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12.3 km / 7.7 miles
910 m / 2,985 feet
6 - 7 hours
Care is needed to follow the path safely on the plateau and to find the correct descent path
None, but some can be found if you want to
Difficult, but with good and well defined paths
Park your car at the ski centre's Coire Cas car park at the end of the road from Aviemore. This is a large car park and is unlikely to fill up. However don't be too late as this is a long walk !
Take the path leading away to the right at the end of the park. Cross over a small stream and pass the bottom of a couple of ski tows and begin the ascent. After walking round the nose and away from the ski tows a path splits off to the left leading towards Stob Coire an t-Sneachda. Ignore this path and continue on your way, soon descending slightly to cross Allt Coire an t'Sneachda on stepping stones, at which point you will get a great view of the amazing northern corries. Pass by another path leading off left towards Coire an Lochain, soon afterwards cross the stream that issues from the coire and begin the ascent of the wide and obvious nose of Miadan Creag an Leth-choin in front of you. As you climb the gradient increases but the views open up until you come to a plateau where the path disappears !
Turn left and follow the edge of the coires up a steep, stony slope that often holds snow late into the summer until you reach the summit of Cairn Lochan with its twin summit cairns. Take care of the gully here, especially in poor visibility. Follow the edge as it descends from the summit but break off as the path heads for the Fiacaill Ridge. All you're doing, however is cutting off a corner as the path soon rejoins the edge. Head down to the head of Coire Domhain and climb again to the small, subsiduary, peak. Descend the other side still following the edge, now above Coire an t-Sneachda as it turns towards the north. At this point you can either head for the summit cairn of Fiacaill a' Choire Chais or you can cut off the corner and bypass the summit. Turn to the east and commence the climb of the rocky slope up to the summit of Cairngorm. The true summit is marked by a large cairn and a weather station so it is difficult to miss. Views from the summit, on a good day, are truly magnificent.
To descend, just turn north and follow a line of cairns down to a made up path which leads you all the way down to the Ptarmigan Restaurant and the top of the funicular railway (At this point you can see all the people inside the restaurant who have come up on the funicular looking out at you as if you've just landed from Mars !). Leave the Ptarmigan heading west and follow the obvious track down through the ski area back to the car park.
Suitability for Dogs
Availability of Drinking Water -
Unsuitable Terrain (Bog) -
Unsuitable Terrain (Rock) -
Plenty of running water low down but only at a couple of points on the tops
Not much boggy ground so they should stay clean
No unavoidable scrambling or awkward/dangerous moves, no sharp rocks
Do not forget the reindeer herd on the plateau or the descent, they may approach you