Sron a’ Cha-no & Cairn Gorm
The little frequented ridge of Sron a’ Cha-no provides a fantastic off-thebeaten-track approach onto Cairn Gorm, reckons Keith Fergus.
Rising high above Strath Nethy, the ridge of Sron a’ Cha-no sits a little off the well worn paths that lead onto the huge, popular mountains of the Cairngorm National Park. It sees little footfall and consequently is alive with mountain hare, snow bunting and ptarmigan.
The route begins at Coire na Ciste car park from where a path crosses moorland to Lochan na Beinne after which a boggy rise climbs to Sron a’ Cha-no. The ridge bestows some stunning views across the National Park. Beyond the open plateau of Cnap Coire na Spreidhe the walk gains Cairn Gorm, at 1245m, the sixth highest mountain in Britain and the highest point of the route. Extending from the summit is the Central Cairngorms, which is the largest continuous area above 1000 metres in Britain. Over millions of years this upland table has been moulded through extremes of heat and pressure and eroded by huge glaciers, revealing the remarkable landscape we see today.
Despite the elevation – and, across much of the year, low temperatures – a hardy selection of flora and fauna eke out an existence on the plateau. Low-lying Cladonia lichen and woolly fringe moss survive amongst the rocks and boulders, while Alpine and Highland saxifrage and Alpine lady’s mantle may well flower during the summer months. Mountain hare, arctic fox, reindeer, dotterel and golden plover are just a few of the mammals and birds that may be spotted on the high plateau.
The Northern Corries and Braeriach from Cairn Gorm.
Meall a’ Bhuachaille from above Coire na Ciste.