Cairngorm traverse 2022hike

This year’s Cairngorm Club traverse was south to north, with the coach leaving early and passing clusters of police in the villages of the shire preparing for the imminent procession of the royal funeral cortege to leave Balmoral.

We started up Glen Derry and headed for Carn a Mhaim, I’d considered striking out on an alternate route having been there recently, but remained in the main party to be sociable, and the view is of course one of the best in the area and worth repeating.

Heading out from Linn of Dee
Foliage festooned with webs in Glen Derry
Glen Derry
Interesting nook on the eastern slope of Sgor Dubh, one for future exploration
Passing Creag Bad an t-Seabhaig

At The Robber’s Copse, Luibeg the recent rain had made the ford a bit tricky so we headed upstream to the bridge. The Club built the bridge at the ford in 1948, which lasted until a flood in 1956. The main span although washed downstream, was sufficiently intact that it was recovered and moved to it’s current location upstream where it was higher and more secure above the water. Photos of the original bridge and after the flood of 1956

Could have probably crossed here but headed to the bridge
A path winds through the pines
Coire na Poite above Luibeg
Bridge in sight
Lovely pool and falls below the bridge
View towards Sron Riach

A new member was keen to see both Carn a Mhaim, Ben Macdui and in addition Cairn Gorm, and once we started ascending we decided to split into a ‘fast’ group who’d press ahead to make the additional hilltop within the time available.

Group beginning to split up as the path steepens
Looking back to Glen Derry
A splash of colour in the heather, which is now losing it’s purple to autumn
Devil’s Point, Cairn Toul, Angel’s Peak, Braeriach
1037 top of Carn a Mhaim
Heading along the ridge
Coire an t-Saighdeir on Cairn Toul

We stopped for lunch on a sheltered rocky outcrop, we could see above that Ben Macdui was mostly in cloud and no doubt the wind would be strong and a lot colder.

Profuse Blaeberry climbing the path up beside Tailor’s burn

Heading across the boulder field, our lead group dwindled to 3 as others found it tough going

The boulder field up Ben Macdui

I got a view into Garbh Choire Mor where I could see that the “Sphinx” snow patch had survived into autumn, but the nearby “Pinnacles” one hadn’t. There were only 2 patches left in Scotland at this point, and unlikely they’d make it through to winter. The Sphinx has melted 8 times in the last 300 years, most of those since 2000, but now looks like it’ll melt every other year.

Sphinx snow patch still alive.. just
I’ll go visit it some day – a tough place to reach though, this angle shows the scree and boulder field below it
Heading into the cloud

The boulder field began to level off, and past the top of the burn, a shape loomed out of the haze

Something appears in the grey void
The Sapper’s bothy ruin
Then the top of Ben Macdui proper
The club installed the indicator plaque in 1925. It’s in need of replacement I think
Looking past Feith Buidhe we emerged from cloud
Feith Buidhe and the top of Shelter Stone crag
Past Coire an t-Sneachda

Looking back we couldn’t see the rest of the party so headedup the last ascent to Cairn Gorm

Loch Etchachan through a rift in the cloud

The weather station whistled and hummed it’s odd drone; 3rd munro of the day completed.

Weather station
Cairn Gorm cairn
Heading down the walkway
Around The Ptarmigan is a mess of indsutry

Below we could see the coach awaiting in the ski centre car park.

Monorail being refurbished at huge cost due to poor design initially

One member who had taken a route past the Shelter Stone and was already back, the rest arriving within the next half hour. We picked up another who’d done the Lairig Ghru and then after a swift pint in Aviemore headed back to Aberdeen. Total distance had been 27km with 1500m ascent.

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