Linn O’Dee to Cairn Gormhike

September saw the annual Cairngorm Club traverse, this year starting in Linn O’Dee and heading north.

A rainbow shows the way as we head towards Derry Lodge
The troops heading up Creag Bad an t-Seabhaig. Today’s route is along the ridge west of Glen Derry
Looking back to the Linn as we ascend
A bit of scramble practice on a rock face
Looking west along Glen Laoigh Bheag
As we ascend further, we’re chased by rain bursts
The meanders of the Derry burn to the east
Looking towards Sron Riach
Entering the boulder field of Derry Cairngorm
No need to carefully cross the burn down in the glen today
Waves of Cairngorms, from near to far: Derry Cairngorm underfoot, Sron Riach, Carn a’Mhaim, Devil’s Point, at the back Beinn Bhrotain on the left and Leac Ghorm on the right
At the top of Derry Cairngorm we’re just below the clouds
Though some drift across as we head down the north side, a bit of sleet in tow
Making towards Loch Etchachan
Beinn Mheadhoin
Etchachan outflow, scene of many a soggy foot
Heading across to Loch Avon with the stag rocks rising above
Loch Avon
Making our way to the shelter stone for lunch
A fav view
This is where the club was founded over 132 years ago
We wait out a burst of rain but it begins to clear.

We discuss an onward route: a few of the group want to do a steep scramble up pinnacle gully. I’ve had a bit of a dodgy knee which is throbbing so decide against agitating it hoisting myself up a precarious rubble climb. There’s a fair few of the group aren’t climbers, or even confident scramblers – out of breath and tentative across a horizontal boulder field, but were being talked into something that likely would have been out of their comfort zone, but didn’t want to ‘speak out’: once I’ve piped up that I’m definitely taking the easy way up to the plateau they choose that, glad of that option.
I see this group dynamic where bravado wins, quite often in groups of mixed capability hillwalkers, IMHO keen-beans should temper their enthusiasm for more challenging routes with realism about the capabilities of other potential participants; those in doubt about anything should make sure they speak up before committing and finding themselves out of their depth.

The easy way up to the plateau looking back to Stacan Dubha
We avoided the Derry burn crossing but not this one
The Feith Buidhe tumbling down past Hell’s Lum Crag
A strong wind blows the waterfalls asunder
Looking across, 3 of the party are making their way up the gully
We head up past the waterfalls of the Allt Coire Domhain
I scope back with my monocular, the 3 have made short work of the gully. Some of our group are making slow progress up our easier route: they’d have been very slow going up the gully and would have hindered the 3.
We head across the plateau to Stob Coire an t-Sneachda. A few head off to take a longer route back round Cairn Lochan or the fiacaill ridge
Looking back before the view is lost
Round the crags. Clouds are closing in
They sweep past, hailing on us and adding an unexpected hint of white to the landscape
Looking across to the Fiacaill ridge
More hail
From ‘1141’ it’s all downhill to the coach. 21k and 1300m of ascent in the bag.

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