Our blog - Braemar, 7 Oct'17

A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Braemar bike-hikes

7 October 2017
3 days based in the Braemar area, biking and hiking up several of the Munros. Richard Kermode was leading....

Day 1

The weather forecast was not shy in mentioning the wind for Saturday and in the end I set off with only Diane for an attempt on Beinn a'Bhuird and Beinn A'an. We made good time in on the bikes with plenty of sunshine about though showers were never too far away as we walked up the excellent path to see what the wind was really like only to find that it wasn't actually that bad. However, we did walk into the cloud for the summit of Beinn a'Bhuird and the views were not to be had.

After some lunch behind one of the lovey rocky tors we descended into the snack to discover the wind was getting much stronger and not decreasing as promised. A quick conversation and we decided to go for a look and see if we could get up Beinn A'an. The roaring wind on the cliffs was deafening and we were able to get up onto the plateau without too much problem though the wind was very strong once up there. We made our way carefully to the summit tor of Beinn A'an and found a wee bit of shelter before having a go. It was really gusting hard now and we crawled towards the highest point lying plastered to the grippy granite before squirming back down for some food.

There was no chance of us staying long so some food and we were flying back along the plateau to escape down the snack, which was quite challenging at times and only stopped once we were well down the path towards the glen for some afternoon tea in the sunshine. It was a glorious afternoon as we walked back to the bikes and back to Braemar feeling very pleased with our achievements.

Day 2

Our second day out we were joined by Jackie and Christine aiming for a bike ride to Derry Lodge before walking up Beinn a'Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac. It was a calmer forecast with lighter winds and the odd shower today and we enjoyed the long walk up Glen Derry to the pass before striking up for Beinn a'Chaorainn.

We made it there in time for lunch though with the cool wind we dropped into some shelter to enjoy the views and food. It was simply perfect conditions as we wandered over the moor towards Beinn Bhreac with sunshine winds and lovely autumn colours. There were more folk out today having only seen one person yesterday though such was our route going the opposite way to everyone else we never really met them.

Some of the group were hoping to be back in time for the football so we got a good way down before having an afternoon stop and were soon on the bikes back to the Linn of Dee. We stayed dry too as the rain only arrived much later in the evening.

Day 3

At last the day that was not quite as planned and i was joined by Diane and Christine again heading out to Derry Lodge to climb Derry Cairngorm and then maybe Beinn Macdui and Carn a'Mhaim. This isn't what we did in the end, but I'll get to that later. We where enjoying some fabulous sunshine as we walked up through the woods and onto Derry Cairngorm when the cloud lowered and our summit disappeared before we could get there.

It was a cold wind and finding shelter for for was a wee challenge, but we managed to tuck in below the summit knowing we wouldn't find anything at the top. I should confess that I was hindered by a cold and feeling very un-energetic at this point and had discussed our route options when it came out that nobody needed Macdui unless there was a guaranteed view.

We decided to head for Loch Etchachan instead and as we arrived there the sun was blazing and Beinn Mheadhoin was looking fantastic! As we sat down for a snack an eagle flew over the summit and we opted to scale Beinn Mheadhoin instead as Christine had never been up it and it was looking sensational. We climbed up and shortly before the top of the main climb the eagle took off right next to us and we watched him soar around Loch Etchachan before he reappeared whilst we were heading for the summit tor. It was perfect. A wee scramble to the top taking care in the winds which were strengthening as the day progressed and we were enjoying being on top of the world in the heart of the Cairngorms.

It was easy going as we walked down and then to the Hutchinson Hut for our afternoon tea before walking out in a beautiful autumn afternoon of sunshine and wind just soaking it all up. We were even back in time to return some hire bikes to Braemar Mountain Sports and get a coffee and cake before we all headed for home. An absolutely perfect day to finish the trip on!

More photos by Richard Kermode are here on Flickr.

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