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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