Colin's Munros


Carn a' Mhaim, Ben Macdui & Derry Cairngorm, Maps 36, OL3, 403
15th August 2005 & 4th June 2009

Route: Ascent 1755m = 5760'; 6.2 miles cycling; 16¾ miles walking; 10 hrs.

Cliffs at the W end of Loch Avon from Carn Etchachan Cairn Gorm and Loch Avon from N end of Carn Etchachan Loch Avon from N end of Carn Etchachan Loch Avon and Beinn Mheadhoin from N end of Carn Etchachan Cairn Toul and Ben Macdui from Derry Cairngorm Ben Macdui and Cairn Toul from Derry Cairngorm Lochan Uaine from Sron Riach Loch Avon from Carn Etchachan Loch Etchachan from Carn Etchachan Loch Etchachan and Ben Macdui

Reception: Good Orange reception on most Munro tops; none at Linn of Dee.
Access: Bike used but only helpful from Linn of Dee to Derry Lodge. The time & effort to go further towards the Lairig Ghru is not worth it, especially as it is so easy to descend the S ridge of Derry Cairngorm to Derry Lodge. The anti-social method of path construction has made the over-frequent burn crossings very difficult without dismounting. In the '60s one could also cycle easily up Glen Derry, but this is no longer possible either.
Route: The North top of Ben Macdui (NN991995) and Stob Coire Sputan Dearg (NN998985) were deleted from the Munro tops list in 1997 and 1974 respectively. Both are easy optional extras. However, Sron Riach (NN999977), with a similar amount of ascent, remains a top. Although it requires a bit of a detour, the superb views of Lochan Uaine make it a highlight of the walk and it should not be missed. The other unmissable viewpoint is of Loch Avon from just north of the Munro top Carn Etchachan. Those skipping the Munro tops will miss some of the very best mountain scenes in the whole country.
By April 2016 the Derry Burn bridge at Derry Lodge had been repaired after being washed away in August 2014. Immediately after crossing this bridge there are three paths: Left is the Lairig Ghru path, straight on is the Carn Crom path, right is for Glen Derry. I believe there is still a bridge at NO01339423 for crossing the Luibeg Burn. Most people, me included, just cross the burn directly by boulder hopping but this is not easy and would not be advisable after heavy rain. Work on the Carn a' Mhaim path has now made its junction with the Lairig Ghru path very clear.
The only boggy section on the route is immediately after crossing the Derry Burn. Traversing over to Sron Riach from the path between Carn a' Mhaim and Ben Macdui is bouldery and exposed in winter conditions. There are several other boulder fields on the route when away from the standard paths.
The only significant route finding problem is contouring round the cliffs SW of Loch Etchachan. My route there attempts to avoid any unnecessary ascent but in practice it can't be avoided because of the frequent rocky outcrops and cliffs. They can be negotiated easily if there is visibility but in cloud it might be wiser to continue south to the top of the ridge at NN99939949 before turning SE towards the main Ben Macdui path from Loch Etchachan. These cliffs are shown in the last photograph above.
Weather 15/8/05: AM: in cloud till 1140. Low cloud, rising & clearing, showers. PM: high cloud with sunny intervals and strong breeze. Strongs winds are funnelled over col between Carn a' Mhaim & Ben Macdui and also over the ridge out to Carn Etchachan.
4/6/09: Cold but light E wind, 0°C on tops, hail/snow showers. Little sun. Cloud down on Ben Macdui, but other tops free.
Terrain: Slower terrain of large boulders over parts of Ben Macdui, Carn Etchachan, & Derry Cairngorm. Otherwise mostly granite sand and smaller, sparser rocks with most paths constructed against erosion.

15/8/054/6/09 Description Alt.Asc.Dist.Grid Ref.Mob.
09250750 Park at Linn of Dee 375   00.0 milesNO0633289766No Orange
09350800 Cycle N on path through forest from parking
then track N to Bridge over Lui Water
400  421.2 milesNO0639291470 
Cycle to Derry Lodge & (4/6/09) leave bike 430  723.1 miles
0.0 miles
10250850 Cycle/walk Lairig Ghru path W to
split/fence "gate" before Luibeg Bridge
4601051.7 milesNO01829383 
 0855 Luibeg Ford (or Bridge further N) 4701151.9 milesNO01559389 
 0900 Path W to 2nd "gate" in deer fence 5101552.1 milesNO01259393 
 0905 Path W to just before giant granite slabs at crest,
where path up ridge to Carn a' Mhaim starts
5502152.35 milesNO0100893872 
   NW up recently constructed ridge path,
by-passing cairn at 1014, & W to col
9996503.35 milesNN99689495 
Path NW to M Carn a' Mhaim 10376903.6 milesNN99459520Orange
12051040 Path NNW to lochans near bealach. 8057004.9 milesNN98739701 
1300 – EITHER: Follow Carn a' Mhaim ridge path
up ridge of Ben Macdui towards top 1249.
When it disappears in mass of boulders
head NE for main path at col
123211306.1 milesNN9957098791 
 –  OR: (to go to Sron Riach for view of Lochan Uaine)
Head initially NE up path, then diagonally E to col
10859805.85 milesNN99829791 
SE from col to T Sron Riach 111010106.0 milesNN9999597798Orange
 –  NW back to col 1085 6.1 milesNN99829791 
Continue N to X Stob Coire Sputan Dearg 124911726.6 milesNN9979998638 
 –1155 NW to path near col 1232 6.7 milesNN9957098791 
THEN: NW passed old ruin to
M Ben Macdui trig pt
130912507.2 milesNN9889498941Orange
   EITHER NNE (along boundary) to col 1276 7.4 milesNN99029922 
13351230 N (along boundary) to Ben Macdui N top
129512707.6 milesNN9914799597 
14001250 E down boulders to Garbh Uisge Mor,
then N beside stream to large lochan
1105 8.4 milesNH99890020 
   OR follow main path E until boundary turns north,
then follow boundary N to large lochan
1105  NH99890020 
   THEN NNE to bump with lochan. 111712808.5 milesNJ00070034 
   NE to col 1095 8.7 milesNJ00230053 
14151302 N to T Carn Etchachan 112013058.9 milesNJ00320091No Orange
 –1307 Continue 250m N to cairn for superb view of
Loch Avon & surrounding crags
1110 9.05 milesNJ0034501180No Orange
14151317 Return S to T Carn Etchachan 112013159.2 milesNJ00320091No Orange
   Return S to first col 1095 9.45 milesNJ00230053 
   SW to bump with lochan. 111713359.6 milesNJ00070034 
14301335 SW to large lochan 1100 9.75 milesNH99890020 
   S to main bealach 1105 9.9 milesNH99830000 
14551356 Contour horizontally S/SE/E round corrie below
rock falls as far as ridge crest at top of cliffs.
Then descend E for 150yds with cliffs on left and
slabs on right, losing about 60m altitude until
level with col of Creagan a' Choire Etchachan
opposite at 1053m.
Then contour horizontally to main path.
OR Head S on boundary up to ridge crest
(under 100m ascent) then SE down to main path.
1050134510.6 milesNO0055099525 
   E to col by Creagan a' Choire E. 1053135010.8 milesNO00949964 
E to T Creagan a'Choire Etchachan 1108140510.9 milesNO01189959Orange
   S/SE/E to col W of Sgurr an Lochan Uaine 939 11.7 milesNO02219907 
15401445 E to T Sgurr an Lochan Uaine 983144511.9 milesNO02589911No Orange
   Return W to col 939 12.1 milesNO02219907 
WSW to path on Derry Cairgorm N ridge
Then S/SE to M Derry Cairngorm
1155166513.15 milesNO0174897993Orange
   S down ridge to col before cairn at 1040. 1025 13.55 milesNO02029749 
1700 – EITHER: Fast descent SW over easy ground to
join well-engineered path from Ben Macdui.
560 14.85 milesNO01069561 
1730 – Bike at path split near Luibeg Bridge 500 16.1 miles  
1730 – Cycle E to bridge over Derry Burn 425 17.65 milesNO0404893520 
 –1550 OR: S down ridge to X Little Cairngorm 1040168013.7 milesNO02019727 
 –1615 S to col. From here the path contours
leftwards, avoiding Carn Crom.
835 14.65 milesNO02469579 
 –1625 Optionally: Continue S up ridge to Carn Crom 890173514.95 milesNO0235295384 
 –1635 E back to constructed path down 800 15.2 milesNO0274395281 
 –1650 SE to bluff, a few metres beyond start of descent 636 16.0 milesNO03559425 
& 1705
Left off ridge, then right on path under cliffs
down to deer fence & two stiles
510   NO03809401 
 1710 Path SE to bridge over Derry Burn 425 16.6 milesNO0404893520 
THEN: E to Derry Lodge 430174016.75 miles
0.0 miles
18101735 Cycle S to bridge over Lui Water 40017401.9 milesNO0639291470 
18201745 Cycle S to Linn of Dee 37517553.1 milesNO0633289766No Orange

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