Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

A Cairngorms Dawdle

20 – 24 Sept 2013: 76km, 2000m ascent.

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I decided late on the Friday afternoon that a few days dawdling around some of the less frequented parts of the Cairngorms seemed to be a good idea.

The sack was soon packed with 4 days of food and it was off to the Linn of Dee.

I arrived pretty late, 6:30pm, and the usual crowd of weekenders were packing rucksacks while dodging the midges before heading off towards Derry Lodge.  I headed off west towards White Bridge and pitched up a couple of km short of White Bridge amongst the ruins of the Tomnamoine Township.

With a wood close by I scrounged up enough dry twigs to fuel the Honey Stove for cooking dinner and provide a wee fire for an hour.  Normally I’ll use a flat stone under the stove, leave no trace, but on this occasion I choose to employ a recent fire ring close by.

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The next morning the midge were out in force but luckily only 50m away I found a spot that picked up a very gentle breeze keeping the monsters grounded allowing me to have breakfast in peace.

The walk up to Geldie Burn Ford took less than an hour, no dry crossing today, I splodged straight across.

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The Bynack Burn fords were avoidable but with wet feet I didn’t even break stride and headed off down the single track leading into Glen Tilt.

Just above the footbridge I turned off west up the old stalkers path, the Falls of Tarf were roaring with turgid peat stained water and looking down Glen Tilt from above the falls the river seemed quite high.

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Above the main falls the Tarf is mainly hidden in a narrow wooded gorge and I wasn’t about to go climbing around in the greasy conditions to gain photo’s, that would have to wait for another day.

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I lunched at the ruined bothy at NN 961803 where I stoked up the Honey stove with dead heather stalks, not the best of fuels but within 15mins I was enjoying a nice brew.

The ford across the Tarf Water at NN 957797 was quite deep and flowing fast so I opted for sticking to the northern bank following an ATV track which made for easy progress up to where the bothy came into view.

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I originally intended to follow the Tarf Water higher up the glen and find a spot to pitch up but the ground higher in the glen didn’t look that amenable so it didn’t take much persuasion for me to enjoy the comforts of the Tarf Hotel (Feith Uaine Bothy).  I crossed the Tarf just upstream from the bothy, an ankle deep splodge.

The place was spick and span but no-one at home. it looked as though there’d been a

I cooked up on the Honey stove positioned in the hearth using some timber off cuts from the recent work party that were lying around.  The stove provided a nice glow for an hour that evening, using a miserly quantity of fuel, as I watched the rain come down.

The new day hadn’t brought a change in the weather, low cloud and intermittent showers.

I followed the south bank of the Tarf Water up to just SSE of Beinn Bhreac and the boulder hopped across the river, it was only 6km on the map but it took 2hrs following all the twists & turns.  The weather seemed to be slowly improving but the summit of was still cloaked in clag.

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The cross country trog from Beinn Bhreac across to Leathad an Taobhain was typical Cairngorm plateau type terrain, rolling hills with peat bog in the bealachs.

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By the time I’d trogged to Leathad an Taobhain the weather had definitely taken a turn for the better.

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From the summit a good path led down to the north and then up Meall an Uillt Chreagaich to where it joins a LRT which led monotonously down the 6km into Glen Feshie.

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I choose to ford the Feshie at around NN 845919 rather than walk down to Carnachuin on the off chance the new bridge had been erected plus it saved a couple of km; the crossing straight forward, only shin deep.

No-one at home in the Ruigh-aiteachan Bothy, I pitched up close by, washed the socks and enjoyed a brew in the afternoon sunshine.

The next morning was glorious, blue skies and wall to wall sunshine, the ascent of Mullach Clach a Bhlair up the LRT took 2 hrs before doubling back and heading off across Moine Mhor.

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Not as frequented as other parts of the ‘gorms but on a day like today it provided stunning scenery with un-interrupted views across the plateau toward the Carntoul massif.

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Hopping across the plateau to Loch nan Stuirteag can be quite boggy expedition but today it was surprisingly dry.  I’ve crossed this way on several occasions and I find the easiest line to get across to Cairntoul is to traverse around to the north of the Loch keeping above 900m and maintaining this elevation to the Allt Clais an t-Sabhail.

I stopped for a long lunch at the burn, enjoyed the sunshine and the view down the glen toward Monadh Mor

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From the burn I made a rising traverse across the Buidheanach of Cairntoul climbing to over 1000m to avoid boulder fields before descending to the bealach and footpath down to the Corrour Bothy.  I enjoyed a lazy ½ hr sat in the shade outside the bothy before heading off towards Derry Lodge.

Looking down into Gleann Laoigh Bheag in could have been the middle of summer.

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I thought about walking out the short distance to the Linn of Dee but finally decided to pitch up close to Bob Scott’s Bothy and enjoy the evening.

Later the wind dwindled to almost nothing so I retired to the bothy for dinner and was just on the point of retiring to the Trailstar when 2 Polish brothers, Leopoldo and Claudio, turned up; the first people I’ve come across in 3 days.  We chatted until late, the conversation adequately lubricated by the bottle of Macallen that they’d carried in.

It was 10:00am before I said my goodbyes and finally set off for the hour’s walk back to the car; it had been a fine end to a good trip.

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This entry was posted on October 8, 2013 by in Trip Reports and tagged , , .
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