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Braeriach, Sgor an Lochan Uaine, Cairn Toul & Devil's Point; 20th Sept 2006 & 6th Oct 2016

Northern Route: 27.3 miles, 1715m=5625' ascent.
Southern Route: 26¼ miles, 1630m=5350' ascent, 12¼hrs.


Routes: Both routes here, one from the north and one from the south, provide a fine, long ridge walk over Braeriach, Sgor an Lochan Uaine, Cairn Toul, and the Devil's Point. However, that from the north has rather a lot of contouring round lower slopes in order to include the Devil's Point. The approach from Linn of Dee has the same length and marginally less ascent, but is probably more pleasant as it replaces contouring round the west side of Cairn Toul with an ascent of the Lairig Ghru, which has much more impressive views. Using the Lairig Ghru to reach Cairn Toul or beyond from the north entails the loss of nearly 300m from the Pools of Dee to Corrour Bothy. Having to regain this height makes this possibility seems far too strenuous.
With straight-forward descents over the length of the western flanks of the ridge, the route from Loch an Eilein can be shortened more easily than that from the south should weather, day-light or fitness dictate. If this is a possibility, shortening the clockwise version has the following consequences. Omitting the Devil's Point shortens the route by 3 miles to 24.4 miles and the ascent to 1540m if Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir is still included, and by a further mile to 23.4 miles and only 1490m ascent if it too is removed. Omitting Cairn Toul as well reduces the mileage to 22.1 miles with 1345m of ascent. Omitting Sgor an Lochan Uaine but still including Carn na Criche shortens the walk still further, to just 19.6 miles with 1215m of ascent. Going only as far as the summit of Braeriach via the Sinclair Hut and returning by the outward route is a walk of 17.75 miles with 1195m ascent. So those who might do Munro tops in the future should include at least Carn na Criche with Braeriach as there is not much extra effort involved. If the ridge is broken into two walks, the mid point mountain, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, is marginally easier to do with Cairn Toul from the south than with Braeriach from the north.
The route from Linn of Dee is most easily shortened when done in a clockwise direction simply by returning by the outward route, but contouring horizontally on the western side between cols to omit going over the tops again, and descending Coire Odhar to Corrour Bothy. Apart from the two access points at the north and south ends of the ridge, there are no other sensible escape routes eastwards in this walk. Turning back after only the Devil's Point and Cairn Toul is a walk of 20.9 miles with 1300m ascent. Including Sgor an Lochan Uaine as well takes it to 22¼ miles and 1565m of ascent with a return over Cairn Toul, and to 22.0 miles with 1490m ascent if the return bypasses the summit of Cairn Toul.
Given the length of the walk in and walk out for both of these walks, I recommend building up enough fitness to do the complete ridge in one day. Of course, camping at one of the huts/bothies is also a possibility.
Braeriach on its own can be done sensibly from the car park at NH98540738 on Cairn Gorm (a mile north of the highest car park). However, as before, adding Cairn Toul from there involves some needless re-ascent over the Lairig Ghru pass.
Weather 6/10/16: Light breeze, dry, cloud base above tops, sunny intervals.
Map: The OS Explorer 403 does not cover the walk in from Loch an Eilein. The older Outdoor Leisure series map #3 does.

0855 Parking at Loch an Eilein 250   00.0 milesNH89740839
0905 Track SE to fork 265  150.75 milesNH90580771
0920 Left fork of track E to cross roads 295  451.35 milesNH91490786
1010 Right track S to bridge 4351954.1 milesNH92400429
1030 Track S to wide ford 4752305.1 milesNH92540291
1110 Track S to start of ascent path near
Loch Einich
5002606.95 milesNH92000009
1235 Good path S up to cairn 10107658.5 milesNN92689782
  Contour horizontally as far as necessary
to reach southernmost desired top.
    
 — Col just NW of the Devil's Pt 91076512.8 milesNN97069538
 — Path SE to M Devil's Point 100485013.2 milesNN97619512
 — Path NW back to col 910 13.6 milesNN97069538
 — N/NW to T Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir 1213115014.5 milesNN96259634
 — N to col 1167 14.75 milesNN96159678
 — N/NE/N to M Cairn Toul, N top 1291127515.1 milesNN96349721
 — W/WNW to col 1140 15.4 milesNN95849730
 — NW to M Sgor an Lochan Uaine 1258139015.75 milesNN95449769
 — W to col 1125 16.3 milesNN94619756
 — SSW to T Carn na Criche (2nd cairn) 1265153017.0 milesNN93949828
 — Either NNE to dip at Falls of Dee Or circuit
via Einich Cairn & Stob Coire an Lochain
1200 17.67 milesNN94349921
  ENE to M Braeriach 1296163518.45 milesNN95339991
  Good path NE/E/NNE down from
summit to T Sron na Lairige
1184168519.45 milesNH96420063
  Excellent reconstructed path (last 1km)
to Sinclair Memorial Hut, Lairig Ghru
640170021.57 milesNH95910376
  Path N to cairn 337 24.3 milesNH93810752
  Path W over Cairngorm Club
footbridge to crossroads
305 25.15 milesNH92710784
  Track W/NW back to Loch an Eilein
car park
250171527.3 milesNH89740839

0555 Park at Linn of Dee (£2 in 2016,
free to National Trust members.)
375   00.0 milesNO06308980
0605 Cycle N on path through forest to track 390 150.35 milesNO06469029
0620 Track N to Bridge over Lui Water 400 351.15 milesNO06359145
0655 Cycle to ftbr at Derry Lodge 425 653.1 milesNO04069352
  Cycle/walk Lairig Ghru path:
W to split/fence "gate" before Luibeg Br
4601054.7 milesNO01829383
0735 Luibeg Ford (or Bridge further N) 4701154.9 milesNO01559389
0745 Path W to just before giant granite slabs
at crest, where Carn a' Mhaim path starts
5501955.2 milesNO0100893872
0840 Path W/NW/N to split opp Corrour Bothy 5602607.45 milesNN98559558
0955 Lairig Ghru path N to burn tributary 7004009.9 milesNN97339932
1045 Steepish ascent WNW to col
(Use good stalkers' path in upper corrie,
as marked on 1:25k map)
113584010.75 milesNH96370027
1055 NNE to T Sron na Lairige 118489010.95 milesNH96460062
  Return SSW to col 1135 11.2 milesNH96370027
  Path SW to dip nr end of summit ridge 121597011.4 milesNH96090000
1130 W/SW to M Braeriach 1296105011.95 milesNN95339995
  WSW to dip at Falls of Dee 1200 12.75 milesNN94349921
1215 SSW to T Carn na Criche (1st cairn) 1265112513.35 milesNN93949828
1230 S/SE to col 1125 14.1 milesNN94619756
1255 E/ENE to M Sgor an Lochan Uaine 1258125514.65 milesNN95449769
1310 SE to col 1140 15.0 milesNN95849730
1330 E to M Cairn Toul, N top 1291140515.33 milesNN96349721
1350 SSW to col 1167 15.65 milesNN96159678
1400 S to T Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir 1213145515.95 milesNN96259634
1425 Path E/S to bealach at corrie rim 910 16.85 milesNN97039541
1440 Path SE to M Devil's Point 100417.25 milesNN97619512
1455 Path NW back to col 910 17.67 milesNN97039541
  Path E to Corrour Bothy 560 18.4 milesNN98109579
1520 Path to ftbr over R.Dee 545 18.7 milesNN98369564
1525 Path SE to path split 560155518.8 milesNN98559558
1620 Path S/SE to end of Carn a' Mhaim path 540161521.05 milesNO01069389
1625 E to Luibeg Ford (or Bridge further N) 470 21.35 milesNO01559389
  E to split/fence "gate" after Luibeg Br 460 21.55 milesNO01829383
1710 Path E to ftbr at Derry Lodge 425 23.1 milesNO04069352
1745 Track SE to Bridge over Lui Water 400162525.1 milesNO06359145
1800 Track S to path through forest 390163525.9 milesNO06469029
1810 Park at Linn of Dee 375163526.25 milesNO06308980


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