- Friday 24th – Saturday 25th June 2022
What were you doing Friday 24th June 2022, midnight? Well let me tell you a little story about where I was….and so it begins!
We were itching to go on a wild camp, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, somewhere remote, somewhere in the mountains. It had been a while since we had been on a proper wildcamping adventure with all our necessities on our back and the freedom that brings with it, heading into the mountains.
So our chosen wild camp was into the Cairngorms to undertake one long, remote and arderous hike.
We parked our van up in the Cairngorm Ski Centre car park for safety and off we headed.
As soon as we put our rucksacks on our back it felt like a whole different ball game. It had been a while since either of us had carried such loads. Usually when we hike, our rucksacks are pretty heavy and full in general as we like to prepare for all kinds of weather, it happens in Scotland daily! This means bringing a variety of layers and clothing as well as full waterproofs (even in summer), then we would carry first aid kit, water, food, head torches, and other essentials we might need should we find ourselves requiring them or be in an emergency situation for example having to stay out on the mountain all night.
Tonight though, we had much bigger bags and these were filled with all of the above plus a tent, sleeping bags, gas, cooking equipment, cups, plates, roll mat, midgie essentials, food for the evening, then breakfast and lunch next day and extra water…am I painting the picture!
Nevertheless, tonight with heavy loads we headed into the Cairngirms happy and without a care in the world (ask me about it 5 hours later though and I’ll tell you something different!).
We followed the path taking us over the Allt Mòr and began slowly hiking uphill on a paved kind of path. Straight away we had good views as we continued to move forward. Eventually we reach the well known rocky pass ahead – the Chalamain Gap – which is basically one massive boulder field.
A lot of people don’t like going through the Chalamain Gap as it can be treacherous, one moving boulder or slip could lead you into a whole lot of trouble.
However we quite enjoy it usually but tonight with heavy loads, hopping and clambering up and over boulders was not as easy but at a slower pace we made our way through until we were coming out through the gap at the other end. This is always a wow sort of moment as the scenery opens up before you and we headed out into The Lairig Ghru.
This pass in the Cairngirms has a long history, and was first used many years ago by drovers taking cattle between Deeside and Speyside. It is now mainly used by walkers and climbers.
The Lairig Ghru is probably the most celebrated high level trail in all Scotland and for good reason. It cuts right through the heart of the Cairngorms, the huge mountain plateaux where four of Scotland’s 4000-foot peaks are to be found.
We came across a large stone known as Clach nan Taillear (the tailors’ stone). According to legend three tailors agreed to meet here one Hogmany in order to celebrate the new year. A violent storm ensued, and the three drunken men perished.
From here we continued to follow the roughish path all the way to Corrour bothy with mountains and cliff tops on either side of us.
Eventually we could see Corrour bothy, by this time it was around 10.30pm, it had been a long walk in!
Corrour Bothy is a simple stone building but a lifesaver albeit for some! Perhaps the most famous bothy in the world and the oldest still in use.
Located below Coire Odhar, at the foot of the arrowhead peak of The Devil’s Point in the Lairig Ghru, Corrour bothy occupies a prime position at the heart of some of the wildest country in the Scottish Highlands.
The amazing rocky Devils Point was in full view. It would have been easy to stop at this point and pitch the tent beside the bothy as it was late but our plan all along had been to sleep up on the bealach.
So we started to climb the path that took us up close by the Allt a ‘Choire Odhair into the high corrie and sooner than we expected we were onto the bealach with The Devils Point just in front of us. This is where we would stay for the night. It was almost midnight!
After our nights rest or possibly not as it blew a hoolie the whole night long, we woke to blue skies and calm conditions.
Before packing up the tent we quickly sumitted the Devils Point, this was my quickest Munro summit to date purely by camping so close, if only they all could be that easy!
Views were amazing right up the Lairig Ghru and towards the mountains all around us.
Then we were off to Munro No2 – Cairn Toul, whereby the clouds rolled in and we could not see a thing, the conditions got very cold also so we didnt hang about.
The walk to Sgòr an Lochain Uaine, also known as the Angel’s Peak was really nice even in the cold, windy conditions. We even came across the Cairngorm reindeer which I always love to see when I’m out here, and its not often you do come across them so we hung around for quite some time watching them.
By the time we reached Munro 3 – Sgòr an Lochain Uaine and Munro 4 – Braeriach, we were back into full summer!
It was only on Braeriach that we actually saw anybody since leaving our van the evening before.
After Braeriach, we began our very long walk back out, heading through the Chalamain Gap once more.
This route had been a great overnighter which I’d highly recommend. It was very quiet and other than on Braeriach we saw no-one. We also got mostly lucky with the weather and views were fantastic.
Three of these Munro’s had been new to us with Braeriach, the third highest mountain in Scotland and the UK being one we’ve done previously. Cairn Toul is the fourth highest mountain in Scotland and the UK after Ben Nevis and Ben Macdui which we’ve done.
The Cairngorm’s for me always feels special and with views like these it would be hard to disagree.
Hope you enjoyed our Wild Camp ⛰⛺ Adventure Video above 👆💙🏴