Hill walking and climbing
More like the Arctic than Scotland, the Cairngorms is a draw for all hill walkers, mountaineers and climbers.
With 55 Munros and 26 Corbetts, including four of the five highest mountains in the UK, crowning miles a high plateau iconic mountains such as Ben Macdui and Lochnagar dominate the central and eastern Cairngorms and for those seeking a more solitary experience the Monaliath flank the west side of the Park and the Forest of Atholl the south.
For a mountain experience where you don’t need a spare eight hours or carry a hefty pack there are some fantastic hills around the communities of the National Park that are a great introduction to hill walking for all ages. Creag Bheag at Kingussie, Morone in Braemar and Loch Brandy in Glen Clova all have the challenge of a Munro or Corbett but in miniature.
For climbers and mountaineers the Cairngorms has been a place of pilgrimage since the Victorian age, and probably before, with the corries and peaks of the Park climbed by the likes of Tom Patey, Andy Nesbit and Adam Watson. For climbers looking for crags more easily accessible there are popular outcrops at the Pass of Ballater, Creag Bheag near Kingussie and Huntlys Cave north of Grantown-on-Spey to name but a few.
The Cairngorms are a challenge for all and command the deepest respect so make sure you:
- leave word of where you’re going;
- check the weather forecast before you leave;
- be prepared for EVERY weather eventuality:
- make sure you have the right tools for the job – suitable footwear, clothing and ‘accessories’ (never forget that ice axe and helmet in the winter!), a proper OS map, a compass and most importantly, knowledge of how to use them!
- Don’t always rely on your mobile phone in an emergency either – there are many places in the mountains where there’s no coverage at all.
The mountain are also home to our many rare and endangered animals and birds so please follow any advice from the Countryside Rangers and the Crag Code.