Cairn Gorm + Tops

Tuesday 24 June 2014

14.2 km/908 m/05:30 hrs

Munro (2nd round): Cairn Gorm (No. 47)

Munro Tops: Cnap Coire na Spreidhe, Stob Coire an t-Sneachda, Cairn Lochan + Creag an Leth-choin (Nos. 60 – 63)

It was already 11:45 when I started from the Cairngorm Ski Centre Carpark up the “Windy Ridge” which leads to the Ptarmigan Restaurant.

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I passed the restaurant and headed E toward the first Munro Top of the day, Cnap Coire na Spreidhe.

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There is not a lot of height gain involved, and I arrived at the summit after a few minutes.

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Bynack More.

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Beinn Mheadhoin.

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Glen Avon.

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Loch Etchachan.

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After enjoying the extensive views in all directions, I continued to the summit of Cairn Gorm with its weather station.

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The busy summit area.

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From the summit I descended towards the crags above Coire an t-Sneachda.

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Coire an t-Sneachda.

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The sun kept burning down, so I stopped on Stob Coire an t-Sneachda to apply more sunscreen…

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On my way around the rim of the coire I could watch some rock climbers making their way up.

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Rock climbing route.

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Crags above Coire an t-Sneachda.

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Coire Domhain.

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Fiacaill Ridge.

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Coire an Lochain.

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Looking back to Cairn Gorm and Stob Coire an t-Sneachda.

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Zoom along Coire Domhain and the Shelter Stone Crag.

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On my way up Cairn Lochan I saw a walker approaching with some long “sticks” attached to his rucksack, and when he came closer I realised that they were skis! He was obviously planning to ski down some of the large snow patches in one of the corries and I was hoping I would be able to watch him.

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The Great Slab.

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Cairn Lochan summit.

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Coire an Lochain crags.

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The skier (just visible as a yellow dot in the photo) descended to the top of the large snow patch below Cairn Lochan, and I was wondering how he could get over the edge of the snow which was several metres thick.

But after a while he attached his skis back to his rucksack and climbed back up to the plateau. I didn’t see him after that but I assume he skied down somewhere further around the coire.

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View across Miadan Creag an Leth-choin, with the top of Creag an Leth-choin just visible beyond.

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Creag an Leth-choin.

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On my way towards Creag an Leth-choin/Lurcher’s Crag I got a great view along the Lairig Ghru.

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Crags on the E flank of Sròn na Lairige.

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Creag an Leth-choin.

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View down the Lairg Ghru towards Aviemore.

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The summit cairn on Creag an Leth-choin is a fantastic viewpoint and I settled down for a long break to enjoy the sun and the views.

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I could make out three tents pitched on a grassy patch just above the Lairig Ghru (this came in handy a few weeks later when I was looking for a camp site in that area…).

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View N from Creag an Leth-choin.

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Looking S along the Lairig Ghru.

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I was reluctant to leave this lofty perch but eventually made my way across one of the tributary streams of the Allt Creag an Leth-choin and joined the path along the ridge W of Coire an Lochain.

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Fiacaill Ridge.

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Coire an Lochain.

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Loch Morlich and Meall a’ Bhuachaille.

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Coire an Lochain.

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This had been a really enjoyable walk in great weather, and once again including the Tops made an otherwise familiar walk a lot more interesting. Even for walkers who “don’t do Munro Tops” I would recommend to visit Creag an Leth-choin as it is a wonderful viewpoint for the Lairig Ghru!

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3 thoughts on “Cairn Gorm + Tops

  1. I’m always surprised more people don’t visit Lurcher’s – it’s a superb viewpoint and a lovely peak. I love anything in the Cairngorms though. I seem to have done all my walking there in snow so far apart from Braeriach last year.

    Not seen the Great Slab before and didn’t know about that – I’ll have to have a look next time I’m up there. I also have a yen to try the Fiacall (in summer of course) but not sure whether I’m up to it. I’ll have to take someone with me in case I get a bit stuck I think.
    Carol.

    • I’m not so keen on the Cairngorms (or any other hills) in the snow, it’s always soft and at least knee-deep when I’m there 😦

      No need to worry about the Fiacaill Ridge, it’s not technically difficult and there are many bypasses if you want to avoid the “dodgy bits”. I did it in summer a few years ago and found it ok but not interesting enough to go back for another visit…

      • Thanks for the info on Fiacaill – I must give it a go soon. I remember someone saying there were bypasses to the right.

        I’ve just been ploughing about for 2 days on our moor and Ilkley moor in thick, deep snow and I’m knackered!

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