The Lairig Ghru 2001

Some photos of trip through the Lairig Ghru started Mon 30th July 2001 and finishing Thurs 2nd Aug 2001 are available.

In 1974 as a student I walked the Lairig Ghru from end to end in 1 day. The party I was with did a car-key exchange in the middle. Yes it was fun, yes you saw a bit of Scotland. But in this 2nd end-to-end trip it was done as a family expedition and was planned to take 3 days. You better appreciate the majesty of the walk when you can take your time.

These notes document the most recent walk, I trust thet will help anyone else contemplating such a walk.

This material unchecked and typed directly from memory the day the walk finished. No notes were taken during the walk so the material necessarily will suffer from faulty recall.

The party was two families - I'll miss out the others details until they agree to their inclusion.

The Malones

The XXXs C K K R

All times below are approx and remember we had a 7 year old with us.

30th July 2001
10:30 Picked up by Bremners of Aviemore in a minibus and transported to Braemar.
13:30 Lunched at Linn of Dee and ready to start. First problem - good old NTS don't have litter bins - to discourage litter - but are we going to carry our litter through the Lairig? RM asks some nice tourists to take our rubbish. Can you guess the conversation?
15:00 Tea stop at Derry lodge. Recce for camp site. Too soon and too near trees. Pressed on.
18:00 Camp at burn opposite Coire Craobh an Oir (400m). In the evening wandered up to the craobh 650m - seven year old too! No gold to be seen.
31st July 2001
08:30 Coire meanbh cuilleag! The midges were eatable. Rush breakfast and
10:00 strike camp and off. Glen Luibeg - avoided the bridge and forded the river. Past Coire na Poite and round under Carn a Mhaim.
12:00 Struck off over River Dee and lunched.
13:30 Camp 2 in Glen Geusachan (975945) - but few Geusach to be seen. Great night.
16:30 JM and DM set off to do Bod - tried to climb up the first and second burns on the North side of the Glen but JRM lost his bottle about 750m and the party turned back. Too steep for my comfort. Past a recent lightening strike on the way up. Quite a tear in the ground. Washed vests in burn and tied to rucksacks to dry.
19:30 Return to camp where RM and KM had occupied the kids. Apart from MM graveling SMs biadh everything seemed OK.
1st Aug 2001
08:30 Rise again. Midges again - drizzle too.
11:00 Camp struck in in rain, packs heavy. Set off towards Corrour Bothy.
12:30 Arrived at bothy. 1 duine in the bothy claimed two slept the night inside. Two camping outside. Tea/Coffee/Scrog stop. Those (still wet) vests that we washed last night were now called into action. Although damp they quickly warmed up and did not take long to dry.
13:30 Set off again. Close to the worst path ever seen back to the bridge. Probably matches the one at the start of Ben Lawyers. Poor SM jumped in a bog well past his knees and got moine INSIDE his gaiters. A good 15 mins consoling and cleaning the poor wee fellow.
14:30 Past Clach an Taillear - but we did no reels. Slogged up to pools of Dee while looking for a camp site. Met a party of ?5 from Glasgow heading for the bothy. 2 (anyway) in kilts. The midges had taken their toll! 7 year old doing fine. Rest getting worried about lack of flat ground.
18:00 Set up camp on a wee patch of ground (not flat) at 965030.
20:00 Fuar, lots of cold air around. Party sleeps. Windy night. A few good gusts, some rain, but the wind soon dried up the tents.
2nd Aug 2001
08:00 Rise. Dry, windy no midges. Ambling breakfast.
09:00 Low clouds appearing up the Lairig from the South. Struck camp and set off. Quite a long haul. Rain sets in after a bit. Heavy - to V heavy by
10:00 It is a trudge now. The odd good view but it is a matter of keeping the kids going before the water gets to them. SM finally gives up his pack and MM now fairly slow. Nursing and scrog and nursing continues. Spirits OK but talk of Spain and Sun abound! Time seems to drag - reminmds me of many a munroe I have carved out.
11:00 Into the trees of Rothiemurchus estate. Path through the trees to Cairngorm Club Footbridge (927078) Last scrog stop.
12:53 Change of cloths from car - dry at last! Too late to catch Radio Nan Gaidheal for the weather. But all back in one piece. A fair sense of achievement.

I should not say it but I was amazed at the stamina and will-power in my own kids. Had I known the weather was to be a poor as it wa I probably would not have set off and risked scunnering them from walking. Song and games at start middle and end. A good time was had by all. There was a real sense of achievement amongst the party when we returned to the car.

Food/water and equipment itinnery

Kit - The Malones


Stout walking books - goretex lined for the kids. Waterproof cags and trousers for all. The kids equip not goretex, the adults probably was. Gaiters and summer trousers for S M and D. I walks in Plusses and no gaiters.

Thinsulate (equvalent) water wicking vests and fleecys all round. These things shed the water quickly. Spare socks all round. shorts for everyone, spare socks for everyone.

2 x 2 person tents. Both around the 3-4Kg mark. Wild Country Ilanois and and old Vango hurricane alpha - Different vintages. Both loop/hoop pools.

2 x 4 season sleeping bags (adult winter campers)

2 x 2 season sleeping bags for the kids.

3 x sleeping mats (the kids use 1 cut in 2)

1 x headtorch. In retrospect this could have been a bad move in a bad storm and a tent rip at 0200 1 torch would not have been enuf.

Food - by the ton. High K stuff - some high fat too.

Loose pack - all in 'tupperware boxes'

Coffee, drinking chocolate, sugar, marvel (dried milk), bovril (referred to as bogroll by the kids), rice, butter, muesli(1 person only 500g). [All but the Museli of the loose-pack stuff make it into 1 side pocket of a 75L rucksack to give you some idea of the volume.]


6 x Knorr soups (cream of chicken with croutons - highest K per volume/weight) 4 returned.

6 x Super knoodles 3 returned.

2 x Bacon 0 returned.

2 x Loafs (don't laugh these were intended as a joke and got out of hand. However we did eat toast on all days - sometimes twice a day). 1 ball of dough returned - probably representing 3/4 of a loaf.

2 x Drop in flavouring for rice. 0 returned.

n x Buscuits - snacky things lick 'tracker bars', ginger nuts, crackers, oatcakes. About 25% returned.

500g Cheese. About 1/2 returned.

Chocolate+++. [Some safety rations]. About 1/2 returned.

Scrog (1kg). 0 returned.

n x Nuts/raisins/dried apricots/dried banana chips/dried pineapple chips.

8 x highenergy pre-packed meals [Safety rations](all made it home).

Cookers -

2 coleman fuel stoves both full and 1 spare bottle (500mls) of fuel for emergency use. Two billies about 1.7L each - lids as frying pans. 1 toasting rack. I get about 100 mins of high burn from each stove on a single fill (in summer use in Scotland). The two stoves did about 6 meals and a few brews and still had fuel to spare. I would have expected to be able to get around 6 hours burning on a single stove on a low setting with the emergency fuel.


'underwater' matches

pre-heat paste for the stoves

Other things

Clann-nighean an sgadain (got 4 pages read)

Pack of cards

All the above made it into 2 x 75L bags, 1 x day sack and 1 x 'schoolbag'. S carried his sleeping bag and waterproofs. M carried his sleeping bag, his waterproofs, a sleeping map and some spare clothes. The adults lugged the rest. Copious poly bags were used to try to waterproof sleeping bags etc. To be honest it did not work for the last day and I would not have liked to set up camp at the end of the trip with wet tents, clothes and sleeping bags.