walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.

A tramp over the White Mounth

A tramp over the White Mounth


Postby adamarchie » Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:08 pm

Route description: White Mounth Munros, Glen Muick

Munros included on this walk: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Lochnagar

Date walked: 28/02/2012

Time taken: 8.75 hours

Distance: 29 km

Ascent: 1500m

3 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

One of the perks of my current job is that I get a week off prior to each seven day stretch of nights. It had been an easy decision to spend it with my wonderful uncle and aunt (and her cooking) out in the wilds of Aberdeenshire. The prospect of combining this with a couple of days of hillwalking/climbing/ski touring was doubly enticing.

So I'd been obsessively weather-watching for a fortnight. The news on the whole wasn't good: a full-swing thaw was unceremoniously denuding the mountains. Straight off, this put paid to my plan of ski touring the route I'm about to describe, and the thought of missing out on its winter beauty was rather sad. However, too much of that attitude and you'd never leave home, eh? And it's worth remembering that, on the day, the mercurial Scottish weather can conjure marvellous things out of the most unpromising ingredients.

So my response to 5am's alarm was as enthusiastic as the hour generally permits. I drowsily located breakfast and some sandwich ingredients in my aunt's kitchen while feeding the cats who'd come in from the cold at the unlikely sight of a light. Then gear packed and into the car for the hour and half's drive to Glen Muick.

I was about halfway in when the crimson of sunrise forced me off the road and out into the chilly dawn air to attempt phone camera documentation. The hills to the west were blushing crimson and orange at the sight of this new day, seeming to presage something less utilitarian than a shepherd's warning.

IMAG0125.jpg
Red sky in the morning


Sure enough, as predicted by MWIS, the clouds didn't look too low. I got a first tantalising glimpse of Lochnagar, its corrie stark black and white against this sea of morning colour. It alone had the reach to grip the cloud down to it and there was no doubting its determination to hold on.

I got parked just before 8 - second in the car park - and set off. Soon the Paramo jacket came off and I was sweating uphill through the woods in a t-shirt.

Then the wind hit, a stiff westerly. If it was this strong down here, I knew the first half of the day could turn into quite a battle up on the plateau, and it wasn't long before the Paramo was back on.

I took a chocolate break in the last bit of shelter I could find beneath Meikle Pap and then climbed up to the bealach to see what Lochnagar had in store. Well, it was pretty ferocious, certainly gusting up to 70mph just at that bottleneck: the only way out of the corrie for the west to northwesterlies. This only added to the menace of the cliffs and gullies under cloud. Before the weather misbehaved, I'd hoped to ascend via Black Spout, the chink in the armour, and I was gladdened to see the thaw hadn't eaten into it much, this last northeast vestige of winter. However, the thought of being buried by a few tons of steep frowning cornice had been enough to scotch the plan.

IMAG0131.jpg
The steep frowning glories


IMAG0132.jpg
Across the corrie


Instead, I staggered up the boulder field to the left, balance a bit of an issue in the wind, before continuing round and up, keeping mostly to the lip of this most superb corrie. As I got higher, into the cloud now, I was pleased to find its majestic cornices still very much asserting themselves at the gully peaks, though there were clear signs of rot at the near edges (climbers beware!)

Having found my way to the top of Black Spout, a sudden break in the cloud revealed Cac Carn Beag to my left and I made for it.

The top reached, I chowed down in the lee of the summit rocks while the clouds fell away with perfect punctuality, revealing a semi-frozen Loch nan Eun couched in the Stuic Buttress and, to its left, the barely noticeable swelling of my onward destination.

IMAG0137.jpg
Clouds clear over Cac Carn Beag, looking across to a frozen Loch nan Eun and the Stuic Buttress.


All now clear before me, I walked some of the way towards Cac Carn Mor before turning southwest for Carn a' Choire Bhoidheach which was to be my 50th Munro. A less inspiring summit can scarcely be imagined. In fact even its local path eschews it to the north. My 50th really ought to have been a more fitting An Stuc under snow, 10 days previously, but for the downrating of Sgurr nan Ceannaichean to Corbett status. I did though dutifully take a picture.

IMAG0140.jpg
The dullest Munro summit in the world? Cac Carn Beag in silhouette behind.


The onward route to Carn an t-Sagairt Mor did at least promise a wee snow field on the ascent and, having contoured round Carn an t-Sagairt Beag, I made straight for it. En route, I was discovering an advantage to walking into a stiff wind in the wilderness: the animals ahead of you don't so easily sense your approach and I saw quite a number of snow hares - one came closer than 10m while I was sat eating lunch - as well as a couple of ptarmigan, not to mention plenty of grouse. After a minor slog I was on top of this slightly more prominent mound and met my first fellow-walker of the day. I envied his account of having done these hills on skis on a previous occasion. He was able to give me vague directions to the aircraft wreckage on the west slopes and, after some sustenance, I went in search of it.

See http://www.aircrashsites-scotland.co.uk/canberra_c-t-sagairt-mor01.htm for details of the aircraft and the mysterious circumstances surrounding its demise. The most noteworthy remains I was able to find were a wheel and a crumpled engine. To find the former, bear 200m at 230 degrees from the southern summit cairn. From there, it's about 150m at 185 degrees to the latter.

IMAG0143.jpg
A wheel


IMAG0145.jpg
Engine crumpled over a rock


Still out of the cloud, the onward journey over Cairn Bannoch to Broad Cairn was a fine moorland tramp affording cracking views of Eagles Rock to the north and Coire Loch Kander to the southwest.

IMAG0148.jpg
The Allt a' Choire Bhoidheach plunges into thin air over Eagles Rock


Broad Cairn reached, I was back in sight of Loch Muick, the air scented with burning heather ahead.

IMAG0150.jpg
Loch Muick and heather burning


I managed to find a bit more snow on the northeasterly aspect of the mountain to give the descent some variety, though nothing warranting an exchange of walking poles for ice axe, before picking up what is more of a Landrover track than a path. I considered leaving it to take the route which leads down the hillside to the southwest end of the loch, but opted for the high-level views instead. I was not disappointed, finally getting a good eyeful of Creag an Dubh-loch.

IMAG0154.jpg
Looking back to Broad Cairn, the cliffs of Creag an Dubh-loch appropriately dark and menacing to its right


IMAG0160.jpg
The west end of Loch Muick


IMAG0157.jpg
Queen Vic's getaway hidden in the tress below the Falls of the Glassallt


However, the feet were now starting to hurt a little and I pressed on all the more quickly with the Spittal back in view: the final descent of the day is one aspect of hillwalking I could happily skip, fine sunsets excepted. As final miles go though, those along the east shore of Loch Muick, looking back at your last summit as a prodigal sun threads late afternoon light over the water, aren't bad ones.

IMAG0164.jpg
Black Burn falls


IMAG0169.jpg
The end of the day over Broad Cairn


I reached the car with its accompanying comforts (principally a change of footwear) at quarter to five and, with a good dinner in prospect, the day was still looking better and better.
Attachments

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

adamarchie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 138
Munros:237   Corbetts:33
Grahams:14   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:16   
Joined: Apr 13, 2010
Location: Edinburgh

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby adamarchie » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:33 pm

Hope to use a few moments during tonight's shift to write up the following days activities: three of the Cairngorms via the Fiacaill Ridge. I had a good week!
adamarchie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 138
Munros:237   Corbetts:33
Grahams:14   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:16   
Joined: Apr 13, 2010
Location: Edinburgh

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby morag1 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:46 am

Bit of an epic walk, well done :thumbup:

love the first photo 8)
morag1
 

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby Steve B » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:15 am

Good report on a good route. Thanks for the details on the crash site.
This is timely too as I have been of thinking this trip for my next one.
Well done on the 50. :clap:
I would suggest you look at the Cairnwell for a sorry excuse for a Munro!
Steve B
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 277
Munros:238   Corbetts:7
Hewitts:53
Wainwrights:26   Islands:9
Joined: Oct 25, 2010
Location: Glasgow

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby adamarchie » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:04 am

Steve, agreed. Have absolutely no intention of ever walking up the Cairnwell. Skiing down it is another matter of course!

Can heartily recommend the White Mounth route. You never know, we might be lucky and get some more snow. If I were to do it again in summer, I reckon a good plan would be to descend from Lochnagar into the Loch nan Eun basin and climb Byron's Stuic scramble to add some further interest.
adamarchie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 138
Munros:237   Corbetts:33
Grahams:14   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:16   
Joined: Apr 13, 2010
Location: Edinburgh

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby Steve B » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:21 am

Hi adamarchie, Can you give me some more detail on the scramble you refer to?
Steve B
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 277
Munros:238   Corbetts:7
Hewitts:53
Wainwrights:26   Islands:9
Joined: Oct 25, 2010
Location: Glasgow

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby adamarchie » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:17 am

Hi Steve,

I don't have it (yet) in any guidebook, though have just ordered one or two that may contain it. Here's a description which can handily be accessed for free via Google Books: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=J4J0 ... on&f=false

Enjoy!
adamarchie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 138
Munros:237   Corbetts:33
Grahams:14   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:16   
Joined: Apr 13, 2010
Location: Edinburgh

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby icemandan » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:45 am

for Carn a' Choire Bhoidheach which was to be my 50th Munro. A less inspiring summit can scarcely be imagined.

Agree that this is one of the least inspiring summits in Scotland. As pointless objectives go, it's almost up there with the South Pole. I wonder if it would have made the cut if Sir Hugh hadn't been from the East.
icemandan
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 447
Munros:257   Corbetts:26
Grahams:13   Donalds:13
Sub 2000:16   Hewitts:200
Wainwrights:214   Islands:33
Joined: Jun 30, 2010
Location: Kendal

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby Steve B » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:49 am

adamarchie,
Thanks for the link. Looks like the way to go!
Steve B
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 277
Munros:238   Corbetts:7
Hewitts:53
Wainwrights:26   Islands:9
Joined: Oct 25, 2010
Location: Glasgow

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby Tomsie » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:22 am

Good report on a good walk
User avatar
Tomsie
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1161
Munros:119   Corbetts:59
Grahams:35   Donalds:33
Sub 2000:14   Hewitts:5
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Jan 8, 2011

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby Fudgie » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:52 pm

I've got a week off work at the start of April and I'm thinking about doing this circuit. I just hope it's not as windy :shock:
User avatar
Fudgie
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 994
Munros:96   Corbetts:20
Grahams:3   Donalds:7
Joined: Aug 30, 2010
Location: Port Glasgow

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby adamarchie » Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:43 pm

Fudgie, go for it! It's a day you'll certainly not regret, and the extra daylight in April will enable a slightly more leisurely start. Just make sure you've got comfortable footwear!

Icemandan, that may well explain it! Just completely nonsensical that this is a Munro. Only 2km from Lochnagar and only rises 60m above the low point between the two. So many "tops" are considerably worthier. Just think of the Tarmachan ridge for instance. One Munro?!
adamarchie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 138
Munros:237   Corbetts:33
Grahams:14   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:16   
Joined: Apr 13, 2010
Location: Edinburgh

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby icemandan » Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:55 pm

I have to say that I'm prejudiced against Carn a' Choire Bhoidheach.

Many years ago I had to turn back on Carn an -t-Sagairt Mor due to bad weather and for a long time it remained the only Munro east of the Cairnwell Pass that I hadn't done.

On a short day last November, I did a trip specifically to do it. It was cold, boggy and wet and the clag never lifted.

So at least you saw the view and did some proper hills as well!
icemandan
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 447
Munros:257   Corbetts:26
Grahams:13   Donalds:13
Sub 2000:16   Hewitts:200
Wainwrights:214   Islands:33
Joined: Jun 30, 2010
Location: Kendal

Re: A tramp over the White Mounth

Postby Fudgie » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:49 pm

adamarchie wrote:Fudgie, go for it! It's a day you'll certainly not regret, and the extra daylight in April will enable a slightly more leisurely start. Just make sure you've got comfortable footwear!


Cheers for that. It's a 3 hour dive from here to the starting point so I'll probably head up the night before and stay in a b&b or hotel. The problem is I can't plan it too much as I've no idea what the weather will be like :D
User avatar
Fudgie
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 994
Munros:96   Corbetts:20
Grahams:3   Donalds:7
Joined: Aug 30, 2010
Location: Port Glasgow

3 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 44 guests