Scotland: The Cairngorm Mountains & Lurcher’s Crag

A rare photo of me in my happy place. Thanks, Dad!

A rare photo of me in my happy place. Thanks, Dad!

The photo I was taking: Icy Cairn & the Lairig Ghru

The photo I was taking: Icy Cairn & the Lairig Ghru

I’ve been gifted with a lot of beautiful days in the mountains in my life, but this day in the Cairngorms might go down as the most perfect mountain day I’ve ever seen. The Scottish Highlands are notorious for wicked weather – an ice storm two days prior had coated everything in a crunchy rime of white – but on this day, the air was calm and the sun was warm and we spent the whole day wandering around in light sweaters.

We parked at the Cairngorms Ski Area

We parked at the Cairngorms Ski Area

Following my Dad into the Cairngorms

Following my Dad into the Cairngorms. These paths have been used for centuries, hence the paving stones.

Little Loch

Little Loch. Nessie?

Me plotting a long, off-trail loop up to Lurcher's Crag

By this point we had realized that hiking cross-country across the heather was actually quite easy, not the soggy, ankle-turning mess we were anticipating. Here I’m plotting a long, off-trail loop up to Lurcher’s Crag. Love me a good map!

Creek Crossing

Creek Crossing

Heading Up, Towards the Snowline

Heading up, towards the Snowline

Snow & Ice

Snow & Ice

Summit Rock & Ice

Summit Rock & Ice. You can see how cold and windy it gets up here to make all this ice!

Dad & the Lairig Ghru, a massive glacially-carved canyon through the heart of the Cairngorm Mountains

Dad & the Lairig Ghru, a massive glacially-carved canyon through the heart of the Cairngorm Mountains

Quartz on the way up Lurcher's Craig

Quartz on the way up Lurcher’s Crag

Dad on Lurcher's Crag

Dad on Lurcher’s Crag

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Summit Shot

Me & the Lairig Ghru from Lurcher's Crag

Me & the Lairig Ghru from Lurcher’s Crag

Interested in the Cairngorms? Check out The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane and the Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd, two of my all-time favorite books, both of which feature Lurcher’s Crag and the Lairig Ghru. Up next: A hike down the Lairig Ghru to the Pools of Dee!

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in Big Sky, Montana. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
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15 Responses to Scotland: The Cairngorm Mountains & Lurcher’s Crag

  1. just a great set of pictures

  2. Donna says:

    How beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your highland adventures!

  3. Teresa Lyn says:

    How cool to be able to spend that beautiful day with your Dad!

  4. beachman says:

    wow very interesting…

  5. atkokosplace says:

    How wonderful…an adventure with your dad! The pictures are amazing!

  6. ksbeth says:

    amazing place and amazing pics )

  7. furrygnome says:

    You make me so jealous! Wonderful pictures of a wonderful place.

  8. Reifyn says:

    These are some of the finest Cairgorm photos I’ve yet seen. Nothing is like the real thing even though. You are very fortunate to be in Scotland at this time of year, when you can almost have it to yourself. I lived there for nearly 4 years and it remains one of my favourite places on the earth. I expect you have an itinerary, but if you get to go to the islands of the outer Hebrides (such as Lewis and Harris) I highly recommend that—it’ll change your life. And the Orkney Islands off the north coast certainly remain dear to my heart, with their Viking heritage & multi-coloured sandstone: a very mysterious place indeed.

  9. Dom says:

    The landscapes you post take my breath away every time.

  10. Angelyne says:

    Wonderful pictures! Wow!

  11. Beautiful pictures, and it is great to see real pictures of you and not just your feet:)

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