Monday, 20 September 2010

Craig Bheag

This route is a quick 3.5 mile hiking trail that you can do in about an hour and a half that leaves the centre of Kingussie in the Highlands of Scotland and heads in the direction of the Golf Course over Craig Bheag which overlooks Loch Gynack and then descends back into the village of Kingussie.

The best place to start the walk is from the Ardvonie Carp Park which is off Gynack Road (the road on the way to the Golf Course). Start by walking out of the car park and back onto Gynack Road. Head up the hill on Gynack road (which is signed to the golf course). Within a short hop there is a small wooden footbridge that appears and crosses back over the Gynack. I unfortunately didn't take a load of snaps on this walk as it was done at a pace where I was challenging myself a touch so all of them were taken at the top.

Once over the bridge carry on walking up the hill through a bit of woodland continuously heading uphill. Once through the woodland you then rejoin the road which eventually passes the golf course on your left hand side. Soon after you pass through the Pitmain Estate gate and you are actually walk through Kingussie Golf Course albeit on a tarmac road. There are actually signs all the way up here that show the way.

At the mile marker there is a bridge that crosses the Gynack once again and signs then show the way to the left once over it. This contours around the side of the hill and starts ascending. You follow the golf course with it on your left hand side and walk between the remains of the buildings - no idea what these used to be, possibly gamekeepers huts or something. From here you head through the gate and head into the trees. This route takes you towards Loch Gynack however just before you arrive there you will appear out of the trees and it's at this point that you head left straight up towards the summit of Craig Bheag. This starts to get a bit tough - especially at pace, but it's not that high really and you start at a fair altitude too. You do get pretty impressive views across the Monadliath Mountains, the Cairngorms, Kingussie and the Spey Valley from the top, right until the weather suddenly sets in and it starts wetting it down which is never a pleasure but so long as you're prepared you're fine. As I was trying to get a bit or a wriggle on and I was more than half way through I sacked the waterproofs off and started my way down. Now there are seemingly paths all over the place but keep heading down and to the left and you will continue on the right hiking trail.

You then meet the pine woodland on your left, follow this down to the gate. Pass through this and turn left onto the sealed road. When you arrive at the T-Junction go straight over and through the park where you find yourself back at the car park where you started.


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