Carn a'Mhaim GM/CS-013 and Ben Macdui GM/ES-001

As a recent overnight trip didn’t kill me, I thought I’d try another one…

Inspiration came again from Fraser’s @MM0EFI adventures - this time Carn a’Mhaim and Ben Macdui with approach from the south along to Derry Lodge then to Luibeg - leaving the car in the car park at Linns of Dee near Braemar.

Plots were plotted , plans were planned and off I went with a leisurely start from home getting me to the car park at around midday, then 8km cycle along very well maintained track and then single track, to arrive at Luibeg burn (river) after an hour or so.

A brief scout around for a campsite, re-fill the water bottles, then off up Carn a’Mhaim - managed to get a foot wet right at the start as a round boulder in the stream decided to roll off upstream just as I transferred weight to it - nice…

The track up was easy to follow once I’d got back onto it and the summit soon appeared, along with lovely views of the Lairig Ghru and the mountains to the east. Also in view was the next days summit and route up.

2m fm was a bust, so on to HF with a good run of callers in very noisy conditions - noisy enough that I wasn’t able to complete a couple of QSOs as missed all the details which was a shame.

Devils point from CS-013

Panorama from CS-013
Think this link /pic below should work as a scrollable pano in google photos…
Google Photos

Ben Macdui
From an overnight camp down in the valley, I headed up the ridge to Sron Riach, then on to Ben Macdui. There was cloud hanging over the last 200m of the hill, so from a gentle stroll(! not!) up the path, it was on to “pay attention” mode - I soon reached one of the many good paths to the summit and set up just to the west of the summit cairn.

This wee toad was enjoying the sunshine on the lower slopes.

Initial calls on 2m fm were unpromising and I was hearing nothing at all until @GM4YMM Christine came back with a good strong signal from Edinburgh - the exchange was made and as Ken was busy, she left a note giving the reference etc so he could pick it up.
A couple more calls to the holidaying Derek G(M)1ZJQ in Cupar and Steve GM1DSK in Perth followed. Bill M0DXT then popped up from Carlise. A lull in exchanges ensued, then I scanned around and hear Ken @GM0AXY talking with @MM0YCJ Colwyn while the latter was waiting for Andrew @G4VFL to appear on Arthurs Seat. Ken was disbelieving Christine’s writing as I “must be on CS-001” I managed to get in the explain that yes I was on Macdui , not further south and closer to Edinburgh. Despite me hearing Colwyn clearly while he was speaking with Ken, I never managed a direct QSO with him - maybe some odd reflections going on there. Another call with Tom @GM4YWI who lives about 10miles from my QTH wrapped up 2m very nicely.

A quick call on 40m gave a few more QSOs but with very difficult conditions. Pedro @EA2CKX being DX on the day with Northern Ireland and Wales joining England on the list too.

By that time, I was satisfied and with a descent and cycle back out to follow, wrapped up and took a few photos as the cloud had lifted - hooray!

Someone enjoying the view into the valley.

Southern end of Lairig Ghru

Carn a’Mhaim from Ben Macdui

Route in and out

8km cycle each way (to the Y junction on the map) and 15km total walking - made for a nice trip out.

I still have a few midge bites as the site of the camp was in no wind at all and the little pests got through the multi-layered defences - including the midge net!!



Nice one Alan. Looks like you had some decent weather. Great photos too.

My grown up nephews are keen to tackle the Cairngorms and are desperate to appear in a youtube video (I cant believe they still watch them!), so as soon as there’s a decent weather window we plan on getting in about Cairn Toul, Braeraich and maybe Ben Macdui.

The Sron Riach is an excellent and quiet route, apart from the boulder field! A great way up Ben Macdui.


Weather was ideal for walking really - neither too hot or cool and just enough breeze to keep the midges away.

Sron Riach way up was splendid - of course, the murk started just when the path ran out and the boulders began thus ensuring maximum amount of head scratching for a route! ha ha. Just remember to go round the east of the rocky outcrop near the top of it as any path round the west disappeared in the rubble…

If you thought our game was odd, consider the chap I met on my way down - he was carrying his bike up the first part of that ridge as he had “seen the single track and wanted to cycle down it” - so 10km? “cycle” in, the last couple at least of which would have been carried/pushed on back wheel due to narrowness of the footpath, then ascend pushing/carrying the bike for about 150m of vertical , to then hurtle down again and reverse the path in!

Mind you he can’t have been a bad lad, he had a very fine young golden labrador with him which still had loads of energy despite having run alongside him on the way in :slightly_smiling_face:

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Nice write-up Alan and great images to give a glimpse of the terrain.
Pleased I managed to make contact with you on both summits despite the challenging radio conditions.

All the best,

Thanks Robert,

It was great to get you both summits - particularly Macdui as the conditions seemed even worse than the day before!


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Great report Alan @MM0VPM - gutted I missed you on both of them, would of been a great complete for me, but work got in the way :see_no_evil: looks like you had a fab time with nice wx!

73, Ben


Excellent report Alan. Much appreciated and something to think about. I would love to revisit Ben Macdui… was last there in 1968 when I was just 16. I suspect it would be a wee bit harder for me now! :grinning:

73, Gerald

P.S. … is that not a wee frog rather than a toad? A bit like the one I met heading up Ben Lawers last week.

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Thanks Gerald,
One of the great things about this reflector (in my opinion :blush:) is the inspiration gained to go and see/do something. For example the tales of multiday trips and the mountains of the alps and US (other mountain ranges are available) serve as excellent travel brochures, trouble is that my list is getting quite long now :laughing:

Frod/toad. - I am not sure either way, I guessed toad as it was at about 500m elevation and no obvious water sources around, but my knowledge of such creatures is zero, so happy to have the critter identified properly :+1:



The one I found was at around 550m asl and was definitely a frog. It certainly wasn’t going to dry out in the damp weather. They need water, but not constantly. Where my daughter lives in Cornwall at certain times of the year they are commonplace on the paths, tracks and even roads up in the hills.

List… don’t mention the word. I have lists of lists! :joy:


I have a lot of respect for the Cairngorms. These are big mountains. I achieved my MG on Ben Macdui, I took the shorter route from the Aviemore ski car park. I remember there was snow blowing in the wind, it was October.
Great report and inspiring photos.
Thank you