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The Long Man of Lochnagar

The Long Man of Lochnagar


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:48 pm

Munros included on this walk: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Cairn of Claise, Càrn a' Choire Bhòidheach, Càrn an t-Sagairt Mòr, Càrn an Tuirc, Creag Leacach, Glas Maol, Lochnagar, Tolmount, Tom Buidhe

Date walked: 12/09/2021

Distance: 79 km

Ascent: 3247m

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I fancied Knoydart or Glen Dessary this weekend, but the weather was not playing ball - I didn't like the idea of trying to pick my way from Sgurr na Ciche to Ben Aden in poor visibility. Allison suggested that we do the Lochnagar circuit I had drawn up some weeks ago, taking in the various Tops and maybe a Corbett and some Simms too. Clag wouldn't be too much of a deterrent up there as the paths are generally clear. So off we went up to Glenshee Ski Centre on Thursday night. Arriving at around 7.30, we had minimal time to eat our tea and get the packs ready before the last of the daylight waned. I had two options for camping on a windless night - either by the Meall Odhar cafe, or on the top of Meall Odhar. Time suggested the former - not the most scenic pitch we've had, but serviceable.

Image46CB21E3-84EC-44B9-AD8E-A460D9441C89_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Friday turned out to be a bit better than we were expecting - we set off up Glas Maol with banks of cloud rolling in and out over the ridge to Creag Leacach. On the way out there we met other folk coming in our direction - obviously early risers...I remember the first time I did these hills getting up at something like 4am to drive up here. I wouldn't go back to those days. Out to the west Top on Leacach, then a contour round the south of Glas Maol to reach Little Glas Maol. Next, back to track on the way to Cairn a'Claise, interrupted by a nip out to the Top of Druim Mor. Sadly the clag was down, preventing us seeing the view from this point, which is quite impressive. Onwards to Carn a'Claise then the duo of Tom Buidhe and Tolmont, contenders for the dullest Munro competition. Tolmont was, however, our 100th Munro of this year, which given the months spent in the confinements of Lockdown, isn't too bad, I suppose.

Glas Maol
Image354191C2-45C4-4A63-AFD9-2B31D1BA2206_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageA712FEA8-9496-4FA1-A1F5-DF8798985ECF_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Creag Leacach
Image4A931F4F-C2BE-4051-B6CD-6436EBF81A41_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageF2DF150B-2A8A-4A71-AA5E-A2C0EB46A54A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

You'd need to be desperate to spend a night in this howff
Image07840FFB-832A-4560-9B57-7FD513908D04_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The drama of Tolmont & Tom Buidhe
ImageE3D00DDD-2322-4043-9362-E4B52EDBE54B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Tolmont - 100 Munros for 2021
ImageD412D786-97DA-4183-9F1D-3344E29157E2_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Five Munros and four Munros Tops and we've not even climbed 1000m yet!!!
Image57C38C44-E853-4463-A01E-D664781CE26B by Al, on Flickr

Nice views east to The Dreich and Mayar, Craig Rennet looking forboding. We headed East off Tolmont, making for the first of the Lochnagar circuit Tops, Crow Cragies. Easily achieved, then a bit of a bog crossing to reach the bealach between Craig of Gowal and Cairn of Gowal. The water level in the bog was low - we managed a refill of our bottles from the Burn of Fafernie. We decided to break for the day and set camp between Broad Cairn and Creag an Dubh-Loch. This area is flat, but often too wet to use for camping - tonight it was fine. We put up the wet tent to give it time to dry off whilst we headed up Dubh-Loch then Broad Cairn. The sky was peculiar - blueish sky behind thick clouds, but a steel-blue that appeared unnatural. A rumble of thunder from far off to the east suggested we were in for a bit of something. We sat and ate our Huel - soon after the rain started and we were driven under cover. If we were in for a thunderstorm, we were up high, but we had higher things around us - it might be an interesting night.

Views to The Dreish
Image015EEEC1-A96A-4785-B5CC-4873D5313F80_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageAFE60926-EF0A-4AEE-AEBB-EA6FD5608B7E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image51FA6141-8823-4135-B87E-727937982FB6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image51FDD01C-7269-40F3-A523-1B7A4455203D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Now, of course, we were familiar with the story of the Old Man of Lochnagar but we had also seen apocryphal tales of his evil relation, the Long Man of Lochnagar. On stormy nights, when electricity flickers and crackles in the air, he is said to emerge from his secret lair, stalking the hillsides in search of unsuspecting campers. In the dead of night he will gouge his unfortunate victim from within thier warm tent and make off with the body for who knows what hideous purpose. Now, dear reader, we were not frightened by such tales. We settled down to sleep, fortified by a wee nip of whisky.

Rain fell steadily, getting heavier as the night wore on. In the smallest of the small hours, it was as heavy as I think I've ever experienced it whilst in the tent, a veritable cascade of rain on our wee nylon abode. Then, from far off, the thunder began. A flash of bright light, instantaneously drove sleep from our thoughts. Thunder again, nearer this time. More flashes of lightning. There was a strange odour in the air, and a subtle crackling. With the next flash of lightning we thought we glimpsed the black silhouette of a figure some way off from the tent. Probably deer. seconds passed - the lightning ripped the sky apart again and yes - there was some sort of figure, now nearer than the last time. A moment or two passed, the only sounds the rain and the thumping of our hearts. Flash! Now the figure loomed closer to the tent, maybe ten feet away...we could hear some stertorous breaths, whatever it was was walking on two legs, that's no deer...At the very moment we saw the tent wall nearest the fiend begin to bulge in under a foul claw, there was an enormous crack of lightning which must have hit the creature squarely. We heard an enormous howl of pain, or disappointment and in the next flash of lightning, saw the creature receding from our tent. Whew! we breathed a simultaneous sigh of relief and went back to sleep.

In the morning, under thick claggy skies, we went round the tent, taking out the pegs to pack it away. At the side where the fiend had been seen we found one long talon, blackened and emitting a smell of burnt fur and brimstone. Before I could reach for my camera, a black raven appeared as from out of nowhere and, gripping the grisly remnant in its talons, made off at top speed in the direction of the Labyrinth...So ends our encounter with - what I'm sure you will agree - could only have been the Long Man of Lochnagar.

Well, we packed up and headed off towards Cairn Bannoch, meeting a couple of English guys who'd been camping over near Fafernie - hadn't expected to see anyone else out and about at this time. We wandered over Cairn Bannoch then Fafernie, before picking up the path and bypassing Cairn an t-Sagairt Mor/Beag - these would be done on the return leg. Up to Cairn a'Choire Bhoidheach, another dull Munro contender, where we met a slightly lost and chilly looking guy who was planning on doing the circuit of five...not really a day for shorts though. A bit of a slog out to Eagles Rock and Creag a'Ghlas-Uillt before returning to the track and heading up to the more demanding Tops around Lochnagar itself. Lots of folk out today, despite the clag and the wind which was far stronger than the forecast had suggested. Cuidhe Crom is easy enough, but there's an unpleasant descent over unstable boulders down to Little Pap behind it. Then back around to Meikle Pap, heading down the main path. We left our sacks near the top of The Ladder, which meant we had to return from Meikle Pap, rather than contouring round Coire na Saobhaidhe to reach Meall Coire na Saobhaidhe - although this isn't a particularly pleasant traverse. As it was we summited Lochnagar, a little wary of the winds which were muting strongly from the west. My plan had been to descend to Meall Coire na Saobhaidhe then continue onto a line of three Simms then returning via Sandy Loch to Cairn an t-Sagairt Beag. I wasn't sure where we were going to camp, but it was clear that anything to the west of the coire would be very exposed to the elements. Simm sacrifice then and a down-and back to Meall Coire na Saobhaidhe, which involves almost 300m re-ascent up to Cac Carn Beag. At least we could leave the rucksacks behind.

Carn Bannoch
Image972E686F-8F4A-481B-BE37-EE7E9AC19391_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Little Pap
Image725A595D-1FC1-4D42-928F-FA72E2388E06_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Towards Loch Muick
ImageFC79E39A-46AC-4CF5-8613-8E8549E15C70_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Boulderfield on Cuidhe Crom
Image077BC3BD-684E-4924-B271-9FA0307E6EC0_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageA2BB1ABC-1383-4B85-A268-CC15C2455EB3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageBF384731-2ECA-42CF-BDE4-9BC5BD2BE91E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Windy on Meikle Pap
Image6E89F270-9118-492C-BABC-3ACE0118C1E3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Brief respite from clag
ImageAB9056C7-6118-44CA-95F7-DD0A5E845EFE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image64FE0355-E729-435A-9814-DE20DD5D5654_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The wild man of Lochnagar
Image300574A0-AEC4-4BFB-B515-A9917B68A57F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Meall Coire Saobhaidhe
Image7F1B2438-4395-462F-8E75-A22FAD1A3074_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image3195C239-42E0-42D0-8A69-37FFEA1779DA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

After a slightly gruelling pull back up to the Lochnagar ridge, we continued round, over The Stuic to the boggy bealach with Cairn an t-Sagairt Beag - there's a path of sorts here and it's an easier option than rejoining the main track to the east. Finally onto Sagairt Mor, past bits of the Canberra crash from 1956, past both cairn and down towards the track. The wind, which was blowing westerly, was meant to be coming more from the north overnight, so I had the idea of pitching at the south-eastern foot of Sagairt Mor, hoping this would ameliorate the wind. We found a small but adequate spot right on the junction of the main path and the path heading up Sagairt Mor and pitched for the night. Around midnight the wind seemed to completely stop, which may suggest my plan was a good one, or may suggest...the wind just stopped :lol:

ImageEB11B28A-F9E4-4523-B647-977D322FEDD3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Canberra wing
ImageAB3A2C0C-43C8-45F7-9826-413B512359FB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr


Another claggy morning and very cold indeed. At least there were no midges. We breakfasted and set off along the track towards Glen Callater. I know the old climbing adage "be bold, start cold" but after 15 minute I was forced to stop and pull on, with freezing fingers, a belay jacket under my raincoat. We came out from the mist when we dropped below about 800m and enjoyed seeing Loch Callater come into view. A few folk camping around the bothy. We crossed the bridge and started off up the track which I assumed was the right one to allow a wee nip up the Corbett of Carn nan Gobhar on our way to Carn an Tuirc. However I hadn't been paying attention and we'd taken what I can only assume was the more obvious track to the left of the one I'd planned. By the time I noticed we'd already climbed more than 150m and there was no question of backtracking - so no Simms and no Corbett from my weekend :( . This path, however, was a fine way to head up to Carn an Tuirc, going almost to the summit and leaving only a short bouldery walk to the cairn. We had lunch, watched a couple of folk go by, then headed back to the road, knowing we had the gruelling hack back up the A96 to the Ski Centre car park to undertake. This was lightened a little by observing a series of vintage open top cars heading down towards Braemar.

Image618513A6-EAAC-4220-8B02-623DADCB07FE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image6179EC6B-9C37-48C4-8227-67CC948A2EF8_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Carn an Tuirc
ImageAFFE1AD2-92B8-48FE-BF75-469BAF93ECDD_1_201_a by Al, on Flick



We reached the car at 2pm. I was sorely tempted to head up Ben Gulabin on the way home, but as we set off the drizzle started, and I knew Allison wouldn't fancy sitting in the car for the time it would take me to nab another Corbett. So an early home for us this weekend, no doubt to relive the terrors of the Long Man in our dreams :shock:
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weaselmaster
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Re: The Long Man of Lochnagar

Postby RiverSong » Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:48 pm

I’m not sure if that’s a true story or not :shock:
RiverSong
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