Angel’s Peak via NE Ridge

Wednesday 31 July 2013

28.5 km/1549 m/12:00 hrs

Angel’s Peak/Sgòr an Lochain Uaine had been my 100th Munro, which I had climbed on a backpacking trip in gorgeous weather back in August 2009. On that day I had been particularly fascinated by Coire an Lochain Uaine with its blue (green?) loch shining in the sun like a gemstone 🙂

Lochan Uaine (photo taken 24th August 2009).

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When I found out that the NE ridge of Angel’s Peak was a grade 1 scramble, I knew I would have to come back one day to climb it, but somehow I never got round to it until this year.

NE ridge of Angel’s Peak (photo taken 24th August 2009).

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I had attempted this route on 12th June this year, but had to turn back because there was still some snow on the NE ridge. Today, seven weeks and an exceptional heatwave later, I could be pretty sure that the snow was all gone, and so I set off from the Sugar Bowl car park, looking forward to a long, but interesting walk.

Looking back down to the footbridge across the Allt Mòr.

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View towards Cairn Lochan and Creag an Leth-choin from the path high above the Allt Mòr.

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Approaching the Chalamain Gap.

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The Chalamain Gap – a few hundred metres of clambering over large boulders, but it’s not too bad as long as the rocks are dry.

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Beyond the Chalamain Gap, with Sròn na Lairige ahead.

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Allt Druidh.

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Creag an Leth-choin/Lurcher’s Crag.

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More boulder fields… but there is an intermittent path winding its way through them, and the pathless sections are short.

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During my first attempt in June I had used the path on the W bank of the Allt na Lairig Ghru, which starts at the Pools of Dee and leads into Garbh Choire. But that path is hardly visible on the ground, and so wet and boggy that it doesn’t make the going much easier than walking pathless.

This time I stayed on the main Lairig Ghru path until the fords across the Allt a’ Choire Mhòir. There I crossed the Allt na Lairig Ghru and made my way over rough ground into Garbh Choire.

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View S along the Lairig Ghru, with Carn a’ Mhaim in the centre.

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Garbh Choire Bothy, a small and very basic shelter.

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I couldn’t be bothered to remove the boulder that was blocking the door, so I only opened it just enough to stick my hand through to take a photo of the interior.

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From the bothy, I walked S and directly up the hillside towards Lochan Uaine. The ground is quite steep, but I found some traces of a path.

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Garbh Choire Dhàidh.

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NE ridge of Angel’s Peak.

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Coire an Lochain Uaine and Cairn Toul.

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Looking across to Ben Macdui.

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The first part of the ridge is mainly walking on mixed ground of grass and stones, but then it becomes a bit rockier.

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Lochan Uaine.

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Higher up, the ridge steepens, and there are various route options.

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Cairn Toul.

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Shortly before the summit, the terrain becomes a little bit more difficult, and it took me a while to find the correct route. I first tried a route round to the right, but couldn’t get up any further from there and had to retrace my steps.

On this part of the ridge I was very sheltered from the wind, and I suddenly found myself surrounded by swarms of midges (at a height of 1250 metres!), who took advantage of the fact that I needed both hands to hold on to the rocks 😡

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Garbh Choire Dhàidh and the Falls of Dee.

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Braeriach and Coire Bhrochain.

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The summit of Angel’s Peak/Sgòr an Lochain Uaine.

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Cairn Toul and Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir.

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Following the edge of the plateau towards Braeriach, I got a good view into Garbh Choire.

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View back towards Angel’s Peak, Cairn Toul and Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir.

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Wells of Dee.

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Near the Wells of Dee, I came across a herd of reindeer grazing on the plateau.

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Crags below Braeriach’s summit.

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Coire an Lochain Uaine.

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Lairig Ghru.

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Braeriach summit cairn.

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Cairn Toul, Angel’s Peak and Lochan Uaine.

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On the bealach between Braeriach and Sròn na Lairige, I walked past various parts of an aircraft wreckage, which are spread over a large area.

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Large snow patch over the March Burn, with Beinn Mheadhoin on the skyline.

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Lairig Ghru.

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Lurcher’s Crag.

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After descending into the Lairig Ghru, it seemed like hard work to climb up the other side and through the Chalamain Gap again.

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My tired legs were glad to reach solid ground again, and to walk on an easy path for the last kilometres to the car park.

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A nice evening sky was a fitting end to a great day out.

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6 thoughts on “Angel’s Peak via NE Ridge

  1. I just love the Cairngorms and that looked a fab walk & enjoyed your photo’s. It was 2001 since I was there, Cairn Toul was my 150th Munro and reading your report has whetted my appetite for a repeat visit, thanks.
    keithpostie

  2. That’s another route I’ve thought about so great to see such detailed photos 🙂 I think I’d tackle it from the Braemar end though as it much be shorter? At least that way, I can cycle as far as Derry Lodge.
    Carol.

    • I suppose it saves a lot of time if you cycle in from Braemar, but as I live in Inverness it was more convenient to start from the Aviemore side.

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