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White Mounth Munroes, Glen Muick

White Mounth Munroes, Glen Muick

Postby snowdonia7 » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:46 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

Date walked: 10/09/2011

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 30 km

Ascent: 1400m

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After getting back from the round in Glen Shee on Friday evening talk in the bunk house inevitably got round to the weather. The big storm that had battered America was due in the UK late Sunday/early Monday and it was said that this would be proceeded by extremely strong winds on the tops on Saturday. But having driven up from Wales Neil and I were not about to be put off by something as trivial as a bit of bad weather. So relatively early on Saturday morning we left Braemar in driving rain, which got worse as we got closer to Ballater, in fact as we headed down Glen Muick the rain was hitting the road so hard that there was a haze for about 2 feet off the ground. I was starting to regret not buying a new lightweight waterproof (and leaving my Rab Latok back at the bunkhouse). Just getting out of the car to buy a ticket for the park and ride meant I got a soaking, but once you’re wet, you’re wet, so things couldn’t get worse in that respect. Once again we were hoping to move fast and light, so hoped to generate enough heat to keep warm.

Despite the weather there were plenty of cars in the car park and from the off we could see a few groups of walkers ahead of us. We followed the well defined path towards Lochnagar and in true munro bagger fashion completely ignored the chance to do Conachcraig. As we got higher there were fewer people ahead (although having said that visibility was not too great at that point) I did see a whole carrot lying on the track and wondered who would bring such a thing up a mountain :eh: ?

As we reached the ladder Neil and I were overtaken by three guys and a small dog – they were run/walking and all wearing shorts! We managed to keep them in sight for much of the way to the summit, although the efforts from the two previous days meant that my legs were by no means fresh and just before we reached the plateau above eagle ridge we lost sight of them. By now the weather was appalling we were being buffeted by strong wind and driving rain and the thought of being exposed to this for a few more hours wasn’t pleasant – still we had come all this way to get the 5 munros on this circuit so there was nothing for it but to press on.

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On reaching the large summit cairn of Cac Carn Mor we met the three guys who had over-taken us a bit earlier as they ran back from the summit of Lochnagar. We asked if they were doing the circuit, but they said that they wouldn’t do it in this weather and were heading back down. So even the locals didn’t think that the weather was suitable to take on the whole circuit, but we were satisfied that as long as we kept moving we’d be fine. On Lochnagar we found some respite from the wind in amongst the rocks at the summit and sat and had a bit of an early lunch (it had taken 2 hours to get there). As we got back to Cac Carn Mor we met two guys we had overtaken a bit earlier – they said that their intention had initially been to do the circuit, but due to the weather they were going to call it a day and head down – I began to suspect we’d soon be alone up on the tops (in fact these two were the last people we saw until we got back to Loch Muick).

One of the plus points for continuing was the fact that most of the climbing had already been done and with the weather as poor as it was it also allowed you to focus on something other than tired legs. So we set off at a jog towards Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach. Apparently by now we had twice passed by some fine views points and significant drops, but we had no hopes of taking in any views today (or photos for that matter – sorry).

The climb to Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach can hardly be called a climb, which is just as well given the uninspiring summit – maybe it is better when there are some views? So we didn’t hang around and trotted off downhill towards the Allt an Da Chraobh Bheath. As we did so I turned my ankle emitting what Neil described as a ‘girlie cry’ and had to tread quite gingerly for the rest of the descent; indeed this remained quite painful for the rest of the day and on every bit of rough ground (of which there was quite a bit) I was constantly worried about turning it again.

After crossing the burn we followed the line of old fence posts which initially head northwards for about 400 metres before turning westward and up towards the summit. En route the remains of a plane crash are passed just before the first summit cairn, which itself is just a short distance from the true summit of Carn an t-Sagairt Mor.
Descending on the same line we continued towards Cairn Bannoch, where we stopped for a second lunch out of the wind amongst the summit boulders, once again we had gone for the cornerstone of any hill walkers healthy meals - a stodgy sausage roll :) !

Only one more climb to go, so we headed off once more into the wind and rain. A poor line around Cairn of Gowal meant a bit more climbing, but soon enough we were at the top of Broad Cairn and as they say ‘It’s all down-hill from here’.
However, as we descended the views opened up and I remembered that it was still a fair trek to Loch Muick and then a good haul around the loch back to the car. At the split in the track we chose the route that descends to the loch shore and were able to maintain a slow jog downhill.

Before the jog back along loch Muick.jpg
Worried before the long run back around the loch

The prospect of running all the way back was quite daunting as by now I was dead-beat. Neil pulled away and disappeared from view, so I continued jogging and walking intermittently. The bridge over the black burn was fairly spectacular as the water raged down into the loch. After what seemed like an eternity the visitor centre came into view inspiring me to pick up the pace for the last few minutes arriving back exactly 6 hours after we had started.
Looking at the map and the other route descriptions it’s disappointing to know we missed out on some great views, but tomorrow is always another day.
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Re: White Mounth Munroes, Glen Muick

Postby ChrisW » Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:44 pm

6 hours.....6 HOURS.....I couldn't do that time on a motorbike round there :lol: hellish work on a day like that - I wouldn't have got out of the car with the rain bouncing up like that, think I'm a fair weather wanderer :wink:
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