Thursday, 5 June 2014

Scotland -Day 4

All we could do was hope that the rain would stop by morning. It was chilly up at Glen Shee but by morning although it was cloudy it was dry. I opened my birthday presents and we headed off to the Linn of Dee.

The later start was not ideal but in the end it meant we got the best of the weather. Bob was glad to make use of his NT Scotland membership and get free parking. We started out on the big track to the White Bridge (although it isn't). A couple of people shot by on bikes and I regretted saying I did not want to cycle. By the end of the day we were glad to be on foot as it allowed us to return by a different route.

The path from the bridge to the Corrour hut was boggy and seemed to take hours as I wandered far from a straight line trying to keep dry feet. We eventually arrived at the bothy in chilly damp weather at about midday. We explored the hut briefly and Bob made use of their experimental dry compost toilet. From here on the weather picked up and so did my mood.

 It was a very steep climb up to Devils Point and we had to circumnavigate some snow at the top of the stream. Our late start paid of because by the time we were on the summit it was clear and the views were stunning. A brief glance at the map might suggest that from there you can follow above all the crag and corries roughly northward and soon collect a couple more mountains. Ha ha.

 It is very rocky and has much more climb than we had anticipated. I loved the boulders as they were dry and bounding from one to the next always makes me go faster. Bob was less impressed. However the sunny weather and amazing views meant you could not fail to enjoy it. Both the boys texted me a Happy Birthday as we were heading for Cairn Toul and Matt rang to say his dissertation had narrowly missed a first.

We carried on over more rock to Sgor an Lochan and the cliffs and corries just got bigger. A vast sandy desert area led across the plateau to Briarach. There was probably not time to do the two peaks further west and we were tired enough to not want to spoil the day by being greedy.

 After a photo call on the summit we found the steep and little used path back down to the Lairig Ghru, past the helicopter crash and over the stream to the main path. This path back to Corrour was in a better state and we made good time.

We agreed to try the rising path that would take up back to Derry Lodge rather than repeat our outward route. Although it was more undulating it was a much better path and it was nice to have different views.

Even from Derry Lodge it was still some way but the evening was glorious. There was ancient pine forest, abandoned shooting lodges and wild campers. I raced back down the final path and put the kettle on. A 12 hour day but a fantastic birthday treat. After a meal of tea, soup, bread and cheese we fell into bed.

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