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Beinn Mheadhoin

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This is a long day, crossing the plateau just south west of Cairn Gorm itself and delving deep into the Cairngorm massif. The route passes under magnificent rock scenery and there is Loch Avon along the way with some fine wee sandy beaches and cold, cold water! Once in the basin of Loch Avon, you are in a very remote area, with no easy ways out except up over Coire Raibert again, or a long walk down the uninhabited Glen Avon.

The downside is that the route begins from the Coire Cas car park. Cross the coire and gain the Fiacaill a'Choire Chais ridge. Follow the ridge and so gain the plateau, some 500m west of Cairn Gorm. Descend into the funnel of Coire Raibert heading south and take the rough path down the east bank of the stream to reach Loch Avon. Look around and realise that you have left behind the noise and bustle of "normal" life. Some contrast.

Continue round the head of the loch to cross the Feith Buidhe - this may be awkward if in spate, so don't take any risks if it looks high. As you pass beneath the superb rock architecture of the Shelter Stone Crag, also known as the Sticil, with the cliff of Carn Etchachan on its left, you should keep an eye open for the famous Clach Dhion - the stone of the shelter. It lies at the head of the loch and is the largest boulder below the crag. Measuring some 43 by 20 by 22 ft, it weighs in at about 1360 tons. It also sleeps 5-6 comfortably, though you will have to share your hard bed with the mice!

Continuing on under the cliffs, climb SE up a diagonal path towards Loch Etchachan, bearing east before reaching the loch to gain the SW top of Beinn Mheadhoin at 1163m. From there, the route goes NE on a broad crest, which has several huge granite "barns" or tors. The largest of these forms the summit of Beinn Mheadhoin.

The return is by the outward route and allow some energy for the ascent from Loch Avon to the Cairn Gorm plateau. Once out of Coire Raibert, be careful with your navigation, should it be misty.


Maps: OS Sheet 36 'Grantown & Aviemore, Cairngorm Mountains'
Distance: 18 km
Ascent: 1380m
Time: 8 hours
Food & Drink: None once you leave the ski area; all normal facilities in Coylumbridge/Aviemore.


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