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White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December


Postby GillC » Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:57 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: 01/12/2013

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 28.3 km

Ascent: 1540m

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Talk about last minute plans!

Arranged at 11:30am on Saturday on my way home from early morning Christmas shopping, bags/car packed up and headed off at 1:30 for the 3hr drive to Ballater. Amazing driving up through Glenshee which, only a week ago, was totally snowed over. The hills were now devoid of all but the last wee patches of the white stuff.

On reaching the kick off point for last weeks trip to An Socach, I spotted a familiar black van, pulled over and there was Dawn, Val and Bod, who had met on the summit of An Socach. Small world indeed.

On up to Ballater to meet up with Tomsie and the Mystery Machine campervan. decanted my stuff from the car, poor Johns face,,,think i was packed for a week lol.

Headed up to the Spittal of Glenmuick carpark (no overnight camping allowed PAH! tell that to the select group of cars there. Parked up around 5:30pm and dinner on. Few cans and with an early start planned, the sleeping bags beckoned. The night sky was totally clear, with amazing views of the milky way and stars, stars, stars.

Alarm went off at 4:10am, hit the snooze once, then put it off altogether :? Finally woke at 5:30am, all prepped the night before so a cup of coffee, flasks filled and a quick loo break. Finally on the track out at 6:30-35am. We were doing this in reverse to the WH route, giving us the long walk in, but a shorter one back out, and the first hour or so was in total darkness, head torch on and spotting the deer in the darkness, yellow eyes glinting back at you.

2 Into the darkness.JPG
Into the darkness

1 The Hills have Eyes.JPG
The Hills have Eyes

3 Waterfall.JPG
Waterfall


Climbing higher above Glen Muick, we spotted another head torch bobbing along the track a way behind us but by the time we started up the zig zags, still in the dark, it had gone and we never saw anyone else behind us all day. As we got nearer the top of the zig zag path, a lovely crescent moon appeared over a bealach to the South East. With a brightening sky, we could see the first pink rays of the sun coming up, head torch off and enjoy the morning.

4 Early morning light over Loch Muick.JPG
Early morning light over Loch Muick

5 Crescent moon.JPG
Crescent moon


We could see almost the full day ahead over our right shoulders as we arked round on the well made track with our first target, Broad Cairn, up ahead. Below us, on the other side of Loch Muick, surrounded by trees, there is a big grey house, at Glas-Allt Sheil, boarded up and going to waste. Any suggestions,,a Walk Highlands retreat for the knackered perhaps, a respite home for compleaters???

6 Some of the hills to come.JPG
Some of the hills to come

7 Sunrise from Broad Cairn.JPG
Sunrise from Broad Cairn


The path is fairly undulating,, small patches of very hard snow, later this was more like glass in places,,had to be carefully negotiated. John was still in his trainers from the walk in but no problems in crossing.

Passing a small stable like building, with no sign of any inhabitants we passed over the flat tops beside lots of small lochans, and under Sandy Hillock before a slight drop and then starting the gradual ascent up to Broad Cairn. It had taken nearly 3 hrs to get this far, I was beginning to have doubts about completing the circuit in good time. So,,pics taken and off we went.

9 Broad Cairn summit, Loch Muick in the background.JPG
Broad Cairn summit, Loch Muick in the background


The weather around us was changing, Clear to the South/South East on the whole with low cloud and clag over the latter half of our circuit and only occasional winds to keep it moving.

8 Sunrise colours on the ground.JPG
Sunrise colours on the ground


Checking the map, we followed the path round Cairn of Gowl and on to a rocky cairn. On passing, something made us check the GPS and turns out, we were at the second Munro already, Cairn Bannoch at 1012mtrs. What the heck, nearly missed it. :shock:

From here, a smaller path runs off the cairn, with the broader track further to the left. We opted for the larger track as John recalled the smaller one losing height and sure enough, as we headed North West, we saw the other path disappear down towards a stream. As the ground rises gradually towards Munro number 3 we were still a bit concerned at the clag over on the latter hills and behind us. Looking back, we could see what we initially thought was rain but turned out to be low cloud, fast moving but it didn't actually come to anything, just rolled on by. We only hit the odd stretch of snow, but most of it was very hard, icy round the edges but passable with care (occasionally walking round rather than across) The cliffs of Eagles Rock rising over our right shoulder looking impressively dark and looming.

Reaching Carn an t-Sagairt Mor with its flat top and twin cairns, the WH route goes to the second cairn but the map shows the height 1047mtrs at the first cairn, but hey, we did them both, and this was Munro #60 for me. We had a wee snack here but for some reason totally forgot to get summit pics. No, I'm not going back to get it either.

The Munros today get higher with each one in this direction, and we were making pretty good time. We opted to go over Carn an t-Sagairt Beag too, had a look at the wing and parts of the plane that crash landed there. I googled this to get more information but everyone seems to have different pics, so think there might be more than one.

10 John, winging it.JPG
John, winging it


Coming down from the wing, we saw one or two other bits of plane, but couldn't really make out what they were. Headed off towards the path looping to our next target. The drop here isn't too bad but it was totally covered in hard snow. John borrowed a pole as he was a bit further down and still in his trainers, I passed and started kicking in steps. Then the slope just dropped off a bit, nothing for it........BUM SLIDE!!!! :D :D :D Should have done that from the top, fun fun fun. Although John had a soggy erse now. My quick dry craghoppers seemed to have kept the white stuff at bay.

12  Bum slide.JPG
Bum slide


Back on our feet, and striding out. The Stuic rose above Loch an Eun as we climbed the rocky side of Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach, 1110mtrs and this time we remembered the summit pics. Think it was a bit before 1pm here. We were making good time, really enjoying the day.

14 Loch an Eun.JPG
Loch an Eun

13 What a day.JPG
What a day

11 Lovely day for a picture.JPG
Lovely day for a picture


Looking down to Loch an Eun, some of the smaller lochans around were totally frozen over.

With our last hill of the day in sight, we looked over to Cac Carn Mor and Lochnagar to the North, skirting round the edge of the Coire and still on the track, we headed up to the twin cairns of CCM. One here is a formal looking wee roundel, then on to the rocky cairn on top of a stack of natural rock. At this point, after7hrs, we met the first person we had seen all day and could see several others on the ridge and over on the summit itself. Passing Cac Carn Mor I was pleased to see Lochnagar a lot closer than it had seemed from our last summit.

Lochnagar looks a bit like a film set, the rocks have a 'Flintstones Bedrock' look to them, with the trig point balanced on top. The approach track was totally treacherous here, very icy and we skirted around, nipping over and back to avoid the worst of it. I stopped for some pics of the summit stack while John clambered up. A family of 4 were just coming off as I climbed up between the icy rocks. Compacted snow and ice between these made it very difficult but made it to the top. There's a small marker cairn, showing directions to many other hills the on up to the trig point for some pics.

15 John on Lochnagar.JPG
John on Lochnagar

16 Me on the 5th Munro of the day.JPG
Me on the 5th Munro of the day


By now, no sign of the clag and low cloud we saw in this direction earlier, only blue skies. Fabulous, its been a terrific year for the hills and here we still were, in December, enjoying an amazing day. Settled under the summit for a time to have some lunch and a coffee. A couple with a dog headed off from behind the cairn as we were packing up. 2pm and the sun never having got very high in the sky, the colours were changing already as it got lower. Back at Carn Mor, the couple ahead went further as we banked round to the edge of Eagle Ridge, careful not to get too close to the rocky drops and gullies down into the Corrie of Lochnagar itself. John told me about some of these drops being used by some people of questionable intelligence, to SKI DOWN!!!!!! :shock: :shock: :shock:

19 Rocky crags.JPG
Rocky crags

20 Looking back at Lochnagar, summit in the sun.JPG
Looking back at Lochnagar, summit in the sun

21 Close up of the crags,,dont feel you're that close when on the summit!.JPG
Close up of the crags,,dont feel you're that close when on the summit!

17 Down to the Corrie of Lochnagar.JPG
Down to the Corrie of Lochnagar

18 Glorious views on a glorious day.JPG
Glorious views on a glorious day

At the end of the ridge as you drop towards Meikle Pap we had to spend a lot of time picking our way through VERY slippy rocks, didn't seem like ice, more wet but we had no grip at all so had to work with patches of grass and heather etc. This took longer than we would have liked at this time of day but as we reached the Bealach and headed right, ground conditions improved big time and we were able to push out and make up some time.

We could see the main track crossing left to right under Conachcraig and pushed to get there before we lost any more light. Back on the main drag and picked up some speed. I keep analysing why I seem to be slower when I feel as though im pushing myself on flat stretches,,,all I could come up with was, I take a split second longer than I need to work out the next step, especially if its rocky or loose surface (is Nevis ankle still haunting me???) Maybe something I need to work on. We reached a river crossing and had read about the Tapz On Boots Aff! report,, lol at least we got across with our footwear intact, mine, a bit damp due to hesitating on my tip toe crossing of partially submerged rocks lol.

Still, down from the track to an old stable building, boarded up and on to the road out. Crossing the river again, this time by a bridge. About half a mile from the car park, my left knee gave a 'twang' painful enough to stop me in my tracks for a moment and to have to walk with a straight left leg for a bit. I started wearing knee straps a couple of months ago as the downhill stretches can be a bit on the painful side and so far they work. But I think this was possibly just the result of a long, and at times, fast day. Still, it was fine by the time we hit the car park. The couple with the dog, from Lochnagar, came in behind us here,,think they dropped off at the waterfalls and came round the loch. Feet were sore by now too so was fab to get the boots and socks off, dry ones one and a wee slurp of beer. Coffee, cake then packed up my belongings for a quick swap to my car in Ballater and off we went.
The family of 4 were only just returning to their van and it had been dark for some time, likely they may still have been on the hill in the dark, but all down safely.

3 hr drive home on a road I've seen a lot of in the past couple of weeks. Been singing a song in my head all day, Sweet Baby James by James Taylor,,just the one verse "The first of December, was covered with snow, and so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston, all the birches seemed dream like on account of that frostin', with 10 miles behind me and 10 thousand more to go" 8)

Another fab day, Thanks for the hospitality John :-) Munro count now at 62! woooohooooooooo
22 Lovely end to a grand day.JPG
Lovely end to a grand day
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Last edited by GillC on Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:51 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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GillC
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:39 am

cripes ...big day for this time of year! ..thats handy making use of johns van :D
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby GillC » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:42 am

SAVAGEALICE wrote:cripes ...big day for this time of year! ..thats handy making use of johns van :D



Sure was a long one,, fast paced for a lot of it too but it worked out well. Phew!
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby ceaser » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:17 am

Well done Gill , as Alice said , big walk for this time of year !
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby heatheronthehills » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:27 pm

Great report and what a fab day you got for it :D I think the house you mentioned belongs to the Royal family but there is a bothy behind it.
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby quoman » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:42 pm

Nice one Gill you are getting through them now, Broad Cairn was my 100th.
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby GillC » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:57 pm

quoman wrote:Nice one Gill you are getting through them now, Broad Cairn was my 100th.


Good stuff Willie,,,only 220 to go lol
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby Tomsie » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:56 pm

Weather was good again, great to get around here with just trainers, the day b was superb. :D

Think we got the timing's bang on. 8) :)
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby GillC » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:09 pm

Tomsie wrote:Weather was good again, great to get around here with just trainers, the day b was superb. :D

Think we got the timing's bang on. 8) :)


Yep,,smashing day, :clap: :wink: :clap:
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby ceaser » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:00 pm

Tomsie wrote:Weather was good again, great to get around here with just trainers, the day b was superb. :D

Think we got the timing's bang on. 8) :)



Walking in your trainers Tomsie , does that mean you forgot your boots ? Like the time you forgot your poles , or the time you forgot your trousers ..... the list goes on :wink:
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby GillC » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:15 pm

ceaser wrote:
Tomsie wrote:Weather was good again, great to get around here with just trainers, the day b was superb. :D

Think we got the timing's bang on. 8) :)



Walking in your trainers Tomsie , does that mean you forgot your boots ? Like the time you forgot your poles , or the time you forgot your trousers ..... the list goes on :wink:



He didnt forget his trousers (this time) i'd have noticed :shock:
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby The Rodmiester » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:56 pm

Impressive stuff for December, well done! What a fabulous day it turned out for you. Some fine photographs to boot! :)
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby Tomsie » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:20 pm

GillC wrote:
ceaser wrote:
Tomsie wrote:

He didnt forget his trousers (this time) i'd have noticed :shock:


I did have to remove them on the hill, just to take off thermals :D

Had the boots in bag, got a new rucksack though :crazy: :lol: never forget another thing its bigger again. :lol:
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby GillC » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:36 pm

Tomsie wrote:


I did have to remove them on the hill, just to take off thermals :D
Had the boots in bag, got a new rucksack though :crazy: :lol: never forget another thing its bigger again. :lol:



Mid hill strip,,,haha forgot about that,, epic stuff! (these things dont half brighten up yer day hehehe) :D
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Re: White Mounth 5 on a glorious 1st December

Postby martin.h » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:41 pm

Great report Gill, I enjoyed reading that, nice one. Looks like a nice long day, We're hoping to do similar next June,
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