walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Snowy Lochnagar

Snowy Lochnagar


Postby GariochTom » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:49 pm

Route description: Lochnagar from Glen Muick

Munros included on this walk: Lochnagar

Date walked: 31/03/2013

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 904m

5 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).

On the Saturday we had a great walk around Ballochbuie Forest in the Balmoral Estate, enjoying excellent views across to snowy Lochnagar under blue skies, so we decided that if the weather was equally good the following day, we would continue with the Balmoral theme and walk up the said hill.

Image
Lochnagar from the Queen's View near Tarland by GariochT, on Flickr

Sunday came, and the skies were blue again, so we headed out for the Spittal of Glenmuick (a little later than planned, as one of us had forgotten that the clocks went forward the night before...! :clap: )
The car park at the Spittal was already almost full, and we were lucky to get a space.

We headed up the icy track from the car park, across the base of Glen Muick and into the forest, following the helpful sign 'Lochnagar Path', up through the trees then out into the open hillside. By now the sky was grey - hardly any blue sky to be seen, which was a bit disappointing considering the promising start to the day.
Image
Cloudy by GariochT, on Flickr

Up the track, we shortly had to cross the Allt na Giubhsaich and as usual I paddled across rather than hopping on stepping stones.
Image
Ford by GariochT, on Flickr

A nervous skiier descended past us, frequently stopping as the slope was a bit too steep and slippery for his liking.

Eventually we reached the turn off to the left, initially descending before starting the main ascent. The combination of grey light and white snow meant that the edges of the snowy banks were very difficult to see, which was slightly disconcerting.

The ascent was quite slow-going in the snow. Near the foot of Meikle Pap a few ptarmigans flew past us before landing on the eastern slopes of that hill. Leaving the track, we approached them and I blindly pointed and clicked my camera towards them (why did I choose a camera without a viewfinder...?). I was pleased with the results!

Image
P1090655 by GariochT, on Flickr

Image
P1090655 - Version 2 by GariochT, on Flickr

Image
P1090657 by GariochT, on Flickr

We then headed back to the track and then slowly up to the bealach, catching up with a couple of other walkers. The buttresses of Lochnagar looked very impressive, caked in snow.

After a short rest we started to ascend the steeper slopes towards the plateau - slow progress again, but eventually we reached the top of the corrie. We gingerly walked a bit closer to the edge of the corrie to have an elevenses stop, then continued skirting around the corrie on much easier ground, frequently stopping to take photographs...

Image
Ascending by GariochT, on Flickr

Image
Cac Carn Beag by GariochT, on Flickr

Image
Above the buttresses of Lochnagar by GariochT, on Flickr

Image
The plateau by GariochT, on Flickr

There were a few people already at the summit when we arrived, including some cross country skiiers.

Image
At the summit by GariochT, on Flickr

After taking more photographs from the top we found a good sheltered lunch spot, looking across to the central Cairngorms. Through binoculars we could see the corries of Cairn Toul above the plunging depths of the Lairig Ghru, the tors on Ben Avon, and of course plenty of other mountains too.

Image
View from the top by GariochT, on Flickr

Image
The northeast slopes by GariochT, on Flickr

Image
Across to the central Cairngorms by GariochT, on Flickr

Image
The view northeast by GariochT, on Flickr

Rather than risking the steep Glas Allt glen, we opted to return the same way that we had come, but we weren't bored by the repeat views!

Image
Lochnagar Panorama by GariochT, on Flickr

Image
Overlooking the corrie by GariochT, on Flickr

A group of people with sleds passed us on their way up to the summit... earlier we had seen someone with snowshoes. Both quicker ways of getting across the deep snow!

Image
Walking party skirting the corrie by GariochT, on Flickr

Once at the bealach, we decided to head up Meikle Pap, and then down the other side.

Image
Ptarmigan tracks by GariochT, on Flickr

The descent back to the car didn't take long, although I did delay things a bit by deciding to put my crampons on for the slightly slippery compacted path - they really weren't necessary but I do want to get my money's worth from them... :)

Image
Looking back by GariochT, on Flickr

Image
Through the forest by GariochT, on Flickr


lochnagar.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

User avatar
GariochTom
Wanderer
 
Posts: 142
Munros:148   Corbetts:34
Grahams:9   
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:1
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Snowy Lochnagar

Postby morag1 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:36 am

:D Something special about Lochnagar, loved looking at your photos
morag1
 

Re: Snowy Lochnagar

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:25 am

Excellent stuff Garioch Tom, lovely photographs, and some amount of snow up there, must have made tough going, ta for posting :D
User avatar
The Rodmiester
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 3358
Munros:104   Corbetts:193
Grahams:45   Donalds:13
Sub 2000:60   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Aug 15, 2012
Location: Carnoustie

Re: Snowy Lochnagar

Postby GariochTom » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:06 pm

Thanks :D Yes the snow was hard going in places... I'm definitely thinking of investing in some snow shoes, maybe in the summer sales :)
User avatar
GariochTom
Wanderer
 
Posts: 142
Munros:148   Corbetts:34
Grahams:9   
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:1
Joined: Aug 5, 2008
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Snowy Lochnagar

Postby mr_ash_37 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:57 pm

Another grt report. Love the ptarmigan pics and prints!
User avatar
mr_ash_37
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 175
Munros:60   Corbetts:3
Joined: Jan 20, 2012
Location: East Ayrshire

Re: Snowy Lochnagar

Postby Jabber » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:30 am

Great to see so many ptarmigan together at once, all I ever seen is just a pair. I have always thought about taking a small sledge up with me on my snowy trips up, especially as Trespass have rucksack friendly ones on sale just now! Might also save me from wearing out my rainproof bottoms. Great Phots!
User avatar
Jabber
Walker
 
Posts: 112
Munros:135   Corbetts:13
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:9
Wainwrights:2   
Joined: May 18, 2011
Location: Bonhill

Re: Snowy Lochnagar

Postby Border Reiver » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:09 pm

Nice report and beautiful pics - makes me ache to be up there in those conditions. You seem to have almost had the hill to yourself - so many walkers don't know what they're missing by not walking in winter. I really need to get my wife to do a winter hill - but she's nervous about slipping and feels the cold. She gets twitchy if I even get my crampons out to look at them.
User avatar
Border Reiver
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1328
Munros:202   Corbetts:7
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:61
Wainwrights:68   
Joined: Feb 18, 2011
Location: North East England

5 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).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CraigReid, Malkie, PeteR, tony-c and 39 guests