This is something of a constitutional walk for me when we are up here. One that I don't think where shall I go, but just put shoes on and go for it.
Last time on this walk I ended up coming part way down the ski track backwards as my knee really hurt. In those days I wore boots. I thought it would be interesting to see if all my walking will have paid off, and whether I'll struggle in the trail shoes I'd been wearing most of the summer. As there's really quite a difference in the terrain between the Lakes and Cairngorm plateau.
Jessie and I left Paul and Jack in the ski centre car park and headed off. It was such a lovely day for a walk.
We soon passed the entrance to Coire an Lochain with the great slab visible even in the depths of the shadows.
Gaining the plateau the Sgor an Lochain Uaine (The Angels Peak, although arguably the peak of the green lochan) and Carn Toul come into view across the hidden cleft of the Lairig Ghru.
The Cairngorm plateau isn't a flat piece of land, like a table top. Loch's hide in scooped out corries, and peaks rise above the arctic like tundra. Rough underfoot, with plenty of boulder fields.
Ben Macdui eventually comes into view...
...and we welcome the old toposcope on the summit like an old friend.
Then, mindful of the time and the boys waiting back in the car park, we start heading back towards Cairngorm. Passing again Lochan Bhuidhe which drains east into Loch A'an and the tarn at the head of the March Burn which drains west to the Lairig. We bear right just past the lochans to follow a good path just below the cliffs of the northern corries. Beinn Mheadhoin and its slightly incongruous tors comes into view over to the right. Looking back across to Ben Macdui I notice some snow patches still lying in some of the north facing hollows.
Looking down into Coire an t'Sneachda, the corrie of snow, never fails to make me smile. Remembering my winter skills days playing on the ice and sliding down the slopes of the fiacaill to practise more ice axe arrest techniques.
When we got to Cairngorm the weather station popped the wind speed instruments to take a reading so we took some hasty snaps before it disappears again. It was quite busy on the summit.
Then it was time we descended to find the boys. I never like the path down to the Ptarmigan, it's a horrible rough slippery knee destroying abomination. They need to take path making lessons from Fix the Fells in the Lakes!
The saving grace was we looked about and spotted a group of Cairngorm Reindeer on the slope of Cnap Coire na Spreidhe. Too far though to get a decent photo.
So were the shoes better than boots? Well definitely. I romped round, no knee pain, no back pain, and still had energy to spare. So I call myself convinced about trail shoes.
Good to see you got some great weather - so much nicer than for almost all the two weeks we spent up there in the summer !
Interesting to see what you said about trail shoes - have always been a bit old fashioned and stuck with heavier leather boots - might be worth trying shoes at some point - cheers
Aye, shoes are definately worth trying. I got a pair of AKU rock lites really as better trainers. Having got them they felt stiff enough not to aggrivate my old foot injury. So over the summer I took longer and longer walks in them. Less weight on the feet, legs not so tired, I feel I almost bounce along. Totally converted now for summer. Winter is still the relm of the boot though.