An ice-directed lee-side channel (Nye channel) south of Carn Eilrig

Right - moraines and meltwater channels viewed from Coire na Ciste. The landforms relate to the thinning of ice in the Glenmore basin.

meltwater and landforms 

MWC erosion

MWC recognition

MWC systems

MWC types

chalamain gap 

Cross section of the Eag a' Chait meltwater channel (X)

Channel systems between Glen Feshie and Strath Nethy, from Sugden and John 1976.

chalamain gap

The scree-covered floor and cross section of the Chalamain Gap

Right - ice-directed channels cut through the ridge, with the Allt Mhor ice-marginal channel in the right foreground

mwc notches

Notches cut by meltwater channels in the ridge east of the Lairig Ghru. X - Eag a' Chait.




MWCs, eskers and kames in Glenmore, after Young 1964


Continuation of the Strath Spey ice margin to the north

Strath Nethy

Faeshallach Burn

Allt Bheadhair


 moraines and channels 

Meltwater channels: northern Cairngorms

Significance: the car parks in the ski area provide excellent vantage points for viewing the extensive meltwater channel systems of the northern Cairngorms


The channels were cut by meltwater from the Strath Spey glacier as it flowed SW-NE along the northern face of the Cairngorms. As the ice thinned, networks of channels were cut at progressively lower levels.

The highest channels are found at up to 750 m. These ice-directed channels include the Chalamain Gap and are cut through interfluves, seen as notches on the skyline. The rock channels have floors with up-down profiles and so must relate to meltwater flowing under pressure. The latest phase of erosion occurred when the surface of the Strath Spey ice lobe was at >800 m against the flank of the mountains.


The marginal and sub-marginal channels relate to later phases during ice thinning, when meltwater flowed under gravity along or beneath the edge of the Strath Spey glacier. Some of the higher channels, like that followed by the Allt Mhor between 27 and 28, run along the side of major lateral moraines. The lower channels on the floor of the Glen More basin often run between eskers and lead down to kames at the channel exits.