The upper parts of Afterthought Arete (Moderate***), Stag Rocks, Cairngorm.
So June has arrived and I've shelved my Skye Cuillin guidebooks again for a while, and my thoughts turn more and more to the granite cliffs and hill-running opportunities of the Cairngorms.
Something struck me yesterday. I've climbed dozens or hundreds of routes throughout the West and North-West Highlands by now…but of the 400 or so pages in the Cairngorms climbing guidebook, I've climbed routes on only 3 of them.
Looking to Coire an Lochain from Fiacaill a'Choire Chais
One of the ski-centre roads
This realisation has done nothing but excite me for the last 24 hours. There is so much to do around my new home, so many climbs and hills and mountains to discover for the first time. So what to climb for my first Cairngorm rock-route of the summer?
Rough and clean rock on the route
Looking to the huge remaining snow-fields on Ben Macdui
Sron na Lairige
The massive waterfall East of the Shelterstone Crag
A waterfall flowing under the snow-pack. The depth at the top of the break is about 20ft.
Looking up to Afterthought Atete
The immaculate slabs of the Shelterstone Crag
Afterthought Areté delivered what I was after, an enjoyable laid-back solo and a "re-introduction" to climbing in the Cairngorms. Clean, exposed and rough rock in a magnificent location I'd never been to before, and an appetiser for the future.
A shrieking Peregrine falcon whizzed past at the speed of light. Would I see any reindeer today? It's a different world to the West Highlands, over here.