Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Highlands: Devil's Point, Cairn Toul and Angel's Peak - Day 2

We awoke and had a spot of breakfast, fuel for the days walking ahead. We left Corrour Bothy and took only day kit, which was a pleasure. It makes the walking far easier going, meaning you can cover more ground and with less weight on our back it is obviously far more enjoyable. I don't see leaving kit out here as much of a problem, I mean you have to be a pretty dedicated thief to walk 8 miles into the back and beyond to half inch a sleeping bag.

We walked the well marked hiking trail that leads from behind Corrour Bothy and ascends to the the northern side of Devils Point. There was still a fair bit of snow where shadows were cast from the sun but once we hit the plateau at the top (970955) you could see that whilst there were fairly large patches of snow it was only in places and would easily be avoided.

We rounded the stream at the top of the gulley where the ground was sodden and no doubt due to recent rain and snow melt was like a lake. It is pretty much a level hop skip and a jump to the top of Devils Point where you get the most amazing view of the Southern end Glen Dee. From here it truly feels as though you are stood on top of the world in some kind of prehistoric time with the river wending its way down the valley into the far distance.

You can't do anything but stop here for 10 minutes or so to soak it up, this is half the reason why anyone climbs these mountains - for the view.

Glen Dee from Devil's Point - Highlands Walk

Fed and watered we headed back the way we came for a slow but sure ascent of Cairn Toul. Crossing the path we came up from Corrour Bothy we headed north up the boulder field of Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir.

It was pretty slow going manouvering through the boulder field, there was no hiking trail here, so we stopped for a brew not a great time later. We looked up to the summit of Cairn Toul with the overhang of snow that had obviously developed with the adverse conditions they'd been having up here. So we drank tea and got underway, by this time we'd well and truly written off Braeriach, it was looking like time was gonna run short and that would have been a Munro too far. We backtracked slightly to stay away from the dicey edge and pushed up Cairn Toul. At this point we noticed a person making a similar ascent below us on skis all of a sudden our walk in seemed pretty easy. This wasn't a particularly tough climb by any means and before long we arrived at the summit to the breathtaking view up the northern part of the Lairig Ghru. You got an awesome panorama of Angel's Peak, Braeriach and the pass from here, we could even see as far as the Moray Firth which I think is about 30 miles from the point where we were stood - another view which had to be commited to cine-mem. We got chatting to a lady on the summit of Cairn Toul who said that we were lucky to be up here in these conditions, fair play it was sub-zero but the visibility was awesome.
Lairig Ghru from Angels Peak - Highlands Walk

Knowing that time was running a bit short and legs were starting to get tired, the group was split as to go for Angel's Peak or to head back in the end we all made the last push, it really wasn't that far and within about 45 mins we had gone from the summit of Cairn Toul to the summit of Sgor An Lochain Uaine (Angel's Peak). That was to be our third Munro and last Munro of the day. With time against us Braeriach was to elude us that day but I stood, contemplated and concluded that it wasn't going anywhere fast so in fact it would be there in a few months time for us to return.

We descended over the snow fields and contoured around Cairn Toul to arrive back at the gully below Devil's Point. After a quick breather it started to rain for the first time all day. This brought out a rainbow that could be seen from one end to the other and sat over Corrour Bothy. This walking in Scotland had proved to be a huge success as we returned down the hiking trail to camp, packed our things up from the previous night and moved into the Bothy to warm ourselves through. Corrour Bothy really is five star accommodation and is a great base or stopover for a long walk in Scotland's Cairngorm National Park, it is totally watertight with boarded floors and a window. It has a wood burner and chimney (which was the most welcome part of the bothy) it's also got a compost toilet built onto it which is useful, there were problems with the number of people passing through which led them to build the loo to alleviate the problem. I think the only problem (which really isn't a problem) is the mice - just got to ensure nothing is left on the floor. With hot food in our stomachs and cheap scotch in our heads we slept well ready for our trek out of the Cairngorm National Park the following day.
Inside Corrour Bothy


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