It has been a while since my last Munro trip report. I moved away from the hills of Scotland to the rather flatter London basin. There are some pleasant walks around the capital but I do miss the space and feeling of remoteness that you get in Scotland. I managed to make it back to the hills twice this year and this report covers my first trip.
We only had a few days in Scotland and wanted to make the most of it so we planned a two and a bit day trip covering 11 Munros and camping on the hills. I had heard that the Lochnagar circuit was well worth a visit so we made this the starting point and then looked for other hills that we could take in on the way back to a suitable bus stop.
We started in Ballater at a very nice coffee shop, enjoying our last taste of luxury before the trip. We had decided that to save time we wuld get a taxi up to the car park at the start of the Lochnagar circuit. The walk in looked quite nice from the road but we had a tight schedule to stick to.
We arrived at the start in the early evening and spent a few hours climbing steadily upwards to the top of Lochnagar. The weather deteriorated as ascended and by the time we reached the top the clouds had rolled in obscuring the view. We pitched camp a little way off the top and had a rather chilly meal and an early night ready for our attempt at 10 Munros on the following day.
We awoke to wind, drizzle and cloud, perfect walking conditions! We continued around the White Mounth circuit taking in Carn a' Choire Bhoidheach, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Cairn Bannoch and Broad Cairn. All of these were fairly undistinguished but the rain stopped and the walk was pleasant with a great feeling of solitude and space. After Broad Cairn we cut off to the south west towards Tolmount and Tom Buidhe. Also not particularly spectacular but easy to find and with some nice views.
The final leg of the days walk was the Glas Maol ridge. We approached from the east reaching Cairn of Claise first. We left our bags there and nipped over to Carn an Tuirc, it felt great walking without anything to carry! Then back to Cairn of Claise and on to Glas Maol and finally Creag Leacach (via a short unplanned detour to Little Glas Maol). We were pretty tired by this point and plodded onwards until we found the first patch of roughly flat ground.
The next day was a simple walk out down the ridge then off to the west to Spittal of Glenshee. Unfortunately the hotel was closed so our planned hot meal didn’t happen. Luckily the café at the activity lodge was open and when it closed the proprietor was kind enough to give us a lift to Blairgowrie to save us waiting in the rain for the bus.
Overall a relatively easy hill walk, visibility was mostly pretty good and apart from a few small detours we were able to navigate easily. Good views and we only met one other group during the whole walk so a great feeling of remoteness.
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