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Well Trodden Route With a Royal Twist

PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2023 10:58 am
by Gordie12
This is a route that I keep going back to as it's just the right distance for me and I love some of the views.

Started from the work in progress two tier car park at Auchallater (only the upper tier in use at the moment) at 7:15am with two cars already parked up ahead of me. There was a tent just up from the gate 100 metres up the track so that would account for one car and I passed a couple at Loch Callater lodge which was both cars accounted for.

The first hour of walking up to the lodge and Loch Callater is easy with a very gradual climb all the way. Don't ask me why but I always do the route in the same direction (anti-clockwise) so it's the squiggly steep climb away from the loch and up to Carn an Turic. If the first hour is easy, the second hour gets the legs working as this is the longest and steepest climb of the day but I arrive at the top of Carn an Turic in good time. The clouds were just above the summit and with the wind blowing quite hard it was pretty cold at a bit after 9am. Tempting to go for hat and gloves but I resisted, a quick touch of the cairn and I turned and headed for Cairn of Claise which took about another 40 minutes.

A month ago I quit at this point as the clag was down and there were no views to be had but today was better and the clouds were still just above most of the summits so I continued on.

The last time I did this complete route was in late April and the ground was bone dry and crispy, today was definitely different as it was much more like normal so I knew the walk to Tommy Boyd would be wet in places. I stuck with the path most of the way but in one of the wet patches I lost it and had to do a bit of peat hag meandering before picking up the path again just shy of the final climb. On top of TB it was still pretty cool but it had warmed up a bit from Carn an Turic.

TB to Tolmount is a very short walk and a bit damp at the low point between the two hills. A short steep climb up on to Tolmount then it's an easy gradient all the way to the top. Four down three to go.

A longer walk now to cross over to the group of three (Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch and Carn ant Sagairt Mor). This time I aimed more to come out just on the CASM side of Cairn Bannoch so I could stick to the higher and drier ground. In April I took a far more direct route to Broad Cairn but this potentially would have been pretty wet so opted for the higher route.

My intention was to bypass the top of Cairn Bannoch on the way to Broad Cairn but the path is so close to the top I just headed up before heading on to Broad Cairn. At the top of Broad Cairn there was the first hint of sunshine and the temperature started to rise.

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Looking down on Loch Muick from Broad Cairn


Things had been fairly easy to this point but on turning round and heading back towards CASM I was now walking into the strong wind and my pace noticeably dropped.

Bypassing Cairn Bannoch I reached the lower slopes of Càrn an t-Sagairt Mòr and my final climb of the day. There was no shelter from the wind on the climb but with the sun appearing more and more the views were now opening out. 23rd time on the top of CASM and just into the twenties on all the others probably explains why I've been on the top of a Munro nearly 400 times but still only climbed 114 different ones :shock:

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View from the top of CASM


All that was left now was the drop down to Loch Callater and the walk back down the glen to the car park. After about 5 minutes of descending I dropped into a more sheltered area and with the sun out it was a good chance to stop and have something to eat. I had only eaten a few breakfast biscuits to this point so I was pretty hungry. After about ten minutes I headed off down the hill and joined the narrow stalkers path that would take me down to Loch Callater and Callater Lodge.

As I was descending somebody appeared round a corner about thirty yards away and as there wasn't room for both of us on the path I moved off to let him pass. As I stood waiting for him to reach me I thought he looked a bit familiar and then it suddenly struck me that it was King Charles out for a walk while on holiday at Balmoral. He stopped and we got talking about the usual hill walking stuff (our routes that day, hills we had walked) and other stuff as well (at one point I asked if there was a sniper hidden on the hill side with a rifle trained on the back of my head but he laughed and assured me that wasn't the case). We probably stood chatting for about 15 minutes before we headed our separate ways as he carried on up CASM and I headed down to Loch Callater.

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Looking down on Loch Callater from the stalkers path with Tolmount in the distance


Once down at the loch side (where there was a black Range Rover parked up with someone in the drivers seat - presumably waiting on King Charles) it was noticeably warmer, and it was a good last hour back to the car on the easy and smooth track. The route took me 50 minutes longer to complete but the wind and wet underfoot conditions would have slowed me down. I also added just over a mile to the route by taking to the higher ground after Tolmount.

When I got home I apologised to Mrs Gordie12 for being late and said you know what King Charles is like when he starts banging on about conservation, you just can't get away from him - she just looked at me and the face was saying (idiot, that really is one of your more rubbish excuses for being late).

One of the more unusual walking days.................

Re: Well Trodden Route With a Royal Twist

PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2023 8:45 pm
by dogplodder
A step up from when you bumped into twa wifies on the Feshie Corbett's then! :lol:

Re: Well Trodden Route With a Royal Twist

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2023 11:17 am
by Gordie12
dogplodder wrote:A step up from when you bumped into twa wifies on the Feshie Corbett's then! :lol:


One step up??? :lol: :lol: :lol:

I was as humbled to meet the "twa wifies" in May 2015 as I was to meet the King on Monday!!!

Re: Well Trodden Route With a Royal Twist

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2023 5:19 pm
by rockhopper
That's quite a story - as twists go, they don't really come much more royal than this :D

One question, did you manage to get a selfie with him ? :wink: :wink: - cheers :)

Re: Well Trodden Route With a Royal Twist

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2023 2:49 pm
by Gordie12
rockhopper wrote:That's quite a story - as twists go, they don't really come much more royal than this :D

One question, did you manage to get a selfie with him ? :wink: :wink: - cheers :)


Hi rockhopper

I missed the selfie generation (by some distance).

As he was out in the hills for peace and quiet (and to get away from cameras and selfies) I didn't want to ask for a photo - it just didn't feel like the right thing to do.