It’s one of the most magnificent panoramas and one of the finest walks in Scotland, from Cairn Toul round to Braeriach. Six kilometres of almost continuous cliff runs between the two summits, broken by only a handful of routes where a capable and level headed walker can travel between corrie and plateau.
Walking the skyline is walking a tightrope between the vertiginous drop of rough, granite cliffs on one side and the expanse of desert tundra on the other. The cliffs have the attraction of photogenic drama and excitement, but the sandy, boulder-strewn plateau, trackless and seemingly featureless, has its own pull. And wanderers will be rewarded, both in the wandering itself and if they aim for a spot between the low rises of Carn na Criche and Einich Cairn to find the Wells of Dee, where the crystal clear waters that will become the River Dee spring from a mossy flush in the barren ground, the stream growing faster than you might believe at such a height to rush with impressive force over the edge of the plateau and into the Garbh Coire Daidh before running into its own glen and on to join the sea as a major river at Aberdeen.
The Cairn Toul-Braeriach traverse is one of the great plums of walking routes in Britain. It offers rewards in all seasons, all weathers, but for a first visit chose a day that promises blue skies and memories that will go on forever.
A series of Covid dreams. Just a photo or two from the archives and a few words: memories of the Cairngorms to stay in the heart while we’re kept away from the hills.