Shorts? Hope for the best …

Been a very long time ( 2 years + I reckon) since Fraser and I got on a hill – of course the C19 issue stopped us all but Fraser and I did a lot of mountains together and it’s been faaar to long !

Grabbed some annual leave and we stuck August 12th in the diary for a hill day – both knowing we were way off our previous fitness after a year and a half of on and off lockdown and the inevitable Banana Bread … we opted therefore for something “easier” – and the Cairngorms with its higher start and relatively easy walk ins to routes was a no brainier .

Neither of us , despite winter climbing in the area and walking often had done the low grade scramble of Fiaciall Ridge , which sits atop the buttress of the same name creating a curtain between Coire an t-Sneacha and coire an Lochan in the North of the Caitrngorm plateau. A great summer and winter route it’s been on the to do list for a while.

It’s August – summer… right?? About the same time of year 3 years ago we’d done a day around the corries and it was sweltering so as clothing is a critical part of kit in the mountains the joint agreement was shorts would be the right choice ..

Drove up in lovely weather but as we arrived in the Ski Cairpark ( the starting point to walk in) it struck me folks around us were gearing up like it was winter … stepped out the car in shorts and flip flops ( for driving) and whammy – it’s blowing a hoolie and is baltic … so NOT short then !

Making out way up the hill to the ridge , Loch Morlich in the background

Hope for the best , Plan for the worst … luckily we had brought spare gear and proceeded to layer up like it was October ! Then off we set . The usual route is out south west from the ski centre and up along the broad rising hill that takes your to the ridge proper. Clearly our fitness ha suffered as it was a far harder slog than it should have been – the hard headwind didn’t help – but at least it saved us from midges 😂

Fraser approaching the ridge proper
Lunch before heading up the ridge itself ( on the right hand path)
Looking back from the ridge

Arriving at the start of the ridge we dropped down right off the ridge start to a path for a quick bite and drink to take us up the ridge to the summit ( there is always an option to drop right off the spine of telnet ridge onto a path , for anyone considering it , and it takes you to the summit of the ridge of the exposure gets too much but be aware it’s steep and in itself can present difficulty)

Starting on the ridge itself
Early sections of the ridge
Fairly easy going , big blocks , good holds
Fraser heading up
Views into Coire an Lochan on the right

Up onto the ridge and head down against the wind we made our way along the start , over large blocks , making for fairly easy scrambling before approaching the more vertical summit line . From the ridge the last section can look vertical and exposed however as you reach it’s base you turn out slightly to the right and find a very comfortable chimney to climb which the eventually pops you out left and up to the plateau itself. A short but fun scramble !

As soon we summited the wind just slammed into us – comical at times but making for difficult walking we made a quick like for , and then descended by the Goat Track , back into Coire an t-Schneachda and wound out way through the Lochan and boulder field to the path and back down to ye ski centre – stunning views down to Loch Morlich and Aviemore with us all the way.

Looking along the plateau towards Cairn Gorm
Yours truly

Awesome day out as always with a great buddy , thanks also to Fraser for some of the pics – next day needed soon!

But not in shorts 😂

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