I got the inspiration for this wee trip the previous weekend while out bagging Carn an Fhidhleir, An Sgarsoch, Beinn Bhrotain and Monadh Mor from the Braemar side. From Monadh Mor especially good views through to Cairn Toul and the ridge beyond can be had, and the walk out down the glen goes past several Cairngorm giants.
I had assumed that the weather would put an end to said inspiration, so thought nothing of it until the following Friday, when, with high pressure still dominating I set off for the car park at Cairngorm.
Friday night was spent in the van sorting a rucksack, thankfully nothing important had been forgotten, and on Saturday morning I got a decent start via the ‘Closed’ track down to the start of the usual route through the Chalamain Gap and onto Braeriach. The weather was roasting, it was going to be a decent weekend!
Gaining height on Braeriach, I met a pretty handy mountain biker on the descent, he must have had an early start to be that far along as no camping kit was evident.
As I approached the summit, a couple of guys coming the other way wanted to know the best route to Macdui, and then back to Braemar where they had left a car the day before. It seemed that they were rather used to late nights! They had no map, so whether they understood my advice i’ll never know.
I was last on Braeriach with Andy, Simon and Lucy about 10 years previously, and its spectacular corries did not disappoint this time either.
Unfortunately, zero wind, even at 1300M meant loads of bloody midges, so lunch was eaten under a midge net before I set off for Angels Peak.
I had completely forgotten in the intervening years about the boulder fields on both Angels Peak and Carn Toul, it does not look far on the map, but they are time consuming hills and the boulders played havoc with my dodgy ankle; it became clear that I would be kipping this side of the Lairig Ghru rather than on the Macdui side!
Descending Carn Toul got me out of the boulder field, and I made good progress to Devils Point, thankfully finding a high level stream to refill water bottles at the bealach (and getting eaten by midges in the process!) There were quite a few tents pitched at the bealach, but there was no way I was camping there with all the midges, I continued to the summit of Devils Point, and got the tent up next to a rock which made for a handy seat.
From my rock, with a cold beer in my hand, and another one ready to roll, I was able to witness those on the bealach doing laps of their tents in order to stave off the midges. They must have noticed me as well as a short while later, in dribs and drabs they all came up to the summit looking rather jealous, and muttering about midges as they passed my pitch!
The following morning, I was up on my rock making breakfast (got to be porridge when I am camping!), the tents down below had all disappeared – either that or the midges had had the tents and their occupants during the night! I got some video using the drone which I will add to this post once I have gotten around to editing it. I then set off myself.
Devils Point Summit 360
I had three possibilities for crossing the Lairig Ghru and climbing my first summit of the day Carn a’ Mhaim, I think I chose the worst of the choices taking it direct between some crags, thigh deep in heather in places, but the other options involved a fair detour either way on the Lairig Ghru track first.
Carn a’ Mhaim 360
After visiting the south top, which had the better views, I had a quick feed at the summit of Carn a’ Mhaim before continuing towards Macdui and tackling its boulder field. I got within maybe 200M of Macdui’s summit before deciding against it – the place was mobbed, and I will be back on ski’s in the winter, instead, I scooted off in the direction of Derry Cairngorm.
From Derry Cairngorm, I had intended to bag Beinn Mheadhoin, and drop off the back to the fords of Avon but I was running low on time and energy; it was already 5PM, and I did not have the option of another night in the tent due to bloody work the following day!
Instead, I had a more leisurely trip down back to the van via Coire Raibeirt, sitting for a while to take in the views at Loch’s Etchachan and Avon.
From the top of Coire Rabeirt, I made good time down to the Cairngorm car park for a well earnt beer, I kipped up there in the van Sunday night and set off early Monday morning for work. A great weekend!