Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Wednesday 7 September - Creag Bhalg (Graham). NO 091912. Map 43

It was a beautiful walk by the east bank of the Water of Lui as it rushed through gorges or quietly made its way to join the Dee.

The path through the pines, heather, cranberry and blaeberry bushes was overgrown in places and eventually disappeared, but the going was still easy and soon we joined the track from Derry Lodge just in time to receive a cheery greeting from four backpackers.

Our route to Creag Bhalg took us through the open woodland of the Doire Bhraghad and so to the heathery hillside where we were glad to discover a path going all the way to the top. The deer fence mentioned in the guidebook was nowhere to be seen. 

The views in all directions were superb but it was those across Glen Quoich to Beinn a' Bhuird and Ben Avon which constantly drew our eyes. We could even see the mighty Mitre Ridge.  A great day we had on those hills in June 1984 ending with our Border Collie, Morag, in a rucksack! 

She was a hardy collie and had roamed the Cairngorms with us in all weathers on day and backpacking trips with our Saunders Basecamp tent, but on this outing the granite granules had worn through the epidermis of a front paw. 

Two cairns welcomed us, the furthest away one being the summit, and we stopped briefly before continuing on the thin path to the 657m top for lunch and a fine view towards Braemar. 

An easy descent and an all too casual attitude ensured we missed the start of a track. The penalty? Much ploughing through and up slopes of long heather to finally gain it. The reward? A lofty panorama of the Dee, Mar Lodge and the hills of Glen Ey and beyond. 

From Claybokie it was all road with the river and pines for company, and finally the car park. We used to just leave the car by the bridge at Linn of Dee but now this is not allowed. At £2 a day with toilets provided one can't complain but it's this sort of change - seemingly quite a small change - that reminds of how simple and how different things were during our Munro years. 

But, today's walk had been quintessentially 'Cairngorms' and in that, the most important thing of all, nothing had changed at all. 

Photos: By the Lui; from the Doire Bhraghad; Beinn a' Bhuird and Ben Avon

Sent from my iPhone


  1. That well captures a good day in the Scottish hills bringing back my own memories of my Springer Spaniel, Barney who lived to be sixteen and joined me on countless adventures. Also, a memorable day walking up Glen Ey with my friend Pete, watching a pair of hen harriers, and doing a bit of trout poaching with my little telescopic spinning rod, and finding an adder crossing our path.

  2. Hello Sir High.

    This 11.5km walk was quite special but as soon as I published the post I wanted to change a few words. Unfortunately Blogger won't show the whole post on the iPhone when I try to edit, so it will have to stand.

    I think one of the first photographs I saw on your blog included Barney. It was a snowy day in Arnside as I recall and you may have been taking in or putting out a bin with Barney close behind. Discovering your blog was a good day Conrad.

    I also had a telescopic fishing rod though don't recall ever catching much with it.

    1. The snow had prevented my daughter getting her car to my house for Christmas - it had to be parked about three hundred yards down the hill. We used the wheelie-bin to transport all her Christmas paraphernalia from car to my house.

  3. Glen Ey was on my list last year but Achilles problems spoiled our trip. The hills and glens around Braemar and Ballater are ideal walking grounds. Sheila has already pencilled in this area for next year. Whether we do day walks or a backpack remains to be seen at this time. The photos are good btw.

  4. We've walked Glen Ey several times for the hills around Loch nan Eun. Ideal spot for a camp I think, although I've heard it described as gloomy but can't agree. Sheila is a wise woman-:)

    Pity about your Achilles problem. Mine sometimes get a bit sore so I massage them - painful - but usually they don't bother me again for the rest of the day. It's a different matter if it's an injury though.

    The photos are iPhone and reduced so I'm quite pleased with their appearance on the blog. Thanks for the comment Alan.