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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