The Cairngorm Mountains of Northeast Scotland – Dunnottar Castle

cairngorms national park

A short stay in Scotland in April 2019.

Click HERE for the gallery of the Cairngorms and click HERE for the gallery of Stonehaven coastal walk.

and here for some smartphonephotos

april 20: flight to Aberdeen, Station Hotel, life music at Old Black Friars pub.

april 21: bus to Braemar, Youth Hostel, river walk 5 km.

april 22: lift to Mar Lodge parking from a Munroe hunter, start roundtrip Cairngorm National Park. with a heavy pack of 23 kg. Approx. route: Mar Lodge, Derry Lodge, Corrour bothy (short rest), ascend towards Coire Odhar to begin a very long traverse past CairnToul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, Cairn na Criche 1265m, Einich Cairn, Braeriach 1296m and Sron na Lairige 1180m. All in blazing winds. Camped at the river crossing at Lairig Ghru. Approx. 28 km in almost 10 hrs. A very sunny day.

april 23: A more relaxed day was planned around Castle hill, past Rothiemurchus lodge (swim in the lake!) along the forest border towards Glenmore information Centre. Alas, the trail on the map vanished into nowhere after passing the lodge. After an hour of strenuous cross-country zigzag bog walking, I finally found the gate of a reindeer reserve. Maps do get outdated! A scone at the centre and on to Ryvoan bothy (430 m). Beautiful location, I put my tent next to it. There were two friendly German hikers at the bothy. The firewood hard as concrete, the axe and bowsaw blunt as could possibly be. My MSR stove died that morning so no more hot beverages or meals. Cleaning did not resolve the problem. Another sunny day with a short drizzle in the afternoon. 5.5 hrs. 15 km.

April 24: at 05.00 hrs I caught a glimpse of fading aurora borealis! It was really faint, but I am quite certain about it. Departure for the semi-final or final leg, depending on the weather. First with a fine sun towards The Saddle (807 m). When I arrived there, I had already put a few extra layers of clothing, since clouds came blowing in and temperature had dropped to almost freezing point. The clouds were sinking in and after a 45-minute rest in the fantastic tiny Fords of Avon refuge, visibility was limited, and it was cold. I decided to go on and at that moment two mountain biking girls arrived to get a rest. They were tough! After a chat I left and immediately had to stop taking my shoes of to cross the Stepping Stones crossing place of the Allt Dearch. The steppingstones were all under water! After reaching the highest point at Glen Derry, the descent towards Derry Lodge was easy going. The Caledonian pines were very impressive. The overnight stay at Bob Scott’s bothy was nice, in the company of the 2 girls who camped outside and two man inside who had enough stories to fill the evening. Here I could have warm water (= coffee; = Italianish campingfood). Approx. 23 km in 6.5 hrs.

April 25: With an hour sunny walk to the parking at Mar lodge and a lift with a car to Braemar ended my round trip. Total about 70 km. After a check in at the youth Hostel I had a lazy afternoon.

April 26: Early bus to Aberdeen, drop off luggage and bus to Stonehaven. Here a long coastal walk to Dunnottar Castle and its magnificent cliffs and tidal waters. Another sunny day, I love Scotland, ending with some rain in Aberdeen, probably because I had dinner in an Irish pub.

April 27: back to the Netherlands, where it was wetter as well as colder!