A wander to Braeriach, with 2 high camps. 6th-8th July 2018.

Date: Friday-Sunday 6th – 8th July 2018
Distance: 4.5 + 16.0 + 16.0km
Ascent: 660m + 950 + 350m

Forecasts for the weekend looked a little less perfect than the last few weeks, but still tempting for camping.

East looked a little better over all, and we planned on trying to get up to a high camp on Friday night after work again.

Parked up in the Inshriach parking area at NH 852 012, got going at a little past 1800hrs. Still very hot despite the hour.

We like this route towards the hills, it heads up through some lovely Caley Pine woods and gives a number of options for approaching Sgoran Dubh Mor/Sgor Gaoith.

The bog asphodel is springing upwards now, the summer’s floral clock is running fast this year.

We followed the path up towards Coire na Cloiche and then followed the water uphill. A bit of a plowter in the heather. We eventually got our water at the top of a spring at around 600m, unfortunately a 300m climb with the night’s supply.

It was hot work heading uphill, but we eventually got to the top of the ridge. The views extend south and west out past Ben Alder and out to Ben Nevis.

Nice to get to the ridge and relax.

There was a bit more cloud than expected – Geal Charn gives quite a nice view along the northern arms of the Cairngorms.

Found a flat patch and got the tent down for the night.

The hill layers to the SW contain some cracking hills – Alder, Lochaber and Meagaidh all easily seen.

Ben Alder was of particular interest, having been last weekend’s camp site:

A cloud layer blunted sunset a bit, but the Fannaichs backlit red as the sun went down:

The hill got rather misted and clagged overnight so no night views, poked my head out at dawn to clag. Rolled over and went to sleep until the sun burned through at 0700.

A lovely blue sky day.

Had breakfast and got the tent gathered up. We planned on heading to Braeriach, perhaps via Cairn Toul. Set off at a wandering pace.

The ridge from Geal Charn to Sgor Gaoith is a little undulating, but nice terrain. Has views north across Carn Eilrig, Meall a Buachaille and out to Ben Rinnes:

Once up onto the ridge between Sgor Gaoith and Sgoran Dubh Mor there are some splendid views across Loch Einich to Braeriach.

Sgor Gaoith looks a little bland from the west, but it is a rather superb little pinnacle from the east.

The munro is very prone to clag and wind, but on a good day the views are sublime.

Continued on round the cliff lines, the views are far better than the bland approach over Carn Ban Mor.

We stopped to look in the pools at Fuaran Diotach – not a bad wee camp site if needed next to a spring.

There were tadpoles in the water and dragonflies laying eggs in the pool. Got a decent picture of an azure hawker in flight.

Carried on round the headwall of Glen Einich – the views are good, but the terrain close in is rather jumbly and hard work.

Loch Einich:

Started up a pair of ptarmigan here, no chicks seen though.

Had lunch next to a wee stream, our plan to proceed over Cairn Toul had been replaced by a direct wander to Braeriach. Sat and had an easy lunch.

Once through the jumbly terrain it’s about 400m of ascent up the western side of Braeriach. Wide open views from near 4000ft. A pleasant wander in the sunshine.

As with many of the Cairngorm giants, Braeriach is a colossal hill, with a large summit plateau.

We wandered across Einich cairn towards the summit. We’ve camped a few times on Carn na Criche (1265m top) but the forecast suggested escalating westerlies overnight and I wanted a little more shelter. We headed round to a little coire between the true summit and the 1235m top, above Coire an Lochain.

Wandered around to find a flat pitch. Nearly trod on a dotterel on nest – seems quite late.

Got the tent up then took a stroll up to the summit. As with many of the big Cairngorms, the views need a bit of walking to the edges of plateaux and are a bit obscured in many places.

Carn Toul and Sgor an Lochain Uaine:

From the summit there’s a grand view south along the Lairig Ghru hills.


A snow bunting was singing near the summit:

Headed back to the tent for a siesta:

Had our tea and then wandered around our the locale of our pitch.

Carn Eilrig:

Coire an Lochain:

H and the view NE:

The Fife Lomonds:

Up on the 1235m top it was clear that cloud was spreading in from the west a little quicker than hoped for:

Lowering light:

The forecast had suggested a decent sunset and then clear skies until around midnight. No such luck, we were clouded by 2100hrs so sunset was lost. A few interesting clouds were on view before it got dark.

We also managed to identify Ben Hope, to the left of Ben Klibreck:

We knew the wind forecast was for strengthening winds overnight. It also clagged in. Not quite the glorious dawn conditions we’ve got used to.

Packed up inside the tent and then got going. Once we dropped 100m down towards Moine Mor we got under the cloud base to an atmospheric view.

The reindeer herd, which we’d seen on Carn na Criche in the evening, had sensibly migrated down to lower slopes overnight.

Always nice to see the reindeer – lovely calm, placid beasties.


Crossing Moine Mor a little further south, aiming for Loch na Cnapan, is much less gnarly and easier on the legs. We soon got to the estate track that runs up here. Braeriach still had its hat firmly on.

Climbing up to Carn Ban Mor we could have taken the track down to Achlean, but we instead crossed Carn Ban Mor (back in the clag) and then headed west down the big slope westwards to regain the path we’d started on at NN 88 99.

Once down at the path we enjoyed the flower display on the 3km back to the car.

Bog Asphodel:

Marsh Orchids:

Feshie Caley Pines:

A nice weekend, not the perfect conditions recently seen but still good to get out in the tent. Hard to believe that a 3 year gap had elapsed since our last visit to Braeriach!

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