Cairngorms Indecision (Corbetts | knackered fridge | buggered website)

A weekend at home had been the plan, but then I saw the forecast which was pretty decent especially the Cairngorms – and I have Corbetts to bag. Now where I live, you can’t afford to ignore a half-decent forecast as it won’t last very long – and you’ll be kicking yourself for not having made good use of it!

Given the significant snowfall during the week, I threw the ski’s in ‘just in case’, defrosted the van and headed up the A9, unsure as to whether I was going right or left at the Broxden Roundabout at Perth until I was upon it… ‘Left, to Glenshee – try and ski tour’ or ‘Right to Glen Esk, bag a Corbett’. left right – left right. LEFT – decision made!

There was less snow on the ground in Blairgowrie vs Stirling, but that soon changed once on the ski road. On the way up the road the van was smelling – electrical smell, finally isolated to the feed for the 12V fridge heater. My old van with the same control panel did the same thing – looks like I will need to do the same bypass job on this van as well. I turned it off.

I reached Glenshee to the sight of about 20-odd boy racers making like hooligans in the snow. I stopped to checkout the snow – great for boy-racers, shite for skiers was my conclusion! I had planned to stop here but from experience, the hooliganism continues until the early hours so I continued down towards Braemar, stopping the night at the parking for Loch Callater.

It was here, about 8 years ago in the old van that we had external temperatures of -15 degrees C, this eventually stopped the Diesel heater (due to thick Diesel), which then meant that all the internal pipes froze. It was -5 Deg inside the van that next morning! Thankfully tonight was only around -2, and the heater worked fine. It was calm enough that I could get my 2-way sat dish up for some internet access! I need this to try and investigate some website issues – massive amount of traffic on the mountaineering club’s website cause unknown – 3.8TB in a matter of days! SSH over the latency of a 2-way satellite connection is bloody painful!

The next day, I carried on past Braemar to Invercauld Bridge to bag the 2 Corbetts ‘Culardoch‘ and  ‘Creag an Dail Bheag’. A pleasant walk through the snow was had, the views opening up once I started up the hill proper. Hard going over the heather up to Creag an Dail Bheag – any path that might have existed buried below the mostly superficial snow cover (which would have been awful to try and ski!). Upon reaching the ridge the wind finally got me. The rest of the walk was a bit of a struggle, the wind must be been gusting 70+ MPH, blowing me over several times. I reached the summit and struggled off the hill in the direction of the bealach, the wind getting ever stronger. I had some food, and the wind, and a late start (due to trying to solve the website issue), meant that I never bothered with the other Corbett ‘Culardoch’. I’ll get it by mountain bike in the summer!

Its always nice, having been battered by the wind on a cold winters day to reach a nice, warm van. I did think about stopping the night where I was, but I was still considering Glenshee, so I headed that way. I stomped up the slopes a wee way both east and west of the road, before, again deciding to go Corbett bagging the next day instead! Maybe the following weekend.

My plan had been to fix the ruddy website, but the 3G/4G transmitter for EE on the Cairnwell was down, and the wind too strong for satellite internet so I had a (very very rare!) night offline! I survived this (just!), and got me an early start on the easy Corbett ‘Ben Gulabin‘ which is a quick couple of hours jaunt.

I returned home via Perthshire Caravans as I needed some bits and then spent the evening swearing at websites!


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