East side story part 2 - a broad way to Broad Cairn
by BlackPanther » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:47 pm
Route description: White Mounth Munros, Glen Muick
Munros included on this walk: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch
Date walked: 12/03/2012
Time taken: 7.5 hours
Distance: 24.7 km
Ascent: 1132m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
And this chapter will include two Munros: Broad Cairn and Cairn Bannoch. Having enjoyed a truly remarkable walk in Glen Callater the previous day, now the time arrived to complete The Whitemounth Five. Weather was just as good as on Sunday with one small difference to our advantage: wind has dropped and it felt even warmer!
It was undeniably one of the best long-distance walks in my life and I'm sure after reading my story all readers agree with me
This route is basically the first half of traditional Whitemounth circuit, up the track along the southern side of Loch Muick, over the two above mentioned Munro summits and down along Allt an Dubh-Loch and the Dubh Loch itself:
The circuit is over 15 miles long but most of the walk is on tracks and good paths. Strictly speaking, it's not much shorter than doing the full round over five Munros.
Starting point - the well known car park in Spittal of Glenmuick. We were welcome by Lochnagar hiding its tops in the cloud...
...and by a small herd of deer, grazing in the glen. They didn't seem to be bothered by us at all:
It was Monday so we didn't expect crowds in Glen Muick, but we were surprised that apart from a couple of dog walkers along the loch, we didn't meet a single soul!
The empty, quiet track to Loch Muick:
As I mentioned, there was very little wind in the glen, so water in the loch looked still and acted as a mirror all the time...
We walked along the track and simply couldn't believe how quiet and beautiful it was...
Kevin posing with Loch Muick:
I'm afraid I may be crucified for posting another mega-long TR with too many pictures but I simply can't resist sharing these:
Glas-allt-Shiel from across the loch:
The pointy top in the background is our first target Munro - Broad Cairn:
Looking back along Loch Muick:
We crossed the bridge over Black Burn and began to climb the zigzagging track. The higher we went, the more stunning views:
A short break to sink it in, I was speechless!
Mirror-mirror on the wall, who's the prettiest of them all? It must be Loch Muick!
A glimpse across the glen to the bulk of Lochnagar:
OK, I admit, that's one too many...
Towards Broad Cairn:
Well... just one more mirror-photo...
Looking back to Loch Muick and the track:
It is a long trek all the way along the glen, but once we got onto the plateau, soon we saw the summit of Broad Cairn:
Black Panther meowing in Whitemounth
Kevin was happy to admit the day was fan-tas-tic:
The final push to the summit was still along a well-worn path. In wet weather it is probably muddy but we had a nice, dry day:
Back to Loch Muick, the mirror effect no longer visible from this distance:
View east to Glen Clova:
Approaching the summit:
The last 100m of ascent is quite bouldery and there were a few patches of melting snow to cross on the way up:
We arrived on the top to discover even more breathtaking views. Here, the pano west towards our second target, Cairn Bannoch and the cliffs of Creag an Dubh-Loch:
The cairn is on top of a rocky outcrop:
Resting by the summit cairn:
Cairn Bannoch seemed close:
We spent some time on the top of Broad Cairn, we calculated there was still enough daylight left to comfortably complete our planned route. The wind picked up and had a chilly edge, but it was pleasant enough to take a longer break and simply feel happy to be out there...
Oh, I'm going to be stupidly romantic now, but there is SOMETHING IN THE AIR on days like that. You'll breathe it in with every breath, it will flow in your veins, make your heart beat faster... Maybe it's just the adrenaline overproduction, the infamous "Hillclimbus nuttus" as I call it sometimes... The pride within you, that you have seen, came and conquered, as mr Caesar used to say
Leaving Broad Cairn behind, we continued our "conquest" to Cairn Bannoch, over a subsidiary top, Cairn of Gowal:
The slopes of the latter hid the Munro summit from view for a while and when we saw it again, much closer now, Kevin stopped and said:
"Dear Lord, I have just had a deja-vu moment!"
"Deja-vu?" I laughed "You saw this top yesterday, from the other side!"
"No, it's not that, wait... I know! It looks like Rough Tor!"
I wasn't surprised, Kevin grew up in Cornwall and walked over Rough Tor (one of the Bodmin Mor hills) multiple times. I have only been there once, but yes, I agree there is some resemblance:
We quickly walked up boulders to the summit:
It's another good viewpoint, especially down to the glen below and across to Eagles Rock:
Another break, not too long this time, but I couldn't resist more view-sinking:
Back to Broad Cairn:
Eagles Rock with a lovely waterfall:
Eventually we left Rough Tor... I mean: Cairn Bannoch and started to look for a descent route down to the glen, as we wanted to visit the cliffs of Creag an Dubh-Loch on the way back. The SHC Munro book suggests descending along a stream, Allt Coire Uilleim Mhoir, but there was a big, steep patch of snow we would have to cross. It looked slippery and we didn't have crampons with us (what a surprise!), so we decided to look for another route. We walked further along the glen and then carefully descended the steep slopes down to the Allt an Dubh-loch stream. It didn't present a challenge but the ground was wet with many little burns going down (melting snow I guess). I wouldn't recommend running down this slope
Down by the stream, the ground was now easy to walk:
We aimed for a line of old fence posts only to discover, there was a faint path going along the stream - in this picture you can see it just below me:
The path was boggy and not very well visible in places but easy enough to give us relatively fast going, soon we could see Dubh-Loch:
We walked below the impressive Eagles Rock...
Admired the cascading falls of Allt an Dubh-loch...
... and at last, we reached the upper end of the loch and had a close encounter with the cliffs of Creag an Dubh-Loch. Unfortunately, the sun was just above them so ot was a bit tricky to get a good photo:
Another speechless moment in my life (believe me, they don't happen very often, I'm used to constant meowing):
The final part of the route was a formality. By Dubh-Loch we picked one slightly better path and followed it all the way down to Loch Muick:
The Stulan waterfall:
One relatively long route, but it's worth the effort, including Kevin's blistered foot. To get back to the car park, we strolled along Loch Muick, joking, laughing and planning menu for our late dinner. Kevin discovered a new function in the camera, called "Sunset pictures" and suddenly everything turned pink...
...even the Panther!
Well, that would be it, folks. I had the time of my life and definitely I'm going to have more... and more...days like this. Once a hill bagger, always a hill bagger, I guess. Meow!
by blueyed » Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:04 pm
by ChrisW » Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:27 pm
by Sabbathstevie » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:54 pm
by Bod » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:49 am
Well done both of you, and thanks for reminding me of how those wonderful crags looked, also I enjoyed the high path too very much. When I was a younger I hadn't appreciated that spot properly.
by BlackPanther » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:58 am
ChrisW wrote:this is the first time I have felt homesick since I left....it leaves me knowing exactly where I will go if I ever return to Aberdeenshire
Ouch, I'm so sorry to have made you homesick, Chris, now I feel guilty for spoiling your day Hopefully my next report won't reduce you to tears, it's from Drumochter area, not so sentimental for you I guess...
Bod wrote:Well done both of you, and thanks for reminding me of how those wonderful crags looked, also I enjoyed the high path too very much. When I was a younger I hadn't appreciated that spot properly.
Sometimes it's a matter of luck, you climb a hill once, get perfect weather and have the time of your life... I must admit I'm always jealous about people who had spent their youth in Scotland, with all the opportunities to lurk around and explore... Having only moved up 7 years ago, I feel a bit like I'm playing catch-up with the locals
by mrssanta » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:48 pm
by MusicalHiker » Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:45 pm