Having booked a weekend away with friends to do a bit of walking in the Newtonmore/Kingussie area it was a real treat to wake up on the Saturday morning and for the sun to be shining.
Starting this walk we decided to take a bit of a detour and look at Loch Gynack, so we peeled of the normal route at the Golf Course so that we could approach the Loch from its Eastern end and took a walk along it's Northern shore, the water was crystal clear, calm and shimmering in the Sunshine.
Bit of bird activity here with Greylag Geese, Black Headed Gulls, Common Sandpipers and numerous Goldeneye duck all to be seen. We then rejoined the route as the path emerged from the forestry after having a look at the information that was displayed about the Hydro scheme that was being built here.
Contrary to the normal route, we decided on taking a clockwise direction up towards the summit taking the path up the valley following the Allt Mor burn which was very well made. Presumably its been upgraded to support the Hydro scheme and made for very easy walking, height is gained quite quickly as we strode along giving some fine views behind us towards Kingussie and over towards the Glen Feshie area, Ruthven Barracks were clearly visible.
About 1km beyond a stand of pine trees the path takes a steep drop down to the burn in order to cross it, here further evidence of the Hydro scheme was easily visible, 2 sluices where presumably water is taken off and then channeled through pipes down to the Turbine House near Loch Gynack.
Once across the other side of the burn, the path starts to climb quickly, from the burn at about 530m it swings round the back of Meall Unaig before finally approaching the summit from the South West.
We saw quite a bit of wildlife from this point including some very tame Mountain Hares, Ravens soaring overhead and a large herd of Red Deer on the slopes of Meall na Gearra!
As the incline starts to ease we caught sight of the tall cairn, had a quick look before pushing on to the summit, keen for a break for lunch.
It had clouded over by this point and a moderate Westerly was blowing on the top as we approached the true summit with it's Trig point where we stopped for a few pictures.
Just past the summit found a nice shelter which was also being used by a Ptarmigan, got a picture before it flew off. This provided a nice wind break for us to sit and have our lunch as we looked North over the expanse of the Monadhliaths.
After lunch it was back on to the track which is still substantial, not often on a hill where you could easily drive a 4 x 4 to the top, initially heading North East before turning South East and heading for Beinn Bhreac.
Once over this top the track took a steep downwards direction towards the moorland below. The path became a little rougher as it made its way down past rows of grouse butts and the rather grand Green Bothy, lots of Mountain Hares bounding around this area.
We were soon approaching the forestry area around the Pitmain Lodge and it felt good to be back down heading for Kingussie and a refreshment stop in one of the pubs. Having not come all the way up this track initially the last couple of kilometre's seemed to go on for ages. However, we soon got back to the main road and headed for the Duke of Gordon Hotel for a well deserved pint or two. It wasn't till I got into the bar that I noticed that my boots were just as clean and dry as they were when I left in the morning, not often you do a hill and hardly have to leave such a well made and dry track!
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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.