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Lumping about Lochnagar

Lumping about Lochnagar


Postby ScottishLeaf » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:34 am

Route description: Lochnagar from Glen Muick

Munros included on this walk: Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach, Lochnagar

Corbetts included on this walk: Conachcraig

Date walked: 21/07/2012

Time taken: 7.25 hours

Distance: 21 km

Ascent: 1100m

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So this was the first time I had pretty much done any sort of physical activity, apart from a quick jaunt up The Great Orme in Llandudno, for basically three weeks. A boozy roadtrip holiday to Hewitt-land and the bad weather had kept me off the hills, since I got taught a lesson on the Glen Lyon 4 in the fog, wind and rain. (One of the high points of those three weeks had been a drive from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Bangor, eyeing up Welsh mountains, wishing I had brought my boots with me!)

So anyway, the alarm was set for Silly O'Clock. Sunny Stenny was left behind and I was up at Spittal of Muick, booted and ready to go for just after 10am. The first part of the walk is an easy amble across the flat plain of the glen, and then a gentle ascent until the Allt-ha-Giubhsaich has to be forded. After all the recent rain, the burn was near enough in full spate, but thanks to my new boots, I was safely across with dry feet!

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From here the path becomes more rocky and steeper, but nothing that even booze recovering legs couldn't cope with. All the time Conachcraig looms large to the right, the dark green corbett is peppered with large boulders and it makes an impressive welcome into the area.

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After about an hour of walking I reached a large cairn and from here, the left hand fork is taken, leaving the land rover path behind and onto a more typical walking, rocky, path, heading for the bealach between Lochnagar proper and Meikle Pap.

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From here the path steepens again and it was time for a breather, just below the highest point of the bealach.... which was daft, because minutes later I was stopping again to admire the beauty of Lochnagar's corrie and it's loch. As you climb the last few metres onto the bealach, the cliffs slowly reveal themselves and with each footstep, the view becomes more and more impressive, until it's entire majesty is revealled. To the right stands the Meikle Pap, to the left, the steep ascent through the boulders onto Lochnagar proper, behind is an outstanding view of the route you have just taken. The view in front however, it awesome. No wonder this place was immortalised in verse. A Kiwi soldier, on holiday in Scotland was kind enough to take my photo... spoiling the view :lol:

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At this point I chose to leave Meikle Pap and just head up through the boulders, it's easier than it looks and it seems someone has even gone to the trouble to flattening out a path through the stones... or maybe it's just been millions of feet.

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As I was crossing the boulder field the ground evens out and the orange path resumes, curving at a safe distance round behind the corrie's head wall crags. The route is well lined with cairns before some more steeper ground is reached and the last push up to Cac Carn Mor.

From the flatter ground, the path coming from Loch Muick joins and the views down the glen, over to Cuidhe Crom and The Mounth beyond are extensive, if of nothing in particular!

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Soon though, the massive cairn that marks the summit of Cac Carn Mor comes into view, now this how to build a summit cairn!! Just a shame it's not the real summit!

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From here it's a two minute hop, skip and a jump across to Cac Carn Beag and the final, highest, point of Lochnagar. I kept to the edge of the cliff for a bit and had a peer down one of the chimneys... would be very easy to fall here in snow!

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As you can see, a few folk had beat me to the summit!

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A rather attractive blond lassie then took my picture by the summit trig point, so that I could spoil another view!

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There is also a viewfinder, older than my Gran, at the summit, but I couldn't get enough time by it to make any use of it. Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach stands like a rather innocuous grassy dome, just behind the crags above Loch nan Eun over to the west.

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I had came with no expectations of how many peaks I'd bag, but knew there were 5 Munros in all and now as I muched into my lunch by the trig point, having a nice wee chat with some of the others at the top, I wondered if I could do the whole round. However, the climb up Lochnagar was burning in my thighs and I wasn't sure what to do. Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach (CaCB) looked an easy enough stroll though, so off I went.

From the bealach the views back to Lochnagar highlight just how massive the mountain is, with it's many tops and the view to the north was also nice, with two wee lochans not too far below.

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The path winds to the right (north) of the main summit and the rough route guide I had said to cut across some slightly wet country and head directly for the top, so that's what I did. I wasn't hard and it was quickly done. A leisurely 30 minutes after leaving Cac Carn Beag I was at the top of CaCB. It's a rather plain dome and it's only once the summit is reached that any kind of feature is seen... the cairn and some rocks just to side of it. Just a tad underwhelming! However, the other three munros that make up the Lochnagar 5 can be clearly seen, stretching out in a line roughly NW to SE. Here I chose not to complete the round, I had enjoyed my day in the sun so far and I knew that by the time I had completed the 5 munros I would be pushing it and no longer enjoying my first ever visit into this part of Scotland.

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After the hustle and bustle of Lochnagar, CaCB was remarkably quiet. Despite being so close to it's more famous neighbour, it seems not many wander across to it's lonely summit. Mind you there's not exactly a lot to see from it! I was reminded of Meall a'Choire Leith up here... but at least MaCL gives you great views of Carn Gorm and the Lawers Range.

So off I set off back towards Lochnagar, cutting the corner, so I was soon heading back round the top of the corrie and down the boulder field. I was feeling disappointed about not completing the round, so I decided to give myself some compensation... a corbett! On reaching the cairn that marks the junction of the landrover path the route to Lochnagar, I headed straight across and up the narrow path, right to the top of Conachcraig. The effects of a long day were beginning to tell and I knew I had a long drive home ahead and I was beginning to tire. The hill legs weakened by the excesses of the last few weeks.
So I didn't linger at the top, thought the views were magical.

Soon enough I was back in the red Astra and heading home, back through the beautfully desolate Glenshee, enjoying the views and the drive.... though what nutter thought to leave loose chippings on the road surface down that big brae past the Ski Centre!!

A long, but wonderful first day ever in the Cairngorms, as Arnie says "I'll be back!"
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ScottishLeaf
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Posts: 355
Munros:114   Corbetts:6
Grahams:2   Donalds:2
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Joined: Mar 13, 2012
Location: Stenhousemuir

Re: Lumping about Lochnagar

Postby morag1 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:34 am

Really nice, happy report which gives a good idea of what the path to the summit is like. :clap:

Lucky you getting nice weather and great views 8)
morag1
 

Re: Lumping about Lochnagar

Postby ScottishLeaf » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:06 pm

Thanks Morag, it was the first time I had ever been to Deeside, thoroughly enjoyed my day. Can't wait to get back up and get the other three Munros I missed this time. :)
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ScottishLeaf
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Re: Lumping about Lochnagar

Postby morag1 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:34 am

Hoping to climb Lochnagar my next vist to Deeside, but just wonder how scary the boulder path is? If walkhighlands say it's scary then thats enough to convince me its bad :(

I had a really hard time with the steep scrambles on Ben Lawers and dont want to do that again
morag1
 

Re: Lumping about Lochnagar

Postby basscadet » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:37 am

morag1 wrote:Hoping to climb Lochnagar my next vist to Deeside, but just wonder how scary the boulder path is? If walkhighlands say it's scary then thats enough to convince me its bad :(

I had a really hard time with the steep scrambles on Ben Lawers and dont want to do that again



Its really not that scary.. Nothing on the white mounth is scary :wink:
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basscadet
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Re: Lumping about Lochnagar

Postby morag1 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:42 am

basscadet wrote:Its really not that scary.. Nothing on the white mounth is scary

Makes me feel better, thanks :thumbup:
morag1
 

Re: Lumping about Lochnagar

Postby basscadet » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:26 pm

Well if you're nae confident, and want a chum to go with, just give us a shout :)
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basscadet
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Re: Lumping about Lochnagar

Postby ScottishLeaf » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:56 pm

Morag, it's looks like they've flattened a lot of the big boulders down to make a very obvious path through them, in good conditions anyway. Not difficult at all, though maybe take poles if you decide to come down that way... Helps the old knees lol
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Re: Lumping about Lochnagar

Postby morag1 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:19 pm

basscadet wrote: want a chum to go with, just give us a shout

Thanks BC, thats really nice of you, will see how it goes :thumbup:

ScottishLeaf wrote: looks like they've flattened a lot of the big boulders down to make a very obvious path

Cheers Scottish Leaf, someone else has said that too. Will take my poles as you suggest :D
morag1
 

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