Longest hike I've done since I broke my foot....
I had been eyeing up these 5 munros for a while now - living in Aberdeen they're probably some of the closest - but was always put off by the length of the walk. Broke my foot a few years ago and it's not what it once was, so I was always a bit feart. Been up Lochnagar a couple of times and that was ok albeit a bit stiff after - this report is for folk that are worried about it being a huge undertaking....
So me and my pal from work went for it on saturday - the forecast was for wind and possibly low cloud, but generally good conditions so I couldn't use the weather to back out of it this time!
Having been up Lochnagar before, I knew what to expect for the first part of the walk - an easy path up from the Glen Muick car park until you get to the corrie and then the boulder field is a bit strenuous. It takes a little while, but it's a nice enough walk, not too exposed so you are kept out the wind for a while. The boulder field is by far the toughest section of the walk - but if you take your time it's not so bad and the views on the way up keep getting better and better. You know you're almost there when the Meikle Pap seems like it's below you!
Round the rim of the corrie takes you to the first top of Lochnagar and then a wee bit further on and you're up to the summit - nice views usually but today it was mist as far as the eye could see! We're semi fit and it took us a couple of hours to get to the top.
The next munro came easily for us - it's back the way you came until the path forks to the right (south-west) and a short walk later (45 mins or so) you're at the next munro! The path is no bother - not too steep and if you're lost in conversation like we were you don't even notice the ascent so even if you're not wanting to do the 5, bagging Lochnagar and Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach is easily done.
We didn't stop for long as it was still really misty and we had a long way to go! The next top is about the same distance away, although it's a bit steeper to get to the top - still took us about 45 minutes again to get there. It was real misty when we got there - had a sandwich but by the time we'd finished it had cleared. We'd heard about the plane crash remains on this hill so had a little look about and it's quite interesting so worth a check if you're there. They're off to the south west.
The next one is roughly the same distance again, although it looks further than it is. The fact that the cloud had lifted meant we could see our next target (not always a good thing) but it was nice to see the views.
Again it's only about 45 minutes walk, and easy enough although you do have to pick your way up the stones/boulders near the summit but it makes a nice change to the fairly boring terrain of the previous two. Broad Cairn can be seen directly in front of you, and the views back to the summits you've already bagged is quite satisfying.
Heading off to Broad Cairn and you're there before you know it. Now all that remains is the 9km walk back around the loch... By this time it's about 6 hours in for us and it's a bit daunting thinking how far is still to go, but the beauty of the walk is that you get the 5 summits in in such quick succession that it's quite a satisfying feeling, and the walk along the side of the loch is really nice. By the end of the day I was very glad to stop walking but it's definitely inspired me to do more longer walks! So if in doubt - go for it!!
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