Angels Ridge - a trip to the heart of the Cairngorms

Route: Cairn Toul - Braeriach traverse

Munros: Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, The Devil's Point

Date walked: 20/07/2017

Angels Ridge

I was 14 years old when I had my first taste of a day in the mountains. A group of older friends were doing a charity hike through the Lairig Ghru and asked if I wanted to join them. I remember being in awe of the massive mountains that reared up on the left hand side as we hiked in towards the Pools of Dee. They were dark and menacing with heavy clouds darkening their appearance. This may have been the initial hook that led to this addiction!

My next foray to this part of the world was back in July 2003 when I was a bit fitter than I am now!. I cycled in and up Glen Dee to continue on foot around six Munros on the Western side of the Lairig Ghru! A long day it was and enjoyable – the navigational skills were also tested that day!! I’ve been back to the Cairngorms lots but never really back into the Lairig Gru to any extent.

When I picked up “Classic Mountain Scrambles in Scotland” (Andrew Dempster) back in the late nineties, I noticed there weren’t too many easier scrambles in the Gorms. Fiacaill Ridge is a classic and has been done many times, but I always fancied Angels Ridge, but somehow had never found the time to try it out – until now….

My brother fancied Braeriach so I suggested a wee detour round to Angels Ridge as part of the route. The long summer days are a fine time to do this as the distances involved are large!

We set off from the Sugarbowl car park around 9am and it was blustery, the forecast suggesting arduous walking on higher areas in the morning – this may have included the 450m start point! It did however have the advantage of keeping any biting beasties at bay!

Soon we were at the Chalamain Gap, boulder hoping our way through as the cloud started to part. The skies were looking good! Dropping down we met the Lairig Ghru and continued up to the Pools of Dee, stopping for some lunch here. It was now after 11- and we hadn’t even started climbing properly yet! The best part of the walk (excluding the scramble) came next in my opinion. Skirting the hillside into the An Garbh Choire produced some stunning views down Glen Dee and also into the massive Corries that dominate the skyline – a superb place and well worth the effort.

Imagelooking at the devil by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

I had hoped the Corries may have provided some shelter but the opposite was true- the wind was whistling down off the plateau and seemed to intensify as it hit the corrie floor- I was starting to doubt if the ridge option may be a no goer due to the gusty wind!

Stopping at the tiny Garbh Coire Bothy (maybe better described as an emergency shelter!) we had a second lunch before starting to ascend in a steeper fashion! A short time later and we reached the shores of Lochan Uaine which turned out to be a little less windy, strange as this must be one of the highest bodies of water in Scotland perhaps? Third lunch (well sweeties) were had here as we lounged about taking in the views.

The ridge didn’t look too steep or narrow so we decided to give it a go and were soon scrambling up easy angled granite boulders with superb frictional properties As you get higher on the ridge there are few slightly steeper steps but nothing too difficult- it’s the location that makes this a special scramble!

ImageAngels Ridge by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

Reaching Angels peak we decided to nip over to Carn Toul – it looked really close! About half an hour later and we were sheltering in the summit circle! The wind was at its worse here – literally blowing us about and we were glad to descend a little and leave the gales behind!

ImageBraeraich summit views again by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

Back up to Sgor an Lochain Uaine and we had the last peak (or rise in the Plateau) in our sights. The cliffs and Corries that surround Braeriach must be some of the finest in Scotland and the hike round them was superb in these conditions. Although windy the skies were clear and the views amazing.

Imageangels peak by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

Knackered, we arrived on Braeriachs summit after four.

ImageBraeraich summit views by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

Now it was the long walk back, finally reaching the car around 10 hours after starting. A long day but definitely worth the effort – a fine day in the CNP.

Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Comments: 3

Beyond Assynt...

Corbetts: Glas Bheinn (Assynt)
Date walked: 10/07/2017
Comments: 10
Views: 751

Creag Rainich

Corbetts: Creag Rainich
Date walked: 13/05/2017
Views: 299

Mullach Mor Holy Moly

Sub 2000s: Mullach Mor (Holy Island)
Date walked: 01/05/2017
Comments: 1
Views: 244

An Arran Adventure - The Mountains of Arran

Corbetts: Beinn Tarsuinn, Cir Mhor
Date walked: 29/04/2017
Comments: 1
Views: 377

A Knoydart kayak, wild camping Munro and Corbett adventure

Munros: Sgurr Mor (Loch Quoich)
Corbetts: Sgurr an Fhuarain
Date walked: 08/04/2017
Comments: 2
Views: 1055

Deep in Rob Roy Territory

Munros: Stob Binnein
Date walked: 02/04/2017
Comments: 2
Views: 511

Summit Sunset

Munros: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn), Stuc a'Chroin
Date walked: 27/03/2017
Comments: 2
Views: 531

A View to An Teallach

Munros: Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill (An Teallach), Sgurr Fiona (An Teallach)
Date walked: 26/03/2017
Comments: 13
Views: 2090

Blue Skies above the Clouds on Schiehallion

Munros: Schiehallion
Date walked: 22/01/2017
Comments: 1
Views: 1008


User avatar
Location: Perthshire
Occupation: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJyJKu3ysdceGqK_JaZFUNA
Interests: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJyJKu3ysdceGqK_JaZFUNA haha - my videos (and hill of course!) !!
Place: NW Highlands
Gear: Rab Vapour R
Ideal day out: anything outdoors :)


Filter reports



Trips: 11
Ascent: 700m
Munros: 11
Corbetts: 5
Sub2000s: 1


Trips: 22
Munros: 18
Corbetts: 17
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 1


Trips: 8
Munros: 5
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 1


Trips: 20
Distance: 107 km
Ascent: 10420m
Munros: 11
Corbetts: 18
Grahams: 1


Trips: 28
Distance: 151 km
Ascent: 15635m
Munros: 26
Corbetts: 22


Trips: 44
Distance: 419.5 km
Ascent: 29949m
Munros: 26
Corbetts: 26


Trips: 2
Distance: 14 km
Ascent: 1700m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 1


Trips: 1
Munros: 3


Trips: 1
Corbetts: 2


Trips: 2
Distance: 24 km
Ascent: 8000m
Munros: 22

Joined: Jan 26, 2012
Last visited: Aug 19, 2017
Total posts: 1113 | Search posts


Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information on the forum and in walk reports is provided by individual users. It is each walker's responsibility to check information and navigate using a map and compass.