High Level Exposure
Nick Drainey is on top of the world on stunning Ben Macdui
TAKING a bus to the start of a long walk adds to the excitement. Once you alight and are left alone at your stop, there isn’t the feeling of safety from being able to hop back in a car – all you can do is walk.
It is also good for the environment and, with this in mind, I hopped on the number 31 and headed up to the end of the superb road which takes you all the way to the foot of Cairngorm’s ski slopes. Because of the metal tows and building development which comes with snowsport centres, the feeling of isolation was not what it could have been. But still, I did feel I was on my own and there was nothing for it but to set off up on to the high mountains.
The weather was hot so my progress below the wonderfully shattered rock wall which is the Northern Corries was rather slow, but the little summit of Maidan Creag an Leth-choin was soon reached.
Looking back across Coire an Lochain and Coire an t-sneachda to Cairn Gorm, the transport options of either bus down or funicular up had been well and truly left behind. As I headed towards the edge of the Lairig Ghru, the expanse of the Cairngorm plateau was laid out ahead.
Beyond was the objective, Ben Macdui, the second highest point in Britain and a brilliant spot to gaze in all directions at jagged peaks.
Cairngorm could have been included, but the hot weather made me retrace my steps and a hopefully leisurely exploration of the lower reaches of the Northern Corries. However, as I neared Coire an t-sneachda, I realised the bus was due in 10 minutes and the next one was not for another couple of hours at least. After a frenzied run/jog/stumble I made it – a little out of breath but happy to have enjoyed a good day in the hills.
While the bus service could have been more frequent, it is one of the best in Scotland for high-level mountain
Coire an Lochain
Looking back towards Loch Morlich from Maidan Creag an Leth-choin