High Level Ex­po­sure

Nick Drainey is on top of the world on stun­ning Ben Mac­dui

The Scots Magazine - - Take A Hike -

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

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