Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Derry Lodge

Note: photos at end of post. What problems getting this post to go!

As we drove the beautiful six miles from Braemar to Linn of Dee we wondered if we'd made a mistake. All the signs of a cycling event were present suggesting that the car park might be full. 

Fortunately it wasn't and we found a slot for the 'van. The way through the dense Scots pines soon joined up with the familiar estate road to Derry Lodge, a road cycled countless times when out for the Munros, or tramped, foot-sore sometimes, returning from day trips. It always seemed to be hot and the shade offered by the pines near the Lodge was a relief; today we sheltered from the wind.  The boarded-up Lodge is now a sad sight but I'm in two minds as to whether the plan to turn it into a hostel for walkers is an improvement or not. I fear it will turn into a base for groups, pre-booked and of little use to lone stravaigers or couples looking for a bed.

We passed quietly by and came across Aberdeen MRT vehicles. Down by the temporary bridge over the Derry Burn the team, on a training weekend, had earlier established and were now dismantling a Tyrolean rope traverse between two Scots pines. The previous day they had been practising stretcher lowering on Stob Coire Etchachan. Grateful thanks to all MRTs. We spoke for a while with one of the team who told us that many of them joined having been involved in 'incidents' themselves or knew people who had. 

We had just settled under a Scots pine by the burn for a late snack when a lone backpacker arrived. At first glance, with beard and sandals, I thought it was Chris Townsend but no, he was a New Zealander who'd camped in Glen Derry overnight having come in from the Linn of Quoich the previous day. An interesting half hour was spent covering the Land Reform Act, walking in New Zealand, his love of art and the time he'd spent in Paris before flying to Scotland and our own exploits in the Cairngorms. We were also happy to offer some information on Glen Affric, his  next destination and, given this was his first visit to Scotland and the weather forecast was for a stormy night, we tentatively suggested he seek a sheltered camp rather than a high one, although I'm sure he was well able to look after himself in the hills. I'm always reluctant to offer unsolicited advice (as opposed to information) to people in the hills - it seems presumptuous and patronising to me, so I rarely do it. 

We watched him shrink in the vastness as he set off for the Lairig Ghru and Aviemore. I envied him his passage through the Lairig, particularly since a current shoulder and neck problem is making carrying a day sack difficult and painful for me so lugging one full of gear for a few overnight camps is impossible at present.  

Hopefully next year we can have some days like the one in the last two photographs. 

Photos:  Derry Lodge; looking towards Glen Derry; Aberdeen MRT by the Derry Burn; A backpacking trip from Linn of Dee in May 1982 - Lynne on Carn a' Mhaim and Loch Etchachan*

*The route was: Carn a' Mhaim, Ben Macdui, down to Loch Etchachan, on to Beinn Mheadhoin and camp near the Lairig an Laoigh. The following day we climbed our 100th Munro, Beinn a' Chaorainn and walked out. What happened to May weather like this?



11 comments:

  1. Putting Derry Lodge back into permanent use would be far better than the lavatory it has become. I would take it on as a non bookable hostel with a bar licence selling only Joseph jolts beers and maybe gin and tonics.

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    1. Jolts should have read Holts as you know. Need to switch off predictive text.

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    2. I quite like the sound of Joseph Jolt beers.
      :-)

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  2. The area around it has certainly become a problem and the pLanned provision of a public toilet is certainly a good thing. Also the estate will not allow vehicle access thankfully so that's also a plus.

    I can't see it being non-bookable though - not these days. And if it attracts groups like the one we met on the way out with music blaring from a mobile phone attached to a rucksack strap, I'll be passing the place at full tilt - no matter how much Holts is on tap.

    Now if you took it on Alan I might just be a customer - with free Holts on offer, of course.

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  3. Looking at the post again, I don't know why I bothered with the recent photos since they don't do the area justice and the MRT pic adds little of interest.

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    1. Ooh! Don't be a Grumplebum, Sir!
      I really enjoyed the picture of Loch Etchachan. It took me back to August 1973 - my first two week trip to the Cairngorms. It looked exactly the same.
      May in Scotland has been pretty crap (on average) for the last ten years. However, the previous ten years saw May's weather as pretty good. I'm hoping the next ten will be better.

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    2. Yes Alan, May (and June for that matter) was always reliable when I was working! We planned weekend trips with very little thought about the weather and I can only think of two occasions when we were thwarted by dire conditions - Ben Alder and Knoydart.

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  4. The pic with Lynne, reminds me of walking in Norway.

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  5. It reminds me of how easy carrying heavy sacks was in those days (!) and not having any technical gear.

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  6. The last time I was at Linn of Dee I cycled out to Bynack Lodge to climb Carn Bhac and Beinn Lutharn Mhor. I met two guys on the first summit. We went different ways to the second. I was cross because when I arrived they had got there before me. On the way back I saw them get on their bikes, and in a state of pique I decided I was going to "have them". I pedalled hard and passed them in a whirlwind and shower of stones, well that's how I saw it. About a kilometre further on there was a loud bang and my rear wheel was transformed looking like one of Salvador Dali's melted clocks. The two guys of course caught me up and passed without comment as I pushed back out to Linn of Dee. A visit to a very friendly cycle shop in Banchory next day had things sorted.

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  7. That's an interesting approach to those Munros Conrad, with a bit of competitive spirit thrown in to give the day an edge. We did these two from Glen Ey one spring in alpine conditions but didn't use bikes on that occasion.

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