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Lairig Ghru in winter

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 cotagne 03 Mar 2020

Has anyone walked from Coylumbridge to Linn of Dee through the Lairig Ghru in the winter in a single day?  Am looking for a potential walk from Aviemore this weekend and wondering if doable.  

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 DaveHK 03 Mar 2020
In reply to cotagne:

It's certainly doable. Depends on your fitness and speed.

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In reply to DaveHK:

...and wind direction/strength, and the state of the snow

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 Basemetal 03 Mar 2020
In reply to cotagne:

It could be an epic or a pleasant stroll depending on the conditions. Wind and drifts could beat you. But given fair conditions, average experience and ability to navigate if cloud comes down its a decent long day (~20 miles), and there's a bothy in the middle. Lengthening daylight now too.

I prefer the other way round though... the last 5 miles to LoD is a bit tedious.

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 Bob Aitken 03 Mar 2020
In reply to cotagne:

Absolutely agree that it depends on conditions - could be a memorable experience for all the right reasons or for all the wrong ones.  Nearly half a century ago I did it early in February, from a very chilly bivvy in the pinewoods just above Coylumbridge, to Braemar.  Dull with low cloud, slushy snow on lower ground, but I was wading through wet drifts in clag higher up.  Was seriously worried about falling into the Pools of Dee, but happily they were open when I passed them.  Cloud was being packed in on the Dee side of the pass by a SW wind.  Didn't see another soul all day till I got on the Aberdeen bus in Braemar - changed days.  20 miles on the hill, 5 miles on the tarmac, took 9.5 hours.   It could take a lot longer if you're toiling through soft snow much of the way.  Well worth waiting for a reasonably calm clear day if you want pleasure rather than stern challenge.  Best of luck if you have a go.

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 cotagne 03 Mar 2020

Thanks all - I will keep an eye on the SAIS site for snow conditions - hopefully it will be possible as the forecast is for it to warm up slightly by the weekend  

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 dwisniewski 05 Mar 2020
In reply to Basemetal:

Definitely agree with this direction, even running in summer it's much nicer to arrive in Aviemore than Braemar.  Transport links are better in Aviemore too, especially when you're tired.

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 cotagne 05 Mar 2020

I’ve just been told that the Lairig has deep snow in the pass. I wonder if going up Glen Feshie and linking up with Geldie Burn and then into Linn of Dee would be a better option to avoid a potentially difficult and time consuming trudge through deep snow.   If we get a lift into Auchlean it looks to be about the same distance - c 20 miles.  Has anyone tried that route in the winter?

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 drunken monkey 05 Mar 2020
In reply to cotagne:

I havent been that way recently but i'd suspect that the trek across from the head of glen feshie to white bridge would be an absolute ball breaking slog right now unless youve got skis

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 cotagne 05 Mar 2020
In reply to drunken monkey: Thanks - but do you think it would be better than the Lairig? It’s a bit lower and more exposed so hopefully less snow?

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 DaveHK 05 Mar 2020
In reply to cotagne:

> Thanks - but do you think it would be better than the Lairig? It’s a bit lower and more exposed so hopefully less snow?

Why not have a look at webcams and sais blog and make that call yourself?

https://www.mwis.org.uk/information/webcams/scotland

http://ncairngormsblog.sais.gov.uk/2020/03/calm-sunny-and-cool/

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 cotagne 05 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Thanks for the links - I have been looking at the SAIS blogs but didn't know MWIS had webcams.  I will let you know how it goes if we decide to do one or other.

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 DaveHK 06 Mar 2020
In reply to cotagne:

The route through Feshie is nice up to the watershed and a bit dull after that.

Things are going to change a bit over the weekend with a thaw tomorrow then refreeze higher up on Sunday. Likely to mean any snow will be soft / melting on either route.

Post edited at 07:01
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 mcdweeb 06 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:Yup, Saturday is definitely not a good day for the Lairig, terrible forecast.

it can be a very serious challenge in winter, lots of fatalities here historically (the Tailors at least have a burn and a rock named after their misadventure) and in more recent times. A great walk in decent weather, keep it for then.

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 cotagne 15 Apr 2020

Thanks for all advice on this.  I did the walk (up to the Pools of Dee and back - conditions were too challenging for the originally planned walk down to Braemar) just over a month ago (pre-lock down) and have written it up the walk, with some pictures and maps, on a wordpress site at https://cairngormmarch2020.wordpress.com/. I hope you find it interesting.

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