Monday, June 20, 2011

Big day out in the Cairngorms

On Sun 19th, Ann, John & Juliette headed into the 'Gorms from the south to do a bit of bagging. The original plan had been a simple ascent of Derry Cairngorm, but Juliette let slip that she hadn't done Carn a Mhaim so plans were changed. Despite a fairly iffy forecast and a truly unpleasant day on Sat the weather was fine and warm to start with. There was even talk of short-wearing. Despite the car park being quite busy there weren't many folks evident on the ground, and refreshingly few cheaters cycling in.

Carn a Mhaim from Robber's Copse

An hour and a half later we started the grind up Carn a Mhaim. We had never been up this way before and were surprised by the quality of the path, although it is a bit too direct in places. We were also fooled by thinking that once up the initial steep bit we were nearly there. There was a long steady plod after that to the summit and another tick for Juliette.

Heading north from Carn a Mhaim

Objective achieved, it was time for first lunch and a decision about what to do next. Another slip from Juliette made our minds up - she had never had a view from the summit of Macdui, so off we went. The route north from Carn a Mhaim is about the nearest the Cairngorms has to a ridge walk and very pleasant it was. Nice to do it in that direction with the views up the Lairig Ghru. Unfortunately that was soon over and the 500m grind up Macdui began. Despite not having done much for a while it wasn't too bad and there was even a decent spring at the top for a drink.

Heading up Ben Macdui

It was cold and windy on the top but there was enough shelter for second lunch, and the view was pretty good with the Ben just visible in the west. Second objective ticked it was time to decide where next. Derry Cairngorm seemed the obvious choice given the good weather so off we trotted. That was where the plan started to fall apart as, almost from nowhere, the weather closed in and we were treated to a very cold and heavy shower for about 20 mins.

Looking back to Ben Macdui from Derry Cairngorm

By then we were fairly committed so continue we did and duly reached the summit in on and off drizzle. Then a fast descent got us back to Derry lodge and even the traditional long walk out didn't seem too bad. It was good to finally get a decent day out after a few weekends of pretty poor weather, and we were pleased to discover that Naismith didn't beat us by more than a few minutes. Bagtastic!