Hill: Carn a' Mhaim
Date: Saturday 17th September 2016
Company: Myself, Becky and Cuillin
Distance: 22.8km, Ascent: 855m
Time: 7Hrs 40Mins

On checking the forecast at 7.30am yesterday morning, and seeing lots of blue sky on looking out the window, I decided a hillwalk was in order. After waking Becky, I quickly packed a rucksack and we were off driving by 8.00am.

While I didn't have a particular hill in mind, I was keen to walk in the Cairngorms. We decided to start our walk from the car park at Linn of Dee. On arriving at the Linn of Dee, I gave Becky the option of an ascent of Sgor Mor, Derry Cairngorm or Carn a' Mhaim. Becky chose Carn a' Mhaim.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

From the Linn of Dee car park, we set off walking along the track leading to Derry Lodge. While I had walked this track countless times previously, this was Becky's first walk along this track. As we walked along the track, we spotted a Broom Moth Caterpillar and a variety of fungi including one that looked like a pear. The Scot's Pine alongside the track are wonderful.

On the track from Linn of Dee to Derry Lodge:

It was great to see a variety of bumble bees on Devil's Bit Scabious along the edge of the track.

Bumble bee on Devil's Bit Scabious:

After 5km of walking, we arrived at Derry Lodge. It was great to see a planning application pinned to the wall for a proposed change of use i.e. a hostel instead of a derelict building.

From Derry Lodge, we made our way down to the new bridge erected by the National Trust in April 2015 to replace the one that was washed away in a spate. Cuillin swam across instead of using the bridge; a good way to cool down.

Becky on the new bridge at Derry Lodge:

The section of track beyond the bridge was wet and churned-up in places. Once back onto the good track we had our first stop of the day. We followed the lovely Luibeg Burn towards Carn a' Mhaim where we met several other walkers.

Scot's Pine alongside the Luibeg Burn:

On approaching the base of Carn a' Mhaim, we left the main track to head for the Luibeg Bridge. The Luibeg Bridge was erected by the Cairngorm Club in August 1948.

Carn a' Mhaim across the Luibeg Burn:

Becky on the Luibeg Bridge:

A short distance beyond the Luibeg Bridge we had another brief stop before taking a direct line up the grassy hillside to avoid the muddy mess of a path.

Ascending Carn a' Mhaim:

It was good to get back onto the track a hundred metres or so higher up the hill. The stone steps leading up Carn a' Mhaim were quite large for little legs!

Looking back along the Luibeg Burn towards Derry Lodge:

The ascent was quite gruelling due to the heat so we stopped regularly to take sips of juice and to give Cuillin some water.

Becky ascending Carn a' Mhaim:

Looking back to the 1014m top of Carn a' Mhaim:

As we gained height, the surrounding views just got better and better. We could see Monadh Mor, Beinn Bhrotain, the Devil's Point, Cairn Toul, Braeriach, Ben Macdui, Beinn Mheadhoin, Derry Cairngorm and many more.

Ben Macdui from Carn a' Mhaim:

We spent a good fifteen minutes at the summit soaking in the views and having a bite to eat (chocolate and crisps!).

Becky at the summit of Carn a' Mhaim:

Becky and Cuillin at the summit of Carn a' Mhaim:

Carn a' Mhaim must be one of the best viewpoints in the Cairngorms on a good day, and this was a great day. This was my third ascent of Carn a' Mhaim having previously climbed it in 1997 and 2009.

Cairn Toul and Braeriach from Carn a' Mhaim:

Braeriach and Ben Macdui from Carn a' Mhaim:

Ben Macdui from Carn a' Mhaim:

Sron Riach, Beinn Mheadhoin and Derry Cairngorm from Carn a' Mhaim:

We made fast progress in the initial descent but then had to take care going down the large rock steps. We stuck to the main path during the descent arriving at the Luibeg Burn ford instead of the Luibeg Bridge. With a bit of hand-holding, Becky managed to get across the Luibeg with only one slightly-wet foot. Cuillin enjoyed the opportunity to again cool down.

As we walked back along the track from Carn a' Mhaim towards Derry Lodge, we passed a number of Rowan trees laden with red berries, saw a Fox Moth Caterpillar on the track and were passed by several dragonflies. We also stopped again to photograph some more bumble bees on Devil's Bit Scabious. Becky was trialling a new Canon camera that she got on her recent birthday.

Back down on the path next to the Luibeg Burn:

Carn Crom:

On eventually reaching the new bridge at Derry, Becky and I again used the bridge while Cuillin went for a wee swim.

Cuillin Coolin' Doon:

Becky was really keen to visit Bob Scott's Bothy despite this adding a little bit of a detour to the already long walk. This did however provide the welcome opportunity to have a seat out of the sun.

A wee break at Bob Scott's Bothy:

The final 5km walk out from Bob Scott's Bothy to the Linn of Dee car park was as long as ever. I played some music on my iPhone to help pass the time.

Looking back along the Lui Water:

After walking for circa 7.5Hrs, it was a relief to reach the car and take our boots off. A massive well done to Becky on her longest walk yet.