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Brothers Unite - White Mounth Circuit

Brothers Unite - White Mounth Circuit

Postby allymacp » Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:28 pm

Route description: White Mounth Munros, Glen Muick

Munros included on this walk: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Càrn a' Choire Bhòidheach, Càrn an t-Sagairt Mòr, Lochnagar

Date walked: 16/07/2016

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 32 km

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I have been trying to get my brother up one of these Munro's for longer than I remember now. The lad will only climb mountains in foreign countries has always been the joke. A hark back to his travelling days. So imagine my shock when he recently said he fancied giving it a go. I figured as a one off, Ben Nevis seemed appropriate, but having been up there twice before, it had to be done via the CMD arete, which has been on my list for a while. Also figuring I'd go for maximum impact on Stu's senses!!

However as always, the west coast of Scotland gave in to the weather and I didn't fancy being on the arete in rain and howling wind for the first time. Figuring it would be best in the east, and a constant check on MWIS lead me to the Lochnagar circuit. Having hit number 50 recently, I wanted to get a good number under my belt, and with new instructions from Stu ('I just want to go where the people aren't'), I decided to break him in with an easy 18 miler and 5 Munros!!

I drove through to Edinburgh to pick bro up the night before, and after a few beers and four hours sleep, we set off at 4.30am. I think at that point theres no way he was a fan! Shortly after leaving though, as we drove over the Forth Road Bridge, the rail bridge was silhouetted by the most vivid neon sunrise, oranges and yellows. You know sometimes you just get a feeling its going to be a good day? Today was going to be a good day.

For me the drive is just as important as the climb, and the road up through Braemar was superb, although my wee car did have a job getting up a couple of the inclines! Great time made on the drive up the A93, nobody around this early of course and we were parked up and ready to go at 7.20am. The weather forecast was for rain to come and go and strong winds, but the possibility of cloud free tops, and perhaps some sun. Just the usual everything then!! Stepping out the car we were hit by the wind straight away, cold and strong.

Ready to go!

Lochnagar, Meikle Pap from the vallery floor

The path was excellent and we crossed the floor of the glen, and through a small forest before hitting the hillside proper. The track makes for good steady progress and we climbed upwards, branching off for the Lochnagar summit after about 45 minutes.


Stu had a list of things to do today....1, see some wildlife, 2, drink from a burn, and 3, remoteness.

We came upon a herd of deer, some really young looking ones too, enjoying their first Scottish summer! Check 1.

Wildlife - Check 1!

As we approached the col at Meikle Pap, the wind was really beginning to pick up and by the time we came face to face with the crags and corries of Lochnagar, it took a lot of concentration and will to stay on two feet. With the ladder next up and the fiercest of gusts trying to batter us, I did wonder whether it was safe or worth it to go on. I always get a sinking feeling with the possibility that turning back gives and while I didnt feel we were in any danger, it was quite tricky to scramble up the ladder. We agreed to head up to the plateau and see how bad it was there, and fortunately the wind did abate slightly and we continued round the cliffs and up onto summit number one. I'm so glad we pushed on as the views were excellent across Deeside and the Cairngorms. Its a part of Scotland for me that hasn't been explored too much, but the landscapes round here are of epic proportions, I cant wait to come back up.

Wind on the ladder!

Up on the plateau

Looking down on the corrie

Munro 1!

With great visibility it was easy to see our route across to Carn a' Choire Bhoideach. As we traversed across, we bumped into a chap who was coming in the opposite direction, he mentioned this was his 81st time around the circuit...this year!!! He was aiming for 100, so fair play to you as its no easy!!!

Across to The Stuic

We reached Carn a' Choire Bhoideach pretty quickly, heading south off the path to reach the flat top and small cairn. Thankfully some big rocks on the eastern flank gave us some protection from the wind and we stopped for a munch and a drink. This was a great view point to see where we had been and where we were going for the rest of the day, right round to Broad Cairn, the car park well out of sight. Descending eastwards we picked up the path again, and Stu stopped for a drink out the Allt an Da Chraobh Bheath. Check 2.

Stu takes a drink - Check 2

Down to Dubh Loch

There is no path up to the next top, so another bit of off-piste walking and we were up on top of number 3, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor in no time. The sun had even started to appear and there was still no sign of any rain. It is pretty remote looking and there was an abundance of hares hopping around the top. Check 1 again, and 3!! We didn't stay long on top as the wind was again pretty cold and there's no shelter up here. Took time though to look around at some of crash debris which in parts is surprisingly well intact and not rusted at all.

RAF Canberra wreckage

The sun was coming and going now, and the clouds were casting shadows across the massive rock formations of White Mounth. Beautiful scenery and not a soul in sight, stunning stuff!

Back to Carn an t-Sagairt Mor

Not a soul, remoteness - Check 3!

With the majority of the climbing done on the way up Lochnagar, it was straight forward walking across the plateau to number 4, Cairn Bannoch The views across Allt an Dubh Loch to the crags of Eagle Rock were amazing, such different terrain from the west coast mountains, but what it lacks in steep rocky and sharp crags it makes up for in its ancient, smooth glaciated bumps and drops.

Up to Cairn Bannoch

Games in the wind!

Eagle Rock, White Mounth

Onwards to Broad Cairn

The climb up the last two summits of the day were great fun, clambering over boulders to reach the cairns. We stopped for another bite to eat after Broad Cairn nestled again between some boulders for shelter. The wind again had picked up and was howling to the point that it was difficult to hear each other speak. We had started to see a few more folk now, perhaps doing the route in reverse, or taking in one of many paths that seem to sneak around the landscape.

Brothers united, Munro 5

From the top of Broad Cairn, the path out was clearly visible but the car park still out of site. I knew what was in store ahead...a never-ending trudge back, both of us starting to feel it in the legs. We stuck to the higher path and again the views were great down Loch Muick and back to glen of Dubh Loch. Looking back, rain clouds were gathering in the west and I thought we might get caught as spots of rain came down. Fortunately the weather gods were on our side and we watched as the rain traversed the hills we had just covered, and stayed clear of the south side of the glen.

Beautiful stuff!

The path then drops quickly down a series of steep zigzags before joining the track back to the car. By this point we were both pretty spent and we stopped one last time before picking ourselves up and heading back to the car. It is a great walk by the loch though and for a while took the mind off the soreness!

The long walk out

We made it back to the car in the sunshine in a little under 8 hours and just as we unlocked the doors, the rain started to come down. Such timing!!!

A fantastic day out which ticked so many boxes, and even though its long its a rewarding hike in a lovely setting. Back in the car, we drove up to Aviemore across the great mountain roads of the A939 for a good meal and beers at the Cairngorm Hotel. All our plans of hitting it up on a Saturday night fell apart quickly, and, absolutely shattered we were in bed for 10pm at the youth hostel!!

So its number up to 55 for me, and you know what? I think Stu even enjoyed it, so while its early days, I'll propose it as annual event to begin with, then I'm sure the bug will hit! As always looking forward to the next outing, exploring yet another corner of Scotland, still so much of the longer days left and much to see!!
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Re: Brothers Unite - White Mounth Circuit

Postby Sick Kid » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:00 am

It's a good day out on this lot, glad you both enjoyed it :D
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Re: Brothers Unite - White Mounth Circuit

Postby allymacp » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:13 am

Sick Kid wrote:It's a good day out on this lot, glad you both enjoyed it :D

Thanks Sick Kid - yep a real entertaining round this one, not sure I could do it 100 times in year like the guy we met though!!
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Posts: 46
Munros:116   Corbetts:20
Grahams:11   Donalds:20
Sub 2000:7   
Joined: Aug 5, 2013

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