The Lairig Ghru is one of the mountain passes through the Cairngorms of Scotland. Like many traditional routes the ends of the route through the Lairig Ghru are like the ends of a frayed rope. From the south the Lairig Ghru can be approached from Braemar though Glen Lui, or Glen Dee, and from Blair Atholl through Glen Tilt. From the north the Lairig Ghru can be approached from Glen More through the Chalamain Gap, and from Aviemore through the Rothiemurchus Forest (pronounced like - rothy-murk-us) by way of the Crossroads above Allt Druidh.
Although the Lairig Ghru has long been used by "travellers" to get between Strathspey and Deeside, it has also been used recreationally since at least the early twentieth century.
Although all the rain that falls on the slopes at either side of the southern half of the Lairig Ghru eventually drains into the River Dee and the "official" source of the River Dee, the Wells of Dee, is high on Braeriach, the River Dee (as a named watercourse on maps) starts at the confluence of Allt a' Gharbh choirie and Allt na Lairig Ghru. At this point, near the head of Glen Dee, the main valley turns roughly west towards An Garbh Choire, and the Lairig Ghru track continues northward into the hanging valley as shown in the photograph.
The Duke's Path:
Only shown on the 1:25 000 scale maps, The Duke's Path is a made-path on the western side of the Lairig Ghru, following the course of the burn draining Coire Ruadh and leading to the bealach between Braeriach and Sron na Lairige. During the nineteenth century, what was then Mar Estate was a private hunting estate owned by the Duke of Fife (created Duke in 1889, and dying in 1912).
Pools Of Dee:
The Lairig Ghru track winds around a series of pools on the Mar side of the summit. These are thought by many (incorrectly) to be the source of the River Dee. Watson (1975) explains that the Pools of Dee are an invention rather than a pure Anglicisation of the old name Lochan Dubh na Lairige (black tarn of the Lairig). At least one of these pools is reputed to contain trout in spite of these pools having no obvious outflow, nor inflow.
The March Burn is a burn on the Mar side of the summit, draining the eastern-slope above it and disappearing below the rocks before it reaches the floor of the valley. Gordon (1925) describes it as falling in a white spray to the Lairig from the northern spur of Ben Mac Dhui.
Watson gives the summit height as about 835 metres (2,740 ft), and the Cairngorm Tourist Map (1975) gives a spot-height of 2,733 feet.