Anniversary Cairngorm Walk 2013 Report

Written by admin on June 30th, 2014

John Roy Stuart Walk / Ceum Iain Ruaidh 19/8/2013

The only participants in the 2013 John Roy Stuart Walk were Mary MacKenzie, David Rose and Seumas Grant (with Hamish the Cairn Terrier). The small numbers were due to the illness of some of the usual participants, and also a weather forecast which predicted winds of 50mph above 3,000ft. The small party started from the Coire Cas Car Park at around 11am and decided to follow the track up the face of the corrie (rather than the usual Windy Ridge Path) due to the predicted high winds. We passed the top station of the Coire Cas Tow at 12 midday, where we could see that there was still a tiny patch of old snow remaining of the Cuithe Chrom (Headwall) snowfield.

We experienced only light winds in Coire Cas itself, but on approaching the Funicular Top Station we felt for the first time the full force of the wind and realised that the Met. Office predictions were going to be proved correct. We stopped for a short rest and snack there and then made our way to the summit by Fuaran a’ Mharcais (The Marquis’ Well). The summit of Cairn Gorm was clear of cloud, but it was quite difficult to stand there (other than in the shelter of the cairn) due to the strength of the wind.

John Roy’s banner was carefully unfurled in the shelter of the cairn, with two people, one on either side, holding it tightly. When the banner was safely again furled, Seumas recited a toast to John Roy in Gaelic and brandy (John Roy’s favourite drink) was drunk. This was followed by the recitation of ‘John Roy’s Psalm’ (in English) and the singing of ‘He ’m èille ’s na ho rò’, a song of defiance, which John Roy composed in Gaelic about the Battle of Culloden.

We descended by way of Ciste Mhearad, where Seumas measured the extent of the snowfield (which was still a fair size for the 19th of August). We then retraced our steps past the Funicular Top Station and down Coire Cas. On passing we noticed that the tiny patch of the Cuithe Chrom snowfield, which was extant on our ascent, had melted while we had been on the summit.

After the walk we proceeded to Aviemore where we visited Ann and Edwin Wakeling and were hospitably entertained. We reported on how the 2013 walk had gone and also returned the banner to Ann, its designer, for safekeeping.

John Roy’s new banner has now been carried to the summit of Cairn Gorm on seven annual occasions. The tradition originated with James Macintyre, one of John Roy’s followers, who carried the original banner home to Beag-ghleann in Glenmore after the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and used to ascend Cairn Gorm with it on the 19th of August every year (the anniversary of the raising of Prince Charles’ standard in Glenfinnan in 1745).


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