Monday 16 August 2010


Well, it maybe wasn't that big a day out compared to what other folk seem to do, but it was more than enough for me.
Initially we had been going to walk to Corrour bothy via White Bridge, but the route descriptions suggested that would add half an hour each way onto the trip, so it was the Derry Lodge/Glen Luibeg/Lairig Ghru option that we settled on. Jorja and Skye blazed the trail as Carn a Mhaim came into view.

I maintain that the 10 minute detour to get to the bridge over the Luibeg Burn is always worthwhile, at least on the way out, to keep your feet dry. Plus, it's pretty:

The path just beyond the bridge has disappeared in a fairly boggy morass which makes for pretty slow going until you reach slightly higher ground where a right hand fork would lead you up Carn a Mhaim. You're now following the Lairig Ghru proper, and even although it's not muddy after that point, the path is literally covered in a couple of inches of water for long stretches. I wouldn't have fancied testing my free non-waterproof gutties the day.
It's a good vantage point for Beinn Bhrotain (which we did a few weeks back):

Eventually you get your first look at the Devils Point which, if you ask me, has a touch of the Big Bookle about it from certain angles.

The right hand side of the glen remains hemmed in by Carn a Mhaim, but the glen floor opens out considerably opposite Corrour bothy.
It's not a bad wee situation.

The path up Coire Odhar behind the bothy is genuinely steep, but not for too long. On reflection. It felt like it was taking fecking ages at the time.

You're pretty much following the line of the burn that flows down from the top of the corrie, and it's a good opportunity to replenish your water supply. Once you reach the wee notch in the skyline illustrated in this blurry photo(!)...

...things open out, and the path to the Devils Point on the left and the road towards Cairn Toul on the right are clear enough. Well, in summer when the sun's shining they're clear enough.It's a pleasant stroll up to the first summit from here. Nice view down into Glen Geusachan...

...and then you can pick out the two routes to Corrour mentioned earlier; via Glen Dee (ie from White Bridge) on the right, and via the Luibeg burn (ie our route) on the left. (That's the south east ridge of Carn a Mhaim on the left of the picture, with the Lairig Ghru curving round it.)

Here's a view towards the summit...

...and here's a view of Andy arriving there, with Ben Macdui looming in the background.

After the obligatory Wee Black Dug summit shot...'s a leisurely wander back down to the head of the corrie. We had worked out by this point that if we were going to press on and try to do another hill (or indeed both the other hills), we weren't going to be home before midnight. It had taken us three hours on the button (as per the book prediction, in fairness) to walk from Linn of Dee to the bothy. My guess, based on what it looked like...

... was that it'd take an hour and a half at least to get to the top of Cairn Toul. We decided to give it that hour and a half, the unspoken agreement being that if we were nowhere near it by then we'd just turn tail. For once, the estimate was accurate. That just aboot never happens.

It's maybe worth noting that the books all say that you follow the cliff edge above Coire Odhar and then the rim of Coire an t-Saighdeir to get to the 1213m top between the Devil's Point and Cairn Toul. While that is certainly the obvious way to go, it involves a lot of boulder hopping, and there's nothing to stop you heading up in a stright line from the top of the corrie, over mainly grassy slopes, if you're not intent on soaking up the views continually! It certainly looks like most folk come down that way, no doubt to avoid repeating the bouldery bits.

The last pull to the summit of the Munro isn't too bad at all. I confess I'd been a bit worried about Jorja being off the lead, given the precipitous drops into the corrie hereabouts, but as there was no wildlife for her to chase I started to relax. Eventually.

You can just about make out wee tiny figures near the top, if you're sad and want to click on that photie. ;)

The summit of Cairn Toul was busy, and the only picture I've got - which has had to be drained of all colour because it was so washed oot, sorry - is looking south from there:

More boulder clambering, with photo opportunities to catch the lochan against a Braeriach backdrop, takes you down to the bealach at the foot of Sgor an Lochan Uaine. You can see the Lairig Ghru on the right of the picture, rising steeply as it heads north.

We left our rucksacks for the jaunt to the summit, which took no more than 10 minutes. Lightening the loads certainly helped our pace of ascent, but didny assist in recording the moment for posterity as my camera was, predictably, still at the bealach.

You don't need to reascend Cairn Toul on the way back, instead traversing to the 1213 top again, and then down the grassy option to the bealach at the head of Coire Odhar. We made rather better time getting down the corrie path than we had coming up it, and by this time the sun was really out and the clouds were amusing themselves throwing shapes onto Ben Macdui.

It was a long three hours back to the car from there. A long three hours. Worth every purgatorial minute, right enough.



  1. People worldwide are now wondering what the hell non-waterproof gutties are... ;)

  2. :o)

    Would it help if I explained that they're pretty much the opposite of well-dubbined tackety boots?