Footprints Across Scotland
Why not make a few of your own!
24th January 2009
A walk on the edge of the Cairngorms.
The dawn brought a purple vista to the hills and the promise of a bright new day as I arrived at Cock Bridge and parked at the Allargue Arms hotel. I enjoyed a mug of tea to warm me against the chill as I stepped into my walking boots. The estate road was frosted and icy in places but soon brought me to a couple buildings at Loinherry. Cairn Vaich, the eastern shoulder of Carn Ealasaid was now brightened by the early morning sun.
Cairn Vaich above Loinherry
As I made my way up the hillside the white rump's of a couple of Roe deer bade farewell as they bobbed easily out of sight. Three large cairns stood like sentries looking out to the distant Cairngorms as I reached Cairn Vaich.
Shortly after I was above the snow line and the buried land rover track showed only animal prints. The steady climb kept me warm against the cold wind and allowed me enjoy to the grand panorama of views that were opening up. The snow was now ankle deep as strode over the heather clad hillside the lack of features hardly noticed as my gaze lay elsewhere. The distinctive Torr's on the Ben Avon plateau could be seen clearly along with other hills in the northern Cairngorms.
Nearing the top of Carn Ealasaid
A small cairn signalled that I had arrived at the top of this rounded hill but with little shelter to escape the cold wind my stop was brief.
Cairngorms from Carn Ealasaid
I know turned my attention to the north east and Beinn a' Chruinnich on the western side of the Lecht ski centre. I choose a line that would minimise losing too much height but also avoid the peat hags that lay in the centre ground. The snow lay deeper as I dropped to the col between the two hills and while not impeding my descent certainly had me working harder as I climbed toward the ski tows. Open fields toward Tomintoul in the north now showed green against the dark heather at the base of the hills.
Long legs stretch toward Tomintoul
Only a couple of runs were open at the ski centre but those in attendance seemed like me to be enjoying a fine day. I found some shelter behind some large tussocks in which to have a spot of lunch while watching the skiers start their run downhill.
The Lecht Ski Centre
Continuing on I now headed south down steepening heathery slopes of Carn Mhic an Toisich.
Carn Ealasaid and Cairngorms from Beinn a' Chruinnich
The way levelled as I picked up a path on Carn Meadhoncah which lead easily down to the burn of Loinherry and thence my outward path. After rounding the corner of the small plantation Corgarff castle now came into view sitting white on the hillside.
I was then soon back at the hotel after my short stravaig in the lovely winter sunshine.
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