I’d promised myself a couple of days in the Cairngorms this weekend. The week flew by. A few trips to local gear shops furnished me with meal-pouches and a fresh gas canister. Kit was dusted off, cleaned, treated and repaired. I couldn’t unlock my PacerPoles, but found the new carbon-fibre poles in Craigdon Mountain Sports. An impulse buy which performed well over the weekend.
After a false start on Friday, I parted with a new Therm-a-rest NeoAir sleeping mat to add to my kit. Apart from a couple of speeding cars and one overtaking on a blind corner, the drive out to Linn of Dee was excellent. Swapping out my sleep mats, I then had a fine walk up to Derry Lodge. The half-moon and familiar Landrover track allowed me to walk it all without a torch until I reached the pitch.
Clearing away pine cones and debris, the tent was soon pitched and the pack (Osprey Atmos 50 litres) was emptied. I pack items into stuff/dry-sacks, so I end up batching bags together in the tent, eg sleeping bag, mat, pillow. After a good night’s sleep, I breakfasted and headed out to see what the weather was going to do on the tops.
The weather was definitely changeable. Snow above 800m was also on the forecast. I decided to turn back to Derry Lodge and have a lazy time.
The weather changed again, but I was already in a mindset to kick back and put my feet up, and enjoy the day.
I rigged up a reading-lamp, which was more comfortable than the head-torch, and got through a lot of Tom Standage’s “The Victorian Internet”. Normally, I don’t take a book, instead a thin, cheap book of poetry. I may change that habit now.
After a cold night, I broke camp and headed back to the car. There were some hailstones (just a few seconds-worth), and the shower didn’t come to much. Looking back, I couldn’t guess whether I would have had a good or bad time up on the plateau, but I still had a good time not risking it.
The journey home included a brief stop to resupply in Braemar (yes, it did include “The Hungry Highlander”), and dropping my Furtech trousers in to HillTrek in Aboyne to get some decent belt-loops fitted.