Monday, 23 March 2020


Loch Coire an Lochain, Braeriach
Braeriach is my favourite mountain in the whole of the Cairngorm mountains range. Big, remote, wild and many corries and spurs which offer numerous routes to get to the summit of the 3rd highest peak in the UK. I am fortunate enough that I can get up it without any form of motorised transport from my doorstep in Aviemore.
The bike in, always a joy

The old jalopy going well this morning
It's a beautiful bike ride from my house then up to Gleann Einich on well made forest tracks. The beautiful Caledonian Pines for company. I saw no one this morning. The bike takes off at least 3 hours of walking, whichever route you take. I think the Northern Corries is the finest walking route onto Breariach. The only guidebook I have ever see it in is in the classic SMT Cairngorms district guide written by the late and great Dr. Adam Watson. If you haven't got it, buy it! It's the finest guide to the Cairnorm mountains with a wealth of information, wildlife, geology and lots of other info.
Gleann Einich and Braeriach
It was a dull early morning but the cloud slowly thinned and broke up with some beautiful sunshine by mid morning. There are three shallow gully lines with watercourses in summer that riun down from Braeriach's Northern Corries. In winter these redily fill with snow. By this period in the season they are usually well filled in with deep snow. At the moment there is so much snow on the hills that this area is almost a complete snow field running down to around 650m Today everything was frozen solid. A joy for cramponing.
Fine views from the big snowfield
Just before donning crampons I saw a huge flock of beautiful Snow Buntings. When I say huge I am not exagerating! I would say at least 50! The most I have ever seen. I didn't have my telephoto lens! There are stunning views of Sgor Gaoithe as you head up this big 250m snow slope. The sun popped out and neve underfoot. Bliss. The ground eases off in angle and then the impressive, remote and high Loch Coire an Lochain greets you. A beautiful wild spot. With the temperatures being well below freezing for some time now the loch is well iced over.
Loch Coire an Lochain, frozen
There was a stiff breeze blowing above 1000m with some drifting of the fresh snow fallen since yesterday. Mostly the snow was well frozen and firm all the way from lochan to plateau. Some high level cloud drifted in by the time I reached the summit. The cloud added to the photos, lovely 'windy clouds' as I call them.
the broad slopes above the coire

Don't forget to contour this gully!
Strathspey and Aviemore in the far distance
Some impressive cornices overhanging Coire Bhrochain, just below Braeriach's summit. On the top there was virtually no wind. This happens regularly on this hill. The big corries deflect the winds over you!

Cairn Toul  from near the summit

Big cornices

Cairn Toul
The wind picked up on the way back down and more drifting snow, the skies also cleared for a while and sun was shining again on the summit.
Winds increasing on the way down
The bike ride out is always fun and a speedy return back to Aviemore.
Biking out

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