Monday May 5th was our third full day in Scotland. The weather of the preceding two days was typically “Scottish,” so as the morning fog cleared cleared into a brilliant blue sky we headed straight into the Cairngorms to take advantage of such a day. Despite the amount of time I’ve previously spent in Scotland, I’ve never hiked in the Cairngorms before. I had planned on a 6 day through hike on my first trip, but a broken camera forced me back to Glasgow to get it repaired, and I never made it.
We didn’t have any particular plan, other than to avoid hiking near the hideous funicular railway that takes tourists and skiers near to the summit of Cairn Gorm. So off we headed on some trail or another. A stream crossings here, a muddy peat bog there, then we finally started gaining a bit of elevation along some gentle ridge. One things I love about the highlands is the ease of cross country travel. Sometimes you’ll get a bit more muddy than planned, worst I’ve managed was up to my waste in some bog in the Cuillins and then had to “bathe” in a creek before hitching back to Portree, but generally the rugged tundra like terrain means you can just choose a direction and go. So after we got a bit higher up, I pulled out the map to check things out. Hmm, looks like heading up to Cairn Lochan go be a good idea, so off we went…
Once we reached the summit plateau we took a short break for some chocolate and lunch, or is that lunch and some chocolate. Well, Sabine ate lunch while I was running around taking pictures. No time to worry about an empty stomach in such nice conditions.
Back on the way again. Below is the summit of Cairn Lochan with Loch Morlich below in the distance. At 1215 meters it’s nothing especially high, well, nothing in Scotland is especially high for that matter.
View of our way, keeping mostly along the ridge and making our way to Cairn Gorm, rising in the left of the photo.
View again towards Loch Morlich and the Town of Aviemore (‘adventure capital of Scotland’) off in the distance.
Starting to ascend the gentle slope of Cairn Gorm. This photo is looking back from where we had come. Cairn Lochan is the peak in he center of the photo. What a day and what a view!
Finally, the top of Cairn Gorm.
(all panos can be viewed larger by clicking on ’em)