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Autumn Colours: the best walk in the Cairngorms National Park

Mountains and Malts - whisky themed hiking

Hiking in the Highlands exploring the footsteps laid by smugglers of old

Where should you go for the best autumnal pictures you can get in the Cairngorms National Park? It’s a secret! But one we’re willing to share for our local area. We don’t think it will spoil things too desperately as you can only get to this route if you’re driving and there is no parking for buses or coaches.

If you come to stay at Fraoch Lodge, no doubt you’ll be looking for some hiking advice. It’s only natural, we are very knowledgeable, especially as Andy is a mountain leader, with a well-deserved reputation as a walking guide. Even our international guests in the height of the summer months are looking for some help finding good quality hikes.

Autumn in the Cairngorms

Hiking in Scotland

Hiking through the varied habitats of the Cairngorms

Is this the prettiest time to visit the Cairngorms? There might be some debate about that as many find the snow-clad hills of winter stunning. However, there can be no debate about this being the most colourful time of year.

Where to go

Our top pick would be a hike in Glen Feshie. Glen Feshie is definitely one of the prettiest parts of the northern area of the National Park. If you’re hiking a there and back route along the bottom of the glen, this is a route we would recommend for almost all abilities and can also be turned into a mountain biking adventure.

For a more adventurous route, or to turn the hike into a circuit feel free to consult with Andy or book his services as a guide.

Autumn hiking in the Highlands of Scotland

Autumn colours in the Cairngorms

Start of the hike: Achlean Car Park (Start Grid Ref NN850985)

Finish of the hike: Achlean Car Park

There’s no public transport option to access the start of this hike.

Total route includes ascent of the Munro summit of Mullach Clach a’Blair.

Habitats: Pine Forest, moorland, mountain tundra

Distance: 22.5km / 14 miles

Time: 7 – 8 hours

Ascent: 785m

 

If you don’t want to go all the way to the summit of Mullach Clach a Blair, it is still a perfectly lovely walk to go along the river Feshie as far as you want or until the bothy before returning to your car. You won’t pass through as many habitats and won’t come across ptarmigan, but you might still see roe or even red deer, numerous forest birds including the ever present chaffinches and possibly Scottish crossbills if you’re lucky.

You might also want to consider a mid-level hike. Watch out for our blog on the most popular hike in the Cairngorms: Meall a’Bhucaille.

 

Private Guiding:

a review of our holiday at Fraoch Lodge and private guiding with Andy Bateman by Carole Parsons

We had a lovely time and hope you find the comments below useful in terms of creating more great holidays in the future!

What was the most memorable or exciting part of your trip?

We loved the delicious breakfasts and the cosy evenings by the open fire.  Andy was a great guide who used his experience and knowledge of the area plus his reading of the day’s weather to provide a great day’s walking exactly suited to our needs and experience – and even managed to pull out some blue skies for us!
 
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How would you describe your Scot Mountain Holidays experience?

Overall a lovely experience. We found the welcome with tea and cake lovely, and everyone was friendly especially wee Gregor with his gift for us!  The food was lovely, wholesome and tasty, and we had good firm beds.  We did however miss the opportunity to soak tired legs in a hot bath!  We appreciated the thorough briefing we had from Andy our first evening
We also valued the advice and weather readings we got from Andy on the days we were going it alone.  
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What tips would you give someone else thinking about booking this trip?

Ask what you might need in advance; don’t be worried if you’re not an experienced mountaineer as there will still be lots available to do; go for it!

Scot Mountain Holidays is a member of the Green Tourism Business Scheme. We have a gold award. What is your understanding of the significance of this award?

We had never heard of this award before our stay with yourselves but really appreciated the obvious hard work on many levels over the years that have gone into providing such an environmentally friendly place to stay. We admire the lifestyle choices you have made 

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