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Broad Cairn and Bannoch - a good day to go East of Eden

Broad Cairn and Bannoch - a good day to go East of Eden


Postby Graeme D » Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:57 pm

Munros included on this walk: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch

Date walked: 20/02/2015

Time taken: 6.6 hours

Distance: 23.7 km

Ascent: 1220m

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February mid-term break and I was determined to get out on the hills for the first time since the Wanlockhead/Brattleburn gig a month ago. Friday would be the only day I could manage due to commitments on the Thursday and over the weekend itself.

My original plans had been swaying towards something further west, primarily Arrochar or Glencoe but the forecast for an east/west split (east being quite favourable, west being quite pish) put paid to those ideas and focused my mind on red balloons towards the eastern half of the country. I also had to be back in Perth for around 5pm so an early start and nothing too lengthy was the order of the day. Broad Cairn and Cairn Bannoch, my last two White Mounth Munros, looked like the ideal option and so the alarm was set for a 5.30/6.00 departure.

I was away by 5.40 and as the daylight filtered through on the drive north up the road to Braemar, it became clear that it was shaping up to be a decent looking day. I was about the third or fourth car in at Spittal of Glenmuick. I quickly changed my footwear, paid the £3 parking charge and pondered which hardware to take with me. In the end I plumped for the whole range, just in case.

I was off across the bridge by 7.40 and onto the track along the southern shore of Lock Muick. A large herd of the locals casually sauntered away at my approach, one of them even being bold enough to stop and pose for the camera.

Across the water the Monelpie Moss and the southern outliers of Lochnagar were basking in the February morning sun and I was keen to get myself up the zig-zags and onto the high road towards Sandy Hillock where I too could be in the full sunshine.

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Local reception party

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Along Loch Muick from near the boathouse

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One of many interesting patterns on the track

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Broad Cairn putting in an appearance now

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Zoomed across Glas-allt Shiel to Broad Cairn and Creag an Dubh Loch

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High Road/Low Road junction

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Back down along Loch Muick

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Across the trench towards Lochnagar - Meikle Pap just poking up

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Onto the plateau

I had a brief stop for sustenance at the cairn immediately once onto the plateau and another at the snow filled tin hut beyond Sandy Hillock. It was a stunning morning on a typically Cairngorm tundra-style plateau walk and it was a joy to be out again. I had the place to myself as I sauntered up the eastern approach to Broad Cairn.

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Glas-allt Shiel in shadow

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Broad Cairn looking promising

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Been a few here before me this winter

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Loch Muick

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Distant Mount Keen

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The wee bump above Coire Chash and Broad Cairn

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Frozen tundra and Broad Cairn

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Towards Glen Doll from the tin shack

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Winter sun over Glen Doll

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Keen and Battock

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Final pull up to Broad Cairn

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Why we do this!

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He thinks I can't see him!

What a superb Munro summit this is with views along Loch Muick and south towards Glen Doll and Glen Clova. The distinctive pointy summit of Cairn Bannoch was just visible through the whiteness a couple of clicks to the north west.

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Summit of Broad Cairn

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Tom Buidhe and Tolmount

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Creag an Dubh Loch from Broad Cairn summit

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Cairn Bannoch, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor and Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach

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Detouring towards the cliffs en route to Bannoch

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Cairn Bannoch

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Pristine

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Back to Broad Cairn

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And again

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Cairn Bannoch

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Broad Cairn from Cairn Bannoch

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Remote selfie on a bracing summit of Cairn Bannoch

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Eagles Rock from Bannoch

With Bannoch in the bag I made for home, heading north initially to take me well past the worst of the crags on Creag an Dubh Loch. I had to stop not long into the descent to put some hardware on my feet (the micro spikes did the job without having to resort to the crampons) and take the axe off my pack. I certainly would not have managed down here safely without them. I was aware of a large corniced lip below me but only became aware of the full extent of it from below when I glanced back to survey my descent route.

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Time to get tooled up for the descent

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Below the collapsed cornice

At this point I saw my first humans of the day crossing the Allt an Dubh Loch in front of me and off to my left heading up towards Bannoch. Turns out it was none other than Paul and Helen out for a wee bimble.

I safely negotiated a snow bridge across the Allt before picking up the path on the northern side of the frozen Dubh Loch, but not before a few plunges through the snow into sink holes, including one that had me shoulder deep in a pot hole and from which it needed a serious effort to extract myself.

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Dubh Loch

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Waterfall on Eagles Rock

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The cliffs of Creag an Dubh Loch and one hell of an ice climb up the chimney

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I just fell down this hole!

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Ice chunks at the north western end of Dubh Loch

The weather briefly closed in a bit at this point with a few brief flurries of snowflakes but they were soon left behind as I descended back past the Stulan Falls and down to the side of Loch Muick. I took the track through Glas-allt Shiel along the northern side of the loch before cutting along the beach at the northern end to pick up the track back to the Spittal and the now crowded car park.

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Dropping back down to Loch Muick

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Stulan Falls

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Entering the plantation of Glas-allt Shiel

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Beach at northern end of Loch Muick

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Across the bridge at the outflow and start of the River Muick


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User avatar
Graeme D
 
Posts: 3603
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Re: Broad Cairn and Bannoch - a good day to go East of Eden

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:18 am

Nice one , aye weather in West can be confirmed as pish :D
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Collaciotach
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Re: Broad Cairn and Bannoch - a good day to go East of Eden

Postby rockhopper » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:24 am

Cracking day for it, Graeme :thumbup: - great to be able to get out during the week and not have to rely on the weekends :mrgreen:
As for falling into holes - amazing how often the appear just at the wrong time :roll: - cheers :)
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rockhopper
 
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Re: Broad Cairn and Bannoch - a good day to go East of Eden

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:08 pm

We walked exactly the same route for these two :D Easy going up to the two Munros, but the descent to Dubh Loch was horrible :? It was on a wet day, lots of slippery, steep ground. I imagine in winter conditions that slope is even a bigger challenge, but well worth it :D :D
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BlackPanther
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Re: Broad Cairn and Bannoch - a good day to go East of Eden

Postby Beaner001 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:21 pm

Lovely round that Graeme :clap: :clap:
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Beaner001
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Re: Broad Cairn and Bannoch - a good day to go East of Eden

Postby litljortindan » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:46 pm

Good stuff. Might consider a re-visit later in the year.
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litljortindan
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Re: Broad Cairn and Bannoch - a good day to go East of Eden

Postby jupe1407 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:44 am

Very nice Graeme :clap:

I'd love to repeat the White Mounth in good conditions
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jupe1407
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