Top 5 Walking Routes in the Cairngorms: Ben Macdui
Posted on Oct 12, 2015 by Peter Grant
Tackle the Cairngorms highest point in this cracking hike.
Wilderness Guide Peter Grant shares number 5 of his Top 5 Walking Routes in the Cairngorms. This time the mighty Ben Macdui.
The top 5 walks:
- Sgoran Dubh Mor and Sgor Gaoithe
- Loch an Eilein and Creag Dhubh
- Bynack More and Stac na h-Iolaire
- Fiacaill of Coire an Lochain and Feith Buidhe
- Ben Macdui
The Ben Macdui takes advantage of a high start at 650m to launch you deep onto the Cairngorm plateau.
When you reach its highest point, the summit of Ben Macdui you’ll enjoy a fantastic mountain panorama. Look out for the giants of the west side of the Lairig Ghru, Carn Toul and Braeriach. The entire route is on exposed rock above the treeline. Only patches of alpine vegetation are sustained by thin soils.
The only birds that you’ll see – if you’re lucky –are ptarmigan, golden eagle, dotterel, and snow buntings. These are creatures adapted to live at the extremes of survival. A safe walk to Macdui requires favourable weather, stamina and a good knowledge of mountain navigation. This is the case at any time of the year, but involves no steep or difficult terrain.
- Leave the Car Park in Coire Cas and head south up the Fiacaill of Coire Cas to reach the big cairn at spot height 1141. On a clear day you will see your objective across the plateau. Follow the rim of Coire an Sneachda on your right until you reach its lowest point. At the top of Coire Domhain, pick up a path climbing gently for a few hundred metres. Contour round to the little Lochan Buidhe, the highest body of water in the British Isles.
- From here follow the path 2.2km south to the summit of Ben Macdui. To return, retrace your steps to Lochan Buidhe, looking across the Lairig Ghru on your left to Carn Toul and Braeriach. From the west side of the Lochan, take the path to the left.
- Head north west on along the edge of the Lairig Ghru. Climb over the shoulder of Cairn Lochan to reach a high open step before heading on north down the ridge to the west of Coire Lochan. Pick up the path back to your starting point at the car park.
17km, 933m ascent.
Fancy a walking tour in the Cairngorms National Park led by an experienced guide like Peter?
Our Wilderness Walking in the Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside is the perfect adventure.
We also have many other great Wilderness Walking adventures – the full range can be seen here.
Disclaimer: All walks are undertaken at your own risk, as walking can be a dangerous activity if the appropriate precautions are not taken. Wilderness Scotland does not guarantee full-accuracy of the information given and does not accept responsibility or liability. It is your own responsibility to check the information with other resources, to know your own capability and to check weather conditions. Attention must be paid to your equipment, plan for the worst weather; carry a detailed map, compass, warm clothing, waterproofs, plenty of food and drink to last you the day and a head torch. Remember that a route description and a map are no use unless you can navigate with a map and compass. A GPS unit and the GPX route are a good back up but should be used as a guide rather than as a main navigational tool.
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