Same old, same old Cairngorms camping. September 2016.

Date: Saturday/Sunday 17th/18th September 2015
Distance: 15.6 + 10.7km
Ascent: 1300 + 200m

At last! A high pressure ridge coinciding with a weekend.

The tent was been whining and scratching on the store cupboard door all summer wanting out (I lie, it’s been sitting on the lounge floor taunting us). 😦

The NW looked claggy and windy, but the ‘Gorms were there to help us out.

Had a leisurely start at mid-morning. Parked at the upper Cairngorm car park and walked back round to the Coire na Ciste car park to start off.

Took the much quieter path up to Coire Laogh Mor to avoid the crowds.

A pleasant day, warm with a breeze. Spotted a Ring Ouzel family on the way up (kept their distance as usual).

Ascent to Coire Laogh Mor:

Once onto the shoulder of Cnap Coire na Spreidhe there’s a good view to the east end of Beinn Mheadhoin plus the Eastern Cairngorms.

Beinn Mheadhoin:

Also a view down to the Glenshee hills which looked to be having a good day.

South to Glas Maol and The Cairnwell:

Kept on going up Cnap Coire na Spreidhe with improving views to the east over Bynack More and out to Ben Rinnes.

Bynack More:

One of the few Cairngorm Corbetts, Creag Mhor, looks tiny from up here. The odd perspective also makes it hard to believe that Creag Mhor is higher than the distant Morven at Ballater.

Creag Mhor and Morven:

Once up to Cnap Coire na Spreidhe the views over the Loch Avon basin begin to improve allowing a better appreciation of the core of the Cairngorm plateau.

Beinn Mheadhoin:

Sat and had some food on Cnap Coire na Spreidhe, people were moving to and fro the Cairngorm summit but the other tops remain oft ignored. 🙂

Heading on we noted that the Ciste Mearaid has succumbed this year.

As we headed up to the Cairngorm summit a reindeer herd decided to head past us to settle in on this slope. Lovely animals.


Skirted the Cairngorm summit. We often drop to Stac an Fharaidh from here , but decided this time to skirt the Northern Corries for once.

Northern Corries:

Loch Etchacan from Cairngorm:

Busy, busy, busy! Crossed over Stob Coire an t-Sneachda before diverting on the west flank of Coire Domhain to where Feidhe Buidhe drops down the slabs to Loch Avon.

Beinn Mheadhoin and Coire Raibert:

Coire Domhain and Carn Etchacan:

As you skirt the top of Loch Avon here there are splendid views of Shelterstone Crag and Carn Etchacan.

As with a lot of the flatter hill areas, it pays to come off the broad flat areas and seek the edges.

Beinn Mheadhoin and Carn Etchacan:

Carn Etchacan and Lochnagar:

Beinn Mheadhoin and Loch Avon:

Carn Etchacan and Shelterstone Crag:

There are some lovely pitch sites around Feidhe Buidhe near the top of the slabs. I don’t think I could ever exhaust the pitching potential of these hills.

Loch Avon:

Crossed Garbh Uisge Mor and wandered over to the top of Shelterstone Crag. This has somehow escaped us to this point so it was nice to finally visit. A fine viewpoint.

Loch Avon from Shelterstone Crag:

From there wandered up to the north tip of Carn Etchacan, still one of my favourite spots in the ‘Gorms.

Disturbed a few ptarmigan here.


Loch Avon from Carn Etchacan:

Chatted to another walker here – a first time visitor to the ‘Gorms. Someone with a fine nose for a viewpoint obviously. 🙂

Sat around for 30 minutes and enjoyed the place. Then headed on along Carn Etchacan to ascend Garbh Uisge Mor.

Above Loch Etchacan:

Another group of ptarmigan were loathe to move as we passed.


Looking down to Loch Etchacan it was obvious that we weren’t the only folks dusting off the tent. There were at least 8 tents around as we passed at 1700hrs.

Loch Etchacan:

Wandered up Garbh Uisge Mor to our target of Stob Coire Sputan Dearg.

Garbh Uisge Mor:

Stob Coire Sputan Dearg:

Unimaginative, we pitched the tent at last year’s pitch site.

Scarp pitched:

Some nice light as we settled in for the night, a nice midge defeating breeze from the SW.

Cairn Toul and Sgor an Lochain Uaine:

About 30 minutes after sunset and we noted that hill hats had spread across Lochnagar and Glenshee, followed by us.

Retreated inside for liquid and chocolate consolations.

Alarm set for 0100 and all was clear, with a decent inversion and a full moon.

Actually a bit bright for night shots.

Night shot:

Alarm went off at 0640 for sunrise, must have put my head down as I woke again at 0730 having missed dawn. Grrrrr.

Up and about to see what the morning was bringing. A brisk breeze, but it had nicely dried out the early evening condensation from the tent outer.

Quite an atmospheric morning.

Just wandered back and forward enjoying the views. Photo overload.

Derry Cairngorm:

Inversion lapping Stob Coire Sputan Dearg:

Derry submerging:

Sron Riach:

Lochan Uaine:

Stob Coire Sputan Dearg cliffs a little clearer:

Lochan Uaine:

Across Lairig Ghru:


Had breakfast and mooched around until 1000, only a few hours back to the car so there isn’t really any rush to get moving.

Breaking camp:

Wandered out via the summit of Stob Coire Sputan Dearg. The summit of Macdui lacks the drama of its flanks.

Inversion rising:

Stob Coire Sputan Dearg again:

The hill mist was lapping around the southern Cairngorms, quite atmospheric.

Beinn Mheadhoin tors:

As we neared the old shelter south of the summit we had a Cairngorm 4000ft wildlife first for us…..presumably transitting.

Unusual 4000ft wildlife:

Beinn Mheadhoin:

The robin was replaced by a more usual 4000ft resident.

Usual 4000ft wildlife:

Wandered over Macdui’s summit on our way back to the car. Rather interesting cloudscapes throughout the day kept our interest.

Cairn Toul from Macdui:

Always a nice view from the coire just north of the Macdui summit.

Across Lairig Ghru from Ben Macdui return:

From there a yomp back to the car, cloud thickening but no sign of any rain.

Cairn Toul from Cairn Lochain:

Brilliant to get back out on a summit camp, would be nice if the Autumn was as good as last year’s at making up for the summer. 🙂

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