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Issue 74 - The Shepherd's Peak

Scotland Magazine Issue 74
April 2014

 

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The Shepherd's Peak

We focus on Meall a Bhuachaille

The rounded slopes of Meall a Bhuachaille rise above Glenmore Forest Park near Aviemore and a climb to her summit rewards the intrepid with some of the finest views within the Cairngorm National Park.

Not as high as her Cairngorm neighbours, Meall a Bhuachaille still climbs to 2,658 feet, making it one of Scotland’s 222 Corbett’s.

Meall a Bhuachaille means Hill of the Herdsman and is the highest point of the Kincardine Hills that rise to the north of the Cairngorms, and include the peaks of Creagan Gorm and Craiggowrie. Its name refers to the shepherds of the numerous small farms that were, in the past, scattered around the hill, and who would drive their animals up onto Meall a Bhuachaille’s fertile slopes during the summer months to feed.

At Meall a Bhuachaille’s base stands the small but perfectly formed Ryvoan Bothy, just one of around 100 similar remote shelters maintained across Britain by the Mountain Bothies Association, which was formed in 1965. Ryvoan Bothy consists of just a single room and was part of a farmhouse up until the late 19th century.

From the bothy it is a steep but straightforward ascent to the summit. The views are magnificent and extensive, particularly north along the landscape of Speyside to Ben Rinnes and east over Loch Morlich to Carn Elrig and Braeriach.

On a clear day the views to the northwest stretch across the sprawling Abernethy Forest all the way to the Moray Firth and Ben Wyvis in Inverness-shire.