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A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

A landmark achieved - Lochnagar


Postby ChrisW » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:21 pm

Route description: Lochnagar from Glen Muick

Munros included on this walk: Lochnagar

Date walked: 20/04/2011

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 20.5 km

Ascent: 1083m

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It may not seem like much to you 'baggers' but to me this was a real landmark. After my arrival in Aberdeenshire from the US, Lochnagar became a symbol of recovery for me, I told my wife that I would get up there before summer and that when I did the leg was (at long last) fixed. No matter what summit you make in Aberdeenshire, the familiar corrie of Lochnagar teases you from afar and it reached a stage where I was beginning to feel 'haunted' by it. So I needed to get it done.......

Well.............Monday the 18th April was the day; I set off for the car park at the Spittle of Glen Muick with genuine excitement at the thought of making the summit of this leviathan. The day was made better almost immediately with a sign on the pay and display machine that said "both machines are out of order, have an enjoyable day" £3.00 saved before I even got the boots on :D

A couple asked me directions whilst I was doing the boot's/ tea / map check thing at the car, turns out they were from Buffalo New York, as I had stayed there for a couple of nights we related well and ended up having a 1/2 hour reminisce about their city and my trip to Niagara Falls that had taken me there, and their trip to Scotland that brought us together at Loch Muick. It was a nice laid back start to a beautiful day.

I set off along the track past the visitor centre as I have done so often on walks around the loch with my wife, but this time I turned right and headed NW toward my 'Nemesis', even from here it looks down upon you as you begin your walk.
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The 1km crossing of the Glen is quiet with no sign of others even though the car park was busy
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approaching the small cluster of houses at the far side of the glen that beautiful corrie of Lochnagar is just visible and leaves you wanting more
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The pathway around the cottages is well signed and difficult to miss
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The path then cuts through a small, short wooded section which gave a welcome break from the sunshine today
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unfortunately the shade of the woods is short lived and its back out onto the open heather
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Its a very good pathway and the only ford of the day was an easy one
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It's a long pathway with a hardly noticeable ascent but it does meander its way progressively upward
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a small cairn marks the spot to take the left turn toward the beast
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I hate it when I have to descend before ascending .....grrrrrrr
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some well constructed steps make the first section easy going
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but that path gets a little 'lost' in places
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I stopped for a breather and looked back to see a guy making hellish speed up behind me
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He stopped for a chat and we walked a while together, turns out he does Lochnagar once a week to keep fit :shock: but on reaching a good path again it was apparent that I was holding the guy up, I told him to get going and I'd see him up top later
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The first view of the corrie over the top of the col almost made me run toward it ......... almost :lol:
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and then finally, there it is, the clouds have draped themselves over the nice blue sky but I don't care
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Looking at the guy I spoke to earlier climbing the 'ladder' left me thinking I may have taken on too much, looking across to the summit cairn and trig point perhaps I had been a little too keen to get up here. I sat and had a drink and thought what the hell, I'm carrying on. As I ascend I look back to see 3 more intrepid walkers coming up behind me
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once up the 'ladder' there is a nice flat top to allow a bit of a breather
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I stayed at this spot a while munching an orange and taking in the view, there was almost no wind and a pleasant temperature
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There is still a little bit of snow remaining to add to the photos
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Leaving my high vantage point it's a slight drop down following the line of cairns pointing out the pathway
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then another set of well constructed steps to ascend again
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The summit cairn then comes into view and a bit of blue sky with it
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and away to the NW the trig point standing high on the horizon
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As I approach I see Bob (the guy I met earlier) and we stop for a chat whist the busy trig point clears
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Once I have the place to myself I get up there double quick and look over toward Loch nan Eun
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The views are spectacular, looking SE toward Meikle Pap
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Can't even tell that it almost killed me getting up here :lol:
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looking over Loch nan Eun toward the white mounth circuit
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and one at the trig point...well rested now
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We have all see this now I reckon
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Here's the two of them together and the view NW
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after a great 20 mins or so, tea, snacks and photos and with 6 people on the way to the summit I set off down again, heading toward the corrie rim for a few more photos
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whichever direction you chose the views extend for miles, this shot looks north across the balmoral forest in the warm spring sunshine this is heaven
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I wander to the western edge of the corrie for a few more photos
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This one is a vertical panorama , the first one I have ever done and I love it, it allows you to see much more vertical than a standard panorama
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here's the second one I've ever done
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I was almost tempted to make a descent from the west buttress down and back around the loch as it didn't look too steep, but thought I'd better not push my luck
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So a last look down into the loch before turning away toward the track home
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I started toward Carn a' Choire Nhoidheach with something in my head along the lines of "its only another 5k" (there and back) and that would be another double.......
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thankfully something snapped me back to reality as I watched couple of walkers in the distance slowing during their ascent of that hill; I turned and headed back around the hill and the path toward home
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the first 2k of the track was quite uninteresting as it makes its way along beside Glas Allt
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on reaching this small bridge and crossing over things do start to get a bit more scenic (or is it that the sun came out and made the difference)
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Walking beside the burn was much better as the crystal clear waters bounded down the hill alongside the track
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soon a slight dip in the horizon shows the view across loch muick and suggests a waterfall of greater stature than I was expecting
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I wasn't disappointed and a steep zig zag trail led me to the base of the falls where a rest and a cuppa was in order
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then it was onward again still beside those beautiful (and tempting) waters
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In no time at all Loch Muick opens out ahead of you leaving only 5k or so to the car park
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the path continues its twisted steep descent into the woodland surrounding the royal hunting lodge by the loch side
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In the wood I took the bridge heading NE and away from the lodge, I didn't visit as I have seen it many times and never been asked in for a cuppa :lol:
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The woods open out to a disappointing track hemmed in by deer fence on one side and the steep glen side on the other, its just a hard pounding road along the loch to the boathouse
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Once at the boathouse take the little track heading off the main trail toward the structure
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past the beach...tempting to have a little paddle here but can't be bothered to undo/redo boots
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follow the trail across the end of the loch over the bridge to meet the 'south side' trail
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once across its a left turn and just 1k to go
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just before heading into the car park I take a last look at lochnagar peering at me over little pap, I can even make out a little piece of the corrie to the left of Meikle Pap
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So my nemesis defeated, the leg/foot holding up well - I think I am as fully fixed as I'm going to be - now its just fitness.

This was a fantastic walk, stunning views all around the Cairngorms, beautiful weather and all the time in the world to enjoy it....fantastic :D
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ChrisW
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby Stretch » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:26 pm

Classic stuff Chris and well done. I did the 5 hills there on a similar day last spring, wish I had thought to do a vertical pano - your's are excellent of the coire below the summit. Next time I walk with Gammy I'd like for you to come, you seem to have a knack for getting excellent skies, so maybe you could help balance out Gammy's knack for clag :lol:
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby monty » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:30 pm

Classic stuff Chris and well done. I did the 6 hills (Stretch done 5 :lol: :lol: ) there on a similar day last spring. Mind you there was a ton of snow around and for a while we were in a whiteout. Your photos are excellent. Great stuff. :D
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby ChrisW » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:35 pm

Classic stuff Chris and well done. I did the 5 hills there on a similar day last spring, wish I had thought to do a vertical pano - your's are excellent of the coire below the summit. Next time I walk with Gammy I'd like for you to come, you seem to have a knack for getting excellent skies, so maybe you could help balance out Gammy's knack for clag


Thanks Stretch, got lucky with the sky on this one as it did go a bit white and cloudless on a couple of occasions. Reckon I'll have to decline your kind offer as every report I read of you and Gammy in the hills its always p**sing down at some point.

I reckon Gammy should post a warning when you two are going out :lol:

Classic stuff Chris and well done. I did the 6 hills (Stretch done 5 ) there on a similar day last spring. Mind you there was a ton of snow around and for a while we were in a whiteout. Your photos are excellent. Great stuff.



thanks monty ....... 6.............and here's me doing 1 and thinking I've done something :lol:
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby monty » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:39 pm

No no no Chris, one is fine. Its a lovely munro to do on a good day. Truth is Lochnagar and the Corbett is harder than the walk around the other 4 munros. Its just a long walk. I am sure you would have no trouble extending your walks. Anyway just enjoy. :D
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby Johnny Corbett » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:43 pm

Some lovely photos there Chris, taking them all must have added 2hours onto your walk :D Congratulations on achieving your landmark
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby ChrisW » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:53 pm

Johnny Corbett wrote:Some lovely photos there Chris, taking them all must have added 2hours onto your walk :D Congratulations on achieving your landmark


thanks JC - the photos are a big part of it for me, though to be honest when I decide I'm going to take one its only about 5-10 seconds to de-holster the camera, check settings and shoot.....I do need 2 hours for my constant breaks though - I'm great on the flat but steep hills :crazy: ...I may have the wrong hobby :lol:
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby trailer » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:31 pm

Super shots. Well done!
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby kinley » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:53 pm

Cracking pics of a cracking hill 8)

Was looking nice from the NW at the weekend 8)

Cheers :D
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby Merry-walker » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:26 pm

That was a superb report Chris, with terrific pictures especially at the edge of the corrie (that rock looked fab...!) Glad you got up there, how's the legs today? :)
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby Graeme D » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:44 pm

Brilliant pics Chris and well done on the landmark. A personal landmark is a personal landmark, as they say. Celebrate it loudly! 8)
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby morag1 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:16 pm

Congratulations Chris - I know how much that meant to you :clap:

So pleased that your leg has now healed :)

"England thy beauties are tame and domestic
To one who has travelled the mountains afar.
Oh for the crags that are wild and majestic,
the deep haunting beauty of dark Lochnagar"
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby Magoo82 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:48 pm

Cracking photos Chris - looks like you got the weather for good views aswell. I'm hoping to do Lochnagar in May so those pics should ensure i don't get lost!
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby LeithySuburbs » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:55 pm

Nice Chris 8) . Brings back some great memories of this hill. Like Stretch, I did the 5 but will be back soon to do this route :D . Also love the vertical pano shots - think I'll be giving them a go this weekend :lol: .
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Re: A landmark achieved - Lochnagar

Postby rockhopper » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:07 pm

Very enjoyable Chris and some fantastic photos 8) particularly like the vertical panoramas :thumbup:

Well done on achieving your landmark - now, what's next...?
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