Showing posts from October, 2012

Walk: Cairn Gorm's wild side

Highland | Cairngorm Plateau | Full day walk | ★★★★★

Cairn Gorm's shady northern slopes are littered with half a century's worth of winter sports developments: good news for skiers, not ideal for walkers wanting to get away from it all. Fortunately the great coires to the west are beyond the ski area's boundaries, making a magnificent and wild approach above huge crags to the eventual summit before the return to civilisation. You could even use the funicular (if it's running - it's closed indefinitely at time of update in 2020) to help with the descent! But not the ascent - you're not allowed to leave the top station if you've come up on the train.

📌 Walk: Cairn Gorm's wild side★★★
▶ 11 km / 7 miles | ▲ 780 metres
Summits: Cairn Lochan (1215 metres); Stob Coire an t-Sneachda (1176 metres); Cairn Gorm (1244 metres, Munro) | Features: CairnGorm Mountain ski resort & funicular railway
Start / finish: Car park for CairnGorm Mountain, 4 miles south of Gl…

Walk: In Royal footsteps to Balmoral's Cairns

Aberdeenshire | Crathie | Half day walk | ★★★

Crathie's enormous car park only makes sense during the summer holidays, when Balmoral Castle draws in huge numbers of tourists. To escape peak season crowds, head instead to the estate surrounding the residence. Here, the Royal Family have erected several impressive cairns on the hills either side of Dubh-chlais valley. These ranging from the dainty (Purchase Cairn) to the gargantuan (Prince Albert's Cairn), often accompanied by excellent views over the castle itself and Deeside. Almost like a treasure hunt, or a geocaching route but with much larger objectives...

📌 Walk: In Royal footsteps to Balmoral's Cairns ★★★
▶ 10 km / 6 miles | ▲ 350 metres
Summits: Creag a' Ghobhainn (390 metres); Creag an Lurachain (442 metres) | Features: Crathie Kirk; Balmoral Cairns
Start / finish: Car park at A93 / B976 junction, Crathie, G.R: NO 263949 ///person.enjoyable.suave
Anything else: Estate may not be accessible if the Royal Family is i…

Walk: Glas Maol & Glen Isla safari

Angus | Angus Glens | Full day walk | ★★★

Glas Maol is known to winter sports enthusiasts as the highest point of Glenshee's ski area. It's also a Munro: unfortunately one of the ugliest due to the ski lifts scattered across the hillside when approaching from Cairnwell Pass. But the quieter, longer approach from Glen Isla in Angus misses all of this, instead passing above some of the most beautiful spots in the southern Cairngorms. Monega Hill is a magnificent corner on the ascent, perched high above the two great glens of Caenlochan and Canness, while the return traverses the surprisingly rough ridge to Creag Leacach, another Munro. Save a couple of chocolate bars for the final brutal obstacle of Monamenach. The path over the top looks nearly vertical on approach and it turns out to feel nearly that bad too. The fantastic wildlife deserves a mention: we've never seen so many deer, mountain hare or ptarmigan before even on separate walks - let alone all on the same one.

📌 …