Four Highest Cairngorms Hill Run

Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in East Highlands, Run | One Comment


“The more books we read, the sooner we perceive that the true function of the writer is to produce a masterpiece and that no other task is of any consequence . . . All excursions into journalism, broadcasting, propaganda and writing of films, however grandiose, are doomed to disappointment.”

Cyril Connolly, from Nicholas Shakespeare’s biography of Bruce Chatwin.

If they’d had blogs in Cyril Connolly’s day would he have included them in his list of activities that were ‘doomed to dissappointent?

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working on a larger project and while it has been satisfying to make some progress, I have come to miss the immediacy of blogging. Planning to get back into the habit and put out a short one every week.

Today I went for a hill run over the Four Highest Cairngorms route as training for an upcoming alpine trip: Cairngorm, Ben Macdui, Carn Toul and Braeriach. The SMC Ski Mountaineering guide lists as 30 km long, but this must have been estimated using the traditional string method, because my GPS made it 38.3, km with an exhausting 2231 m of ascent.

Suffered a minor sprain at the top of Sneachda which seemed nothing at the time but became briefly quite painful at my furthest point, at the col above Corrour bothy. Felt extremely exposed. I had to walk for a bit and traversed below the summit of Carn Toul, but the discomfort eased off and I was able to run on the less rocky sections. Cairngorm and Ben Macdui plateau area has great gravelly paths for running but I encountered some awful non runnable terrain on the descent from Macdui down the Tailor’s burn and extensively on the Braeriach massif, much of which was covered in vile rocks. I’m more used to seeing that area in winter when it is much improved by a smooth coating of snow. Left with only minor swelling and no pain luckily but will take poles if I do a route like that again solo.

After a day watching every step I feel intimately acquainted with all the surfaces and textures of the high Cairngorms. Rocks and gravel of every conceivable size and shape, sand, grass, peaty mud.


1 Comment

  1. dom
    September 16, 2014

    Sounds like a tough and committing outing – good effort. dom


Leave a Reply to dom

Cancel Reply