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Top 5 Walking Routes in the Cairngorms: Fiacaill of Coire an Lochain and Feith Buidhe

Posted on Oct 07, 2015 by Peter Grant

The Feith Buidhe and Loch Avon – A more challenging but rewarding walk.

Wilderness Guide, Peter Grant shares another of his Top 5 Walking Routes in the Cairngorms: Fiacaill of Coire an Lochain and Feith Buidhe.

Click below for more of our Top 5 Walks Series:

  1. Sgoran Dubh Mor and Sgor Gaoithe
  2. Loch an Eilein and Creag Dhubh
  3. Bynack More and Stac na h-Iolaire
  4. Fiacaill of Coire an Lochain and Feith Buidhe
  5. Ben Macdui

Fiacaill of Coire an Lochain and Feith Buidhe

I like this walk because the terrain is at the more challenging end of the hill walking spectrum. 

It includes steep ground and close views of the cliffs and corries of the northern Cairngorms. From a distance, because of their wide extent, the ‘Gorms can look rather rounded and tame. But this walk allows you to appreciate the scale of the great corries excavated from the plateau by retreating ice.

The ascent of the Fiacaill of Coire an Lochain can be an airy scramble. An easier alternative lies just to the west of the corrie rim. The descent of the Feith Buidhe to the shelter stone crosses treacherous slabs and braided streams that need care. At the head of Loch Avon, standing by the shelter stone, you are truly in the heart of the mountains.

In winter, the descent into and climb out of the Loch Avon basin should not be undertaken without a thorough assessment of the avalanche risk.

Read More Walking Articles

  1. The West Highland Way Food Guide
  2. Our Top 5 Most Dramatic Walks in the Highlands
  3. How to Get Yourself Out of Trouble in the Outdoors

Top 5 Walking Routes in the Cairngorms: Fiacaill of Coire Lochan and Feith Buidhe

Route description:

  • Leave the main Coire Cas car park and take the path south-west (SW) heading in to the northern corries. After 500m take the right fork to continue contouring round towards Coire an Lochain. After a further 600m you will reach another path junction.
  • Here you leave the path and head up the ridge of the Fiacaill of Coire an Lochain. Climb steeply up the boulder slope to the 1100m contour to reach the cliffs of the corrie edge to your left.
  • For the last 100m of ascent to gain the plateau you have two options. An exposed scramble along the clifftop or a more secure route to the west of the outcrop. From here a further 550m takes you to the summit of Cairn Lochan, at 1,215m.
  • Head due south-east (SE) for 1.3km to meet the Feith Buidhe burn as it tumbles down into the Loch Avon basin. Cross the burn with care and head on SE on a descending traverse over treacherous slabby terrain.
  • Pick your way down to where it flows into the loch. Should you find the burn in spate, it’s safer to avoid this part of the route by contouring round to the north above Hell’s Lum crag.
  • This way you will reach the smaller burn draining Coire Domhain, where a good path will take you down to Loch Avon. From the mouth of the burns at the loch, follow the path which leads north-east (NE) on an ascending traverse to Coire Raibert.
  • Then there’s a steep pull up to regain the plateau. From the point where the gradient eases at the plateau edge, it’s 1.6km north-northwest (NNW) to gain the big cairn at spot height 1141. From here you head on down the Fiacaill of Coire Cas and on through the ski area to return to the car park.
  • 13km, 1,085m
Download GPX file Walking Routes in the Cairngorms: 5 of the Best

Download GPX file for this walk: Fiacaill of Coire Lochan and Feith Buidhe






Would you like to join a walking tour in the Cairngorms National Park, led by experienced guides 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.

About the author

Peter Grant

A native Highlander who learned to love the outdoors through his father’s footsteps in Strathspey where his forebears lived and worked the land. He gets a real buzz from sharing this fantastic part of the world with other folk. The bulk of Peter's working life has been spent as a family doctor in Grantown on Spey, and in addition he's enjoyed shorter spells working throughout the Highlands and Islands, and in Africa, India, and Australasia.

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