Fitness,  Fun

Glen Feshie: Sgòr Gaoith, Clach a’Bhair and Ruighe-aiteachain Bothy

If you live in Scotland or want to visit Scotland’s beautiful national parks then bagging a Munro (or two) and a stay in one of Scotland’s famous bothies should be on your bucket list.

Whether you’re staying in Inverness or Aviemore, you should consider spending some time away from the towns and embracing the total wilderness that Scotland has to offer.

The Route we will talk about today is one close to Feshie Bridge. The reason we have chosen this walk to suggest is that the Bothy at the end is one of the nicest in the area and is a rich Scottish experience.

 

Before You Go

Before you start to plan the route ahead – whether you decide to do the full route or just the first Munro and a walk to the Bothy is up to you. This page will describe the full route and provide links for GPS routing: Click this link to Walk Highlands.

It is also advised that you pack as light as you can – the walk is long and difficult.

 

Sgòr Gaoith

The first peak (the closest to the car park) is Sgòr Gaoith, which offers one of the most dramatic summits in the Cairngorms. It offers superb dramatic views from the summit. The broken crag cuts off to a sheer drop down to Loch Einich. A peak that will impress even the most travelled of munro-jumpers.

Sgòr Gaoith - view from summit

The entrance to Sgòr Gaoith can be found from the west of Glen Feshie and following the river from the car park. The path peels off left through a cattle gate and up into a pinewood (your route back to the bothy peels to the right after the gate).

The first stage of Sgòr Gaoith is famously a beautiful walk through a pinewood which is easy going, not too steep and the path is easily followed. Your walk is peaceful and great for a casual ramble. As the tree coverage lessens you’ll enter the bare planes of the plateau which climbs up the backside of the munro. Here the path will become steeper but is manageable if you have packed light for the day – a heavy bag will make this section a struggle.

The plateau levels out to a trig point which is the centre of the spiderweb of paths leading in all directions. You want to head left up a mounding hill which opens out to Sgòr Gaoith’s peak which pokes out up ahead. The path is easily navigated with a steady flowing incline to the peak.

As you head up to Sgòr Gaoith’s peak, the crag opens into spectacular and dramatic vistas of broken rocks and a sheer drop to the loch below. It is not one for one with a fear of heights!

From here you may return down the way you came and peel left before the cattle gate, through the pinewoods and to the bothy – there are signs pointing you in that direction if you’re not prepared with a map.

Clach a’Bhair

The second munro on the route is much less intense, but a long walk for those who are not accustomed to lengthy treks.

From the peak of Sgòr Gaoith, you need to head back to the trig point. Here you follow the left path (straight on from your accent path) down onto the flowing bare plains. The path, again, is very easy to follow until you reach a landrover path- here you will turn right and follow all the way up to the base of Clach a’Bhair. The Munro is easy to identify (in good conditions) as it is marked with a strip from its summit and a mound on its left side. Once you’re ready to leave the path, the accent to Clach a’Bhair’s summit is short yet steep. Although this would be easy under normal conditions – after a 13km trek, this may be a struggle.

The peak itself is particularly bare compared to Sgòr Gaoith yet you can see some spectacular views of the meandering cleft of Coire Garbhlach.

The walk down follows the path visible directly opposite from where you came. It heads down the opposite side of the munro, which is particularly steep and rough – so be careful on your way down.

The views from this side of Clach a’Bhair are spectacular. You’ll wind quickly down the path past a crystal clear mountain loch and meet with a picturesque river where it is possible to fill up your water bottles or soak your tired feet. The terrain underfoot can become boggy towards the bottom of the munro and the path may be hard to follow in bad conditions.

Once you have reached the bottom, you will see a very clearly defined path. Turn left to follow the river and the Ruighe-aiteachain Bothy will quickly come into view.

 

Ruighe-aiteachain Bothy

The Ruighe-aiteachain Bothy is famously situated and well maintained. The small house is equipt with a wood fire stove, and plenty of room to lay a bed mat or sleeping bag.

The reviews online reflect our experience at Ruighe-aiteachain and it offers a quintessential Scottish experience, without the need to suffer in the process. The Bothy is well maintained, provisioned and busy enough to have some company on a long night.

Ruighe-aiteachain Bothy

The facilities at the Ruighe-aiteachain Bothy are significantly better than you may expect from other bothies in the area. There are toilets, a makeshift shower, outdoor seating and kitchen facilities if you need to cook something light. The rooms themselves are well maintained and fairly comfortable. There is a little section to fill up your water bottle with Scotland’s famous highland water – fresh from the source.

When we stayed there was a ‘Bothy Host’ who welcomed us and showed us around the area. A bothy is free to use and all that is asked in return is that you leave the bothy as you left it. He was welcoming and friendly and is there if you have any questions about how to use something.

In the evening, there were a few books and games to keep us occupied – with candles and the fireplace to help us see where we were going. Although there were others in the bothy, we managed to get to bed at around 11 pm. You should expect that the Ruighe-aiteachain Bothy is busy but there is plenty of room to place a mat down and get some sleep.

There is also space on the grounds to pitch a tent if the bothy is too busy for your liking.

 

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