Mountaineagle on Loch Muick with a different take on it.
by mountaineagle » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:59 pm
Munros included on this walk: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Lochnagar
Corbetts included on this walk: Conachcraig
Date walked: 01/11/2011
Time taken: 11 hours
Distance: 45.2 km
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Munro Tops: Meikle Pap, Cuidhe Corm, Little Pap, Creag a’ Ghlas-uillt, Eagles Rock, Carn an t-Sagairt Beag, Fafernie, Cairn of Gowal, Craig of Gowal & Creag an Dubh-loch.
Corbett Tops: Caisteal na Cailich & Sandy Hillock.
Weather: 40 – 70 mph winds, the strongest winds earlier on. Cloud level drifted in and out all day though visibility didn’t drop less than 100m. No rain for a change.
This was a bit of a late decision for me to do the Glenmuick circuit, but the chance of doing a round of hills without getting soaked was too good an opportunity to miss. Therefore late Saturday night I was busy packing my gear ready for an early start; though with the clocks turning back an hour I would get my normal amount of sleep.
When I arrived at Spittal of Glenmuick car park, there were a number of cars there already and a tent set up between the small wood corps and Allt Darrarie. As I looked down the glen, the skies to the west were still a dark colour of gray, mmmm....... doesn’t look to promising I thought to myself. Looking above and the clouds were moving fast, good sign to expect strong winds as I gain height. The weather forecast did say to expect anything from 40 – 70 mph winds. Going by the Beaufort scale 8 – 11 ( Gale to Violent storm) so expect a good bit buffeting at the tops.
I set off along the road turning right at the clearly marked sign and followed the track that would run between Lochnagar and Conachcraig, “Conachcraig” been the first objective for the day. You have to leave the track as it reaches the first building at Allt-na-giubhsaich, and follow the path that runs through the forest till it joins the track again. At GR 29065,85875 was the point where I turned off and headed up Conachcraig. The line I took was not for its top of Conachcraig, but the spot height 850 which I would pass on my way to Caisteal na Caillich (Corbett Top). I was now starting to notice the wind; thankfully though on my way up I was getting good bit protection from the hill, only at the top I felt its force. However at this point, nothing much to give any real concern about. From Caisteal na Caillich I pushed into the wind as I made track along the top Conachcraig itself, on any other day a pleasant wee top to walk along.
Looking at Lochnagar from Conachcraig.
There is a good worn out path leading from Conachcraig back to the main track. From this point (maintrack) only Apx 180 elevation, would be a breeze to do if you are doing the Glenmuick circuit after completing the 5 Munro’s from the other direction.
Continued up the path past Fox Cairn Well then made my way up to the top of Meikla Pap, the first of the Munro tops. I took great care as I work my way to the cairn as the wind did its best to push me about. From Meikla pap looking at the slope leading up to Cuidhe Corm spot height 1078, it is easy to make out several paths or part of paths that run up the slope. Lochnagar ridge was drifting in and out of cloud, like waves that come and go in the sea. It would have been well worth taking a break there to enjoy the views of the Lochnagar corie. However today I wasn’t hanging around as I still had a long walk ahead of me.
Many paths heading up to spot height 1078.
looking back at Meikle Pap.
Picking what I thought was the best path to take; I made my way up the slope only turning off at Apx 100 short of spot height 1078 to head for Cuidhe Corm and into the clag, then onto Little Pap. Moving over the boulder field which runs just before the top of Cuidhe Corm, then down the slope towards Little Pap with patches of rusty coloured moss, became interesting at times. Normally not a problem but with the wind doing its best knock me of balance, crossing it was a slow process. Making sure my foot didn’t slip between two boulders and falling over at the same time, otherwise the out came would not been great. With me not long getting back from six and half months in Afghanistan without a scratch, a broken ankle would not go down well. On the way back up I was able to choose a much better route than the way down as I used as many of the grassy patches between the boulders which I seen from Little Pap to move back up the slope.
Picking up the path again on the west side of spot height 1078, marked by small cairns as the path runs close to the edge of the cliffs, I followed it all the way round to Cac Carn Mor then to Cac Carn Beag itself. The plan was then go and do Meall Coire na Saobhaidhe but after my experience on the last boulder field, I thought best if I give a miss it also gives me a reason if I needed one any way to come back again.
On route to Cac carn Beag
At Cac Carn Beag I met another walker who was from Holland who is now living in Scotland. Though not into doing the Munro’s, he walks up Cac Carn Beag once a year. We walked together to the fork in the path at Cac Carn Mor, where we split. The wind seemed to ease a bit as I headed down the slope and just a bit further along I stopped 15mins for a bite to eat. Two other hill walkers passed just before I got ready to set off again. We had a quick chat; they were doing the Loch Muick circuit from the other direction taking in the 5 Munro’s. Best bet in strong winds, unlike the route I was doing.
Now refuelled, I was once again back on the move cutting off the path at GR23779,85069 for Creag a’ Ghlas-Uillt then Eagles Rock, two Munro tops at White Mounth. The clag was back cutting out any views I might get, though on the plus side the wind had died down but still windy. The grassy gentle tops of White Mounth and Carn a Choire Bhoidheach, felt more like walking in the borders doing Donalds than in the Carin Gorms doing Munro’s.
Lochnagar with Cac Carn Beag to the right.
From Eagles Rock to Carn a Choire Bhoidheach, I contoured round Corie Bhoidheach. From the Cairn at Carn a Choire Bhoidheach, a good path runs to and from the Cairn to the path that runs west to east. From there I once again contoured round to Carn t-Sagairt Beag another Munro top, before heading onto Carn an t-Sagairt Mor.
On the way up was aware of parts of an E.E. Canberra WJ615 was spread about near the top of Carn an t-Sgairt Mor that crashed on a clear night with little cloud on the 22 Nov 1956. Reasons for the crash were unable to be determined by the Court of Inquiry. The Canberra is one of the RAF longest serving aircraft and was retired on the 28 July 2006.
The biggest part of the Canberra remaining on the hill.
Carn an t-Sagairt Mor has two cairns on top with the cairn to the south marking the highest point. A path runs south down the slope the cloud started to lift and give views of the surrounding area. To the right of me I could see the tops of Tolmount and Tom Buidhe, however the cloud still cover the Munro’s to the west of them. The views didn’t last for long as the cloud drifted in and out till darkness took over. I decided to do the rocky top of Cairn Basnnoch first instead of the Munro top of Fafernie. This meant a bit of doubling back on myself, though not of any reason than I was tolling with the idea of doing Tolmount and Tom Buidhe. Normally I would do it, but for the fact I am just got back onto the two weekends ago after been of them for a year
The final few yards to top of Cairn Bannoch.
Once I double back round it was onto Cairn of Gowal, the first of three Munro tops before the final Munro. From Cairn of Gowal I headed to Craig of Gowal before to the last Munro top Creag an Dubh-loch.
Broad cairn, light fading and cloud cover back in.
As I headed up to broad Cairn light started to fade fast, so it was nearly dark when I arrived at its top. There was still enough light to make my way down the boulder slope to Little Craig and the path to the pony shed at GR 25663,80826. I stopped at the pony shed to have my second stop for a bite to eat.
I decided to use the main 4 by 4 track back to the car; this will also allow me to nip along to Sandy Hillock for my second Corbett top of the day before heading back to the car. With head torch on I was now on my way with the final part of my journey.
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by ChrisW » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:37 am
by Oldman » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:19 pm
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- Location: Cambuslang
by mountaineagle » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:06 pm
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by malky_c » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:47 pm
Looks like a nice day out, if somewhat long. I've missed a lot of these tops out, and Conachcraig as well. I have a route in mind to fix that, although I can't remember exactly how it goes at the moment
by Caberfeidh » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:13 am
Oldman wrote:Oh to be a little bit younger and fitter - I can dream can't I?
I was just saying that last time I was ashore and we went to a bar where the wenches wore very little: "Oh to be twenty-one again ~ and female..."
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by kevsbald » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:47 am