Walk: Cairn Gorm's wild side

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

[Approach to Cairn Gorm from the west]

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 awaiting repairs 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.

[Coire an Lochain looks magnificent from the ascent]

📌 Walk: Cairn Gorm's wild side ★★★★★
Start / finish at CairnGorm Mountain car park, 4 mi south of Glenmore Visitor Centre, G.R.: NH 989060 ///trespass.messed.line

▶ 11 km / 7 mi | ▲ 780 m | ⌚ Full day | Tough
Features: Cairngorm Mountain ★★★★ ski centre & funicular railway; △ Cairn Lochan (1215 m); △ Stob Coire an t-Sneachda (1176 m); △ Cairn Gorm (1244 m, Munro)
Terrain: Good paths for most of route: fainter and rougher above the coires and sometimes on cliff edges.

Route & map

Car park, Cairngorm Mountain ski centre & funicular railway - Miadan Creag an Leth-choin - Cairn Lochan - Stob Coire an t-Sneachda - Cairn Gorm - Ptarmigan Station - Sron an Aonaich (or Windy Ridge) - start

Route credit: Walkhighlands
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On our visit

Wildlife: Quiet on the hills today.
Weather: Cloudy to start with sunshine breaking through after overnight snow, lying to about 900 m. Winds fairly light.

[The start of the descent from Cairn Gorm couldn't be clearer...]


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