Ben Macdui takes advantage of a high start at 650m to launch you deep onto the Cairngorm plateau, when you reach its summit 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.
Distance: 17km | Ascent: 933m