Glen Derry and Loch Etchachan
Updated: Feb 10
This is a classic route at any time of the year, but it was at its very best when we did it on a deep blue day at the end of September. It was pretty chill as we push off from the Linn of Dee car park but we were nicely warm-up by Derry Lodge. The steady climb from there into Glen Derry runs through sparse pines on the hillside before dropping down to easier ground in the bottom of the strath.
In September the ash trees are just turning yellow and the deer grass is a glowing amber. In the bright light this morning the boulders and granite path shone white against the faded heather and glowing deer grass. We turned off the track, to cross the narrow bridge, and head up towards the Hutchinson Memorial Hut. It was warm, but the warmth on the east facing crags was generating a stiff breeze on the spine leading up to Loch Etchachan.
We crested the ridge just above the path down to Derry Cairngorm. This gave us clear view across the Dee to the munros in the southern Cairngorms. We decided not to press on to Ben Macdui, as the wind was making riding difficult. We enjoyed the rock-step descent to the hut, passed the bridge, down the glen and back to the Dee.