Lairig an Laoighhike

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.

Heading up Glen Derry
Took 5 minutes of patience to capture this, they’re incredibly agile and quick moving
Bridge overy Derry burn is out: undermined foundations
Pulling aside some shuddering grass reveals a wee trail buddy
Another trail buddy amongst the heather

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

Stob Coire Etchachan on the left
Sticky sundew plants
A burn tumbling down from corbett Creag Mhor
Flooers enjoying the sun: bog asphodel
Looking back down zoomed in

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

Wide view looking back
cotton grass swishing in the breeze
Some of the track gets pretty lumpy and boggy
Amphibious trail buddy
Passing the Dubh Lochan
The Fords of Avon can be a major obstacle if there’s been a lot of rainfall. OK today
Fords of Avon shelter
A few of the entries in the log book
Onwards crossing the Allt Dearg

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

Up we go past the sparkling waterfall
I’d pondered scrambling within the confines of the rocks – just as well I didn’t as at the top out of view it becomes too steep sided to exit
Pano back down to the glen floor – nice views
Lochan a Bhainne

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

Great view back down the pass
zoomed in view

Before the munro 1km north, there was other stuff to explore: first the little barns of bynack, a series of rocky tor ridges

Through the tors
Little barns of bynack
Looking past to Ben Avon
Onwards to the Barns of Bynack – these are whopping big tors
As they lie beyond the nearby munro’s top, a lot of folk miss out on visiting them
About 6m high
Through a big gap in the middle
Looking back
After reaching the highest point of the day (1090m) it’s down the other side where the munro’s popularity (close to aviemore) means a well worn path
After a few km descent I crossed the river Nethy and joined up with some of the party
Heading into the Ryvoan pass. There’s a popular bothy near here but didn’t stop

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..

Stroll past the loch
View point at the other end
A line from a poem

Full peom here:

The dark water of the green loch

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.

Skier, adventurer, entrepreneur, a man of Glenmore, Bill Wilson

Relive ‘Lairig an Laoigh and Bynack More hike’

Bonus sighting.. back in Aberdeen, late night noctilucent clouds

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