I was up for a weeks walking with ARDC starting from Braemar and this was day one.
The Munro, Lochnagar from Invercauld Bridge, was todayâ€™s walk conducted in glorious blue sky conditions. This was a real effort of a walk, a very long day, and it also included another Munro, Carn aâ€™ Choir Bhoidheach. Fantastic landscape views, a fine ridge walk but the terrain to reach the lochan to start the ridge was sapping and this was in dry hard top surface.
Natures best Scots pine trees
I would not like to do this on a wet surface. Apparently this route is one of Ralph Storers top 50 walks, hmm. Sometimes the tourist path is a good option.
From the parking at Invercauld it was a 90 minute walk in through magnificent Scots Pine before reaching a metal structure, a good place for coffee break.
From the hut heading onto moorland
From here Lochnagar summit can be seen to the left as we look but my route was to walk the ridge anti-clockwise.
The long walk in across the pathless moorland terrain on a hot dry day could be endured as the rewards were anticipated.
First view of The Stuic and the ridge
A few burns to be negotiated again relatively straightforward today but on another day they could be flowing high and difficult to cross.
Lots of mountain hares and red grouse but little other wildlife.
Even from here looking back the views are magnificent but unlikely to be replicated on camera with the haze. Bone hard ground with rising Mayflies at each step.
Sandy Loch white sands the corry and snow magnificent
Arrived at the stunning Sandy loch. This high up you have white sand, a view of the full ridge, snow below the ridge on a baking hot day, just outstanding. Hat in water to cool the head I followed a faint on and off trail onto the ridge then I had an easy walk up to the highest point at the top of The Stuic.
Sandy Loch & Lochnagar
Apart from one loner no one else had been seen on our route I wonder why? But now walkers were popping up all over the place.
The Stuic and a full snow cornice
This snow cornice still hard packed at The Stuic. A great place to have a sandwich and watch some of the group scramble up.
Cairn of Carn a'Ghoir Bhoidheach looking to Lochnagar
From here you can see the cairn of Carn aâ€™ Choir Bhoidheach a short distance due south so off we toddled.
Then a walk over to Lochnagarsâ€™ cairns, the last bit of climbing today with some great views into cliffs descending deep and far.
Lochnagar (the water) from the cliffs
The descent off Lochnagar to the Sand Loch was a very awkward boulder field with large grassy and heather pockets with deep holes to catch the unwary, full on concentration required.
Looks benign but really awkward walking
That and the rest of the descent was a relentless trudge, I can't pretend that I enjoyed the long, long walk back to the car park. Dehydration was setting in despite two water bottles, maybe tomorrow needs to be three.
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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.