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.

Trail (UK) - - Cairngorms -

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.

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