The weather forecast for this Saturday was ideal so I decided to attempt the 5 Munros of the White Mounth Circuit around Loch Muick. I didn't get away from home in Edinburgh as early as I wanted and took a wrong turning off the B976 which meant it was almost 11.00 before I reached the car park which by now was pretty full, but the lady on car park duties managed to find me a space. By the time I had my boots on and packed my supplies into my rucksack it was gone 11.00 before I started walking, the good news was it was a shorts and tee shirt day so some of the wet weather gear (but not all of it) stayed in the boot of the car. As I started to walk towards the bridge and the track to Lochnagar a sign advised that the Bridge over the River Muick was closed due to repairs but I took a chance thinking that if the bridge was impassable I could always wade across. As it worked out the repairs on the bridge were far enough advanced to allow foot traffic and I soon picked up the sign alongside the Balmoral Farm Building pointing me towards Lochnagar.
The path through the forestry towards Lochnagar is very easy to follow and the steady climb was only made difficult by the heat (I'm not moaning honest it was glorious); the sweat was pouring out of me I think it was as much the reflected heat from the granite stone paths as the direct sunlight.
It was steady walking up to the bealach; thankfully I managed to get ahead of a large party of youngsters when they stopped at the Bill Stuart memorial, the view of the Lochnagar Northern Corrie was excellent in the bright sunshine but it was getting a bit crowded around there so I didn't hang around long before heading up the ladder towards the summit of the first Munro, Lochnagar.
The walk along the cliffs towards Cac Carn Mor and Lochnagar gave great views North towards Balmoral and the surrounding area and I reached the summit in 2 hours; I knew that this was probably the hardest part of the walk with the longest climb so was looking forward to the rest of the day.
I stopped for a short break on the summit; I'm glad I carried more fluid than I normally did as I was drinking a lot to stay hydrated. The weather was perfect with clear views of the route ahead, Loch nan Eun and the next Munro at Carn a Choire Bhoidheach.
Carn a Choire Bhoidheach is little more than a slight bump on the ridge and was probably the easiest Munro I have ever climbed but this was allowing me to up the pace a bit and I soon reached the summit and headed down towards the path leading over the Allt an Da Chraobh Bheath. Passed a couple of guys who were busy filling their water bottles in the stream so it wasn't only me who was taking on extra fluids. I followed the path across the second stream headed up the hill and turned off towards the third Munro Carn an t-Sagairt Mor. Stopped here for a break and chatted with two young guys who were attempting the circuit for their 3rd time having been beaten by the weather on their previous attempts, not much chance of them failing this attempt.
The route to the 4th Munro was easy to follow in the clear conditions and again I was able to strike off at a good pace leaving the youngsters trailing in my wake. A short time later I was on the summit of Cairn Bannoch, I tried to take a self portrait here but my camera is past its sell by date and all I got was a close up of my hand, must get a new camera soon this one is ancient.
The final Munro on the circuit, Broad Cairn, was reached just before 4.00pm, the view towards Loch Muick and back up the Glen to the White Mounth and Eagle Rocks was excellent; the only downside was that from here you could see most of the track back towards the start point, it seemed to go on for ever (as a matter of fact it did go on for ever).
The track along the ridge above Loch Muick made the whole trek worthwhile the views were superb even if the track was hard going in places due to all the loose stone which had been added. I estimated that it would take me about 2 hours from the summit of the last Munro to reach the car park; my estimate proved spot on.
I reached the top of the zig zag which takes you from the ridge down to the Black Burn just as I finished my last drop of fluid so was more than pleased to reach the Burn where I stripped to the waist and washed off the dust and sweat before filling my water bottles (from upstream I should add) I had a good drink of the cool mountain water and felt refreshed for the last leg of the walk along the Loch
I reached the car park just before 6.00pm and didn't waste much time hitting the road back home; I was dying for a pint so I covered the 115 miles back home in 2 and a quarter hours (didn't break any speed limits honest), the wife had a bath ready for me, a quick plunge in and out and I was down the Malt and Hops on the Shore in Leith by 9.00pm. The guest beer was Brains SA a good Cardiff beer (as you can tell I'm Welsh, the SA stands for Skull Attack I'll let you work out the reason why yourself if ever you get the chance to try it). Just to finish off my report it was a great days walking, one of those days when it is a pure pleasure to be up in the hills enjoying life to the full.
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