Blowin' in the Wind

Route: Cairn Gorm and the northern corries

Munros: Cairn Gorm
Sub 2000s: Ord Ban

Date walked: 23/02/2019

Time taken: 7.45 hours

Distance: 24.26km

Ascent: 1390m

Saturday 23rd February 2019 - Loch an Eilein & Ord Ban
357m ascent
3 hours 5 mins

I had a later than planned start (I needed to lock my front door 4 times then go back twice to check it again :lol: ) and headed up the road to Aviemore. I arrived at our pre-planned camp spot at 12.30 a few minutes after Malcy who had been a keen bean and run up Meall a’ Buachaille already (to be fair he also had a 2 hour shorter drive :roll: )

Wee bit hazy but the Lurcher’s Crag was prominent

It was quite windy but a beautiful afternoon so we pitched the tent (I’d brought the Vango Palace for a weekend of luxury) and decided to go for a wander. One of the things I like best about Malcy is that he is basically the same person as me, so when I had suggested an afternoon wander to Loch an Eilein and potentially Ord Ban to test out the injury he had been thinking exactly the same thing :lol:

We set off down the track through Rothiemurchus and promptly messed up as we found ourselves bashing though all sorts of heather, bog and other nonsense (the path through the house doesn’t seem to exist). This was supposed to be an easy weekend :roll:

Braeriach and Carn Eilrig

After filling my boots with heather and Malcy’s trainers with water we found our way onto a track which took us towards Loch an Eilein. It was quite pretty 8)

We decided to go clockwise so we would be able to attempt to find the path we had missed to walk back on (we didn’t). Although it was forecast to be super windy up high (Malcy’s foray up Meall a’ Buachaille had confirmed this) it was relatively sheltered down low and really warm :shock: 8)

This is obviously a popular walk and it was predictably busy on a warm Saturday afternoon. We reached the end of the loch and wandered down the side of the burn for a nice view 8)

I decided to do a thing (and fell in :lol: )

Further around we could see a wee island with a castle

Malcy had been up Ord Ban on several occasions but had never managed to find the path. Fortunately I know him well and had anticipated this – I led him to the correct starting point with the help of Al and Alison’s GPS I had checked out earlier. I’d had enough of off-piste for one day :lol:

It was a steep climb but on a good path, even for Malcy in his trainers. As we climbed out of the trees we were hit by the full force of the wind – it was hold onto your hats time :shock:

We walked the final few metres to the summit to find that it was indeed the shape of trig point that he had guessed before doubting himself (what a loser, anyone would have guessed it was a Vanessa Pillar :lol: )

Malcy mounting Vanessa


I struggled to stand up :lol:


It was a wee bit hazy but the views towards Meall a’ Buachaille and Loch Pityoulish were clear

It wasn’t a day for hanging around so we headed down – Loch an Eilein and the Gorms were just visible


Back on the ground we made use of the toilet block – although they were mainly closed for winter, the Disabled one had been left unlocked – before stopping off at the Loch for a wee view

From here we carried on along the track - we looked out for the other end of the track we’d missed earlier but didn’t spot it anywhere - and nearly trod on this wee guy

Back at the tent it turned into a lovely evening – windy and cold but actually very mild for February (my Facebook Memories reminded me the next day that this weekend last year I had been camping on Beinn an Eoin in Torridon, and oh my goodness it was cold that night :lol: )

We enjoyed a relaxed evening of cake and custard (a homemade Jaxter Special), some dinner and a 3D Noughts and Crosses tournament (which ended up being a bit embarrassing for Malcy :lol: )

Loch an Eilein & Ord Ban.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Sunday 24th February 2019 - Cairn Gorm & the Northern Corries
1033m ascent
4 hours 40 mins

It was a cold night – when we woke the next morning there was frost on the outside of the tent :shock: But the morning was warm and we were able to sit outside enjoying our tea and porridge whilst deciding what we were going to do today – there had been several plans on the go the previous evening. Just for a change :lol:

Wandering around in my jammies – I’ve got Pooh on my legs :lol:


Looking up towards the northern corries I said “I want to go up there” – I didn’t really expect to get that far but I thought it would be awesome to get a bit of height for the views, and potentially make it to the plateau.

Driving along the shores of Loch Morlich I had to stop to photograph the reflections – it was completely still 8)




Malcy’s patience was wearing thin….(actually it wasn’t, he was just winding me up :lol: ) so we made our way up to the carpark where there were at least 4 Mountain Rescue teams there – looked like we were in safe hands :wink:

Boots on, bags packed and Malcy’s lengthy visit to the toilet complete, we were finally off

As we gained height we could see back to Loch Morlich and the Ullapool hills in the far distance (if only I’d brought the big lens :roll: )

Eventually we had climbed high enough to leave the path and cut across to the Fiacaill ridge – there were snow patches here, I showed how to enjoy the snow….

Before a ptarmigan used it for a more important purpose :lol:

Finally of the ridge for real we could see the impressive cliffs of Coire an t-Sneachda


Across to Cairn Gorm itself

Now we were on the ridge it was super windy – this was snapped just before Malcy was blown over :lol:

Then he got his own back :lol:

Ahead to the Fiacaill buttress – we could see a couple of groups climbing and decided to go and have a look

Then I got distracted because we were starting to see Sgorr Gaoith, surely one of the most attractive hills in the Gorms 8)

Reaching the bottom of the awkward bit Malcy went to have a look – I’d had to skirt around this bit in the summer with a huge pack, and we decided that being sensible might be the best course of action here too – there were some icy bits and also the wind was going to hit us as soon as we climbed out of the crack. Guess we’d just have to come back another time :roll:

Sgorr Gaoith and beyond

We passed the groups of climbers – they were on winter skills courses, which everyone seemed to find quite amusing given the lack of winter :lol: We made use of some shelter to add layers before reaching the top…and then we climbed out onto the plateau – I had made it!!

It was windy though – we had a wander over to Cairn Lochain for the views – impressive corries 8)

Beinn Mheadhoin and Carn Etchachan

Although the views were stunning it was not a day to be hanging around – we dropped towards Coire Domhain before pausing to add some more gloves and Malcy used this opportunity to eat some pie :lol:

Looking towards Cairn Gorm

As we began to climb towards Stob Coire an t-Sneachda the views back to the Fiacaill Buttress was pretty awesome


I was planning to Jaxter on here but it was too windy. Instead I did something semi-sensible and Malcy fell over trying to take the photo :lol: :lol:

Loch Morlich

The sky started to do some really pretty things and looking back we were able to see Cairn Toul begin to peak out

Looking towards Carn Etchachan and Stacan Dubh where we camped in the summer

Beinn Mheadhoin and Stacan Dubh

Cairn Toul and Sgor an Lochain Uaine

We reached the top of Stob Coire an t-Sneachda and I fell off the cairn :lol:

Looking back along the northern corries – impressive :shock:

We were thinking about heading out to Stac an Fharaidh for the views but I decided that I ought to be sensible and we decided that a slow walk to Cairn Gorm and then down would be the best course of action 8)

Beinn Mheadhoin, Derry Cairngorm & Macdui

We began the slow ascent….looking back to the northern corries with Sgor Gaoith behind

Sgor an Lochain Uaine, Cairn Toul, Braeriach & Sgor Gaoith

Soon we were high enough to see Loch Etchachan – pretty frozen 8)

We reached the top and wandered down a bit to see if we could get any views – we’d have to walk a lot further down for views of Loch Avon but it was still lovely. We could see out to Ben Avon and Beinn a’ Bhuird

And Lochnagar 8)

That’s some skyline 8)

I decided to climb the weather station…seemed like a good idea until it was super windy and felt a bit precarious :shock:

The summit of Cairn Gorm is pretty obvious….as is the route down :lol:

Malcy modelling outdoor gear on the summit of Cairn Gorm :lol:

Trying (and failing) to stay upright

A last look 8)

It was so clear – some skyline that 8)



The thought of burgers in the Winking Owl was sounding very attractive so we started to follow the yellow brick road down towards the Ptarmigan restaurant

We paused on the way down for a wee pose….this was super windy :lol:

A last glance upwards as the wind picked up even more to levels where we were struggling to stand :shock:

Back at the car we headed down to Aviemore for pies (they looked even better than the burgers) before heading back to the tent where we saw a shooting star before an early night and an earlier start in the morning to get to work in time :shock: :lol:

What an amazing weekend 8)

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Comments: 3

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Views: 274

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Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Nevis, Carn Mor Dearg
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User avatar
Location: Glasgow
Occupation: Musician, adrenaline junkie and baker
Interests: Walking, running, skiing, playing good music with good people, baking cakes and snuggling.
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: Star Wars Cantina
Mountain: Garbh Bheinn
Place: Anywhere with a view
Gear: Rab jacket

Munros: 199
Corbetts: 103
Grahams: 40
Donalds: 45
Wainwrights: 53
Hewitts: 39
Sub 2000: 29

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