Cairn Toul – Braeriach Traverse
Munros: Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, The Devil’s Point
Date walked: 06/07/2010
Time taken: 9 hours 10 mins
Distance: 36 km
Well after my trip down south being postponed I now find I have some time on my hands. However as proven with Dannys walk on Saturday the weather has changed. After seemingly months of sunshine and great walking weather we now have lots of rain and gales. I had been watching the weather closely and it was looking favorable for Tuesday in the East. So I threw a quick plan together which involved walking through the Chalamain Gap, walk the 4 munros on the west of the Lairig Ghru and return along the Lairig Ghru and Chalamian Gap.
So up at 0300 and on the road at 0345 on the way to Aviemore. I arrive at the parking area on the first bend of the road heading up to the ski centre. I parked on the side of the road not noticing the huge free car park across the road hahaha and was on my way at 0550. I followed the path into the forest which then heads down to the impressive bridge across the river. The path then climbs up the hillside turning right and heads off to a wooden gate. There is a fork in the track leading up and along the hillside and this is the path I took. The weather was fine, no rain and a wind blowing no more than 10mph I would guess. The path is excellent and leads to the start of the Chalamain Gap which I arrive at after about 3km.
The Gap is full of huge boulders which have to be climbed/crossed. Having read some reports, some good and some bad, I wasn’t sure how I would find it but in all honesty its not bad at all and I am soon through the Gap and heading on the rocky path down to the Lairig Ghru. The wind is now stronger but does not increase any for the rest of the journey. Well done MWIS. I cross the burn and climb up the heathery/scree ridden hillside to join the path which leads up the ridge to Sron Na Lairige and onwards to Brearaich. The summit is about 4km from here and it is in the mist. I manage to get the only high pictures I took from this point. The path heads west for the last 1km skirting around the steep cliffs in the corrie. I can’t remember if there was a boulder field here but there is on the next two munros so there must have been which makes the going more difficult and the path appears and disappears as I climb higher. I arrive at my first summit after 2hrs 40min from the start. Its a shame but I am totally in the clag so I have no views whatsoever. I was looking forward to seeing the coiries of Cairn Toul but it was not to be.
Its now a 5km walk around the edges of the Coiries to the summit Sgor An Lochain Uaine (The Angels Peak) descending and ascending boulder fields as I go. I loose the path here and there and end up having to traverse back across the slope for 100m or so. When I arrive at the summit the rain starts but it is only light. Again in the mist so a quick picture and off I go.
Its only 1km to Cairn Touls summit following the edge of the coire descending and ascending 130m or so but the climb up the boulder field to Cairn Toul is not much fun. However, I dig in and I am soon on the summit. Near the summit there is an excellent shelter cairn which would come in handy n high winds.
I then head of towards The devils Point. I walk around the coire again for 1km to the spot height of 1213m and then its simply a 2km walk south east down to the Beallach and then up to the summit on a pretty good path. I arrive at the summit 5hrs and 20mins from the start so I have had a good days walking so far. Its now simply a matter of heading down to the bothy and walking the 15km back to the car hahaha.
So I head down to the beallach and look for the path down to the bothy. I head slightly down the steep south slopes looking for a way down and soon spot the huge path heading down the west slope. I traversacross and I am soon heading down to the bothy. Unusually for a bothy, ones I have seen so far anyway, Corrour bothy has a composting toilet of some kind. Its housed in the small extension to the bothy. The bothy itself is very small inside but there are reports in the visitors book. of 9 people staying one night. Must have been cosy. I take the time to change my soaking inner garments. Absolutely wringing with sweat. Not nice hahaha. And after a good lunch I am off to walk 9km’s up the Lairig Ghru.
So out the bothy along the path and cross the bridge. I then turn left and walk along the stony path. After 5km’s I reach the Pools of Dee. At this point the path disappears and I have to cross the boulder fields. At some point I see the path on the opposite side of the burn so I cross over to it and continue on my way. After another 4km’s I head up the hillside and cross the Chalamain Gap for the second time. And after a further 3km I am back at the car.
That was a bit of a marathon.
During the walk I met a number of walkers the first as I was descending to the bothy. A foreign chap was overnighting in the bothy and climbing the Devils Point. Two younger guys came up the hill. They had cycled in from Linn of Dee and were intent on walking three munros. An older couple were climbing the Devils Point. I met two gentlemen on the bridge.
They were in to walk the Lairig Ghru. Four youths came along the track, singing as they went hahaha. I passed four tourists walking to Avienore. I then met a gent who told me he was going to climb Ben Macdui. Well if you want to struggle up the slopes from the Lairig Ghru you will have about a 700m climb which is very steep so I was not quite sure of the route he will be taking.
Four English ladies came down from Chalamain Gap and said the found it extremely difficult so were going to go back on the path to Rothiemurcus forest. I met a young lady emerging from the gap at about 1420. She was planning on climbing up Brearaich. I told her that the weather was forecast to get much windier with serious gusts and the heavy rain was on its way. She seemed confident and was kitted out quite well so I am sure she knows what she is doing. There were a large number of climbers in the gap. And that was that.