Scotland – Cairngorm and Ben Macdui, Highlands
Distance: 17km/10½ miles
Type: Mountain and plateau
Where: Circular walk from Coire Cas car park via Cairn Gorm and Ben Macdui.
Start/End: Coire Cas car park (NH989061).
Terrain: Good, clear paths, some sections along the edges of corries. The broad, featureless plateau requires good navigational skills in misty conditions, and real care should be taken in almost all weather conditions.
Maps: OS Explorer 403; Landranger 36.
The wild Cairngorm range is home to five of the six highest mountains in Britain, and was only the second area in Scotland to be given national park status, after Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. It became a national park in 2003, after decades of vigorous campaigning by Ramblers Scotland. Although it can get busy, the sense of space high on the Cairngorm plateau is such that it never seems crowded. This route from Cairn Gorm to Ben Macdui is superb: the contrast between walking above steep corries and across an almost alien, boulder-strewn landscape is compelling, and the chance to spot wildlife unique to the region, such as Britain’s only herd of wild reindeer, always appeals. The views are far-reaching – to Ben Nevis on a clear day, and north along the coastline of Moray. But it is the immediate, more intimate views that can take your breath away. You can feel very insignificant when among these mountains but, having been once, you will want to return time and time again.
Click below to see a route profile and view the route on an Ordnance Survey map