Tony and Jan's Website

.. living the dream in Cumbria.

The Walks


via Cairn Lochan





SMC Area:

08 - The Cairngorms

Cairngorm Cairngorm from Loch Morlich

OS Map

Start point and OS Grid Reference

Coire Cas Car Park
NH 989060

OS map required


Explorer OL57 : Cairngorm and Aviemore



Landranger 36 : Grantown and Aviemore


Route Downloads

.pdf format

.gpx format

Mountain Statistics


Summit Height

Summit Grid Reference

Munro/Corbett Number


English Translation


1,245m / 4,085 feet

NJ 005040


cairn gor-om

blue hill

Cairn Lochan

1,215m / 3,987 feet

NH 985025


cairn lock-an

hill of the small lake







Route Summary

Area/start point on Streetmap - Link to an external site

Route Distance

Total Ascent

Walking Time (approx.) - Click here for an explanation, opens new page

Any Navigation difficulties ?

Any scrambling involved ? - Click here for an explanation, opens new page

Circuit or linear ?

Nature of the walk - Click here for an explanation, opens new page

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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

Route Description


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 !





5.2 kilometres

610 metres

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 !





3.4 kilometres

285 metres

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.





3.7 kilometres

15 metres

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 - Click here for an explanation, opens new page

Unsuitable Terrain (Bog) - Click here for an explanation, opens new page

Unsuitable Terrain (Rock) - Click here for an explanation, opens new page

Awkward Stiles

Other Comments

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


3rd March 2017

Route description complete.