Having spent the previous 2 days on a course at Glenmore Lodge near Aviemore this walk was chosen as a fairly short walk for my brother Colin and I on our way back to Edinburgh. The weather over the weekend had been perfect, clear blue skies and freezing temperatures with a good covering of snow on the tops. We had stayed in Aviemore the night before and had a few drinks and some grub in the hotel; by the time we drove down to Garva Bridge it was almost 11.00. We were surprised to see a camper van and another car at the parking area, we weren't expecting anyone else as this is a fairly remote spot. After a quick coffee we got kitted up and headed along the track over the old Garva Bridge, turned right and up the track to the new bridge over the river near the line of the dreaded pylons. Although it was about minus 3 when we started walking we were soon peeling off the layers as we walked up into the sun. The track after the new bridge by the pylons leads off to the left, follow the vehicle track for a short distance and then pick up the footpath on the left which follows a route some way above the SE bank of the Alt Coire nan Dearcag towards Geal Charn. The track is a bit indistinct in places but you have the summit in sight so its easy to head in the right direction. We crossed the burn fairly high up and then picked up the ridge path leading towards the summit. Thankfully the ground was frozen solid as it could have been boggy in places. As you get a bit higher the track is very easy to follow although this morning there was a good covering of snow in places but there were plenty of footprints to follow. It was a great walk up towards the summit perfect weather and so clear you could see for about 50 miles in every direction. It took us just over 2 hours to reach the summit where we met another couple of walkers just starting their descent. Instead of following the same route back we decided to cut across SE to the Bealach below Beinn Sgiath; the snow was great around here and it was frozen so hard we were able to walk on top of it most of the way. From just below Beinn Sgiath we followed the ridge SW towards Meall an Domhnaich dropping down to the right to the tip of the woods at 533 958. At the corner of the wood there is an old gate in the fence, follow the path through the gate and within 50 metres or so you pick up the top of the track leading to the vehicle track at 527 954. From here its an easy walk back to the bridge over the Spey.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.