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Even More Old Pals

Even More Old Pals

Postby Gordie12 » Sun May 14, 2023 8:52 pm

Route description: White Mounth Munros, Glen Muick

Munros included on this walk: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Càrn a' Choire Bhòidheach, Càrn an t-Sagairt Mòr, Lochnagar

Corbetts included on this walk: Conachcraig

Date walked: 13/05/2023

Time taken: 7.7 hours

Distance: 31.1 km

Ascent: 1500m

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For all the times I've climbed these hills (Carn an-t-Sagairt Mor/Cairn Bannoch/Broad Cairn), this would only be my 2nd climb of Lochnagar and Carn a' Choire Bhoideach). I suppose it's quicker for me to get to Glen Doll by car, so I've tended to go there and use that car park as my starting point.

I've had this circuit kicking around in my head for a while now so time to scratch the itch and get it done. The forecast was for a sunshine day, good visibility and cloud on lower slopes burning off during the morning. So with the possibility of some inversion shots I headed off on the drive north. From an inversion perspective, things didn't look good with all the tops in full sun and no sign of low cloud until I drove over Cairn o' Mount which was shrouded in cloud.

I got to the car park at Loch Muick for 7:15am to find that the top car park ticket maching wasn't working so I jogged down to the machine down by the toilets and fired my £ coins in only to have them thrown back at me. Rather than just lumping money in I looked up to see that I needed to select car/minibus/coach so selected car. So far so good, REGISTRATION - damn it, with the pressure on I can't blooming remember it so have to jog back to the car and check. OK, memorised, I set off again only for someone to chat to me..............aaaarrrggghhh. OK back down to the machine for attempt 2 and this time success, I have my £5 all day ticket so jog back to the car which is as far away from the ticket machine as it is possible to be in the top car park.

So, it's 7:30am before I'm starting the walk and there are quite a few people around with the same idea of making an early start.

The first obvious thing to say is that I'm stuffed as regards any inversion photos.

Looking up to Lochnagar at the start

But what a day, blue sky, warm and little in the way of clouds as I set off up the track and away from the car park. By the time I cleared the woods and crossed the Allt-na-giubhsaich I had to stop and get rid of the long sleeve top as I was already boiling. The river crossing was very easy today with the stepping stones well clear of the low river level.

River crossing

Fairly quickly I arrived at the large cairn marking the point where the path for Lochnagar leaves the main track through the glen. Instead of turning left, I headed right to climb the Corbett Conachcraig. I always feel sorry for Conachraig with hordes of peeps coming up the main track and nearly everyone just having eyes for Lochnagar. I always think it stands there saying "hey, what about me, it's not all about Munros!!" so I would be polite and say hello. I know from a past visit, it's a good hill and has brilliant views of it's more famous neighbour.

Very distant inversion - not what I was after

Lochnagar from the top of Conachcraig

And again

On the way down looking at the track up to Meikle Pap

As much as I feel sorry for lonely old Conachcraig, the highlight of this hill are the views over to Lochnagar and I could easily spend hours watching the light changing on the cliffs but I need to head off and start the climb up to Meikle Pap.

A quick descent, cross over the main path and the climb starts. It's a fairly gradual climb on a good solid path and I'm quickly up to the point where I need to climb the Ladder. The path took me three quarters of the way up the Ladder before either it petered out or I lost it but anyway it was just a short climb from this point to the top.

Looking over to Conachcraig and down the track to the start

Because of the sun I couldn't see the screen which is my excuse for the rubbish positioning of the Ptarmigan

There are so many photo opportunities at this point that you have to just take your time and keep the camera close.

View over to Lochnagar

Looking down on lochan below Lochnagar

Getting closer

Another one in the distance

One more climb and the top of Lochnagar is in sight and it's an easy walk over to the summit.

Looking down to the lochan from close to the top of Lochnagar


The Stuic

Headed back to Cac Carn Mor where I left the route up and headed over to Carn a Choire Bhoidheach. My second Munro of the day was further away than I remembered it to be but it's a very gradual and hardly noticeable climb to the top.

Top of Carn a Choire Bhoidheach looking back to Lochnagar

The walk between Carn a Choire Bhoidheach and Carn ant Sagairt Mor was the only part of today's walk that was new to me. An obvoius path took me to the bottom of Carn ant Sagairt Mor. I could have continued on the path till it linked up with the CASM to Cairn Bannoch track but decided just to climb what was in front of me, bypassing the few remaining pockets of hard packed snow. On top of CASM for the 3rd time in a few weeks (and 22nd time overall) - nothing much has changed so a couple of quick photos and I'm heading for Cairn Bannoch.

View of Cairn Bannoch and Broad Cairn from the climb up CASM

Looking west from the top of CASM

From the top of CASM I'm now back on what has been a fairly regular spring route as I try to coax my legs out of their winter hibernation, so it's just head down and get the legs pumping from here to Broad Cairn. After the climb up to Lochnagar and the straight climb up CASM both Cairn Bannoch and Broad Cairn are fairly quickly ticked off.

Summit of Cairn Bannoch looking back to CASM

Looking down to Loch Muick from the top of Broad Cairn

The four runners in the shot looking down to Loch Muick were now familiar faces as I had met them on all of the last four Munros so I stopped and chatted to them for 5 minutes before we all headed down over the boulders to the track that would take us down to Loch Muick. I wasn't counting, but I may have encountered more runners than walkers, certainly the case until I got to Loch Muick where there were a lot of people out for a short walk from the car park.

After I passed the hut I arrived at the point where I could take a narrow path down to link up with the circular walk round Loch Muick and I decided to take this route rather than sticking to the higher route along the plateau. If I was out for a stroll, this would be a really nice path but after a long day in the hills and the warmer temperature at the lower level of the loch this became a tedious, strength sapping couple of miles and it was impossible to move at any pace. But, on the plus side, being so close to the loch, the views were brilliant.

Heading down to Loch Muick

The path at it's best - before I was down at the level of the loch

View along Loch Muick

And again

Black Burn

When I eventually joined up with the main track at Black Burn my legs were more "puggled" than they had been at any point on any of the climbs. Probably a combination of tiredness setting in and the heat in the sheltered lower ground (there had been a breeze on the open hill). It took me ten minutes on the main path before I had any sort of pace but eventually I got back into my stride for the last stretch of fairly level ground back to the car park.

This was a warm day, suncream was being applied regularly and it was the first time this year I've been looking to faster flowing burns for a drink so I could save what I was carrying.

Not sure why it's taken me so many years to do this route but I'm so glad I finally got round to it.
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Posts: 2130
Munros:114   Corbetts:65
Fionas:30   Donalds:38+0
Sub 2000:35   Hewitts:37
Joined: Sep 6, 2012
Location: Nr Forfar

Re: Even More Old Pals

Postby dogplodder » Mon May 15, 2023 12:16 pm

I like Conachcraig. We did it from Balmoral side.

Great photos but no log stacks. :-|
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Posts: 4225
Munros:242   Corbetts:74
Sub 2000:32   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:9   Islands:24
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Re: Even More Old Pals

Postby Gordie12 » Wed May 17, 2023 7:42 pm

dogplodder wrote:I like Conachcraig. We did it from Balmoral side.

Great photos but no log stacks. :-|

I think if I was to do Conachcraig as a single hill then it would be from the Balmoral side.I remember reading your WR and it looked like an interesting route.

With regard to the log stacks and I know this is a lame excuse but there weren't any trees :D
User avatar
Posts: 2130
Munros:114   Corbetts:65
Fionas:30   Donalds:38+0
Sub 2000:35   Hewitts:37
Joined: Sep 6, 2012
Location: Nr Forfar

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