Hills: Ben Macdui and Sron Riach
Date: Sunday 27th August 2017
Company: Myself and Dianne
Distance: 20.8km, Ascent: 1065m
Time: 7Hrs 40Mins
A combination of great weather, great views and
great wildlife resulted in this being one of my favourite walks in a good
while. I gratefully accepted the offer of a lift to the
Cairngorms for an ascent of Ben Macdui and Sron Riach, one of my three
remaining Munro Tops in the Cairngorm National Park. We parked at the Coire
Cas car park and after getting suited and booted commenced our ascent up the
track leading towards Lurcher's Crag.
Despite this being my fourth ascent of Ben Macdui and/or its tops in the
past twelve months, I loved every minute of the walk. The Cairngorms are a
fantastic range of hills. Before long we were making good progress up the
hill with views back to Meall a' Bhuachaille, a Corbett located above the
fantastic Ryvoan Bothy.
Looking back towards Meall a' Bhuachaille during ascent towards Lurcher's Crag:
During the ascent we passed Coire an Lochain with its distinctive slab which
is very prone to avalanche in winter.
Coire an Lochain:
We soon made our way past Lurcher's Crag and views began to open up across
to Braeriach, Angel's Peak and Cairn Toul.
Looking back towards Lurcher's Crag:
As we continued towards Braeriach we spotted two small patches of snow in
one of Braeriach's coires. I mistakingly thought I had heard in the news
that there were no remaining patches of snow in Scotland when in fact there
were no remaining patches of snow on Ben Nevis. These small patches were
however one of only three remaining patches in Scotland.
En-route to Ben Macdui we passed the March Burn and then crossed the section
of boulderfield to reach the base of the final section of ascent. Looking
back we had good views of Cairngorm and several of its tops.
View towards Cairngorm:
We reached the summit of Ben Macdui in good time and spent a bit of time
there taking photographs before descending a short distance downhill towards
the remains of sapper's bothy. During the walk we met and spoke with a
number of walkers all of whom were friendly with several asking for advice
regarding directions, etc.
Approaching the summit of Ben Macdui:
Ben Macdui toposcope:
View towards Beinn Mheadhoin:
On reaching sapper's bothy we stopped for lunch and enjoyed the company of
other walkers one of whom was carrying a hula hoop up the hill
. Both of the
groups in the bothy had spent the night previous camped at Loch Etchachan.
From sapper's bothy we followed the track leading towards Loch Etchachan
before turning off to make our way down towards Sron Riach. During the
descent we got great views of the Devil's Point which was glistening in the
sun as well as Cairn Toul, Angel's Peak, Braeriach, Carn a' Mhaim, Monadh
Mor, Beinn Bhrotain, Lochnagar and the Blair Atholl Munros to the south.
Carn a' Mhaim with slabs of the Devil's Point glistening in the sun:
Descent towards Sron Riach:
Depite having ascended Ben Macdui now six times this was my first visit to
Sron Riach. Sron Riach is a great viewpoint!
Lovely view down to Lochan Uaine from summit of Sron Riach:
View from the summit of Sron Riach:
From Sron Riach, we returned to the summit of Ben Macdui where we had a good
break and spent time watching a very friendly Snow Bunting which was
scavenging for any bits of available food.
Snow Bunting at the summit of Ben Macdui:
From Ben Macdui, we returned to the car via our inbound route. During the
walkout, we spotted a number of reindeer on the slopes of Cairn Lochan. I
was really chuffed to see them and took a small diversion uphill to get as
close as possible to them without startling them.
Reindeer on slopes of Cairn Lochan:
Getting up close and personal:
During the descent we again passed Coire an Lochain and stopped to look at
Cliffs of Coire an Lochain:
To top an already excellent day out, we stopped in Aviemore for some coffee
and cake. A great day out.