Ben Macdui

24th January 2020

I decided to do a quick ‘border raid’ today and put a toe over into the ‘dark side’ – sorry the Northern Cairngorms forecasting area – Technically not on my patch but my navigation has always been a bit ‘vague’…. the cloud base was around about 1100 metres so I was never going to get a view but sometimes it is more about the journey than the destination… and with the wind speeds increasing tomorrow, I decide that today was the day to go high and I put together a satisfying circular route via Glen Derry, The Hutchison Memorial Hut, Loch Etchachan, Ben Macdui and descent via Sron Riach and Glen Luibeg.

Temperatures were lower – Minus 2.1 degrees centigrade on Ben Macdui (1309m) so the snow on the highest summits is refrozen and icy. Even the rocks had a thin icy glaze and were very slippy. No new precipitation forecast for us tomorrow and the winds are going to increase. Looking forward, the freezing level is due to lower to around 500 metres on Sunday and then 400 metres on Monday so keeping fingers crossed for precipitation in the weather forecast.

The Hutchison Memorial Hut with Creagan a’Choire Etchachan behind.

Creagan a’Choire Etchachan, home to some multi-starred Summer and Winter routes.

Looking across the ice on Little Loch Etchachan to Carn Etchachan (1120m). Cloud just dropping in over the cliffs.

Looking North across Loch Etchachan towards Cairngorm (1245m) in the cloud. Snow visible in the burn line running out of Coire Raibert.

The ruin a few hundred metres ESE of Ben Macdui summit. Rocks starting to hoar up.

The memorial plaque on the summit of Ben Macdui: Wonderfully useful when you have a view……

The summit of Ben Macdui (1309m). A chilly minus two degrees centigrade with fresh winds today.




Comments on this post

  • David Steane
    24th January 2020 5:57 pm

    Hi, I’m following – as I do every season – the excellent SAIS blog posts…

    I have a minor pedantic point…but the hut is the Hutchison (note the spelling) and as you know it’s excellently situated for access to the central Cairngorms. Originally the Coire Etchachan Shelter, it was erected in 1954 in grateful memory of Dr Arthur Gilbertson Hutchison BSc, PhD. 1902-1949, an Aberdeen geologist with the Shell Group. ‘So will I build my altar in the fields, and the blue sky my fretted dome shall be, and the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields, shall be the incense I will yield to thee’. You’ll also know that it’s a small single roomed shelter with a bench down one side, and it was renovated in 2012 to include an enclosed fire, a porch and new roof.

    Keep up the excellent reporting, even if the season’s not playing along…


    • scairngormsadmin
      24th January 2020 8:50 pm

      Hi David – Apologies for the typo – My eyesight is as bad as my navigation….or maybe it’s the reason for my bad navigation! All corrected now. Thanks for the background history – much appreciated. Team South Cairngorms.

  • Richard Brockman
    24th January 2020 7:46 pm

    The SAIS blogs and photo’s are invaluable even if we have a lack of the white stuff at the moment. Heartfelt thanks to all those involved in venturing out onto the winter hills in all conditions to bring us these reports

    Crumbs what’s happened to the Hutchy hut, not been in or climbed there for many years. Any chance of up grading the Smith Winram bivouac?

    Happy Day

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