Summer is here!

Posted: 17.58hrs on Sat 6th Jul 13
Well Summer is in full swing here in the Cairngorms and it's great to take advantage of the long days. There are still some impressive looking wreaths of snow on the mountains which makes for a very dramatic landscape. Biking and walking is really good for the next 2 months or so before the Highland Autumn arrives in September. Get up here soon and enjoy this spectacular environment. Book with me and you'll have an even better time - guaranteed!


Snowy May :D

Posted: 11.42hrs on Wed 9th May 12
Great to be back in the Cairngorms. I really began to miss it towards the end of my winter spell in Verbier, Switzerland and couldn't wait to get back to my favourite place :)

I usually spend the ski season as an instructor on Cairngorm Mountain but this year decided to head out to the alps for some technical training to improve my performance level and ability as a ski teacher. I'm working towards my ISIA (International Ski Teacher) which is a difficult qualification to achieve requiring 8 separate assessments and lots of training.

So it's fantastic to be back living in Aviemore and what a great surprise to see that large amounts of spring snow have been falling followed by clear blue skies, cool temperatures and light winds.
The mountains are definitely at their best when swaddled above by a white blanket with lush green forests and clear idyllic lochs below. Days out walking or biking are just massively enhanced when confronted by such amazing picturesque panoramas.

TREKnTRAIL looks forward to showing off this amazing place to as many people as possible. Country walking or biking around the lochs, rivers and forests, trekking around the cairngorm hills and mountains whatever the chosen activity I can guarantee an amazing and unforgettable journey.

Slainte
Paul


Rothiemurchus & Glenmore

Posted: 13.24hrs on Fri 15th Apr 11
A lovely day with the travel editor from Prima magazine. She's writing an article on the National Park and I'd been asked to take her on a guided low level walk around some of the area's highlights.

The plan for the day was to see some of the amazing lochs and forests and specifically in the Rothiemurchus Forest, Loch and Eilein and the hill viewpoint of Ord Ban; and in Glenmore Forest, Loch Morlich and Lochan Uaine (the green lochan)

Loch an Eilein was voted by the public as Scotland's best picnic spot for 2010/2011 and the highlight is seeing the ruined castle on the small island in the loch. The castle dates back to the late 13th century with the sturdy tower house section added mid 15th Century. The island used to provide a home for a pair of ospreys but the increased number of visitors to this beautiful location mean it is not now an attractive proposition for the nervous fish eating birds of prey.

The path up Ord Ban (light coloured hill) begins next to the gallery and shop close to the loch shore. It slowly zig zags it's way up the steep hillside through typical caledonian forest of scots pine, silver birch and juniper. The view improves as you ascend with the shimmering Loch an Eilein below and the majestic snow wreathed cairngorm corries dominating the skyline. The walk takes around 30min at a leisurely pace and the view at the top is worth it! It gives a full 360 degree view of the Spey Valley, Glenmore, the cairngorm northern corries, the Sgoran range and Glen Feshie. A good place to get your bearings and reflect on or plan vists to some of the sites in view.

The afternoon saw us in the Glenmore Forest on a walk up the Ryvoan Pass to Lochan Uaine. Although we were on the lookout for Scottish Crossbills, Pine Martens and Red Squirrels who populate the woods around here we didn't spot any, we did however find plenty of pine cones lying around that had been half devoured by the cute creatures!

Lochan Uaine is "green lochan" and the water is green because the local faeries (sidhe in gaelic pronounced shee) wash their clothes in there. These sidhe are not lovely tinkerbell type creatures but evil and mischevious nuisances. Lochan Uaine lies at the foot of a large hill which is actually a sithean (sheean) or fairy tower where the sidhe live. They exit via a secret doorway in the side of the hill after sunset to wreak havoc on Glenmore's human inhabitants! There are many stories told about the sidhe and if you ever come walking or biking up here with me expect to hear one or two of them :-)

Higher up the pass beyond Lochan Uaine is the Ryvoan Bothy, a small sturdy stone building open to all and often provides a welcome dry resting place or an overnight base to walk up some of the nearby hills. The track over the Ryvoan Pass as an important drovers road linking ith more tracks heading north or west to the coast. This is also the border between the neighbouring estates of Nethy and Glenmore and in times past cattle was often stolen on midnight raids with bloody consequences.

There is much to see in Rothiemurchus and Glenmore and it's difficult to experience everything in 1 day but at least Jane got to experience some of the highlights. This sort of excursion is what I offer as a "Lochs and Forests" walk or bike ride. I look forward to showing more keen visitors around on a similarly enjoyable trip. :-)
Ord Ban view

Spring 2011

Posted: 10.53hrs on Tue 12th Apr 11
I think last weekend was the end of my ski instructing season on Cairngorm Mountain. I taught a private lesson to 2 guys from Essex on Saturday in the sweltering heat.
It's obviously great to be on the mountain in such great weather but the snow was melting fast. I'm sure there were many non skiing visitors who had ridden up the funicular confused as to how so much of the white stuff was still there in the 20C heat!!!!
I'm not expecting that the runs and tows will still be open much longer so it's time to adjust my focus to different ways of enjoying the hills and countryside around Aviemore. I'll be swopping ski boots for walking boots and trainers!
I'm looking forward to wandering around the mountains, forests and lochs both on foot and on the bike. The highest tops are still holding onto some large snow patches and they add enormously to the impressive spectacular scenery. It's a good time for wildlife spotting as well, Ospreys, Skylarks and many other birds can now be spotted around after a winter away. I expect to hear my first cuckoo very soon!
No matter you're age, fitness or experience there's lots to do and see up here and TREKnTRAIL can promise you a fun and memorable day.
Paul
Paul ski teaching on cairngorm 9th April Paul ski teaching April 2011

Braeriach

Posted: 11.44hrs on Fri 20th Aug 10
Nick had picked a fantastic day for a guided walk up Braeriach. High cloud and great visibility all around with light winds.
Awe inspiring scenery all around and worth the 9hrs of effort!
The route took us from the sugar bowl car park halfway up the ski road across the Allt Mor footbridge to the Chalamain Gap. The Gap can be quite good fun when you are fresh and the boulders are dry but it's a different story when you're really tired or the rocks are wet and icy.

Chalamain Gap


After passing through the gap which is basically a narrow gorge strewn with large boulders we got our first site of our objective and the steep route ahead. From here is a great view, you can see down into strathspey and glenmore, Carn Eilrig (deer trap hill), Sgoran Dubh Mor, Sgor Gaoith and most importantly for us the Braeriach Massif on the other side of the Lairig Ghru. We had to descend into the Lairig Ghru before beginning the very steep climb up the long ridge of Sron na Lairige. It's tough going up here but we took our time and broke it up into small sections so we could stop and admire the views across Gleann Einich to the Sgorans on our right and to Creag an Leth Choin (Lurcher's Crag), Cairn Gorm and Ben MacDui on the other side of the Lairig Ghru on our left.

Ben MacDui from Sron na Lairige


After the top of Sron na Lairige (1184m), which is very close to a height of 4000ft there is a small descent before the final 'push to the rim of Coire Brochain. On this ascent you can see debris from plane crashes in this area most of them dating back to WW2. It seems that the debris has been collected and deposited close to the path for later removal.
The view at the rim of Coire Brochain will take your breath away. Steep rocky cliffs, the majestic cone shaped peaks of Carn Toul and Angel's Peak and the beautiful hanging corrie of Coire an Lochan Uaine with the lochan sitting in it's base. This is the view that makes the uphill efforts worth the while and Nick was very happy to be there!

Braeriach summit view


Another 200m of steady walking along the coire rim and we were at the cairn that marks the 3rd highest summit in the UK and munro no. 3. We sat up there in the early afternoon sunshine having our lunch whilst taking in the scenery. A magnificent rugged and spectacular panorama that remains in the memory for ever.

Braeriach summit


We returned via the same route with ever increasing weary legs as the steep descent back down into the Lairig Ghru drew the energy out of our thighs and knees. A refreshing water top up from the cool clear River Druie in the lairig meant we were ready for the climb back up and some rock hopping through the Chalamain Gap. We were back at the cars for 5.30 and lost no time driving down for some welcome ale at the Old Bridge Inn in Aviemore!!

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