Wednesday 25 July 2012

Beinn Mheadhoin and Derry Cairngorm

Today's walk was partly a bike ride! Having parked at the Linn of Dee, I used the folding bike to cut out the long trek to Derry Lodge, in fact I was able to ride part way up Glen Derry. I folded the bike up and hid it in the heather near the last of the magnificent Scots Pine's.
Glen Derry, Mheadhoin in the distance
The path up Glen Derry has been improved and makes for good progress, as the path rises I took the left branch and climbed up to the Hutchinson Hut. The hut was in very good order, although rather incongruously a pop-up tent was hanging on the back wall. I can't imagine a less useful tent for such a wild place.
Hutchinson Hut
The path steepens and reaches the wonderfully situated Loch Etchachan, I turned north and ascended the steep slope to arrive on the edge of the plateau, I visited the southwest top of Mheadhoin before crossing the km to arrive at the summit granite "tor". A short scramble on the northern side, and I was on the top, the view amazing in all directions.
Summit Plateau of  Mheadhoin
I didn't have the summit to myself, a chap with a huge beard and shoulder length hair was already in residence. We chatted for about an hour, he had been out in the Cairngorms since 3rd July without re-supply! Glad I hadn't carried his pack! The most remarkable thing about this chap was... he didn't use any footwear, no boots, no shoes, no sandals!! This will only mean anything to those who have been there, its a bit rough! I descended back to the loch and then ascended the Macdui track a short way before crossing the low ridge which gives access to the northern bouldery ridge of Derry Cairngorm. Macdui and its east facing corries looked superb from the twin summits of Derry Cairngorm.
Coire Sputan Dearg
The long southern ridge made for good progress as far as Carn Grom, where I dropped down the steep heathery slopes to Glen Derry. I retrieved the bike and retraced my tracks down Glen Derry and Glen Lui to Linn of Dee. The bike had been a great success, the first time I'd used one in all my trips in the hills of the Highlands.

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