Sunset at Robin Hoods Bed, Peak District
Sunset at Robin Hoods Bed, Peak District
  • Climb every mountain...
    • 13/09/2013
cairngorm mountains

The quick summary: definitely the place I would most like to revisit!
Climbed several mountains, experienced some interesting weather and all is good.

So having narrowly missed seeing the Queen and caber tossing, and bought new socks and insoles, I loaded up with mars bars and malt loaf and had an easy stroll in to the Bob Scott's bothy on the southern edge of the mountains.
Glorious day, but as the sun went down the midges emerged to give me a first experience of their infamous pestiness.
Three blokes turned up on mountain bikes with heavy packs which turned out to be full of beer and meat, and led to an entertaining evening as they proceeded to non stop take the piss out of each other!
One of them had already completed all the munros, and the three of them meet up once a month to bag a couple and then make a calendar at the end of the year!
Then the dusk cloud cover cleared and wow, what a clear sky, of distinctly twinkling stars.

In the morning I headed out under blue skies up Glen Derry towards the fords of Avon. Within an hour the sky was grey and it started hailing. yes, hail stones!
I was thinking "oh no, I'm going to get soaked all day", bit just as quickly the sky cleared again to leave me eating lunch in bright sunshine
This was a double relief as it gave me a rare opportunity to recharge my camera.
Further up the valley at the outlet of Loch Avon is one of the most beautiful places I've visited.
Then the first big climb, to the summit of Cairn Gorm, with its ski lifts on the other side, before the final few miles in the gathering dusk to reach Hutchison memorial hut bothy.
There I shared a comfortable evening with Gary, who had popped into the hills to test out the time lapse feature on his new GoPro camera.
Coincidentally it turned out he was manager of the YHA in Glenmore which I would be reaching two days hence, and has had an inspiring career in guiding in amazing places around the world. Returning to an office job seems less and less necessary / appealing...

Tuesday was a bit cloudy but I set off full of excitement about climbing Ben Macdui.
Two German lads were on the way down, they.said the overnight winds had broken their tent poles!
Indeed the summit was VERY windy. and foggy / rainy, so not a place to dawdle about.
The descent started with a line of much appreciated cairns, followed by enforced compass bearings to scramble down into the famous Lairig Ghru.
I was now out of the clouds, which were sitting at about 700m, obscuring the peaks, but the going underfoot was arguably more difficult, consisting of many rock slides and boulder fields, so it was with some relief that I arrived at Corrour bothy in the early evening,
Just enough reception to listen to the England v Ukraine match on five live.

Wednesday I had planned to climb to Devils Point and then walk the ridge above the Lairig Ghru with breathtaking views.
Well, I walked it, but without the views. shame, however the last couple of days have provided practice in navigational skills and equipment testing.


Thursday I took the day off, got my lot dry and went into the resort supply town of Aviemore.
Bought an insulated jacket, waterproof mitts and a merino baselayer, anticipating colder and damper conditions.
Also took a ride on the restored steam railway and went on a tour of the Cairngorm brewery.
This tour consisted of about three minutes of "this is where we make the beer" and an hour of tasting about 12 different ales, (no lagers or IPA!) whilst being regaled with amusing anecdotes about the filming of the movie "highlander". Great stuff!
In the evening Paul (who id met on the Pennine Way) turned up to start a week in the mountains and cooked up a great spag bol. Result!

Now off towards Inverness, should be an easier three days.
  • Highland fun and games
    • 07/09/2013
Just arrived in Braemar, three 20 mile days since leaving Dundee, hoping for some r and r, but the place is chockablock! It's "the gathering', some highland games thing, and everywhere is fully booked, covered in caravans, and I couldn't even get in the other pub because it was already overflowing. Typical that the one day of the year, grrr!

Hills have got serious, big and empty, and the scenery spectacular.
Last night I encountered a herd of about forty deer, and this morning was woken up by a grouse hunting party.

Off into even bigger hills tomorrow (+1000m) and hopefully some nights in bothies.


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