Wow, just realized its been over a year since I last posted on here. Not that I haven’t been doing anything, been quite busy to be honest, just had a sort of writer’s block, or perhaps been lazy. Anyway as writing a years summery would be far to involved, here’s a snap shot of what Iv’e been up to the last couple of days. As the title suggests I’m back in Scotland and the usual haunts around Aviemore. As I have a week spare between jobs, I though I continue my training for the next big trip by doing some hiking and camping and generally trying to get in the shit to see if I can still hack it! Forecast for the 3 days was generally unsetled with wind and snow showers up high, which was exactly what I wanted. Even though I spend quite a bit of time up here, its usually always the same areas, so I was planing on visiting areas that allthough seen in the distance, i’d never actually visited. Loch Avon was one of these such places, often looked down on it but never actually been there. So with the 1st nights camp spot set I set off from the ski center mid afternoon on Thursday after leaving a route card with the ranger station (always a good idea when out solo). Taking the less windy route up through Coire an T-Sneachda and up onto the plateau before picking up the path from Coire Raibeirt and down to the Loch. I know its the end of May and supposed to be summer but try telling the British weather that! so still lots of snow in the Coire and on the Plateau in the depressions, not a problem though as I took my axe with me.
Never realized but the West end of the loch has some very nice small beaches, excellent for a camp site given the right conditions. So once my experimental tent was pitched I had a bit of an explore around the Shelter stone and had a chat with some other lads who were camped not so far away. Its a strange thing camping! By yourself, to cold to sit out much, you inevitably end up turning in early with a good book, or in the more modern era a kindle app on the phone. Next morning I was hoping to get some good shots of the sunrise but missed it by 5 minutes, not supprising as it was about 04:45, never the less snapped a few during the toilet stop before crawling back into my bag. When it finally came time to get up a few hours later and cook some break fast it wasn’t much warmer, I suppose camping at 730m has its drawbacks, still it was fair and good to start early. As I climbed up the path south out of the Loch Avon basin there were some great views down into the loch.
Now I never been to the Hutchinson Memorial hut before, or had a walk down Glen Derry before and having done it on Friday I can honistly say Iv’e been missing out. Glen Derry is a really nice area especialy waling past the Old Scots pine trees with views of the surrounding mountains. The hut is a pleasant surprise as well, much cleaner and tidier than some of the other bothy’s, maybe its because its take a bit more of an effort to get to it puts it out of reach of the stag night crowd.
Eventually after passing Derry lodge and rounding the corner under an increasingly showery sky (hence few picks), I entered the Southern end of the Lairig Ghru and by 3pm had my ass parked in the Corrour Bothy below the Devils Point. Now I had intended to camp again, but unusually being the only one in the Bothy and the fact the wind and sleet were lashing down against the window I decided to stay put and bury my head in my book, which by now had me thoroughly absorbed (rather a good read “The girl with the dragon tattoo”) Next morning, Saterday, it was still windy but dry for now, so I continued with my plan of testing myself against the elements and decided to get up high. Saterday was a very hard day! 21km, 9 1/2 hrs and 16m of ascent, walking in all weather conditions from full on winter to hot sun and rain showers. Pretty much usual for Scotland in April but end of may? well you decide from the photo’s! The rout took me past the Devils point up to Cairn Toul, Angels Peak, wells of Dee and Braeriach before heading back down into the Lairig Ghru and the Chalamain gap back to the car park by 5pm. During that time I had the jacket on and off more times than I care to remember, spent 1 1/2hrs navigating 4km in bad vis on compass bearings and pacing and getting very dehydrated as the burns out of the Wells of Dee were frozen over. Ohh by the way you cannot re-hydrate by drinking 6 pints of beer, Believe me as I sit here not I still feel rough!
Scottish May weather between Angels Peak and the Wells of Dee https://youtu.be/rFIlgRycUJQ
Hopefully I’ll get back into the habit of posting more often than once a year, lets see!