Hills: Derry Cairngorm and Sgurr an Lochan Uaine
Date: Sunday 13th August 2017
Company: Just myself
Distance: 25.2km, Ascent: 1105m
Time: 7Hrs 10Mins
The weather forecast looked reasonable on Sunday so I packed a rucksack and headed off to my local hills, the Cairngorms. While I had no fixed plan in mind, I wanted to tackle at least one of my four remaining Munro Tops situated within the Cairngorm National Park.
I therefore drove to and parked-up at the Linn of Dee. After paying the £3 parking charge, I set off along the well-kent track towards Derry Lodge.
In my opinion, August is one of the best months of the year to walk in the Cairngorms as the heather is in bloom blanketing the hills in shades of purple.
Track from Linn of Dee to Derry Lodge:
Before long, I reached the bridge over the Lui Water passing numerous lovely Scot's Pine en-route.
As ever, on reaching Derry Lodge, I was a bit sad to see this building in such a state of disrepair.
Hopefully Derry Lodge will eventually be renovated into a hostel/bunkhouse
as has recently been proposed. It is my understanding that Derry Lodge was
last occupied by the Cairngorm Club in the 1960s before they purchased Muir Cottage.
Derry Burn from new bridge near Derry Lodge:
From Derry Lodge, I crossed the Derry Burn via the new bridge which replaced the one washed away in recent floods. I then took the track heading towards Carn Crom.
The track ascending towards Carn Crom was much better than I remembered, possibly because it has been improved since my last ascent of Derry Cairngorm in 2006.
Looking back towards Derry Lodge during initial ascent:
The good path made for quick progress up the hill.
Looking back towards Derry Lodge:
Looking back towards Glen Lui:
Normally when I walk in the Cairngorms there is an abundance of wildlife. During the entire walk, I can recall seeing only a single ptarmigan which was surprisingly still in almost full winter attire.
Derry Cairngorm coming into view:
Descent from Carn Crom:
During the walk to Derry Cairngorm, I passed only three other walkers who
were all heading back. I had set off quite late!
Heading for Derry Cairngorm:
After about three hours of walking, I reached the final boulderfield slope leading to the summit.
Boulderfield en-route to summit of Derry Cairngorm:
I stopped at the summit long enough to take a number of photos and then continued on my way towards Derry Cairngorm's Munro Top, Sgurr an Lochan Uaine.
At the summit of Derry Cairngorm:
View from the summit of Derry Cairngorm:
Beinn Mheadhoin from the summit of Derry Cairngorm:
Instead of descending directly towards Sgurr an Lochan Uaine, I took a longer route in an attempt to avoid some of the boulderfield. This didn't work out well as I didn't avoid the boulderfield. Also on looking back, I saw a grassy line that I could have used in descent to get directly from Derry Cairngorm to Sgurr an Lochan Uaine.
Sgurr an Lochan Uaine:
I think Ben Macdui looks fantastic from Derry Cairngorm. Depite ascending Ben Macdui at least five times previously, I have still to ascend its Munro Top, Sron Riach.
Ben Macdui panorama:
Heading out to Sgurr an Lochan Uaine:
During the walk out to Sgurr an Lochan Uaine, I could see the impressive cliffs below Loch Etchachan. I think this crag is called Creagan a' Choire Etchachan.
Creagan a' Choire Etchachan:
Alas by the time I reached the summit of Sgurr an Lochan Uaine, it was raining and visibility was poor. This was however just a passing shower and the weather would improve again for the next hour or so.
At the summit of Sgurr an Lochan Uaine:
From Sgurr an Lochan Uaine,
I had hoped to find a way down to the Lairig an Laoigh through the cliffs marked on the map. However, on checking out the terrain it looked very steep and very slippery and thus too dangerous. I therefore had to choose between making my way towards the Hutchison Memorial hut for an ascent down to the Lairig an Laoigh or to reascend Derry Cairngorm and head back via my inbound route. As the path to Derry Cairngorm was pretty-good, and from memory the Lairig an Laoigh track was a boggy mess, I opted to return the same way.
I therefore made my way back up Derry Cairngorm as far as getting above the cliffs and then skirted round the side of the hill to reach the track used earlier in the day.
Heading back towards Derry Cairngorm:
Looking back to Sgurr an Lochan Uaine:
Nice view looking back:
As I progressed back towards Derry Lodge, I could see an approaching weather front rolling-in over Cairn Toul. In around thirty minutes time I would be walking in rain.
Incoming weather front above Cairn Toul:
View towards Glen Lui in descent:
During the final descent towards Derry Lodge, I was plagued by midge. Literally tens of thousands of the wee buggers swarming to the point of making it difficult to see. There were also plentiful black fly which were more annoying than the midge.
The walk out from Derry Lodge was just a case of head down and crack on. It is a lovely short walk in its own right however it is a track I have walked dozens of times previously.
This was my fourth ascent of Derry Cairngorm and hopefully not my last. 75 Munro
Tops remaining (and four Grahams which I must get round to doing!).