Saturday, 4 August 2012

Back to the Cairngorms once more

4th August 2012

I've just had a very enjoyable few days in the Cairngorms with fellow forum members Teepee, Trunks, Snozz and Dangerous Dan, Dutch from hammockforums joined us too as part of his European tour.
Setting off late Monday evening meant it was coming daylight by the time we reached our destination, I’m sure I made a bit of a poop with the navigation which put another hour on the drive too. We pulled into the car park at around 03:45 and quickly got the hammocks and tarps setup, I think they went up in record time and we were both passed out in no time.

Tuesday 31st July

I woke around 07:30 to the sound of cars arriving and doors slamming, time to get up then. The morning was lovely, clear blue skies and the sun was already warming up the forest. There was no sign of any midges so I made the most of it and packed up at a leisurely pace, Dutch was still snoring so I went for a wander down to the river.

Me packed up and Dutch still in his bed

Dutchs' setup

Lin of Dee

By the time I got back Dutch was up and enjoying the pleasures of the Scottish midge for the first time, he was trying the technique of packing something up for a couple of minutes and then running away to shake them off. I had a good giggle to start with and then felt quite sorry for him. I suggested that we should nip back into Braemar and purchase a head net before going any further, it didn’t take much convincing.

We stocked up on some last minute munchies for the walk and grabbed some lunch before driving back to our start point at The Punch Bowl.

The Punch Bowl

I managed to get a couple of sms messages through to Trunks who was on his way up from Yorkshire, we had around 3 hours before their ETA so we continued up the glen to camp one and got our camps setup.

Cuben tarps

Mmmm, shiney

At 13:00 I set off back down the glen to meet the other guys, timing it just right as they pulled up. Trunks and I shuttled his car back down to the other car park so we could avoid a 4 mile tarmac walk on our last day, I gave Snozz and Dan instructions for finding camp and they set off.

Bridge closed

Tarp city

Snozzs’ clever DIY work

We spent the evening talking trash about tarps and hammocks, trying to dodge the swarms of midges and trying to get some food and drink consumed without being eaten alive. Everybody was pretty knackered after the drive so we called it a night fairly early.

Dutch, Trunks, Dan & Snozz

Wednesday 1st August

We all enjoyed a lie in, it was gone 08:30 by the time I got up but everyone else was still in their hammocks. I made a brew, trying to be quiet, but a couple of the guys were soon up too, the midges were on the attack again. We had a fairly short breakfast and got packed up and ready to move onto the next camp.

Please can I have my pack back

The route for day two was another short one, we made good time up the valley in a mix of sunshine and light showers. We had a river crossing to make as well as a bit of bog jumping but everybody coped with ease. Teepee should’ve been at the next campsite and sure enough there he was, just getting packed up to come and look for us too. The weather was closing in again so we set about finding suitable trees for five hangers, most of us managing to get the tarps up in time to dodge a heavy shower.

Deep in the blaeberries and heather

Dan, Trunks & Dutch

As it was still early in the day we decided to take a walk up the hills nearby and what we could find, a quick check of the map and off we went. After ten minutes we had another river crossing which was good fun, then it was up into the hills along muddy tracks and another soaking from the heather.

Dutch & Teepee

Looking back down to camp

Hidden house

Anybody know why there might be paint on the outside?

Dutch & Teepee go looking for Amish girls

A few of the lads decided to try a different route back to camp, they were just running out of path by the time they reached camp so still had to face the river crossing again. We stood by with cameras at the ready.

Dutch nearly takes a swim

Snozz takes a leap or two

Trunks finding the easy route

There was a cosy spot behind a big rock which we sheltered by in the evening, the large pine branches above kept us dry in the light showers. Teepee had his hobo stove running which worked a charm burning the pine we picked up off the floor. The midges came and went with the breezes, Dan suffered though without a headnet.

Thursday 2nd August

After another great nights sleep in the hammock I was first up as usual, there was a good breeze blowing through camp so no midges yet. We had a lazy start, some of the guys were in no rush to pack away so Dutch and I pushed on to the next camp. Teepee was doing his usual trip back to his van for more supplies whilst the other lads would follow us later.

Talk about trusting your gear, 1” of security locking my Dutch Buckle

Our route for the day saw us back track down to the main river and then take the path over the Clais Fhearnaig. Emerging in the next valley at Glen Lui, we turned north and up towards Glen Luibeg to our next camp. When we arrived the wind had completely dropped, the midges were out in force so we got our tarps and hammocks up and dived inside for some rest bite, the other lads arrived shortly afterwards and did much the same.

I went for a pitch on some higher ground but it offered little protection from the midges

Nice view from the hammock though

Teepee joined us later, he’d been cooking a fry up at his van and then wandered up the glen to meet us. Dutch went for a bit of a run and to try and get some signal on his phone, we laughed at him as he tried to negotiate the bogs of Glen Luibeg, resembling a sketch out of Monty Python.

Getting a brew on


Strategic placement of hammocks to catch the wind

The evening dropped cool, only to around 10*c according to Pete’s thermometer, it certainly felt cooler though. We were treated to clear skies and a full moon which lit up the valley. The midges were bad again, some of us taking refuge in the bothy nearby.


30 seconds of exposure around camp

I’d pitched my hammock badly so ended up being bunched up in the middle with my head end being too high, I got up at one point and made a half hearted attempt to fix it but didn’t improve it much. I slept through okay but woke up with feet like ice blocks, my summer top quilt didn’t do much for the feet when they were rammed into the footbox from the poor pitch.
The midges were really out in numbers in the morning, we agreed to pack what we could and meet at the bothy for breakfast. After kicking about for an hour we took the steady stroll back down the glen to the cars and home.


Thanks to everyone who made it, did I mention the midges?

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