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Lochnagar - Spectacular Sunrise from 1155m

Lochnagar - Spectacular Sunrise from 1155m

Postby andygunn23 » Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:51 pm

Munros included on this walk: Lochnagar

Date walked: 02/08/2015

Time taken: 13 hours

Distance: 55 km

Ascent: 1599m

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Lochnagar Sunrise - 2nd August 2015:

Living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world for nearly my whole life I have finally decided to explore more of Scotland - and what better way to do this than working my way around The Munros?!

I have done a few Munros in the past but decided I would start from scratch and keep a proper record / log so here is my walk up Lochnagar that began on the evening of Saturday 1st August 2015.

Currently living in Aberdeen, working Monday - Friday, without a car and not a member of any hill walking clubs (hoping to change that soon), I decided I would reignite my frustrating relationship with the Stagecoach 201 bus and head out to Ballater.

I arrived in Ballater about 9pm and began my walk to the Spittal of Glenmuick. My plan was this first leg would take 3 hours, I would then hike up Lochnagar, get to the top just in time for sunrise, complete a leisurely stroll down by Loch Muick, hitch a ride back to Ballater and finally get the bus back to Aberdeen.

Also worth noting I am no expert with a camera, but here are a few photos from the first leg:
Only a few kilometres into the walk I found one of my favourite views - the thistles are brilliant.

Decided to explore what Rinasluick Ruin was. The architecture from the past is far most impressive than anything that gets thrown up nowadays!

The sun disappeared and was replaced with the moon. For the first time I began to doubt my decision to do this in the dark. The mountains look far more sinister when they are dark!

I made it to the Spittal of Glenmuick for just before midnight and began my walk up Lochnagar. I seen a group camping just before the little woods on the main path - these would be the last people I see for the next nine hours.

The moon decided it would take a rest behind one of the very few clouds - perfect chance to try out my new head torch and take a shameless selfie

With no one to speak to and the temperature beginning to drop rapidly, I unsurprisingly made some pretty swift process and I was already turning left from Miekle Pap and scrambling up Lochnagar.

After a minor slip / fall I decided to take a rest, grab a sandwich and enjoy the stars, but before that I will have one look upwards to see what awaits me... What awaited me was hundreds and hundreds of eyes lighting up from my head torch. I have no idea if it was hares, deers or monsters - but they just stood still staring at me.

I realised I was far ahead of schedule and I was going to be waiting at the top for a long time for sunrise. So, scared of the monsters, wind picking up, and legs beginning to hurt I decided I would take shelter in amongst the rocks.

My attempted nap failed miserably it was getting colder, windier and still no lighter. I decided I might as well just make my way upwards.

I made it to the summit by minutes past three, maybe not the most sensible time to be at the top of Lochnagar but how many of you can say you had the cairn all to yourself??

With only ~90 minutes to wait until the sunrise I took shelter in my new home just below the summit.

The break from the wind and cold didn't last long, I had been up for nearly 24 hours and decided I could not wait any longer and I would just accept I had completed my first Munro but surely the sunrise was not worth waiting for...

I began my descent towards Loch Muick (and my bus to my bed!). I had been descending for about 30 minutes before the sky began to brighten up. I realised I had completed one of Scotland's most famous Munros yet I hadn't even seen anything - would I make it back to the summit in time for the sunrise.... maybe if I ran?!

I turned around and ran / swiftly retraced my steps back to the Eagle Ridge. The next photos were taken from a combination of my phone and camera just as the sun was rising. I doubt I will ever see anything as incredible as this sunrise!

Just before the sun began to rise it turned the sky into crazy colours that made it worth ever blister I had accumulated!

The colourful sky meant for the first time I could see the true beauty of cliffs around Lochnagar.


I have never appreciated how quickly the sun rises - here are a few of my favourite photos! The clouds were perfectly placed and the views were out of this world.






Finally I was able to see Lochnagar - words will never truly do it justice... so here are the photos!





The sun was almost completely up, everything began to warm up and the colours became far less pink.



Delighted with my moment of indecision that pushed me back up I decided to begin my stroll back down to Loch Muick - for real this time!

I was shattered, my feet were in pieces but it did not fail to disappoint!



It was about 8am, and I was nearly back at the car park where it all began 8 hours ago - nothing would stop me now! Well... nearly nothing! I couldn't turn down this scenic little boat house as a place for breakfast, so I fed myself my final peanut butter sandwich whilst also feeding what appeared to be half of Scotland's midge population!


Covered in midge bites I made it to the car park where I bumped into the first couple beginning their day in the glorious sunshine, just as I was ending my own - they seemed surprised to see me!

Only a three hour walk remained between me and Ballater, my plan to hitchhike back failed miserably as not one car passed me going the right direction!

I made it back to Aberdeen mid afternoon and slept right through to my 5am alarm on Monday morning. :shock:

Was it worth it - absolutely!

Would I do it again - 100%, but first 281 Munros await!

If you made it this far - thanks for reading! (and for everyone else that posts reviews, thank you!!)

Over and out & stay safe,

Up next was Ben Vorlich & Stuc a'Chroin with Dad ft. "The Mirror Man" http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=55818

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Last edited by andygunn23 on Tue Sep 01, 2015 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lochnagar - Spectacular Sunrise from 1155m

Postby mgmt! » Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:47 am

nice report and pictures, sunsets seem to be very popular this summer. maybe you should have taken a shelter and had a kip at the summit ?
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Re: Lochnagar - Spectacular Sunrise from 1155m

Postby ancancha » Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:57 am

Nice one :clap:
Sunsets and rises can produce some unexpected colour schemes :shock:
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Re: Lochnagar - Spectacular Sunrise from 1155m

Postby larry groo » Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:00 am

Fine effort and great pics!!

:clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Lochnagar - Spectacular Sunrise from 1155m

Postby spiderwebb » Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:59 pm

Worth it, absolutely as you said. I always believe that the best light is just after daybreak and just before sunset. But it is at its best with some high cloud as you have captured so beautifully in your photos. Sometimes its best to be alone, immersed in your thoughts and memories :D

Well done on that first step, as they say every journey begins with a first step and best wishes on that journey from someone who's same journey is at its end :(
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Re: Lochnagar - Spectacular Sunrise from 1155m

Postby andygunn23 » Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:32 pm

Wow, didn't really expect anyone to read this, all the comments are greatly appreciated.

Couldn't agree more about the being alone part - after a week of work surrounded by people it is very relaxing (and the people you do meet up the hills are nearly always great ambassadors for Scotland!)

Thanks for the best wishes, but being at the end of your journey shouldn't be a bad thing - just a chance to celebrate to go and do them all over again (or at least your favourite ones!!)

Since completing this I've managed to find time to complete another 18 so will hopefully manage to write up my reports over this coming week. 19 down 263 to go - not that I am counting...
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Re: Lochnagar - Spectacular Sunrise from 1155m

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Aug 31, 2015 1:27 pm

There's nothing like being up a hill at sundown/sunrise (when the weather plays ball anyway)
A tent or a bivy next time might improve the comfort factor :lol:
Enjoy your hills
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Re: Lochnagar - Spectacular Sunrise from 1155m

Postby Mountainlove » Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:08 pm

Thats brilliant. Taking the bus and doing such a long hike afterwards to see the sunrise- well done! The pictures are amazing well worth all the effort :clap:
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Re: Lochnagar - Spectacular Sunrise from 1155m

Postby Alteknacker » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:51 am

Excellent first report, and some brilliant pics. :clap: :clap: :clap: I particularly like the ones with flowers in the foreground (even if you touched up the colour... :lol: ).

A long way to walk for one hill, although you got the most amazing sunrise. Weren't you tempted to cycle up to the end of the road...???
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Re: Lochnagar - Spectacular Sunrise from 1155m

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:01 am

A great record of what must have been an very special morning, for somebody who's not an expert with a camera you've done a grand job :clap: :clap:
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