Date: Sat-Sun 28th-29th January 2012
Distance: 17.5km + 9.5km
Ascent: 1100m + 50m
Another Thursday/Friday reading the runes and trying to second guess the weather. Again deciding between an Easter Ross wild-camp and a ‘Gorms wild-camp. Plumped for latter.
A seemingly brilliant forecast on Friday night at 2200hrs had been replaced by a much cloudier affair when we got up on Saturday. 😦
Nonetheless departed our Perthshire accommodation to the sound of Tawny Owls under a starry sky at 0700 heading for Linn of Dee.
Kicked off from Linn of Dee at 0830 – red eastern skies as we drove north had faded to grey by sunrise. Always enjoy the walk from here to Derry Lodge though – tempting views of the southern Cairngorms entice.
Ambled along the track – not sure how many times we’ve walked this now. Overflown by around 20 Black Grouse heading for the woods – a good place to hear the lek come April. 8)
Passed Derry Lodge after an hour or so. A few MR teams were present, about to head off.
We had a look at the Luibeg Burn and decided to take the bypass N to the bridge rather than fording. Spotted some bullfinches in the trees on the way. Crossed the bridge and returned S to the path – the usual mud soup was frozen enough to walk on.
Took the track another 500m W and then dropped off our camping gear a bit off track for the ascent of Carn a Mhaim.
There were snow patches 700m-800m that needed a bit of care but otherwise a simple walk. There were ptarmigan calls to hear but the birds were staying concealed.
Spent a while on the summit – quite a long while. Things started to clear and brighten.
West Lairg Ghru pano:
Link to larger pano.
We ended up spending nearly 80 minutes on the summit – and time well spent it was. Eventually tore ourselves away for the return to the tent.
Used the crampons for the harder, steeper patches on descent. Repacked the bags and had a confab. We’d planned to camp on Sgor Mor – the forecast was ambivalent about Sunday. Swithered about returning to Derry Lodge and the pine woods to camp (and a sound track of owls and Black Grouse) but decided to go with the plan.
Headed west for a km on the track and then turned south to skirt Creagan nan Gabhar to the west side. Purified our night’s water on the way up.
Pitched just east of the summit – a nice mossy patch but difficult to peg given the thin covering over rock. Cooked up tea and got things sorted in the gloaming. Retreated to the tent to stay warm.
Got up a few hours after sunset to have a look – minimal moonlight but thinning cloud.
Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth and Stirling could be seen as blotches of orange.
Back at the car just after noon – another questionable camp decision. Still getting the tent out twice in January has been fun – and we got the views from Carn a Mhaim we missed first time. A very worthwhile summit.