Having climbed Lochnagar several times over the years I always fancied hoofing it around to the other side of Loch Muick & taking in the other munro tops. I decided to make it my last planned over-nighter for 2016.
I parked up & chatted with Fiona the ranger for a bit, then set off pretty much bang on 09:00. To begin with I certainly wasn't feeling the love of walking, what with carrying the additional weight of sleeping bag, food, water, trekking mattress etc on the way up. A few brief showers of stinging rain whilst up on the corrie ridge after the Ladder added to the days delights (cue my world famous 'beetle on its back' impression as I pulled on my waterproofs... stuff doing the one legged flamingo balancing act).
Still, it wasn't a bad day for it on the Friday all in all; it was mostly intermittently cloudy & dry, the forecast showers were heavy but passed after about 20 minutes each, some new to me munro tops were climbed, there was the knowledge that a decent amount of calories were being burned off, I got plenty of fresh air and the opportunity to see different parts of This Island Earth from a different perspective.
I was in no rush (especially descending through through the boulder fields coming off Broad cairn) and so I finished off on the eastern side of Broad Cairn around 19:00 by a wee shepherds hut. A good enough place finish up for the day, especially as I didn't fancy pressing on walking into the gloom.
I didn't hang around on the first three munros as it was blafferty as anything. On Broad Cairn, however...
OK, so the story behind this is that me wee niece loves dinosaurs & this particular Stegosaurus is destined to be her 3rd birthday present. It was collected first thing in the morning when the Royal Mail depot opened up. I figured if I took it for a hill walk then at least it would have a story to tell.
Then it occurred to me... of course I was so tired. I've been carrying a dinosaur in my rucksack all day. That'll teach me...
After some very welcome hot food & a solid nights sleep I was treated to a cracking dawn without a breath of wind.
When it was light enough to see by - a little after 06:00 - I packed up quickly, hastened somewhat as the midges found me. Unlike the midges I wasn't feeling hungry so I got some water down my neck and - feeling suitably refreshed - cracked on with my descent off the hills.
After a while a glance over my shoulders suggested that if I didn't pick up the pace I might just be overtaken by the tendrils of cloud creeping over the hill tops. Not being a fan of walking in mist was motivation to press on and nae hang about.
The other end of the road I saw on my walk in to Corrie Fee back in July of this year.
I got back to the car park bang on 08:00. A quick change of top, socks & footwear than back to Aberdeen via Banchory. All in all roughly nine hours of actual walking time on the Friday with two hours walking on the Saturday.
I honestly doubt I'll be back this particular way again, as there's so may walks & so little free time aligning with decent weather. Still, never say never...
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.