Ben Macdui – 29th January 2017.

Date: Sunday 29th January 2017
Distance: 16.4km
Ascent: 860m

After 10 years of doing Trip Reports on Scottishills.com I stopped in 2017. By summer 2017 I realised that the TRs had been a great diary of the better walks we’d done and worthwhile so I restarted writing reports. Almost 2 years on and I thought I should backfill the gap (albeit based on less sharp memories of the individual days).

Kicked off at the Cairngorm car park – attractive parking attendants were out and about.

Snow Bunting:

We started a little before dawn – the sunlight rolled over the hills to the north. Crossing the Northern Corries in winter can vary from a slog through deep unconsolidated snow to a marvellous wander on hard packed layers. On this occasion a few inches of unconsolidated snow did not impeded progress.

Meall a Buachaille dawn:

To the north Ben Rinnes was nicely snow-clad.

Ben Rinnes:

Behind us groups on winter skills courses were heading uphill, and the ski car park was the destination for a stream of incoming headlights.

H on ascent:

Heading uphill in winter it’s always nice to break into the sunlight, even in deep winter you can just feel the warmth.

Into the sunlight:

Ahead there was a not uncommon sight of cloud pushing over from the south across the Plateau.

K on ascent:

Crossed over the 1083m top and then headed on along the west flank of Cairn Lochan – this had us heading into the cold mist.

Lurchers Crag:

We were heading into the mist stream to Macdui, hoping it might break up, as we curled round Cairn Lochan the Plateau to the SE looked a lot clearer.

Beinn Mheadhoin:

Headed into the mist and it was an atmospheric walk to Ben Macdui, cold enough that hoar frost was forming on clothes and hair. A nice wee wander, but not much to photograph. Had a bite to eat at the summit and then wandered back towards Cairn Lochan.

As we approached Cairn Lochan we broke back out of the mist and had views again – Braeriach was sitting out of the cloud on the other side of the Lairig Ghru.

Braeriach:

Cairn Toul was not visible, but Sgor an Lochain Uaine was just visible snuggled under its cloud duvet.

Sgor an Lochain Uaine:

Carried on up Cairn Lochan a little and Cain Toul emerged as well.

Cairn Toul:

Headed up across the top of Cairn Lochan and enjoyed the sunshine, parky in the breeze.

Braeriach:

Dropped back down towards the 1083m top and then back down into the Northern Corries to return to the car.

Cairn Lochain from descent:

A pleasant Sunday stroll – always nice to get up on the Plateau in its winter coat.

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