Day 9

Day 9 Loch nan Cnapan to Loch Avon

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Friday 19th May

Day 9

30km

1840m ascent

Munros 6

Ice, mist and water

Braeriach (Imagine the view!)
The morning started dry but with the low cloud there was no sign of the high hills all around as I started the climb up into the mist. I found the start of the river Dee easily enough but got slightly confused on the way round to Braeriach while trying to avoid the large snow patches, in fact at one stage I was beginning to think that the mountain had moved before I realised where I was. Eventually I reached the top but with visibility at about twenty yards was unable to appreciate my position perched high above Coire Bhrochain and had to retrace my steps back to the falls of Dee without seeing anything.

Cloud lifting over Sgor an Lochain Uaine
Luckily the cloud started to lift as I approached Sgor an Lochain Uaine (The Angels Peak) opening up the views back to Braeriach and across the Lairig Ghru to Ben Macdui.

An Garbh Choire

Falls of Dee from Sgor an Lochain Uaine
Blue sky started to appear and the showers produced some beautiful rainbows, a dramatic improvement that was greatly appreciated.

Beinn Bhrotain

Rainbow over Lochan Uaine
The walk along the ridge and out to the Devils Point was interrupted several times, stopping to look at the views, attempting to take photos of ptarmigan and frogs and watching groups of tiny figures, probably challengers, making their way down the Lairig Ghru towards the fleshpots of Braemar.

Ptarmigan

Glen Dee from Cairn Toul
The descent to An Diolland was very wet from the melting snow, the frogs loved it!

Frog!

Lairig Ghru and Ben Macdui
The remains of a large cornice above Coire Odhar had to be avoided to reach the path down to Corrour Bothy where I met a member of the MBA work party that was hoping to finish a major refurbishment of the bothy interior that weekend.

Coire Odhar

South Glen Dee from the Devils Point
It felt strange to be walking the 'wrong' way up the Lairig Ghru after watching so many going the other way but I soon reached Allt Clach nan Taillear and the very steep route up beside the rushing stream of meltwater.

Allt Clach nan Taillear

Glen Dee and The Devils Point
As usual, I reached the plateau at the same time as the cloud and made my way past the numerous stone windbreaks, are there more than there used to be?, to the top of Ben Macdui.It was now nearly 6pm and I still wanted to get round to Cairngorm before descending for the night so set off trying to follow the path through the boulders to Lochan Buidhe which appeared as I dropped below the cloud level.

Summit of Ben Macdui

Looking down Allt Clach nan Taillear to the Lairig Ghru
The clouds were boiling up from Loch Avon and as I passed Cairn Lochan it started to rain, not ordinary rain but good heavy soaking cairngorms rain which didn't let up until I had reached the top of Cairngorm where the visibility was so bad that at times I couldn't see the weather station from the trig point. Setting my compass to avoid the cliffs I dropped down the slopes towards The Saddle and when I emerged from the cloud had some wonderfully gloomy views of Loch Avon in the deepening twilight. I decided to stop at the first place suitable and found a reasonable pitch on the morraine at the end of the loch, as had someone else, but on the other side of the river, where I was happy to crawl into the tent as the rain started again at the end of a memorable 13hr day.

Cairngorm weather station appearing in the mist

Loch Avon in the evening gloom

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