Today’s trip with the Cairngorm Club is to Glen Feshie with, from where we’ll ascend Sgor Gaoith, head north along the ridge overlooking Loch Eanaich, then descend to Loch an Eilein to meet the bus.
Glen Feshie is unusual amongst areas of the Cairngorms in that modern conservation and rewilding are at the forefront of land management policy, instead of the usual monoculture approach of ‘grouse come first, everything else must be blasted and stripped bare’. I was keen to see the difference between here and the more conservationally backward areas further East.
We started off the day with a quick coffee in Aviemore then made our way to the car park below Carn Ban Beag. Low cloud hung over the peaks as we started up the path, heading through the woods up towards Carn Ban Mor.
As we climbed up we got a good view further along the glen
A lone snow patch clung on a bit higher, but not expecting to get any underfoot today
looking back before we head into the clag
Into cloud as we neared Carn Ban Mor. Hopefully the cloud would clear before long
We stopped briefly at Carn Ban Mor for a snack, then thankfully the cloud began to clear as we made our way towards Loch Eanich
passing by the ruin of an old shieling, quite a high up place of work, no doubt many a storm sheltered from here
Behind us, odd waves of mist spun across the plateau
Reaching the crags plummeting down towards the Loch, there are great views
We passed a few mountain bikers today, a tough day out no doubt. there’s apparently a good singletrack heading back down to the north west from around the 1012 point on the map
The path follows along the ridge overlooking the loch
Discussions of paths and places opposite
Reaching the top of Sgor Gaoith (1118m), so far we’ve avoided the cloudbursts we’ve seen further west
A slight dip down heading north then back up to Sgoran Dubh Mor (1111m)
Looking back, another cloud missed
Patches of sun sweep across the landscape
At Sgoran Dubh Beag we check out the crags
Looks like the remnants of a smoke canister: there’s likely been a rescue by helicopter here in the past
There are other flashes of colour, patches of tiny flowers sparkle
Looks like we’re going to get engulfed by cloud again, but some good views down Gleann Eanaich before we lose sight
We pass various tors before reaching the Argyll Stone, where the rain finally catches us and we stop to shelter and put on waterproofs
Heading down from Creag Dhubh, we decide on a route off-path towards the north end of the loch through the forest, rather than a more regular but longer route heading down north east then back via a track
We reach the edge of the regrowing forest: small saplings are sparse then the forest builds in density gradually as we head down. The undergrowth grows more lushly and diversely. This is how things are when there aren’t hordes of deer stripping
The slope allows a view of the loch below. An ant’s nest, looking like a pile of twigs, on closer inspection, is a hive of activity
It’s quite tough going through the deep spongy undergrowth, and some of the less regular hikers are beginning to flag a bit so we head towards a track on the OS map
Which turns out to be barely visible, quite overgrown and drifting towards obscurity
We reach the loch side (once voted Britain’s best picnic spot) with the remains of the 15th century castle (once possibly linked by a causeway but now fully ‘afloat’) now visible.
21km and 1000m of ascent in the bag, a well deserved pub visit and an obligatory Cairngorm brewery ale round off the day nicely
3d fly through: