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Stormy Saturday on Craigendarroch and The Coyles of Muick

Stormy Saturday on Craigendarroch and The Coyles of Muick

Postby rob munbett » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:42 am

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Craigendarroch, The Coyles of Muick

Date walked: 25/10/2014

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Driving from Mar lodge, I had planned to climb Geallaig Hill as a starter but, parking at the roadside cairn, the wind was so strong I could barely open the car door. Time for a re-think. I thought that hills surrounded by sheltering forest would be a more possible option. So, I drove down to Ballater and had a lovely walk up through the woods on to Craigendarroch. I parked just past a church on the road in, then walked back to the aptly named Craigendarroch Walk and just followed the red markers all the way to the top where there was a viewfinder, huge cairn and ..... summit bench! A perfect place for a rest out of the wind and a cup of tea.
The summit bench on Craigendarroch
Here, I sat looking at my maps for what I might do next. I looked over to the Coyles of Muick and thought that might be a good stroll.
The Coyles of Muick from Craigendarroch
I drove round to park at the sharp bend in the minor road at NO349928. By now, the wind was even fiercer but I set off down the road, map in hand. I have found in the past that routes depending upon forest roads can be problematic but on this occasion, it was very easy indeed. I crossed a cattle grid on the road and took the first forest road on the right. At the first junction turn right and after about 200 metres turn sharp left. Then there's an easy angled 2km (approx) straight which leads to a right turn followed by another just before a wooden chalet (locked), followed by a left fork. All this time I could hear the wind howling and see the trees swaying dramatically. Some cone-laden tops were being snapped off by the gale and landing on the road - maybe this walk through the woods wasn't such a good idea? By now I was within 500 meters of the tops so I had to find a way up and just as I was think about this, a section of felled trees came into view.
Looking up the felled forest section
Unusually, this was easy to negotiate and soon I could see the summit crags. I was also beginning to feel the full force of the wind!
The summit crags coming into view
I crouched as low as I could, tightened everything about my person and tried to stay as much as I could in the lee of the hill. However, to reach the huge cairn, I had to become fully exposed and the final metres were a mad dash. I stood in the vacuum behind the cairn and tried to get my breath back - the force of the wind had knocked it out of me. I stayed here a moment, snapped off a few shaky pictures before venturing over to the other cairn.
Looking over to Ballater and Morven
Looking over to stormy Lochnagar
I'm 6'3" and 15 stone but the force of the wind was such that it was just plucking me up and knocking me over, so the struggle across to the other cairn was very nearly impossible and after the mere 100 metres or so, I was exhausted. However, it was not a place to linger so it was a case of being blown off the tops in the relieving shelter of the woods and a well deserved break for food and drink. The gentle stroll back to the car was a real pleasure.

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rob munbett
Hill Bagger
Posts: 171
Munros:257   Corbetts:133
Grahams:68   Donalds:52
Sub 2000:92   Hewitts:30
Joined: Jan 23, 2013

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