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Lochnagar - 2 sisters (and a boy) take on 5!

Lochnagar - 2 sisters (and a boy) take on 5!

Postby mountain-ju-drop » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:51 pm

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

Date walked: 30/05/2011

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 30 km

Ascent: 1180m

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Older son having finished his exams he wanted a significant walk to tick off a few Munros and make the most of the last week of exam leave before going back to school again. Thus far we have bagged all our Munros from home or holiday accommodation where we could pick and choose the days/routes according to the weather.This walk was a bit of a first for us - we booked accommodation in Ballater for two nights hoping the first would be a fine enough day to walk some or all of the Lochnagar hills and giving ourselves the second to make up the rest if necessary. Little sis arrived on Sunday to join us and we headed off north.

We stayed at the http://www.habitat-at-ballater.com/ - highly recommended, better than the roadside budget hotels.
We checked the weather and were delighted to see the wind was finally below storm force but not so pleased to see low chance of cloud free summits in the area. However knowing that Lochnagar is right on the eastern edge of the forecast area we headed off planning to cut the route shorter if necessary.
So we only had to drive down to the Spittal of Glenmuick the next morning - arrived at 8.10am to find several deer in the car park! Parking is still free as they are upgrading the facilities and have no electricity for the machine..... £3 carefully collected to spend on something else!

The sky was patchy blue and clouds fairly high as we headed off towards the wood.
Into the trees

First water crossing of the day

We made pretty fast progress, except when little sis distracted by deer, hares, grouse and ptarmigan, and trying to photograph them!
Little sis in Fox Well Cairn area - she did complain we kept leaving her behind but I think she just wanted to be in the photos.

First view of the corrie - amazing and very welcome sight.

Only the ladder to go and we'd be up the summit plateau.
The Ladder.

Cac Carn Beag just in view.

Making our way to the summit of Cac Carn Mor and Beag.

The weather was still good for us although there was plenty of cloud and rain around. As we passed Cac Carn Mor we could see cloud fast approaching from the south west and decided not to hang about but quickly push on to the rocky summit.
Loch Nan Eun.

Yey! We made it, cloud free, in 2h20m.

And then we were struck by a horizontal snow storm! :shock:
Mountain weather!

We quickly made the decision to call it a day and head back down - none of us wanted to spend the day in a chilly white out. We headed off back and then, as suddenly as it came, the cloud and snow where gone and the sky blue again.
Realising how near the next summit was and how obvious the path we continued - "blue skies, smiling at me, nothing but blue skies, do I see" - spurred on by the unexpected reversal of fortune.
The stroll to the summit of Carn a'Choire Boidheach is so short and straight forward..... boring some may cry.... but we were having a great time enjoying a high level walk in the park, so to speak. Visibility was excellent away from low level cloud and passing showers.
View from the summit of Carn a'Choire Boideach.

Spurred on by the continuing good weather we pressed on towards the 3rd summit. Route finding was easy all the way and we headed down towards the path and crossed the Allt an Dubh-loch, stopping for a bit of lunch and a cup of tea.
The view back to Lochnagar from the Allt an Dubh-loch.

We climbed up the grassy sides of Carn an-Sagairt Mor to the summit. Somehow we missed the aircraft debris!
View from the summit of Carn an t-Sagairt Mor.

Assessing the situation, weather, route, etc etc we decided that it should now be relatively straight forward to bag the last 2 Munros whatever the weather had in store and probably the easiest route down anyway.
Bairn Bannoch and Broad Cairn and Dubh Loch from Carn an t-Sagairt Mor.

The summit of Cairn Bannoch - almost looking steep!

We met a couple of walkers on the summit and had a chat. They were bagging 4 hills in the clockwise direction and then heading down along side the Allt an Dubh-loch as an alternative descent - viewing the cliffs from down there did look intriguing.... but not for us today. We must have been getting blase about summits as no photo from the top of this one!
The view back towards Cairn Bannoch.

By this time the bad weather which had circumvented us most of the day finally struck - literally - in the form of hail stones! Still nothing was going to dampen our spirits as we reached the 5th summit of the day.
Summit of Broad Cairn.

The super highway down from Broad Cairn - me left behind this time!

We stopped at the stalkers hut for a longer break and then headed off on the long walk back, having decided to stay on the higher path. We were expecting this to be a really long haul but the changing views of the loch and hills made it much more bearable a walk than could have been the case at the end of a long day.
View across Loch Muick.

We were surprised to realise that the beautiful waterfall photographed by ChrisW is in fact at the top of the cliffs round the north of the loch - duh, not sure why I didn't put all that together! I was quite keen to pop back and see it - until I realised exactly where it is - still I'm sure we'll be back another time.
Bog cotton.

Our pace had now slowed from earlier in the day - mostly from me stopping to photograph flowers - but also in the post match glow of our achievement. Ok so it's not the Five Sisters of Kintail but we loved the walk, the views, the granite and the fact that exams are over until this time next year!
Part way down the zig zag path down to the lower section round the loch.

First butterwort I've seen this year.

We headed off back to Ballater and spent the £3 on a bag of extra strong coffee from the Co-op to kick us into life again before eating at the Alexandra Hotel - it looks bad news from the outside (no offence!) but inside is smart and the food very good for a reasonable price - and sharing a well deserved bottle of Rioja and Appletiser for the boy!! :D
Last edited by mountain-ju-drop on Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Lochnagar -

Postby ChrisW » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:59 pm

Great report and a fantastic walk, love your enthusiasm for the walk itself and the day in general.....I've looked at all 5 of these....and done 2 of em in singles :lol: :lol:
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Re: Lochnagar - 2 sisters (and a boy) take on 5!

Postby mountain-ju-drop » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:07 pm

Thanks Chris - think you commented before I'd even finished editing! :D
Once you're up the rest of it really is very straight forward - just long. :lol:
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Mountain Walker
Posts: 66
Munros:263   Corbetts:57
Fionas:11   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:25   Hewitts:5
Wainwrights:4   Islands:18
Joined: May 18, 2011

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