Hills: Beinn Bhreac & Beinn a'Chaorainn
Date: 4 November 2007
Company: Myself, Beinn, Bob and Malcolm
Ascent c. 900m
Distance: c. 29 km
Time: 7hrs 40 mins
By setting off at 5.30am, Bob, Malcolm, Beinn and myself arrived at Linn of Dee at 7.20am for a day that would completely surpass all expectations. On arrival at Linn of Dee, myself and Beinn set off immediately on-foot while Bob and Malcolm got 'saddled-up' for their cycle-ride as far as Derry Lodge. After two minutes of walking, I just had to take off my rucksack for one of those early-morning 'dawn photographs'.
Before long, the cyclists caught-up with us and after a kind-offer to carry my rucksack was gratefully accepted Bob and Malcolm sped-off towards Derry Lodge, leaving me thinking, "grrr, wish I took my bike". In just under an hour from Linn of Dee, I arrived at Derry Lodge to find Bob and Malcolm patiently waiting with my rucksack at the ready.
From Derry Lodge, we set off up the Lairig an Laoigh as far as the trees below Beinn Bhreac and then uphill at the point on the track marked by two cairns. The ascent was fairly easy, up increasingly wet and boggy grass, until reaching the summit plateau. After quick agreement on which of the two tops was the higher one, we reached the summit of the first Munro of the day Beinn Bhreac. After a stop for sandwiches, soup, coffee, dog biscuits, and various other delicacies, and time to take in the superb views over to Beinn a'Bhuird and across to Derry Cairngorm, Ben Macdui and Beinn Mheadhoin we set off towards Beinn a'Chaorainn.
From a previous exploit up these hills, back in 1998, I had advised of bog and peat hags from hell on the plateau. I was glad to be proved wrong. The peat-hags and bog were there alright but over to the West. Sticking to the East-side of the plateau avoided most of the peat-hags providing nice mossy grass underfoot instead.
After about an hour of leaving the summit of Beinn Bhreac we were approaching the summit of Beinn a'Chaorainn. Views throughout the day just kept getting better and better, the forecast wind was non-existent and all we had was total silence with the hills to ourselves, and what great hills.
On reaching the summit of Beinn a'Chaorainn, Beinn was a bit cold from his earlier splashing about in the river. He was soon ok again after a bowl of soup, a few dog-biscuits and a loan of a Berghaus fleece.
We stayed at this summit for a considerable time, enjoying the views, more delicacies and thanks to Malcolm's binoculars close-ups of Beinn Mheadhoin's tors, Cairngorm's weather station the top of Braeraich's cliffs and the magnificence of Ben Macdui's crags and sheer bulk. I took a few photographs which I later joined up into this panoramic shot.
From the summit I also took a couple of close-ups of Beinn Mheadhoin and Ben Macdui.
On departing Beinn a'Chaorainn we made for the grassy shoulder and in no time were back on the Lairig an Laoigh opposite Beinn Mheadhoin. After a kilometre or so, we were standing opposite the Hutchison Memorial Hut and the track leading up to Loch Etchacan. The path on this section of the Lairig an Laoigh had been improved since I last did the Lairig an Laoigh, from Glen More to Linn of Dee, in 2002.
During the walk back there were continuous comments about the views and what a great day we were having. Who could blame us.
We reached Derry Lodge at around 2.00pm with Bob and Malcolm making it back to Linn of Dee by 2.30pm and myself and Beinn making it back by 3.00pm.