My oh my, approaching Cairngaver from the north through Cairn Wood has given me some fun over the years; my batting average is now two out of three (which according to noted mountain expert Meat Loaf 'ain't bad') but given its limited size (and the fact that it's a permanent orienteering venue) I wish my visits could be inevitably rather than merely generally successful. It was rainy and 'orrible and I only had a couple of hours to spare, but Indy the Tripod Dog needed the exercise.
We walked up the blue trail (which does follow the obvious main trail for a while...see gerrym's notes) but its weaving course, the thick trees and the irregular lumpy nature of the slope all conspire to disorientate you. Hence when we reached the top of the trail we could indeed just see the summit transmitter through the forestry...just not quite where I'd expected it to be. And that's despite having climbed the thing via this route previously...Cairngaver's that kind of hill. I failed to identify the correct branching track so just blundered along various traces of previous human passage (probably rubbish orienteerers come to think of it) in the right general direction. Soon(ish) we were crawling under a fence that seemed vaguely familiar, through a gate and then up a farm track to the top. And the mist, which meant the excellent view was totally obliterated.
Once back through the fence I decided to plot a different course along a different track back through the forest to the blue trail. This proved to be a hilariously poor decision, and it's fortunate that the woods here aren't so thick as to ever properly block your passage through them; despite that the trail did get consumed by the trees in a slightly Russian-Fairy-Tale-cum-Evil-Dead sort of way. Luckily it was only a few minutes of sucking bog and canine disapproval before the trail was regained...somewhere. And so we followed it back to the car, with only our apparent disruption of a film shoot being worthy of note. What was being filmed I'm not sure, but surely there must be a place in 'Game of Thrones' for a three-legged dog.
Cairn Wood...it's a post-modern Narnia, I'm telling you.