A November day in the Cairngorms: Derry Cairngorm.

November 4, 2015
NB summit_1 copy

Sarah grabs a picture of me basking in the mid-afternoon sun on Derry Cairngorm looking towards Ben Macdui. Derry Cairngorm is a nice mountain to tackle and this was the second time I have climbed it.

Whilst the Scottish Highlands can enjoy some great weather in Autumn, this year has seen some truly beautiful days making a trip into the mountains really rewarding. This time, Sarah came with me and we successfully tackled Derry Cairngorm (1155 metres) in the beautiful Mar Lodge Estate, starting at Linn of Dee near Braemar, despite the shorter days of November when it is fully dark before 18.00 hours.

Derry Cairngorm Sarah-1 copy

Sarah knows these mountains really well, having completed the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award project camping and walking in these mountains as well as completing plant and wildlife transects on their flanks and in the adjacent Lairig Ghru.

Glen Lui river_1 OMWB

Lui Water in Glen Lui.

The walk in to the foot of the hills is quite long and time could be saved by using bicycles as far as Derry Lodge – something I will do when next tackling Munros in this area of the Cairngorms. However, the trees and scenery along Glen Lui and Lui Water makes the walk very pleasant indeed and the remnants of the now regenerating Caledonian woodland contrasts with the montane plateau and granite top of Derry Cairngorm and the surrounding mountains. The area around Linn of Dee and Glen Lui, part of the National Trust for Scotland Mar Lodge Estate, is perfect for low-level treks and walks of various lengths as well as access to the Munros of the southern Cairngorms and the southern end of the Lairig Ghru. The famous River Dee, an important salmon river, rises in the Lairig Ghru.

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The footbridge over Derry Burn near Derry Lodge.

Looking back through woods copy

Starting the climb up through the woods to a small top called Creag Bad an t-Seabhaig which them leads onto long flat plateaus towards Carn Crom Derry Cairngorm.

Looking up through woods copy

Up hill through the trees.

Glen Lui copy

Looking down Glen Lui towards Linn of Dee (Braemar) to the south from the slopes of Creag Bad an t-Seabhaig.

Derry Cairngorm approach pan OMWB

The track up towards Carn Crom and Derry Cairngorm behind. Ben Macdui can be seen in the middle distance.

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On the trail over montane plateau in brilliant Autumn sunlight . This faint trail is part of a popular north-south traverse route from Cairngorm to Linn of Dee.

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Sarah again – one of the advantages of having someone walking with you is being able to take more record photographs of our trek.

Derry Cairngorm NB-1 copy

Sarah is handy with a camera too.

NB summit OMWB

Lounging against the rocks at the summit with Ben Macdui in the back ground. It’s warm too! Photo is by Sarah.

In the very, very short time we had available to us at the summit – it was approaching mid -afternoon  – Sarah grabbed some shots of me to record the visit.

Derry Cairngorm summit panorama OMWBA near 360 degree panorama from Derry Cairngorm. At this point, the sun was too low in the sky to take the last shot to the west to complete the circuit. The middle of the picture looks to the east.

Summit cairns-pan OMWB

The cairns at the summit which is composed of a range of rounded boulders. Shadows were lengthening, so it was time to ‘foxtrot oscar’ out of there before it gets dark…around 17.30 hours in November.

Apres summitJust down from the summit, we paused for a snack before walking out back to Linn of Dee – note the lengthening shadows. Despite the apparently barren nature of the landscape, it teems with life. Sarah spots some interesting spiders lurking among the stones. There were quite a few grouse and ptarmigan to be seen during the walk too. We made it back to the car by 18.00 hours, completing the last mile along Glen Lui with the help of torches. A great day and an example of how spectacular Scottish mountains can be in Autumn.


Second proof of new sheet NMS-5 BR Blue Scottish Region locomotives

November 1, 2015


I have just received the second artwork proof for Sheet NMS-5: BR Blue Scottish Region locomotive numbers and logos (OO gauge) which has the ‘8-inch’ number sets applied to many Scottish locomotives. Sizes and colours of various logos have been corrected and the balance of the numbers themselves makes much more sense! I will do a final inspection of the proof tomorrow as a last check before going to print. I am still awaiting the artwork charge from the designer, so cannot calculate the precise retail price per sheet until then – hopefully less than £5 plus postage.