdui direction indicator
Ben Macdui direction indicator

Skye had no issues with the boulder field on the way to or from Ben Macdui, and seemed to be a natural rock hopper. Me, I certainly didn't have my well co-ordinated rock hopping legs on. Wearing lightweight boots didn't help much, I felt uncoordinated and 'clumpy'. Probably just post-lochdown poor fitness. No problems being near cliffs either, rather the opposite, she had little to no fear and walked a narrow path on the edge just fine.

Ben Macdui trig point
Ben Macdui trig point

Braeriach's Garbh Choire across the Lairig Ghru
Braeriach's Garbh Choire across the Lairig Ghru

As the morning wore on, and the weather improved, the people appeared. It was pretty busy heading to Cairngorm, way more than usual for a weekday. The drop to Windy Col was a bit demoralising seeing the climb up Cairngorm, all that descent has to be done again. The summit cairn was littered with people so I headed for the weather station. It's my marker for the summit, the cairn actually looks lower. As we left I took Skye, on lead, to the cairn just to make it official. With people all over it, it wasn't easy to find an acceptable gap. Why do people sit on the summit cairn to have lunch, etc, knowing they will get disrupted by other people wanting to 'touch the top'.

Below Cairn Lochain heading for Stob Coire an T' Sneachda
Below Cairn Lochain heading for Stob Coire an T' Sneachda

Beinn Mheadhoin
Beinn Mheadhoin

We dropped down Windy. Maybe folks were put of by the name as few people passed us in either direction. The wind though tugged at me, Skye loved it for all the smells it brought right to her.

All in all a good day.

Skye at Cairngorm weather station
Skye at Cairngorm weather station

Tags: munro, outdoor, scotland Written 17/07/20 

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