Log 20 June 2010

MUIR COTTAGE WEEKEND 18 - 20 JUNE 2010

Derek Hall and Fraser; Kevin and Laurence; Sue and Noelle set off in three cars early from Milngavie, all carrying bikes.   Craig arrived later, direct from work, also carrying a bike.   Derek McGaw and his son Stuart also arrived later.


Friday 18 June
Derek H and Fraser arrived first at Muir, and then set off on bikes to NO 079 900 and walked up CREAG BHALG.   There are land rover tracks bypassing the summit, well beyond the track marked on the map.   Views from the top were extensive and gave a spectacular overview of the area.
A cool breeze was noted - a presage of what was to come.   Sue and Noelle cycled well up the track towards CARN LIATH and CULLARDOCH and enjoyed both peaks, noting the cold breeze in the sunshine.

Kevin and Laurence parked by Auchalleter on the A93.
We climbed south onto the ridge at Sron Dubh, and followed a good path for 4km to reach CREAG NAN GABHAR, 834m by 2:30 p.m.
Skies were clear and we enjoyed the sunshine as we took in panoramic views in all directions- lochnagar to the east, Beinn Bhuird to the north.  
Loch Callater looked inviting below us, so we took to a narrow grass path and descended to Lochcallater Lodge and the MBA bothy at the NW end of the loch.  
A beautiful sandy beach was the venue for an afternoon snack, taking in views across the loch and through the glen. 
A 5km walk took us back to the car for 5 p.m.  A beer in the sun at the Fife Arms was just what we needed after an afternoon in the sun.
Report by Laurence

Derek mGaw and Stuart took in BEN GULABIN from the A93. - Conditions were dry, windy and surprisingly cold with superb visibility.


Noelle & Sue arrived at Braemar approx. midday & parked in Alltdourie Estate carpark near Keiloch. Weather mostly dry, quite windy but conditions clear at least to 900m. 
Cycled along private road to Invercauld House, turning right just before the house, up track through the woods, continued due north into open countryside for approx. 6kms - good track to approx. 1.5km past bridge over Alt Cul burn.   Left bikes & continued up track past renovated hut then headed due west to ascend Cullardoch 900m.  Easy walking conditions because ground hard with the top of the bog quite dry.  Saw either a Dotterel or a Golden Plover doing a merry dance faking a broken wing and enticing us away from its nest.  Too fast and too far to photograph but lovely to see.  
Windy but nicely clear on the summit of Culardoch.  Headed east back the way we came up and walked up gentle slope with some scree and rocky areas to Carn Liath 862m summit.  Wandered over the relatively flat top 2kms to Meikle Elrick 709m before descending west to path, arriving at bikes c.5 pm.  Fun downhill ride back to carpark, then 'home' to Muir Hut.
MMC were the only ones there so we had lots of space and all of the kitchen and lounge.   Derek H, Fraser, Kevin, Lawrence, Derek McG & Stuart & Ace arrived later followed by Craig who'd obviously put a full day's work in first.
Report by Sue Laverge


Saturday 19 June
The morning was very windy, with branches down on the roads, and driving steady drizzle.  
Craig and Laurence decided to head for Derry Cairngorm, and possibly do the circuit over Ben Macdui and Carn a'Mhaim.  
We left the cottage at 8:30am along with Kevin and Fraser, and cycled through to Derry Lodge.  
Kevin and Fraser were taking their bikes up Glen Derry, whild we left them at the lodge and started up the ridge to Carn Crom.  
It was bright, but clouds hovered at 800m, and the wind was 25-35 mph, coming in from the north (in our faces), and forecast to gust to 60mph.  
We battled on against the wind, met two walkers who said it was very windy higher on the ridge and they had turned back!  
I thus continued by walking close behind Craig.   By 11:00 we were in the clouds, the wind was still very strong in our faces, and the wind chill was such that it took three windproof layers to keep the chill out.  
We reached the summit boulder field and experienced the very strong gusts forecast. 
The wind chill caused cloud particles to freeze and these were being blasted in our faces. 
The two of us resembled drunken frogs as we covered the final 200m to the summit cairn of DERRY CAIRNGORM  (1155m), now covered in ice.  
We immediately turned round to continue the drunken frog march south - there was no point in continuing our intended circuit.  
By 1:00 we were below the clouds, in the sun, out of the wind, and enjoying a very leisurely lunch, and enjoying views to Glen Derry and across to Cairntoul.  
A leisurely stroll took us down to Derry Lodge, a pleasant cycle back to the cottage by 4:00pm, and a sunbathe by the river.
Report by Laurence
 

Kevin and Fraser also met people who were turning back.  
It had been the intention to walk up to Loch Etchachan and do Beinn Mheadhoin, returning by Beinn a'Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac, but the wind was too strong for that to be an option, so we only did the last two, ascending in mist, driving rain and a bitterly cold wind, estimated at 70mph as it funnelled through dips in the hills.  
Conditions became much brighter as we crossed the Moine Bhealaidh with wind behind us.  
We stopped for a snack at the bikes, and enjoyed a wind assisted ride back, arriving at 4:30.  
Derek H had cycled to Dery lodge and beyond, discovered a small path leading up out of the forest, and ascended BEINN BHREAC on its sheltered south side.   He not only experienced the wind as he passed between the twin summits, but was abruptly blown off his feet - a real achievement just the same.

Derek McG and Stuart walked north up the track leading to Cullardoch and Carn Liath but found progress too slow, and returned to Muir.

By 5:00pm all except the girls were back, the sunshine in the shelter of the building made sitting out a delight, and Laurence topped the day by emerging with a tray of Aberlour malt ready poured  - a touch of real class.

Noelle and Sue cycled out past White Bridge, and climbed Sgor Mor from the south, only meeting the wind at the summit.
Usual split in different directions with Noelle & Sue setting off around 9:30am along road to Linn of Dee, crossed over onto track on north side of Dee, cycled 3.5kms, left bikes in small woods, walked along the path past White Bridge onto the Chest of Dee which is a beautiful spot, gorgeous deep pools and small waterfalls - could've stayed there all day but had a cuppa and first wee snooze of the day around 11:30am. 
Set off along path northwards through Glen Dee, getting good views west towards Beinn Bhrotain and north at The Devil's Point with Carn Toul behind & Braeriach behind it - tops all in cloud.  Turned and headed up due east towards first top (Creagan nan Gabhar). 
Conditions blowy but clear below 900m.  Not so to the north over Cairn Toul, Derry Cairngorms, Beinn Breac where Fraser, Kevin, Lawrence, Craig, Derek H were getting wintery ice showers. 
Easy stroll to summit of Sgor Mor then descent south to bikes after another snooze in a warm boggy bit (it's an Irish thing). 
Tempted back to the deep pools at the Chest of Dee we cycled there for a quick dip before retracing our steps and onto Muir Hut.
Arrived back, well rested, slightly tanned and deeply refreshed after our spa treatment! 
The others survived their Arctic conditions and were relaxing in the sunny, sheltered spot in front of Muir Hut.
Relaxed and very pleasant Saturday evening complete with small refreshment and large log fire.
Sunday's walk up Carn na Drochaide already reported.
Terrific weekend and thanks very much to Fraser for organising it.
Report by Sue Laverge

Sunday 20 June
Laurence, Kevin, Sue, Noelle, Derek McG and Stuart set off from Allanaquoich and climbed CARN NA DROCHAIDE by its west ridge, descending through the heather to the start, Stuart noting and adder sunning itself on the path.   
Derek Hall and Fraser enjoyed a sunny walk up BEN GULABIN and relaxed the shelter of rocks by the summit, out of the still cool northerly breeze.   A land rover track is being extended onto the plateau just below the summit.


Muir Cottage again was and excellent and comfortable base, and we had no need to explore the (doubtful) fleshpots of Braemar.

Report from Fraser Gold,  with other contributions included.