(looks a lot better if you click on the photo and get it full size)
The path from the Sugar Bowl Car park, leads away from the skiing area and skirts the central Cairngorm massif, around the the Chalamain Gap. It's a good path which speeds progress through the hummocky moraines, the streamlined shape of which show the direction the ice which formed them was moving.
The Chalamain Gap is a bouldery canyon through which to scramble in order to gain entry to the Lairig Ghru. The Gap ought to be renamed the Chalamain Funnel, because even in Spring icy winds blast through this notch in the hillside. I climbed through this bleak chasm early this morning in complete isolation, and was strangely aware of how treacherous these mountain passes are in winter, and the parties of folk who have perished in these hills.
The Chalamain Funnel path leads right down into the Lairig Ghru, that famous gash that runs deeply through the centre of the mountain range. The walk through it from Deeside to Speyside is one of Scotland's classic treks and one I have not yet done completely. The walls of the pass tower above the glen; Lurchers' Crag leading to Scotland's second highest peak to the west, Braeriach the third highest to the right. If Glen Tilt a fortnight ago was a gentle, pastoral landscape full of wildlife, houses and grazing sheep - these Cairngorms are big, brutal and demanding mountains.
The Lairig Ghru looks wonderful from deep within its confines. Gazing directly down into it from Sron na Lairidge is even better!
The Cairngorms are such a glacial environment that they do not have sharp angular peaks like the west-coast mountains. What they do have though, is spectacular cliffs. and corries. This photo is from the summit of Braeriach.