Despite an early rise on Saturday and a short drive in the mist I was not feeling great so came back and was back in Burghead at 0800. I had an easy Saturday not feeling great and old neck injury was sore and I felt exhausted, it has been a busy few weeks and they had taken their toll. I woke up on Sunday to a sunny warm day and headed for my planned Corbett Meall na – Airse about a 2 hour drive away. It was a sparkling drive and as I was on my own I could enjoy it at a leisurely pace as I have not been on the hills for a while. I tried to get a few people to come but no joy. The usual drive over to the Cairngorms was stunning with the snow still hanging on and lots of young deer trying to commit suicide in front of my car. I was driving slow so no problem but lots of hares and other road kill on the road.
I was soon on the back road to Newtonmore the A9 busy with the new road and then along the Laggan road all in the sun. A few camped at Creag Dubh and the part tables were still out at 0830 and no midges . From Laggan you follow the Spey up General Wades Military Road past lots of campers enjoying the freedom and beauty of this rarely visited Glen, dominated by the Spey a huge problem for General Wade and his road and bridge building in 1731. I cannot imagine how wild this place was in these days and how hard a life those who built the road felt. I enjoyed the drive and the views passing many having breakfast and hope they respected this place as much as I do. It is a great road to cycle and there were a few out it was perfect conditions, a little breeze, no midges and very hot already.
My Corbett a new one for me Meall na – h Airse does not get a great write-up in the Corbett book but as I parked at Garva Bridge it was a day to be out on the hill again. I enjoy being alone I go as I feel stop when I want and always leave a message with my hill buddies Dan. Yeni or Natacha. It was a good path along by the river grand views of the other Corbett’s and the ground was so dry.
I crossed the river it was hot by now and wanted to get a photo of the small waterfall but the sun was hidden by a cloud and no sparkling photos but still a lovely place. I passed a solitary tent near the river and they would have a problem if the rain came in quickly and this area floods well by the river Spey.
From here it is open hillside and several tops but with ground so dry easy walking along the Leathad Goathach with several short pulls up to 518 metres, then 637 and Corrie Gorm with its 844 metre rocky top. Each beleach has a myriad of peat hags but they were so dry it was easy walking but on another day it would not be easy. I got great view once on the ridge. This is a neglected area but I enjoyed it and with the views of so many familiar hills and the Corrieyairack Pass dominating. There are so many deer tracks but I only saw a few deer but a good few hares now back to their brown colour.
I came across a track used by the Estate and the damage on the ground was evident as this usually is a wet place, these tracks used by “All – terrain” vehicles is evident and the ground and any plants can be damaged. Is this just my thoughts? From here it was steady walking to the summit at 862 metres and its trig point.
I only met three others coming off from the second top they were moving well and travelling very light, they must have had an early start and were enjoying their day. There was an egg-shell on the summit cairn and I wonder what type it was any ideas? I sat and had lunch oatcake, cheese and grapes and it was so warm and drunk a fair bit of water and enjoyed the peace and views, there was no one else about bliss. This time last year I was still struggling with my health and operations and at least I can now get out on the hill. Today in the heat I could have fell asleep but saw some big dark clouds coming in. Time to go!
I descended down from the summit into the Coire Ian Oig it was bone dry seeing a few hares sunning on the rocks and made good time into the valley and picked up a track back to Garva Bridge just as it started to rain. The birds were out (skylark) as I neared the car and were certainly singing. I got changed felt a bit sore and sunburnt but had used my sun screen and hat all day and drunk lots of water. It was a lovely drive back no Cafe open at Laggan Bridge the Cafe is up for sale. Then it poured and I was soaked just getting out of the car so I stopped for diet busting Haggis and chips and Aviemore. I tried to visit Ned and Glenda but they were out and then home in torrential rain until nearly home.
It was a great day a bit harder going than I thought but fitness will come and another Corbett done and my eyes opened to these great hills and some of it wild history. There were a few notice boards at the Bridge in a state of repair I wonder if they told you the history of this area and the effect of General Wades road to this area?
This is my first new hill this year and I hopping to get these Corbetts done, but saving each one for good weather. It was a great day and one that cleared the head after a hard month of bereavements and sadness.