There’s so much to do and see: lochs, mountains, river rafting and even a herd of reindeer, heightening the sensation of stumbling into magic. Here are two big walks around Meall a’Bhuachaille that you simply can’t miss.
A trek in the Cairngorm
The first of our trails starts at the Glenmore Visitor Centre, which you can reach from the main road in Aviemore town centre. There’s a five and a half hour walk ahead of you so make sure you're prepared.
Follow the tarmac towards Glenmore Lodge. Swerve left into the pine forest, known for its incredible greenery – you’ll come upon a fork in the path. Take another left turn onto the Ryvoan Bothy (this is a small cottage for mountain rescue). A wide track will snake off at the rear of the hut, ascending sharply on stone steps to bring you to the shoulder of Meall a’Bhuachaille, a hilly region known for sightings of faeries in local myth.
It’s a 3.75 mile walk to the summit. You’ll experience a generous view of the Cairngorm plateau as you pass along craggy, tufted layers of rock. Keep to the ridge and proceed down the west shoulder – the crystalline beauty of Loch Morlich is waiting for you, along with the impressive Craiggowrie and Creagan Gorm peaks. You can reach the top of the latter if you stick to the trail, climbing to 732 metres if you’re prepared for a huffing breath or two…
A tour of these crests finishes with the Craiggowrie march, marked by a shelter of ancient stone. The path will be fairly straightforward for a while as you make the descent, but eventually there’ll be an orange post signalling a turn back into woodland. More orange pointers will lead you to the Badagusih Outdoor Centre, which is within shouting distance of our original visitor hub.
A slightly shorter jaunt
Thought we’d had enough of the prime Cairngorms territory? Think again – this is a slightly shorter journey, clocking in at just under 5 hours, or 6 miles in terms of your footwork. We start once more from the Glenmore Centre, except on this occasion you’ll be crossing two bridges (one before the upper section of the carpark, and one after) on to a pebble-strewn track with a ‘Meall a’Bhuachaille’ signpost.
Glenmore Forest will thin out to a barren hillside, where the heather-flecked humps of the landscape will present themselves. After a mile, there’s a well-maintained path stretching to Creagon Gorm, presenting another splendid sample of the Cairngorm panorama. You’ll witness the Monadhliath mountains, a range that runs all the way to the south east of Loch Ness.
Backtrack a bit, returning to a valley between Creagon Gorm and the top of Meall a’Bhuachaille. You can reach the stone shelter – the same as in our first guided walk – by strolling east; afterwards, turn left along the summit, where larger rashes of grass have sprouted. There’s a fork: bear right to get an eyeful of Loch Uaine. The ground will level out as you stride onto the Ryvoan Bothy.
From there, it’ll take around an hour to proceed down Thieves Road and the south-east track through Glenmore. Some amazing trees will observe your progression to Glenmore Lodge and, likewise, the reindeer exhibition, packed with snuffling animals.
Huzzah – the highlights of your trip are sealed! Both of these walks are bound to linger in your mind, long after the camping grill’s been extinguished and the kids have shaken off their muddy boots. Our Aviemore campsite is close at hand for a supreme base to your activities. Book a pitch before they’re gobbled up by other, nature-loving explorers looking for a refreshing change of pace…
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