Monthly Archives: July 2015

Many rivers to cross – Byvack Lodge and beyond

Parked at Linn of Dee and cycled in and over White Bridge and headed for Byvack. The Geldie then has to be forded and the width, amount of water, and rounded pebble bed meant coming off the bikes. There are then a couple of fords of the seilich before reaching Byvack.
Our picture taken by some estate workers out counting grouse ready for the 12th. Word is that the wet spring has held back numbers.
Choice between very wet ground or fording the stream again to head south. The track continues as cycleable land-rover track for a while before reducing to single-track. As a through route from Atholl, this is all suitable for getting a bike through but it is currently very wet and boggy so we parked up the bikes soon after reaching the single-track.
On by foot and headed for a southern flank ascent of Sron a Bhoididh (crossing more water).
A steep heathery ascent initially then short heather across the tops to the cp.
Back down to the track and up the western side to skirt the south side of Loch Tilt heading for our third cp Coire na Creige.
Great views south of the county boundary but we soon turn back north to God’s country and head home (and the many rivers to cross – again).

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Back in Glenesk

To Glenesk to ascend Mt. Battock. We started from Millden car park in cloudy cool conditions and took a couple of hours to get to the summit, where it was very windy. the views weren’t great from the top, but the sun came out as we descended past the inevitable excavator and dumper truck ( Who pays for all the new tracks in Glenesk? ) Wildlife included a group of fifteen mountain hares galloping across the hill, plus buzzard, golden plover, red grouse, swallow, house martin, moorhen, tufted duck, lapwing, curlew, oystercatcher, linnet, grey heron and starling.

Battock Traverse

Having attempted Battock back in February from Peters Hill but had to turn back with the weather, and Marie passing round but not to the top of Clachnaben at the race, we decided to opt for the full traverse to claim these cps.

We started at the Clachnaben car park taking the normal route up to the top and then along the track to Mount Battock. With a couple of MTBers (Gary and Scott) ahead we used them as targets to try and beat to the top but were just pipped to the post. Took the runners direct route off Battock to Dave’s aptly named “Motorway” traversing Hill of Cammie and then Mudlee Bracks before following the fence line to the Fungle track. Found our direct routes had succeeded in getting us in front of before named bikers but were eventually passed en route to Ballochan, where we had parked a second car.

Tullich Burn Firing Range

This a CP many of you will have visited and hopefully were not too disappointed. For me the Tullich Burn has always nagged as a substantial river whose upstream areas I had never visited. The map showed it as 10k and 250m of ascent so a fine hour or so jog, even for us slow coaches. I had made 2 previous attempts to visit the upper burn on route to Crannoch Hill, but on both occasions was mutinied by my walking partners. The first resulting in an ascent of the Lower summit and the sceond point 602.

The burn is a fantastic feature with steep wooded valley sides with constant bluffs. From a “running”, and I use the word mildly, perspective it seems the best approach is to cross the burn where obstacles appear as they are never on both sides of the river. I is truly spectacular and is the closest I have ever come to a solo stag with fine antlers. After a while a fence is reached and crossed and the river turns into a small gorge.just after Sluggan Burn heads west, once out of the gorge the valley widens a bit but does not get much easier to run, The West side is the heather free side and a small burn is crossed to a rough track leading to the main track which leads back with ease to the start.

A true pleasure and very keen to try and shave a bit of my opening time,,,,just over 3hrs with no significant stops or wrong turns.


round crannach hill.pdf

A mad scramble up the Lairig Ghru

Monday July 27th
Lochan Uaine and Devil’s Point
It’s been really hard this summer to find sunny days for these long-haul points, so we had to make do with a forecast of “overcast and dry” (ultimately, and inevitably, this turned out to mean “wet”)
Parked at Linn of Dee. Managed to make use of portaloo just before a large group of foreign teenagers appeared coming out of Lairig. Cycled to Luibeg and crossed by bridge. Our first time at bridge, not worth the detour except that I fell in while making the direct crossing on the way back so maybe it was worthwhile to save soaking on the outbound leg.
Walked in until we came level with Garbh corrie and then left path to make our way up to the old bothy. Started ascent just beyond this, initially steeping grass and then a scramble. The lochan is surrounded by boulders so it’s more scrambling up to Cairntoul. More boulders to get off Cairntoul (bit of a theme here) and then head over to the Devil’s Point. Back out via Corrour, chatted to four guys bedding in for the night, and then headed back to our bikes. Midges at Luibeg were fearsome.

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Summer at last

03/07/15Finally a good day in the Cairngorms was promised by the forecasters. Cycled in from Linn of Dee past Derry Lodge and a few km further up Glen Derry.
Climbed first up to Lochan Uaine (cp12) in the corrie to the east of Derry Cairngorm. Then on to the summit, where I met Andy T and Roger C also making the most of a fine day. From there there was some nice running across and down to Loch Etchachan (cp13) before a good workout up the climb to Ben Mheadhoin and more nice running along the top to the high point on the tor. From the top I dropped diagonally down to the Larig Lui and back along the path to the bike.
A great day in the hills.

Slugain and Ben Avon

Something akin to Duncan’s long day out here, but in reverse. Biked in from Keiloch up Gleann an t’Slugain as far as the old ruin (cp 20). Then ran up to Dubh Lochan (cp19), on to the top of Ben Avon (cp21) coming back by Creag an Deal Bheag (cp22). Lots of new ground for me. Was hoping for a fine day but the cloud was down, visibility above 900m was dire and the wind was vicious on the tops. Very glad of map and compass, especially approaching the Sneck and dropping off the top of Ben Avon. Just started to relax with the latter when I came across some serious south facing snow fields, with the path / stream disappearing into them. Condition was poor for running shoes (hard-packed with melting surface), so had to contour / climb again to avoid. Eventually managed to get round the end and drop to my descent route along the stream side. Seemed a long way back to the bike from the top end of the Gairn.
Plenty of ptarmigan on the high ground and saw a green woodpecker in the forest on the way back.

Mobile phone orienteering

24/06/15Checking out Creag Choinnich for its potential to adapt the permanent orienteering course to the latest technology – mobile phone orienteering. Diverted to run over the top of the summit mid-way and bag another point.

A watery view – Creag Phadruig

Parked at Auchallater and in along the track to the bridge. Immediately over bridge (about 20m into the heather on left) there is a faint track heading up to old grouse butts and giving you a good start on the climb.
After this it is a mix of short/long/burnt heather to the top.
Once there, you get a view one way over Loch Phadruig towards Ballochbuie. Looking the other way is Loch Callater.
It’s a great viewpoint.

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Tour around Derry Cairngorm

Tuesday 21st July

Taking advantage of a “scattered showers forecast” we set off to visit the three water points around Derry Cairngorm.
Parked bikes at Derry lodge and off on foot up Glen Derry until we came abreast of cp13. With so much rain recently, the burn was quite full and we gave up attempting a dry crossing and just waded across knee deep. Stiff climb up to the lovely lochan.
Didn’t want to retrace our watery steps back down to the track so contoured around (bouldery) until we could drop down to the Hutchison Hut.
Quick energy gel and on up the track to Etchachan. Very windy and exposed at the top so we didn’t stop but carried on up the south westerly track which eventually leads to Ben Macdui.
Planned to turn off this track and head down into Glen Lui the but got a bit mesmerised with the good track vs boulders and stuck on track too long. After a bit of re-orientation we got sorted out and found our way way down to the head of the stream at NO009995.
Very bouldery ground again as we headed down and then up to our third cp.
From here there is still a long way to go to get out and with the ground very wet we were slipping about and getting very tired. Eventually passed Luibeg bridge on our right and  back to our bikes for the easy pedal back to the car.

A long day, windier than expected but at least it never rained after all, and three more points bagged



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