Lochnagar, the White Mounth munros and a compass.
by Scotjamie » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:54 pm
Route description: White Mounth Munros, Glen Muick
Munros included on this walk: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Lochnagar
Date walked: 26/07/2010
Time taken: 9 hours
Distance: 29 km
Ascent: 1300mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
If ever they create a walking trail the length of Glen Muick I shall walk it. Driving through the glen is all right, but only serves to tease with flashing glimpses of rock, river and lovely birchwoods all the way to the wild and empty higher tract that introduces Loch Muick. So wild, however, that a camping spot was difficult to identify. I was about to ignore the no camping sign at the car park picnic area when the stair rods of rain started pounding the car, that promptly substituted as my tent for an unsettled night!! When raining stair rods, the debate about whether tents should pitch inner or outer first is overtaken by the “pitch bugger-all first” strategy, and the “sleep in the car wimp” strategy.
The view out of the car window was dreich and uninspiring as I awoke slowly with cramp on a damp morning feeling shabby, resolved by a quick brew and a weel-kent breakfast of weetabix, midges and banana in warm milk - suddenly splendid…..
Heading for Lochnagar by a leisurely 8.30am, on the well signposted path.
Walking on trying to read the weather and see what wildlife is around when a directional instinct kicked in - I had missed the well signposted turn-off in the path, so retraced embarrassed steps and let’s try that again….
Heading for Lochnagar by a leisurely 8.45am on the well signposted path.
A little wildlife and easy walking up to the Bealach between Meikle Pap and Cuidhe Crom for views of Lochnagar’s cliffs . Then up the amazing man-made rock ladder that includes huge flat boulders helicoptered in to form some of the steps. Round the cliffs to Lochnagar with a view back down the path to Glas Allt Shiel. Then on up to the summit . The sky hovering seven inches above my head for much of the walk, but as I reached the summit of Cac Carn Beag the sky descended to 7 inches below my feet!
At this point I hesitate. Without Malcolm, my usual companion and expert navigator, I am worried about my fairly average map reading skills should the weather close in on the expanse of the white mounth ahead. I think I am competent enough but being a mountain feartie I assess the risks very thoroughly…. and then again. The sky cleared for a view of the good looking well trod path to Carn a Choire Bhoidheach that I know goes all the way to Carn an Sagairt Mor, so that navigation decision was easy. I can follow as far as is straightforward, and the worse that can happen is that I have to retrace steps back along the clear path over Lochnagar and down to Loch Muick. A chat with a couple of other walkers, equipped with GPS, revealed they reassuringly planned to do the round, and I was attentive to how far behind me they were.
And so I move on past the Stuic and the corrie that cradles Loch Nan Eun and Sandy Loch, over Carn a Choire Bhoidheach to Carn an Sagairt Mor, with views over to Cairn Bannoch and the cliffs of Creag an Dudh Loch .
Then it became mucky, very mucky. I knew I had taken a good bearing off Carn an Sagairt Mor, and the path would carry me off the mountain, but the tops tended off the main paths, rejoining them later. Cowardice is the better part of valour and I waited till I was caught up by Campbell from Aberdeen and his GPS Glasgow chum. Great decision, not because of the weather, or because of the compass doubts (my bearing proved true enough) but because they were great craik, all the way up to Cairn Bannoch, the summit invisible to all except a GPS reading, and then onto Broad Cairn, with a pic of the very friendly Campbell as the afternoon sun begins to flex a still unimpressive muscle or two .
All walkers know two truisms of the hills:
1. the glaur is only there to ensure you better appreciate the nice days, and
2. The glaur is there only as long as you are on the tops – it disappears the minute you leave the last top.
And so off Broad Cairn, with a choice between the first left turn to the lochside path or continue on the high road that offers easier walking and may help avoid lochside midges. The third way is to mistakenly turn right into Glen Doll. I chose, and recommend, the first path that descends lochside and continues the long length of Loch Muick, one of the more satisfying long walks out as it threads through heather, rock and waterfall, with super views back up the Allt Dubh Loch and across to the Glas Allt Shiel.
I drove back down Glen Muick and onto Braemar. After two nights wild camping in tent and car, personal hygiene concerns about new forms of evolutionary life in dark and irretrievable parts, persuade me to a 25 minute hot shower at the Braemar campsite. A quick meal, a brew and a large Glenfarclas 105 in the dissolving sun – a great end to a great day and just where I want to be - navigation be damned, as Spike Milligan said, “everybody’s got to be somewhere”.
by rogers » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:18 am
by HighlandSC » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:42 pm
by Scotjamie » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:27 pm
Am sure the no camping rule can be flexible near the picnic area particularly since the warden seems to leave after 8pm but don't tell anyone else If I go again, a very good low level wild camp site looks to be the other end of Loch Muick where the Allt an Dubh Mor enters the loch. From there, I'd like to walk up the Glas Allt Shiel and then back round to end up at the camp site at the lochside path. Steeper at first but great, easy walking once up top.
monty wrote:Nice report Scotjamie and some nice pictures in the drechit weather Good effort.
Thanks monty - will have to half my time to keep up with your pace and will have to buy something other than my 5 yr old idiot-proof-point-&-shoot to compare with Kinley. On 2nd thoughts I'll just stop comparing
HighlandSC wrote:high winds/icy plateau = fear of getting blown over the cliffs!
Thanks Highland SC - a very wise departure, the Lochnagar corrie would become very scarily close and personal in wind and skating rink.
by Graeme D » Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:49 am
Scotjamie wrote:When raining stair rods, the debate about whether tents should pitch inner or outer first is overtaken by the “pitch bugger-all first” strategy, and the “sleep in the car wimp” strategy.
Myself and a friend are just back from a couple of days in Kintail and we almost succumbed to these alternative strategies as well, but there was a break just in time to allow us to get the tents up.
I enjoyed this report - excellent pictures and story with a healthy dose of mountain black humour thrown in for good measure!
by tilley hemp th5 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:57 am
thanks for sharing. did only the lochnagar summit when i was up that way...but this (long!) route looks a much more interesting day.
by Blue Bear » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:21 pm
by LeithySuburbs » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:47 pm
Re: the 2 truisms - we all know them .