Cairngorm and Beinn Mheadhoin

The Cairngorms

Start Point: Cairngorm Ski Area carpark
Grid Reference: OS Sheet 36 grid ref 989059
Time: Between 6 and 9 hours
View Location: Click for multiMap
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Introduction

I particularly looked forward to my first journey up Cairngorm in the summer months. Prior to this expedition I had only seen it with a light covering of snow, with hordes of people with silly hats queueing to go down a single ski run. (I am one of those people but without the silly hat.)

The development work for the new funicular has really created an eyesore.... so hopefully in a few years when it's completed it will prove worth while. Cairngorm Chairlift Company may even charge a reasonable ticket rate, we may get a great dump of snow this season..... and pigs may well take to the skies.

Sandra and Margaret at Loch Avon

Moira, John, Kevin and John at the summit of Cairngorm

   
Ben Mheadhoin, is an excellent addition to a trip up Cairngorm, although my Gaelic pronunciation gaffe gave my hillwalking in-laws much amusement. To avoid social exclusion the pronunciation is "Ben Vane", how that comes from Mheadhoin is a miracle of science. This route goes down to Loch Avon (pronounced "Ann") which is one of the most beautiful lochs I've enjoyed, mostly due to the clear water, beaches and the solitude.
 

Route

  • The obvious start point for this walk is the ski area car park Multimap. Given all the building work going on at the minute I'd recommend using the excellent network of paths running up Coire an Sneachda to avoid the general mellie.

  • From the carpark follow the path SW then south leading up to Coire an Sneachda. Once approximately 2 km from the carpark (GR987046) head East up to the Fiacall ridge. (The alternative is to simply pick your way through the ghostly ski tows to get to the same place.)

  • Once on the ridge it is a straight forward SE along the steep rocky track. Then at the crest of the ridge head 500m East to attain the summit of Cairngorm (1245m, GR005040).

  • From the summit of Cairngorm follow the steep track SSE down Coire Raibert to the Loch Avon. The track gets a bit sketchy in places but it does lead to the west end of the loch, where a beach provides the ideal spot to enjoy the solitude and the clear water.

  • From the head of Loch Avon follow the track towards Loch Etchachan, then head East to the awesome granite tors that run along the ridge. The highest of these tors forms the summit of Beinn Mheadhoin (1182m, GR025017).

  • From the summit head NNE to the outlet of Loch Avon, where it's a "socks and boots off job" to get across the water. Once across the burn, head west to the saddle (GR018034), then follow the track NW to the col between Cairngorm and Cnap Coire na Spreidhhe.

  • From this col it's a straight forward yomp NW down through the ski area to get back to the car park.

Cairngorm summit was crawling with people... and this was without the chairlift running! Beinn Mheadhoin and Loch Avon really made this a fantastic walk by offering a flavour of the wilderness available in the Cairngorms.

Munroists - Philip and Liz at the summit of Beinn Mheadhoin Looking down thru' Coire Raibert

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