Whiteburn's Wanderings

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

First Snow

First Snow

12 – 13 October 2013.

I must admit I was feeling a bit lackadaisical, I had no plans to hatch or overwhelming urge to go peak bagging….lethargy seemed to have set in.  The weather forecast had been good but I’d somehow resisted any temptation…..time to get out…..I packed an overnight sack and headed for the Linn of Dee.

One surprise driving over was spotting the snow capped peaks of Ben Avon and Ben A Bhuird, I seen that snow was forecast on the tops mid-week but I never took much notice….things were looking up.

In less than an hour from the car I was through Derry Lodge and wandering up the glen following the Luibeg burn, with no particular place to go; only the occasion ‘day raider’ hurtling from behind disturbing the peace.  Some think the walk up from Linn of Dee is boring, I always find things to delight the eye


I continued to follow the good footpath up burn; I think the snows on Ben MacDui enticed me forward.


From the slopes of Sron Riach the ridge across to Carn a’Mhaim looked like it would have provided an enjoyable traverse today.


But Ben MacDui beckoned, if only for the view point on such a clear day.

The views from the summit were spectacular, unlike my visit of a few weeks ago in 10m visibility.


The summit was crowded, well there was at least a couple of dozen folk.  I enjoyed lunch while trying to pick out the various peaks in the distance; the Ben was clearly visible over 80km away.  Over lunch I decided on going over to Cairngorm, at least the snow should keep the tourist hoards inside the Ptarmigan restaurant.

In my opinion the cairns leading away from Cairngorms summit back to the Ptarmigan are an eye sore, if there were any more they’d look like a derelict dry stone wall!


I didn’t stay long, just long enough for a snack hidden from the wind behind the observatory, and then headed off south down Coire Riabeirt towards Loch Avon.

Loch Avon appeared quite still, despite the stiff wind blowing across the plateau


I traversed around the loch to the western shore, after calling past the Shelter Stone to see if there was anyone at home, no reply to my calls, I went down to a good pitch on the sand/ gravel shore line.


The light easterly breeze would have been appreciated in the summer but the temperature just above freezing I could have done without it.  It was quite a pleasant evening sitting in the lee of the Trailstar just star gazing while listening to music and enjoying a sip of Talisker.  I stayed up late for me while backpacking, 10:30, and a frost had appeared on the tarp.

I slept in and had the first cup of coffee in bed.  The weather had taken a change, temperature had risen to 3 – 4C and the cloud base had dropped.


After the third cup of coffee I’d decided that I’d skip the tops and take a slow dawdle the 16km back to the car.  The 200m ascent up to Loch Etchachan definitely provided enough stimulus to wake up the legs first thing, the loch was lost in the mist but the visibility dramatically improved once the descent to the Hutchison was started.

Near the bridge across the Derry burn I spotted this fellow and a few other well scattered examples.


It’s good to see that the reduction in deer numbers is having a positive impact on natural regeneration of the Caledonian pine but it will probably take longer than I’ve got on this planet to see the forest back to anything like its former glory.

I was back to the car by 3:00pm, an early finish but the batteries had been recharged; I’d covered around 40km with 1500m of ascent all places I’d visited previously but every visit is different.



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This entry was posted on October 14, 2013 by in Trip Reports and tagged , , .

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