With some old snow left in the gullies and reports of dry rock on the mountains – we decided on a trip to the Cairngorms where we could get a last (and only second!!) use of the ice axe and crampons ! (followed by some rock climbing fun! ). Our intended choices were Pygymy Ridge ad then across the plateaux to Afterthought Arete…
The meeting time was 0730am at the Coire Cas car park. However I had some free time the evening before and the forecast was looking good!! I packed up the SCARP1 tent and set my course to a Glen that I have driven past on numerous occasions on route to the West and North West.
The sign to Glen Roy in Roy Bridge usually makes me think about bagging the Corbetts found on its flanks, but to be honest it never really struck me as a place I would mark as being high on the bucket list. My intentions were to bag one of the three Carn Deargs and then hike to the top of Beinn Laruinn and do a wild camp. The parallel roads (caused by an ancient glacial dam apparently) are probably the reason most people visit the Glen, and indeed the road surface was good up until the viewing point to these features! Also met a number of cars coming though obviously taking a visit to see the parallel roads.
Anyway – parked up at the bridge and headed up Carn Dearg. I was suitably impressed. The steep sided Glen Roy and associated Corries was more scenic than I had imagined and the views were fantastic. The high corrie protecting the summit reminded me of some of the landscapes found further east – with Winter Corrie popping in to mind on more than one occasion.
I made the top in about 75mins and the backside of Creag Meagaidh dominated the view west (not its best side!) and the Grey Corries to the Ben had more white patches than black in their upper most reachesJ I didn’t hang around and swiftly headed back the same way I had come up.
On the descent the next target was in site. Beinn Laruinn looked impessive across the Glen but also looked extremely steep!!! The summit cant be much more than 1.5 km from the road and the approach looked hard work!! I was also aware that unlike Carn Dearg where I took only the bare essentials in a light bag, the bag headed up Beinn Laruinn would be slightly heavier!!
Got back to the car after two hours and took a short drive to the small car parking space just past the bridge over the burn at Beinn Laruinn. A quick bite to eat and I saddled up and headed upwards!! It looked steep, and it was steep!
I took my time and eventually got to the summit. Great panoramas round to the Loch Lochy hills and beyond, north toward the Gaick and south to the Aonachs and the Ben. I found a cracking camping spot and got the tent up and had tea. The wind died down and for once I had a great nights sleepJ
I woke with the alarm at 0430am and struck camp. The descent was rather unpleasant – mainly due to having he large ruck sack on and descending very steep ground!! Anyway made it down safely and made it to Coire Cas by 0730 to meet the other half of Steaming BootsJ
Pygmy Ridge – The walk into Coire an t –Sneachda was cracking and felt lovely after the vertical challenges of Glen Roy!! We decided on approaching the ridge via Aladdins Mirror as opposed to Central Gully as there was still a large cornice above central. The snow was firm but under a layer of looser fresh snow. So we protected the approach and were soon taking off the crampons and getting ready for the rock. Pygmys was fantastic. A great position high in the Coire and we had great fun!
We were expecting the area to be mobbed as the weather was good and it was a bank holiday weekend, however it was really quiet and we had the ridge to ourselves J We took our time enjoying the route and soaking in the tremendous views. It was around late morning when we reached the plateaux and it didn’t take us long to decide to head round to stag rocks! The sun was shining and although it had been cold in the Corrie , the layers were now being stripped off in the heat!
We eventually got round to Stag Rocks – somewhere I hadn’t visited before – and I was blown away by the setting – Loch Avon below with Shelter Stone crag and Hells Lum looking on! An impressive setting. We moved together most of the way up Afterthought Arete. I thought this was a little easier than Pygmy Ridge although both get a similar rating. Anyway, back up onto the Plateaux and back to the car for mid afternoon. Sore legs and a wee bit of sun burn, it had been a great 24hrs J
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...