David came home for the weekend on Friday and the forecast looked good for yesterday, so we thought it might be nice to pop up a big hill with our three children that walk. It was decided to return to Cairn Gorm for a second and hopefully more successful attempt, so off we went.
There were clear blue skies and blazing sunshine when we left home, but there was some high cloud when we arrived at the National Park. No matter, it was high enough not to obscure the views. We were actually a little tardy yesterday and didn’t leave much before lunch, I shared in the children’s disappointment that we didn’t nibble on a sandwich before we left the car. At least we were able to park in the top car park this time and there would obviously be no snow to plough through, which made the going a whole lot easier.
Ok, the stream is neither wide nor deep, but the rocks are set quite wide apart for those of with shorter legs!
We toiled upwards, it was a warm day with a surprising lack of a breeze all day. The couple ahead that we had been playing leap frog with peeled off and took the cliff edge path, Ciara and I thought we’d prefer a more gentle ascent, taking the path that goes towards Ben Macdui, then cutting across to the Stob Coire an t-Sneachda path at around NN983 011. We were really able to truck along on this easy part of the walk and were chuffed to be eathing lunch at the Stob when the couple that had taken the high path came down and past us again.
Then it’s a case of picking your own path through the boulders for a while before a more obvious path once again becomes clear to the foot of Cairn Gorm.
It’s good to know that when you get to the foot of Cairn Gorm, it’s just a short burst of steepness before you reach the top. It was even better when there was a faint path to follow through the boulders and then we were there!
There are cairns marking the route off the top. Lots of cairns. A ridiculous amount of cairns! There’s also a horrible ‘tourist path’ down to the The Ptarmigan, then we took the main track from there. It just about killed my knees at this point, I even had to resort to Ibuprofen, which is rare for me (I’m not supposed to take it…) but we could see the car in the distance and the thought of a cold drink and an ice cream spurred us on.
The boys both got a headache, with Aedan particularly this can lead to difficulties, but they both mentioned it in time for the paracetamol, crisps and extra fluids to be distributed with no further issues. Ciara struggled, but persevered, so was very proud of herself in the end. I was hot, a really hot thing, but not as unfit as I’d expected, considering the almost complete lack of exercise since the end of May. I’d remembered to strap both my heels to protect the new skin there after my humdinger of a TGO blister and had no problems at all. The only other mishap was accidently clicking the disc in one of my hand warmers whilst administering first aid to the boys. Oops!
So, that’s four for me and two for the children.
All in all, a good day! Around 8.85 miles, 2683 ft ascent, 2mph average 4 hours 21 minutes walking, 1 hour 47 minutes resting.
When I dropped David at the station at lunch time today, I discovered a sale. At an outdoor retailers. I found myself inside said shop, admiring a pair of Merrell Chameleon Arc Mid boots. They were £20 cheaper than the pair that I ordered online (from the same retailer) that are on their way. (They are coming with a pair for Aedan, the price of which was unchanged) So, I bought them and I’ll return the other pair when they get here. Comfy they are too!