Aviemore Friday 19th January 2007

It’s our last proper day in Aviemore today and despite all the weather forecasts promising more snow – no more snow came. Despite sounding like a bad thing, it’s actually a good thing as it’s our last chance to climb Cairn Gorm and the weather is perfect.

So once again we catch the 34 bus to the bottom of the funicular railway. The actual path is between the ranger building and the cafe/station/information (or lack there of) building.

Allegedly this path is signposted – if it is they can’t bee seen by people, but there’s quite a bit of snow so maybe that buried them if they were 5cm tall. So we get to a point where we could go right or carry straight on. Right is a path but seems to head off somewhere we don’t want to go – but straight on would appear to be a ski/snowboard run.

So we go straight on and discover it is actually a path (yay) and whilst I’m taking a photo of the view another walking dude on his own wanders past, says hello and attaches himself to our little party. This is excellent because this dude, Peter, actually knows where he’s going!!

Pete’s one of those dudes that used to be in the service and now just does a lot of walking around hills and mountains and stuff either camping or staying in [bothies].

So we wander up countless paths/ski runs and about half way up we see a coloured post!! That’s 2 so far and we’ve been climbing/walking for about an hour.

About 20 minutes later we arrive at the top of the funicular railway. This isn’t the top, the final climb is coming up, but we have a rest and Pete puts on his crampons – it’s also bloody windy.

Then we’re off, following the posts which mark out a kind of path/steps/neatly arranged rocks which are all covered in ice. The wind isn’t letting up here at all, we spend a lot of time making crab like moves.

And then, after a lot of time staring at the ground trying to stop my face freezing off and walking like a crab we’re there at the top!! Conveniently there’s a weather station at the top in the shape of a metal shed that we can hide behind.

So there we are, at the top of a mountain having a cup of tea :) Mission Complete. It’s still pretty cold so after the tea we spend another 20-30 minutes getting down to the top of the funicular railway again where there’s a cafe and more tea (also cake).

After eating cake and stuff we thought it might be nice to take the railway back down, but you can’t :@ If you don’t take it up then you can’t take it down. Which is shit. Really shit. But allegedly they’re supposed to be changing it. But until then it’s still shit.

Funicular Railway

The path

Loch Morlich

Icicles on a post

Final Ascent

Cairngorm Summit

Cairngorm Summit

On the way down

Despite being tired getting down is actually really easy, big giant steps into ankle/knee deep snow allows us to make the descent in about 30 minutes – so there’s time for another cup of tea at the bottom before the bus comes.

And that’s about it for this holiday, we’ve had a fantastic time, it’s probably been the best holiday we’ve ever been on!

So tomorrow we’re off on the train, then the bus, then an EasyJet flight from Inverness airport (which has an announcement ever 5 minutes) to Bristol airport, then another bus, then finally a train ride back to Romsey :D