Whiteburn's Wanderings

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

Glen Derry

With all my overnight gear sitting in a couple of boxes it took less than an hour to grab some food throw the pack in the car & head for the hills, the day’s forecast looked too good to miss.  “I’m off up Glen Derry, I’ll be back tomorrow” was the sum of the plan; after 30+ yrs the wife’s used to this!

Strolling up the Derry track provided ample time to muse the various route options as the hills drew closer.

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I decided to aim for Ben Macdui & then drop down Tailor’s (Allt Clach nan Taillear) into Glen Dee but first I thought I’d check out the tree ‘bridge’ a couple of hundred metres upstream from the demolished footbridge at Derry Lodge, Cairngorm Wanderer mentioned this in his blog & has even trimmed some branches to ease the passage, definitely sturdy enough.  I’ve 2nd hand info that the footbridge will be replaced in the summer.

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I do like the section of the glen beyond Derry lodge, I must have walked it dozens of times in all weathers & seasons but there always seems something new or different.

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I was on the ascent to the Hutchy when I picked up the familiar sound of a chopper coming up the glen, not the usual yellow budgie but a shiny new red & white Sikorsky S-92; the new Bristow’s SAR service starts 1 April 15 so I guess they’re doing lot’s of training runs.

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I got the full display as he did 4 approaches/ hovers over the bothy before finally heading north up the Lairig Laoigh.

Stuck my head in the Hutchy, it was empty & spick & span, I waved bye-bye & headed on upwards.

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On reaching Loch Etchachan (~920m) the wind was fair blasting, 30mph+, from the south whipping up the fresh dusting of snow from the day before.  Time for a change of plan; a quick run up Beinn Mheadhoin & then back down to the Hutchy for ‘tea & medals’.  With the 200m climb up to the plateau the wind grew steadily stronger so it was head down & a steady march to the summit tor.

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Ben Macdui looked quite impressive in the afternoon sun but photos can’t portray the 50mph+ wind that was whistling across the plateau; there were definite signs of the forecasted front moving in from the south somewhat earlier than indicated.

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By 5pm I was in the bothy enjoying a pot of tea, ½ hr or so later a party of 3 arrived; the bothy book recorded a night where 10 had shared the bothy so we had ample room in comparison.

Light snow fell throughout the night leaving an accumulation of 8 – 10cm to next morning & it was still falling as I left my compatriots still silent pretending to be very large caterpillars.

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The fresh covering was just enough to make heading down the glen troublesome, the track was invisible for the most part & numerous boggy bits & holes lay hidden to trap the unwary.  It wasn’t until into Glen Derry proper that the path was easily followed, the covering of snow did make for a different walk from the previous day.

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All that was left to do was to call into the ‘Old Bakery Cafe’ in Braemar for a good lunch & back then to civilisation.

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This entry was posted on March 27, 2015 by in Trip Reports and tagged , , .
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