Ben Macdui bimble – the usual please. July 2014.

Date: Monday 21st July 2014
Distance: 16km
Ascent: 860m

A public holiday weekend – MWIS mentions summits above the cloud in the Cairngorms.

We have a favourite walk – out from the Cairngorm car park, over the 1083m point W of Cairn Lochain and out to Ben MacDui. Pretty much a bimble but with a high expectation of views and wildlife. Nice to have a walk in the park every now and again.

Headed out into the hill mist – ever hopeful of an inversion.

H heading across Northern Corries:

In proper inversions the sun appears about 70m below the cloud ceiling and a circle of blue sky expands over your head. No such luck – a messy pile of low bobbly cloud.

Still we did escape it by heading up Cairn Lochain.

Clearing the clag:

The reindeer herd is out here, some more Mephistophelian than others.

Eerie reindeer:

Off the back of Cairn Lochain and the view south emerges.

Macdui and Cairn Toul:


Far more snow patches than the norm for the last decade…the reindeer like them.

Cool reindeer:

Wandered across to the reindeer – marvellously placid creatures who didn’t move or bat an eyelid.

I have had to photoshop out the sled and unhealthily obese man clad in crimson. 😉

Reindeer on snow patch:

Feith Bhuidhe:

Up a further 70m to the ground under Ben Macdui.

Across the Lairig Ghru to Cairn Toul:

Winter 2014:

Beinn Mheadhoin:

Headed over the summit and, as usual, found a spot south of the summit to enjoy the splendid view over the south end of Lairig Ghru with its diminutive munros.

South to Carn a Mhaim and Bod an Deamhain:

Winter 2014:

Lounged around for 40 minutes – watched some dog-fighting fighter jets to the south and a private helicopter scooting through the Lairig Ghru. Packed up and turned for home.

A male resident Snow Bunting was patrolling the summit area – a new subspecies of cake-eating bunting in evolution I suspect.

Snow Bunting:

The return leg turned up some ptarmigan groups. They seem to be congregating into larger multi-family groups now with young at various stages of maturation. Loathe to fly off from the larger group they were more prone to stand and watch us than usual.


The butterflies were supercharged in the heat – had to follow this one for a while before it settled.

Small Tortoiseshell:

…and then it posed on some pretty flowers.

Small Tortoiseshell on Moss Campion:

On the path back we were treated to another ptarmigan group with about 5 ptarmigan standing up from unseen camouflage and running off 10m. The left the odd lurker behind.

Ptarmigan chick peeking:

We stood still and they seemed loathe to move.

Junior ptarmigans standing:

Junior ptarmigan (on sentry):

The solitary junior let out a trilling call I’ve not heard before and all the ptarmigans eased themselves into crouched camouflage again…odd.

Junior ptarmigans crouching:

Not so odd as the peregrine that had been on a direct line for us promptly tore through the air above us before arcing into Lairig Ghru.

Having stood for about 5 minutes watching the ptarmigan we could see we set off on the path – only for the further 10 ptarmigan we hadn’t seen to stand up and move off as a group. An interesting encounter.

Continued on the direct return home.

Across the Lairig Ghru:

Dropped off the path to cast a glance down Lairig Ghru – a clearer view than the morning.

South to Bod an Deamhain:

Winter 2014:

…..and then a quick saunter back to the car.

Northern Corries:

Meall a Buachaille:

Not a challenging walk – but different every time. Full of views and crawling with wildlife. Back again soon I hope.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s