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The Long Way Round the White Mounth Munros

The Long Way Round the White Mounth Munros

Postby Col S » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:19 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: 08/10/2017

Time taken: 16 hours

Distance: 42.3 km

Ascent: 1922m

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I’d had the plan to do the White Mounth Munros on Sunday and when I saw a post from a group planning to do the same hills but from Gelder Shiel bothy I decided to join them.

08-OCT-17.GPX Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

The organiser, Cat, said the plan was to meet at the car park by the Balmoral estate at 2pm on the Saturday and head out to Gelder Shiel bothy but I had plans for climbing in Perth so I said I’d meet everyone at the bothy later.

The other members of the group arrive earlier in the day

I got to the car park at 5.30 and with 1.5hrs walk to the bothy I should be there before the light went. Things didn't quite go according to plan.

Someone approached me at the car park seeing me getting into my walking gear and asked if I was heading to the bothy. Turned out Nasrin was from the group too and had been delayed too so we agreed to walk out together. She had brought a hand trolley laden with supplies for the group at the bothy and as it was easy landcover track all the way it seemed like a great way get it there! Turned out it wasn't :lol:

As we walked through the estate we were stopped twice in less than ten minutes by the authorities enquiring where we were heading with our trolley :shock: They also informed us we couldn’t cross the estate at this time and would have to head to the distillery and walk round the edge of the forest. This was going to add a fair bit to our walk :(

At the distillery there was a bit of a track going through the forest but as it left the grounds it grew worse and soon stopped all together. Making progress with the trolley was starting to become pretty difficult, we tried dragging it together or carrying it between us like something from a bad comedy :lol: but as the heather got thicker and the light started to fade we knew we couldn’t continue like this. We ditched the firewood and 3 litres of water to lighten the load although the bottle of wine remained, there were just some things we weren’t prepared to sacrifice! :wink:

After distributing the rest of the supplies between us we pressed on and it was time for the head torches. It was tricky and slow going in the knee high heather, stumbling in the dark trying to avoid the various ditches and holes but we had the treeline to guide us and so navigation was easy. Finally coming upon the landcover track was a welcome relief and we celebrated with a glass of wine :D

As we walked through the night we were accompanied by the bellowing of the stags in the distance. When we finally reached the bothy the others were there waiting, having almost given up on us ever arriving. I was introduced to Cat, Paul, Nicky and Irmantas. Luckily there was a pot of hot stew on offer and with some very tasty bread we had a delicious dinner. We all got to chatting and finished off the wine before turning in for the night as we had an early start. It was my first night in a bothy and it was pretty luxurious accommodation with a wood stove and bunk beds!

We arose at 6 and were on our way shortly after 7am, the earliest I have ever started a hill walk :shock: but as we reckoned it would be a 9-11 hr walk till we got back to the bothy it was a good idea. Our estimated timing would however prove to be a wee bit optimistic :roll:

7am start and we're all smiling!

We followed the landrover track till it ended and then continued along bits of path and across thankfully shorter and sparser heather than the night before.

Across the heather, bit easier in the daylight :P

It was dry but the summit of Lochnagar ahead was shrouded in cloud. The first of many mountain hares bounded across in front of us and crazy grouse erupted from the heather. We headed up Coire na Saobhaidhe and reached our first Munro summit of the day. Views were in pretty short supply due to the low cloud enveloping us.

First hill of the day, Lochnagar

We headed on towards Loch Muick and as we descended the clouds cleared and the sun came out giving some beautiful panoramas.

Clouds start to clear

Finally we can see some views!

We stopped at the Falls of Glasallt for lunch by the waterfall, enjoying the cool water and sunshine then pressed on for the Loch. After stopping to throw sticks for another walkers dog we walked along the sand around the west end enjoying the stunning view up towards Duhn Loch and White Mounth and headed off up Corrie Chash. The scenery was spectacular and as we headed on up to our second Munro of the day, Broad Cairn, the views opened up.


Beach day :)

Looking back across Loch Muick

As we walked via the Cairn of Gowal we could see the cloud was settling in again and by the time we were on our third Munro, Cairn Bannoch, we were in the thick of it. We had seen our last blue skies and views of the day :(

Heading up to Broad Cairn

Taking some photos of the last views of the day on top of Broad Cairn

Not much to see here

We reached our fourth Munro, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor but navigation was getting harder. As we headed for our final Munro progress was slowing. It was a lesson in good navigation in difficult conditions, with Cat taking bearings in the poor visibility, Nasrin and Paul double checking she didn’t wander off course as she went forward. I had my gps and although I kept an eye on it to check our course the navigators were doing a great job and we tested our skills with a game of guess the altitude!

By the time we made the final Munro, Carn a Choire Bhoidheach, it was already 6pm and we knew we had only an hour of useful daylight left.

Final summit of the day and still smiling

We would need to change our route back :shock: Heading back down Lochnagar the way we came, across the heather would have been very difficult to navigate in the dark. The decision was made to follow the path by the Meikle Pap and out to the landrover track and follow that up to the bothy. It meant adding a few kilometres to our route but following a path in the dark was much less risky.

As we past Meikle Pap the wind picked up and the head torches were out again but thankfully it was a well constructed path and easy to follow. They even chose nice white rocks for paving which shone out in the low light :) As we lost altitude we got below the cloud level and the winds eased again. Eventually we came across the landrover track and headed up towards the bothy. We decided not to try the deer stalker track shortcut to the bothy, again the chances of losing it in the dark were too great. We finally got to the bothy around 9.30pm :clap:
Before packing the gear we had left there we all decide to dip our tired feet in the icy waters of the burn, pure bliss! 8)

Time for a quick paddle

Luckily we got back through the Balmoral estate without incident this time and were back to the cars by around 11.30pm.

It was a long day and a tiring drive home but it has to go down as one of my best days on the hills and a great group to go walking with. Can’t wait for the next one! :D

(Thx to Nicky for letting me use some of her photos in the walk report)
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Col S
Munro compleatist
Posts: 3
Munros:74   Corbetts:13
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Sub 2000:5   Hewitts:8
Joined: Apr 4, 2017

Re: The Long Way Round the White Mounth Munros

Postby arjh » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:49 pm

Blimey, a bit of an epic! Well done. :clap:
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Posts: 156
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Joined: Sep 5, 2015
Location: Sussex

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