Cairngorms Trip with Martin & Keith (in mainly pictures)

19th to 21st March 2015

Strictly speaking 18th to 22nd.
But only the main dates were walking.

Javier Vinas 2nd Chance - Pure Genius

We traveled up on the Sleeper on Wed night from Euston after meeting at
The Bree (is there anywhere else?) arriving at Blair at some ungodly hour like 6.30 am.
Sleeping on the sleeper in a chair is a bastard.
I woke with a headache and a stiff neck.
It was pretty bloody chilly in Blair at that time.

We went via the campsite and then headed up the track

Any spelling mistakes of Scottish hills and places are because I couldn't be arsed to look them up on the map.

You can drag the interactive map above and also use the zoom control or the mouse scroll wheel to zoom in to 1:50000 UK OS Map detail

I am not going to Blog the actual route in details, you can follow it above, just the Pictures (which you can click on to view bigger) with captions

And maybe the odd comment or three

Actually that's the path that is

Heading to wilderness at last.

Bothy 1 for a lunch stop
Nice bothy.
Shame about the toilet paper and shit out the back
Some people shouldn't be allowed out of their houses
because they have no ******* idea!

Keith on a slippery slope to nowhere.

The paths were pretty full of drifted snow

Heading up to Beinn Dearg
A lot of snow, but didn't need spikes going up.
Going down was another matter

Keith on Beinn Dearg

Beinn Dearg Panorama

Martin on Beinn Dearg

Mighty Fine Views

It ain't Spring up there yet by a long way

Me on Beinn Dearg

Heading down the other side to the Bealach we finally had to go with spikes.
Even easier in flexible Crampons which Keith had (borrowed from Martin), but spikes were good enough.

Collapsed snow hole to river on way down

This one was even deeper.
About 12 feet into the river below.
No way you'd get out of that without axes and crampons.
And even then it would be a struggle if on your own.

We made our way down through a lot of snow.
Luckily it was nice crisp snow and a lot easier walking than the heather would have been.

Lunch spot by the river on the way over to the Tarf Hotel Bothy

And then even more snow on the descent

A final view before we dropped down to follow the Tarf.
A hard slog that because the snow was down to the river in places so a bit of up and down.
And another one of those very pretty, but never ****ing ending meandering Scottish rivers

It was a bit blustery hence the camera shake

Rather fine views from the Bothy

We spent the night at the bothy.
I am not sure if there had been building work, or some really ****ing untidy people in there, but it was a damp dirty mess.
All the fires were damp, all the wood was wet.
The floors were wet all round the walls.
There was damp ash and lots of rubble strewn over the floor.
Ok, and some new bedding bunk tables and a new inside door that didn't fit from shit.

We tidied up as best we could and swept the floors and sleeping bunks of powder and rubble dust.
Cleared out one of the fires.

Try as we might to get a fire going it was a hopeless task.
Minimum heat, wet paper, wet wood and raining outside.
Luckily hot food and whisky did help a lot.

So I hope it wasn't MBA volunteers that left it in that state.

Eventually we clambered into our sleeping bags for heat, turned on the personal musak and went to sleep.
It had been a long day, although very lucky weather and some magnificent views.
We had earned the sleep and the whisky.

Heading off the next morning after freezing my feet crossing the Tarf.
 We picked our way mainly along the north shore of the river, and then up higher to drop down to the ford just up from the Falls of Tarf, where we had a short snack stop and aired our wet feet.
Very very important to look after your feet.
Then after being buzzed several times by low flying jets, we headed up the track over towards Fealar Lodge.
As we did we were hit by a short sharp sleet squall.
Even so the views were pretty fine.

View heading to Fealar Lodge

Fealar Lodge

The river at Fealar Lodge

Second very late lunch
It was just about to rain again.

A look back at the hills.
Today had been a river day with a few ups and downs.
Tomorrow was going to be another hill day.
Although a different hill to the original plan.
We didn't take axes and it looked like full winter gear was needed, so we had decided to do some Corbett's instead

Not everyone had a good winter!
We thought we had found a good sheltered camping spot until I turned round and found this poor bugger.
He was very dead by the way!

So we headed round to the next bit of river were amidst the wet ground we found a good little spot.
Even then the wind was seriously rattling the tent at times amidst short rain showers.
It got a heck of a lot windier in the night.
But the little hexPeak was bomber.
At only £159 including inner that is pretty excellent.
Heh,.. And it has a door.

View up stream from the camp

And back down stream in a moment of sun amidst showers

And then about 10 minutes later

Eventually the sun drops

It was a pretty cold and buffeting night.
I went out for a call of nature about 1.00 am and the skies were crystal clear.
A magnificent view of thousands of stars.
"What we are the ONLY life form in the Universe?" Really???
Statistically is that a ******* joke.

I went back in though because it was bleeding freezing

The next morning we headed up the track where we actually found the perfect pitch on short grass.
About another 30 minutes walk.

Oh well.

And on we went to begin our way up to Bein Vurich

A Corbett, but only just shy of a Munro

After a while I had taken a different route up from Keith and Martin, but we met up again high on the Bealach.

We dropped our big packs and went up to the summit with cameras.
I used just the waist belt off the Mariposa.
Genius idea that a removable waist belt.

Keith and Martin on the way up.
We got split up again on the way to the top.
To be honest there was no path, and I hate following people in a convoy.
Much rather make my own way on my own route at my own speed.

We met at the summit with some rather fine views.

Pretty fine view across to the Larig Ghru

Looking down to the frozen Lochan
And then we headed down.
And down and down.

There really isn't a path until you get right down so it was a lot of heather bashing and a bit of bog trotting.

But the weather was marvellous.
Almost T shirt weather.

We had had 3 days excellent walking in good company.
But Keith had started talking about Venison Steaks and beer and so we now had our mindset about 80% focused on digestion and a suitable form of re-hydration

Still there was time for a couple more valley views before we hit the road to Blair Athol.

And then it was a matter of finding where we would stay.
At first we thought a B&B might be nice.
But the 1st hotel which had rooms for a mere £25 was fully booked, and the big hotel wanted a minimum of £70 (each)  yes (each)...
Well, that wasn't going to happen so we went to the camp site and put our tents up.
And it was flat.
And they had showers and stuff (well, when Martin eventually decided to let someone else use it), for a while I though the hot water might run out.

Sorted and clean and NOT wearing JUST my Brynje vest - below

( I had a spare top), so we strolled off to the Pub for

Food and BEER and BEER.

Well, it would have been rude not to!