Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Day 9 - TGO Challenge 2015 - Aviemore to Glen Luibeg (NO 020 937)

 
Day 9 - TGO Challenge 2015 - Aviemore to Glen Luibeg (NO 020 937)

Date: Saturday 16 May

Route: planned back up route over the Lairig Ghru to a little beyond Luibeg Bridge

Distance: 29 km (Cum: 207)

Ascent: 900 metres (Cum: 8300)

Time taken: 8.3 hrs including 1.0 hrs breaks - (Cum: 71.4 hours including 14.0 hours breaks)

Weather: sunny periods and very occasional light wintry showers

Click on the link below (Day 9) for details of our planned route (we took an easier alternative today):

http://www.topwalks.com/tgoc2015.html

Despite Alvar's concerns at Challenge Control expressed yesterday, today's walk over the Lairig Ghru proved to be a most enjoyable experience with no difficulties whatsoever.

I'd not previously walked through the Lairig Ghru, always having preferred the tops, but on a day like today when conditions high up looked dubious, this well marked trail served us well.

We started late. Ellen's B&B breakfast was served at 8.30, a meal that lasted us all our walking day apart from a tin of fish and a round of cheese for lunch.

So at around 9.30 we plodded out of Aviemore and onto the Coylumbridge road in weather that required a few changes of overgarments, ie sunshine and showers. There was no sign of the predicted 50 mph winds. They didn't materialise, though conditions above 1000 metres looked challenging, so we were happy with our decision to stay low.

The stroll through Rothiemurchus Forest (Sue is pictured here) was a delight, despite the absence of bells on the majority of mountain bikes. A brew stop in the forest provided a welcome break before the long, gentle ascent to the 835 metre Lairig Ghru pass that leads towards Braemar. Here we were further reassured by a comment from Andy Dawkins concerning the bridges on the approach to Linn of Dee. Thanks Andy.

We met several folk coming down having crossed the pass, and bumped into a couple of lads going over to Corrour bothy for the night before returning to Aviemore.

Sue is pictured (middle) ascending, with our original objective, Braeriach, in the distance on the right. Not pictured is the nearby family of ptarmigan - one male trying to keep both his wives happy, oblivious to our passage.

I must admit, I'd expected the route - not allowed on the TGO Challenge as a foul weather alternative - to be harder. I didn't expect to find an obvious and well marked path all the way, albeit it is a cairned path over some small boulder fields. There were a couple of snowfields to cross, but that was no doubt easier than going over the rocks below the snow.

I took a photo of Sue at the top of the pass - pictured bottom. She turned and exclaimed "OMG, a bus driver in a skirt!"

A little further on we encountered John Sheffield, first time Challenger and devotee of lightweight equipment. He had gone up to the first Munro top before taking the judicious decision to retrace his steps and go over the Lairig Ghru pass instead. We enjoyed a most pleasurable walk with him all the way down past Corrour bothy and on beyond Luibeg Bridge to our camping spot in the open. Here John decided to continue a little further to below the tree line where any wind will have less impact on his cuben fibre tent. Apparently it's a great tent, but noisy in wind!

We got our tent up on some nice flat, well drained ground just before a light shower.

Three backpackers soon strolled past with a friendly wave. Challengers perhaps; perhaps not...

Up at just 500 metres, this is one of our lower campsites of the trip, though it is also one of our coolest. Hardly May weather, but we are very cosy in our Rab 400 down bags.

Erratum: in a previous entry I think I may have referred to Ted and Jenny Spiller being on the ferry across Loch Ness. If it had been them I'm sure they'd have been at the correct pier! The couple we met at the wrong pier were Gordon and Jenny Selley.

There's a slideshow for the day (35 images) - here. Click on the first image, then click 'slideshow'.

Next Day - Day 10

4 comments:

Nightbird said...

Hurrah! Glad you had a good day. Enjoy your cozy evening... Did you remember to pack some G&T?

Gayle said...

Finally I'm on real internet and can see the photos! I have been reading (and enjoying!) as you've been going along, but photolessly.

It seems that the comment I left the other day (after 3 attempts, on a dodgy phone signal) got curtailed half way through. Hey ho.

afootinthehills said...

Glad you had favourable conditions for the Lairig. Now for the fleshpots of Braemar.

Phreerunner said...

Yes, Gayle, your comment did end a bit early, but thanks for trying, and we do hope you enjoy your time at Challenge Control.

Yes, Gibson, we are certainly enjoying the flesh pots of Thornbank Cottage.