Southern-Western Lairig Ghru Munros Camp September 2009

Date: Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th September 2009
Distance: 40km
Ascent: 2000m

The high pressure system had triggered thoughts of wild-camping again and the forecast up to about Thursday still suggested low winds and sun in the NE.

Left Edinburgh at 0720 – rather moody skies. Arrived at Linn of Dee at 0940. Quite a few cars already there.

Big packs on and off up the road to Derry Lodge. Ominously dark to the Cairngorms

sunny to the East.

About 2km along the track we had a treat, a local speciality:

Played dead for a minute, then knowing it was rumbled started to hiss.

Beautiful creature – watched it go into the heather and after a few mins we let it be.

Derry Lodge is a 1hr walk. Lovely spot – often see Black Grouse here.

Marched on to ford the Luibeg Burn direct rather than diverting to the bridge. Conditions clouded as we walked.

The track curls round the foot of Carn a Mhaim to enter the Lairig Ghru.

There should be a cracking view of Devil’s Point from here but not today.

On past Corrour Bothy and up the new path up to Devil’s Point. As we crested the ridge the wind and rain got pretty brisk. The summit is a shallow 100m ascent – over some rocky areas. The summit view was the same as the last time – nada.

Feely chilly in the horizontal rain we retreated for the bealach. Dropped down 20m and had lunch. We had a chat and decided the planned high camp was looking inadvisable(unappealing) although the forecast had suggested improvement. Decided to drop back down and camp in the glens.

At that point the weather changed as fast as I’d ever seen it. Within 10 mins as we sat, not only did the sun come out but all the hills cleared! Still windy but our moral fibre was recharged and we decided to press on.

The walk up to Cairn Toul from here is un technical Mainly grass, rocks avoidable to the left up to the 1213m top.

View to the tiny Devil’s Point, Carn a Mhaim and Sgor Mor:

Cairn Toul:

South-east:

Quick drop over boulders and then up more boulders to the summit of Cairn Toul. Clouded again. South end of Lairig Ghru:

More mist covered Braeriach as we approached the top.

Sunny break over Loch nan Stuirteag:

Braeriach:

The original plan had been to drop to the bealach and ascend Sgor an Lochaine Uaine, descending it’s SW ridge to Loch nan Stuirteag, we decided instead to track down the Allt Clais an t-Sabhail towards the Loch.

At about the 930m mark we noticed a little hollow, obviously used by deer deep enough to kill the westerly wind. Loch nan Stuirteag was still being whipped by the winds so it seemed a good place to stop.

Pitched the tent, found a rocky nook for the meths stove and had tea. Dark under now cloudy skies by 1945.

The ubiquitous Platypus of Oz Shiraz was consumed under the headtorch. Pre-bed leg-stretch and ablutions gave a fantastic star-scape but the temp was dropping so hasty retreats were made.

Quite a good night’s sleep – Ptarmigan calls for an alarm clock. A different dawn chorus. The sound of intermittent showers gave us licence to sleep in.

Got up at 0800 – coffee and porridge on the meths stove.

Clag all round but as we struck the tent the clouds started to lift. Monadh Mor:

Glen Geusachan:

Down towards Loch nan Stuirteag and then up the grassy slopes of Monadh Mor. Nice views to a clearing Cairn Toul.

The summit of Monadh Mor is flat and easy – cloudy views towards the Feshie/Tromie hills. Nice view into Glen Geusachan:

Easy walk to the dip between Monadh Mor and Beinn Bhrotain, then up a brisk pull on mainly flat boulders to the summit.

A rounded top so some views obstructed but interesting angle on the Section 5 and 6 hills – could identify most of them. Photographically not so interesting as a bit of a jumble.

South off the summit on easy terrain over Aghaidh Gharbh to Carn Cloich Mhuilin and then down over the Fiaclachs. Carn Clioch Mhuilin:

Great views then appear of the Lairig Ghru all the way through to Lurchers Crag.

Drop down to the Glen Dee track. Then 7km march back to the car.

The view recedes:

H and stalking ponies:

A decent 4 munro route – we neglect this corner of the Cairngorms, this walk leaves only Carn a Mhaim as a single-climbed Cairngorm for us.

A very variable 32 hours.

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