Back in the Cairngorms: Garbh Choire Refuge and the North-East Ridge of Angel's Peak

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Garbh Choire Refuge is a remote, rustic mountain shelter in Cairngorms National Park, Scotland. It's a place I've long wanted to visit (especially after reading Cairngorms guidebook author Ronald Turnbull describe it as somewhere that 'sleeps three in scenic discomfort').

The location of Garbh Choire Refuge is excellent - you'll find it on the south bank of the Allt a'Garbhchoire at the foot of the waterfall coming out of Lochan Uaine. It was a shame though to find the shelter in a somewhat neglected state (though it would still be a very welcome port in a storm).

In 2012, Neil Reid and Kenny Freeman published a comprehensively researched piece online that outlined their case for the retention and renovation of Garbh Choire Refuge (such an interesting blog). In their piece they detailed how the Garbh Choire Refuge was 'built in 1966 by members of Aberdeen University Lairig Club to facilitate access to the ice climbing potential then being opened up in the Garbh Choire complex' but 'for a number of years the building has been in a poor state of repair' with 'no structure in place to tend to repairs or maintenance'. It appears Neil and Kenny's words were designed to help support a conversation and decision on the future health of the refuge with the land owners, National Trust for Scotland (who I understand did plan to include the future of the shelter in a consultation) but, despite Neil or Kenny publishing a follow up to their blog post in 2014, it doesn't appear to be that a decision has yet been made by the National Trust of Scotland. (It would be interesting to know the current state of play if anyone was able to share).

After we left the bothy, we headed up steep slopes to reach Lochain Uaine, The hanging valley this remote lochan sits in, c.250m above the glen, provides access to the North-East Ridge of Sgor an Lochain Uaine ('Peak of the Green Lochan'), aka Angel's Peak. A very entertaining scramble up this rocky ridge leads you directly to the summit of Sgor an Lochain Uaine, the third highest peak in the Cairngorms National Park. From Sgor an Lochain Uaine, we visited Cairn Toul and then traversed around the lip of Garbh Choire and Coire Bhrochain to return home via the summit of Braeriach, Scotland's 3rd highest mountain.

I'll post more shots on my Instagram feed over the next few days.

Mountain running in the Cairngorms: Geddes & Rachael Murray

In April, I met Buckie-based couple Geddes Murray and Rachael Murray for a mountain running photo shoot. We'd planned to go to Torridon and take some shots on Beinn Eighe in advance of Geddes' participation in this year's Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon (a blue t-shirt for sure) but the forecast was poor so we headed to the Cairngorms National Park instead. 

After meeting at 3.30am at the Ski Centre car park, we headed over to Shelterstone Crag, one of my favourite places in the Cairngorms, with high expectations of glorious dawn light. It wasn't to be (there was a thick mist when we arrived) but it cleared up not long after the sun came up and we had enough light to start shooting.

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Published in Adventure Travel magazine: Outdoor adventures in Scotland

My collaboration with Adventure Travel magazine, the 'longest-standing outdoor active travel magazine in the business', continued with the publication of two more of my images in their  October 2016 and February 2017 issues. (See previous entries here).

Adventure Travel's 'Weekenders' section includes photo essays of a number of "cracking UK adventures", to help people "make the most of those precious two days". For this issue, I was commissioned to submit two features about outdoor adventures in Scotland. I chose shots from a great scrambling day out on the Black Cuillin in the Isle of Skye and fine winter's walk on Streap in the West Highlands of Scotland. 

My thanks to Adventure Travel editor, Rob Slade, for continuing to choose my images. Look out for more photo essays I'll be submitting for future issues of the magazine.