I haven’t had a chance to get off to the hills since May – work, family holidays and pretty awful ‘summer’ weather so I was looking forward to a couple of days in the Cairngorms. The weather had been good but, as luck would have it, it was supposed to deteriorate for the week-end.
Up early on Saturday – dull but not raining – and off to the Linn of Dee car park. My plan was to walk in to the Lairig Ghru and, if the weather was clear, to go up to the Falls of Dee in Garbh Coire, Braeriach and then on to the top. I’ve set myself a photo project to photograph the River Dee from the source to the sea (photos so far are on flickr) and this was a chance to get to the source on the plateau. It started to rain as I left the car park so I decided that this was probably a bit optimistic – so no need to rush. I decided I’d walk in via Glen Dee, where I’d never been before.
Most people take the trade route up Glen Luibeg and Glen Dee is pretty quiet – I saw a couple of fishermen near White Bridge but no walkers at all in the glen. The path after White Bridge is very boggy in parts and it took over 3 1/2 hours from Linn of Dee to Corrour bothy. The Chest of Dee just past White Bridge was a revelation – an absolutely beautiful spot (pics below) with opportunities for swimming in the river. But not today – not warm and too many midges. The heather was in full bloom – the Cairngorms looked wonderfully purple, even in the flat light of a dull day. Not much wildlife apart from grouse and (I think) Meadow Pipits, which I disturbed in the heather.
At Corrour, it was decision time – to the tops or not. The rain had stopped but it was still misty on top – so I decided to stay low. Sweating to the summits to see bugger all in the mist is something I used to do a lot of. But as I’ve got older I’ve become a bit of a fair weather mountaineer – I like to get a view for the effort. So, I decided to go to the ‘alternative’ source of the Dee – the Pools of Dee at the watershed on the Lairig Ghru.
There’s a big boulder field around the Pools, which I don’t think are the source of the river as they are over the watershed. The source is springs just over the top. I took a few photographs then back down to an excellent camp site across the river from Corrour bothy. I’d just got my tent up when the rain started in earnest – and it didn’t stop for the rest of the evening. I had bought some dried food from Fuizion as an experiment – seafood tagliatelle – as they were supposed to make the best freeze dried meals. Well, if this was the best, I’d hate to have the worst – it was edible but only just – not much flavour and a rather gloopy texture. But hot chocolate and fruit cake made up for it.
I like going off on my own sometimes – my daughters ask if I get lonely but I never do and I find the solitude refreshing. I’d planned to do some reading and had loaded up my Kindle, but it wouldn’t wake up. The first time it has ever failed – and no mobile signal, so googling for a solution wasn’t on. So, it was Gershwin and a couple of podcasts from Bob and the Outdoors Station before an early sleep.
The rain stopped sometime in the night – I woke early and it was clear and dry. Unfortunately, I had to get back by the afternoon so didn’t have time to get to the tops – but I thought I’d walk back through Glen Dee again as there were so many opportunities for photography as you can see from the pics below. It really is superb and, again, I didn’t see a soul.
My Kindle problem is apparently pretty common – easily fixed by rebooting.
Photos (click on the pic for a larger version)