2 - 3
FATMAP difficulty grade
With quick access from the Cairngorm Mountain carpark and a scramble which feels interesting but never hard, the Fiacaill Ridge is a popular half day excursion.
The ridge can be climbed in summer or winter conditions, so we've shown it as being suitable for every month of the year.
Without wishing to state the obvious, doing the ridge in January, July and November will provide three very different experiences! In winter the ridge is not really a "climb" but it does require solid cramponing skills and the ability to move confidently in exposed spots. The ridge splits the two Northern Corries (Coire an t-Sneachda and Coire an Lochain) and peering into those famous mountains bowls from above is one of the highlights of this route.
(Just as an interesting aside - Coire an Lochain is believed to be the location of Britain's last glacier, and it is home to Scotland's highest lake.) Start your journey to the Fiacaill Ridge by following the well maintained Northern Corries Path.
Branch off this onto the much vaguer trail up the broad lower shoulder of the ridge.
Follow the crest of the shoulder over a little summit and then descend to the start of the technical terrain, which is then climbed just to the right of the ridge crest.
In summer conditions the upper section of the ridge is a hike with brief scrambling sections, but there is some exposure to deal with.
If you're an experienced hiker with some basic scrambling skills and the ability to deal with a bit of air under your feet - you'll be fine! Once above the technicalities there are multiple options for further hiking.
The fitter and more ambitious of you might cross the Cairngorm Plateau and go all the way to Ben Macdui, but detouring onto Cairngorm itself is also a good option.
The easiest option is to follow the line drawn here over Stob Coire an t-Sneachda then pt 1141m and down the Fiacaill a'Choire Chais path back to the carpark.