Short overnighter through the Lairig Ghru
Blog piece by Gari from Cairngorm Lodge YH.
Finally got some settled weather to cycle thru the Lairig Ghru earlier this week, I have been wanting to do it all winter. The high pressure we have had over the past week meant that the sun shone and the temps went up to almost double figures!!
I had looked into the pass about 2 weeks ago while ski touring to Ben Macdui and there had been plenty of cover then, looked rideable all the way from where I was. The warm weather meant that most of the coverage had gone lower down, so the initial trek past the Rothiemurchus lodge was through horrendous bog, any one who has been there will know what I mean.
Just past the junction with the path for Braeriach the snow firmed up a bit and was for the most part quite rideable. I was using quite chunky tyres (HuskerDu) and have to say that the rolling resistance was pretty harsh, even on the flat it was almost easier to walk!! Given the conditions I think my Surly Endos would have had plenty of grip and rolled a lot easier.
As I set off a little late I was at the top of the pass at around dusk, with amazing light as the sun caught the rim of the glen, as the light faded, the temp dropped and the snow firmed up making the riding a little easier.
Once over the high point it was (mainly) downhill all the way to the bothy, however as I got lower down the snow softened as this side of the glen is a fair bit lower than the other, also there was a lot of heather showing, which warms up in the sun and so making the snow pack even softer. As it was dark by now it was fun trying to pick a way through the snow pack while avoiding being drawn down to the burn and a probable dunking!!
I arrived at the bothy around 19.30 to find one other guy in there, actually in his bag already. A meal and a chat saw me ready for sleep by around 21.00!!! A last trip outside was met with an awesome sky, incredibly clear(and cold). no aurora though, that would have been the icing on the cake
Following day dawned sunny and bright once again, not a breath of wind or cloud in the sky.
Once into the glen proper I was able to ride for the most part again, but those tyres were still hard work.
A pretty quick descent to the junction with Braeriach and it was back to the slog out to the lodge, of course this time I knew how painful it was gonna be.
Great trip, really fancy trying again when/if we get more snow, next time preferably as a round trip back thru Glen Derry.