That’s the third time I’ve been blown off the path – do you think we should make a new plan?
Uttered by one member of our group 90 minutes into our planned ‘epic’ munro mountain day. A new plan was definitely in order. One thing I learnt from this short foray into the beautiful Cairngorms over New Year was to be flexible with mountain plans.
Some of you may have noticed the ‘weather’ over the festive period. Even if you weren’t directly affected, the flooding that has been ever present in the news has provided shocking images of the power of nature and what it can do to our lives. This was one of the only holidays I’ve been on where I received ‘are you ok?’ messages.
I was definitely ok, in fact more than ok but plans had to be adapted through the week to keep the enjoyment factor up and the dangerous/stupidly epic factor down.
So here are three delightful walks in the Cairngorms that are perfect in (almost) all weathers.
Creag Dhubh, Nr Newtonmore, 787m, 4 hours
A good half day walk on good paths up from Newtonmore with an off road ascent of the peak.
A 12 hour drive the day previously necessitated a good leg stretch. After a fairly late start we pottered up Creag Dhubh to find the snowline. We pottered around Loch Gynack and approached the summit from the track on the westerly bank of Allt Mor. After finding some pristine snow patches and admiring the views out into the wilderness of the Mondilaiths we descended down the westerly slopes to another good track back to Newtonmore.
Creag Mhigeachaidh, Glen Feshie, 742m, 3-4 hours
A great lower level half day in Glen Feshie
After nearly being blown off Carn Ban Mor a local plan B with a little less exposure and a little less height was needed. Enter Creag Mhigeachaidh, a good track approach from the forestry commission car park half way down Glen Feshie quickly took us (with the wind behind us) to the open tops of Invereshie and Inchriarch national nature reserve. A wind assisted dash to the summit brought us, quite possibly, one of the best views I’ve seen in a while. With sunlight finally bursting through the clouds the view stretched all the way back to Loch An Eilein, Aviemore, and beyond. A bit of ‘bush bashing’ – so named by the Australian member of our party, later we hit the forestry trails that would return us safely to the cars.
Meall A’Bhuachaille, Glenmore, 810m, 2-3 hours
A Cairngorm classic
A classic for numerous good reasons; beautiful forest, shimmering green pools, a great bothy and expansive views of the Cairngorm plateau to name but a few. Our circuit started with a track up to the Ryvoan bothy which we found inhabited by some fairly frustrated winter climbers. They seemed to have made peace with the no snow situation and positively tropical temperatures and were making good use of their downtime attending to the fire and plotting future ice routes when the snow finally did arrive. From the bothy a well marked path takes you up and over Meall A’Bhuachaille with spectacular views back to the Cairngorm plateau and Loch Morlich.
Whatever the weather there is always beauty and adventure to be had in the Cairngorms, I can’t wait to return. I’m very happy to provide more details of the routes if needed. All photos are my own, I hope they provide a little spot of beauty and inspiration to your day (maybe not the one of me, but certainly the nature ones).