The Lairig Ghru is one of Scotland’s most well known mountain passes, heading deep into the Cairngorms, but another one less commonly traversed is the Lairg an Laoigh which is further east.
If heading north, both routes start at the Linn O’Dee before splitting at Derry lodge.
The trail continues past the fork left up past the hutchy bothy, heading straight on to the north past Stob Coire Etchachan and into the Lairig an Laoigh proper
I’ve powered on ahead of the main group as I’ve an extra offshoot from the route planned: I’m going to ascend the munro Bynack More if possible
I’d been scanning up to the left looking for a path up the steep sides of the valley to head up to Bynack More. There’s no path, and all told if you want to head up there probably best to do so after crossing the fords of avon, where the slope is more gentle. There’s a waterfall before you get to Lochan a Bhainne which looked interesting, I started ascending alongside it: steep and lumpy but ok-ish in the dry conditions
The efforts of the climb had brought on the urgent need for a comfort break. Having made my way a responsible distance from the burn, scoped around for any other hikers (not likely this is away from any normal route), and scraped out a hole, the deed was duly done: the finest scenery ever for a moment on the outdoor throne
Before the munro 1km north, there was other stuff to explore: first the little barns of bynack, a series of rocky tor ridges
The pass opens up to the green waters of An Lochan Uaine. It’s rumoured it’s green because fairies wash their clothes in it. I don’t know about fairies, I’d imagine that there’s iron or copper minerals present, but something I’ve heard that may be true is that there are leeches in it. The next time I visit I’ll have to take along a wee piece of bloody meat as bait to see if it’s true..
From here it’s all downhill on a pleasant track through the woods to Glenmore. 32km and 900m ascent in the bag, a long but great day out. While we waited near Loch Morlich for the others to arrive, the rain began to fall and we found shelter in the Pine Marten cafe.
Bonus sighting.. back in Aberdeen, late night noctilucent clouds