How to climb a craig – one step at a time

The Highlands offer so many options to visit, and Cairngorm National Park was a must see for us.

The drive from Culloden to Coylumbridge was just over an hour away, and filled with beautiful scenery. Arriving at our hotel, we walked around a bit, had a light dinner and a quiet evening in. I got online and found what I thought would be a great hike for us for the next day.

After a restful evening, we found the path to the Craigellachie Nature Reserve. It wasn’t easy to find the place! Following Google’s map, we crossed over the spot several times from the main road, never seeing a sign.

So we parked in Aviemore and looked up the local information center. Armed with a map, we were sure to find the entrance to the park, and be on with our hike. But instead we found ourselves standing on a lane, looking every bit the tourists we were as we studied the map to find our way.

We were told to go through a tunnel to get to the park…so we went searching

Is this the trail? Let’s look at that map again

Luckily, a local man, Robyn showed up and asked if he could help.

He not only told us how to pronounce Craigellachie, but also walked us right to the entrance of the reserve and wished us well on our hike and journey.

Yes, of course, how could we have missed it??

The air was cool and crisp, with overcast skies, but we were determined to make it to the top.

We passed by a couple of lakes and then started our ascent to the top. It was not an easy climb for me.

Easy walk at the base and even got warm enough to take my hat off

First of many breaks…
only the beginning!

I’ve shared here before about having exercise-induced asthma, and how I need to use an inhaler if I’m going to be exerting myself. I mainly use it when riding my bike a good distance and didn’t see myself needing it for our trip… but wished I had it right about then.

Luckily every resting spot had amazing views

We saw two other hikers along the way, but otherwise we had the entire place to ourselves. Close to the top, I was feeling pretty good about myself and even thought that this must be a hard trail since no one else was on it.

Right about then, a local guy comes running up in shorts and a t-shirt saying he was on his lunch break and had 30 minutes to make the climb up and back down.

Show off.

Taking yet another break to catch my breath, John gave me a hall pass to quit by saying; the view would be the same right here as up at the top. But determined to make it, I kept walking.

The last few yards were worth the entire nearly 1,000 foot climb.

At the very top, we could see 360 degrees for miles around. It was so windy, we took shelter behind a big pile of rocks and drank our water and rested for a moment or two.

Walking back down and finding our way back into town, I felt proud of myself for climbing that Craig. I was also looking forward to a hot cup of tea and warm bowl of soup.

the trail down

I’m ready for soup and tea please!

I wanted to write when we got back to our room that afternoon, but fell asleep soon after arriving. We both loved that day, and it may even be my favorite day of our trip to Scotland.



Reader Comments

  1. Cindy Scurry

    Wow! This reminds me of the hike we did in Italy at Cinque Terre from Riomaggiore to Manarola – The Beccara Trail #531. Straight up a mountain! But the views do make it so worth it! I love your posts and visiting Ireland and Scotland thru your pictures and stories!

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