Hill: Cairngorm
Date: 22nd July 2015
Company: Myself and Cuillin
Distance: 14.8km, Ascent: 1030m
Time: 4Hrs 55Mins

After driving over 600 miles on Tuesday to get home from Killarney, I wanted to ascend a relatively close-to-home hill today to minimise further driving. The MWIS forecast for the Cairngorms was suggesting 70% cloud-free Munros so I decided to head for Cairngorm with a view to ascending Lurcher's Crag. Lurcher's crag was one of only three Munros from the original 1891 Munro list that I had not as yet ascended.

I parked in the Coire Cas car park and set off walking up the main track leading to the Ptarmigan restaurant. This is my least favourite way up Cairngorm. On the plus side, it gets you up onto the plateau very quickly.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Ascent of Cairngorm via the main track from Coire Cas:

As per several other recent walks in the Cairngorms, today I saw lots of wildlife. The highlight was seeing six Ring Ouzel including some juveniles.

Ring Ouzel:

Ring Ouzel:

Juvenile Ring Ouzel:

I reached the Ptarmigan restaurant approximately one hour after setting off from the car park. From the restaurant, I followed the very obvious track leading up to the summit.

Looking back towards the Ptarmigan restaurant:

I stopped at the summit long enough to take a photo of Cuillin before continuing on.

Cuillin at the summit of Cairngorm:

Weather Station at the summit of Cairngorm:

Looking across to Beinn Mheadhoin and Loch Etchachan:

As well as ascending Lurcher's Crag, I decided today to also ascend Fiacaill a'Choire Chais, Stob Coire an t-Sneachda and Cairn Lochan. I followed the rim of both Coire an t-Sneachda and Coire Lochan.

As I approached the top of Fiacaill a'Choire Chais, I heard the sound of a helicopter below and quickly got the camera out. Within a matter of seconds, a helicopter rose out of Coire an t-Sneachda and flew about 15m directly above me. I was only just able to fit the full helicopter into the frame of the photo.

SAR Helicopter above Fiacaill a'Choire Chais:

SAR Helicopter above Fiacaill a'Choire Chais:

Coire an t-Sneachda from Fiacaill a'Choire Chais:

Today was my 9th ascent of Cairngorm. I have ascended Cairngorm several times previously during traverses through the Cairngorms. I have ascended it twice en-route to Beinn Mheadhoin. I ascended Cairngorm after climbing Finger's Ridge and also after a Winter ascent of the Fiacaill Ridge.

I have never ascended Fiacaill Ridge in summer. It is on my to do list as is an ascent of Pygmy Ridge and Savage Slit.

Fiacaill Ridge:

At the summit of Stob Coire an t-Sneachda:

Cuillin at the summit of Stob Coire an t-Sneachda:

I took a photo of Finger's Ridge, a Diff climb that I ascended back in 2002.

Finger's Ridge:

Looking back towards Cairngorm summit:

During my ascent of Cairn Lochan, both myself and Cuillin spotted a Ptarmigan.

Ptarmigan on Cairn Lochan:

Ptarmigan on Cairn Lochan:

Looking across to Beinn Mheadhoin:

Looking down The Vent, Cairn Lochan:

En-route to the summit of Cairn Lochan, we spotted another five Ptarmigan and also five Dotterel.

At the summit of Cairn Lochan:

From Cairn Lochan, I continued on in approximately the same direction before taking a more direct line towards Lurcher's Crag.

Looking towards Angel's Peak and Braeriach:

During the descent towards Lurcher's Crag, I stopped to take a photo of a very small Alpine plant. I have no idea what kind it is.

Unknown small plant:

Heading for Creag an Leth-choin (Lurcher's Crag):

During the ascent of Lurcher's Crag, I stopped to chat with a couple of walkers. It turns out we have several mutual friends .

On reaching the summit of Lurcher's Crag, I had to keep an eye on Cuillin as the summit is at the edge of a steep cliff. The views down to the Lairig Ghru from the summit of Lurcher's Crag are outstanding.

Looking down to the Lairig Ghru from the summit of Lurcher's Crag:

Braeriach from the summit of Lurcher's Crag:

Looking towards the Lairig Ghru and the Devil's Point:

Coire Cas car park from Lurcher's Crag:

From Lurcher's Crag, I decided to return approximately 1km to pick up the track leading down to the Coire Cas car park.

Coire Lochan:

The track leading down to Coire Cas is excellent. I think I will use this again in the near future for an overnight camp in the Cairngorms.

Cuillin leading the way back to Coire Cas car park:

Approaching the Coire Cas car park:

I hope to ascend Cairngorm many more times via a variety of different routes. It is an outstanding mountain.