Drumochter Solar therapy. July 2007

Date: Sunday 15th July 2007
Distance: 12.6km
Ascent: 600m

Woke up in Aviemore on Sunday morning, just managed a wee walk in Glen Feshie on Saturday so we were raring to go, good forecast, blue sky out the window. Had thought about walking round Beinn Macdui, Coire Etchacan , Coire Raibert and back but – Horrors – Cairngorms clouded. Mountaineering addiction aside I’ve had enough gloom this summer and I was determined to walk in the light, so no Wee Pallid Man of Beinn Macdui, drove south (as it happens it would have cleared fine but I’m so sun starved I’d have come back and sat in the Pear Tree Beer garden rather than miss the sun).

Stopped in Drumochter at Balsporran Cottages – clear skies. We walked Geal Charn in December and it’s a fun easy amble so we set off.
There’s a direct eroding route developing straight up Geal Charn, we prefer to use the track running on the right (N) of the Allt (not marked on OS) which heads up to NN 610 800 on the shoulder of Creagan Mor then follow the ridge line in an arc round the head of Coire Beul an Sporain.

Chris M’s report on Meall Cuaich and the comments following are true to an extent, in terms of technicality and intrinsic attractiveness none of the Drumochter hills have huge plus points (and as such I think they often suffer from the self-fulfilling prophecy of being walked on poor days as an afterthought). The real plus points come with some of the wildlife – Creagan Mor is alive with hares – and the views of the Ben Alder/ Geal Charn massifs (far too many Geal Charns in the area!).

The view from NN 597 794 down Loch Ericht and across to Ben Alder is particularly fine.

And the December view:

Scattered a few hares (and leverets) on the way to the summit.

Food break then down to the bealach and on up to A’Mharconaich’s SW ridge (relatively easy here to divert SW to pick up Beinn Udlamain if wanted) then up to the summit with good views through to Rannoch, Ben Lawers and across to the Cairngorms (it never surprises me how phenomenally unaesthetic the Cairngorms are from this angle).

Nice walk down the A’Mharconaich ridge, disturbed a female Dotterel that was pretending to be injured to draw us off her ungainly chick (creeping the other way).

Muddy track at the base. Had a Ballistic grouse moment with 2 adults starting up followed, while we watched them by 3 waves of chicks vertically emerging from invisible positions around our feet!

Saw a fair number of dragonfly nymphs in the pools but no adults, I wonder if the poor weather is impacting the population?

First Bog Asphodel of the summer this weekend.

Back to the car and off south to Edinburgh, with the threat of sun deficient rickets staved off for another week.

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