Praise for Pogu on White Lochnagar

Route: Lochnagar from Glen Muick

Date walked: 18/12/2012

Time taken: 4.75 hours

Distance: 15.9km

Ascent: 888m

Mrs Santa had granted me a weeks pre christmas break so i headed up to Aberdeenshire to see parents. Naturally I had my hill stuff packed and hoped to get an overnighter in during the stay. The rules are quite clear. NO MUNROS SHE HASNT DONE.

So I'd thought an afternoon stroll up Lochnagar, camp on the top and then return round the top of loch Muick revisiting Broad Cairn etc. MWIS suggested that Monday 17th and Tuesday 18 would be the best option. I woke on the Monday to see low mist and heavy rain. Not going up on my own in that. Christmas Shopping in the (new?) outdoor shop in Banchory instead.

So Tuesday dawned and I was still grumpy. Not walking if I can't camp (sulk sulk). Eventually i was persuaded to go out (I must have been poor company). Up the fungle to Carnferg was the plan. As I got ready this plan changed to Glas Maol from the ski lift. And so i set off about 11:30. However Lochnagar came into view on the way to Ballater and the descision made. Quick stop in Ballater to buy the map and phone home with change of plan and I was at Glen Muick Car Park by 12:30.

They've put electricity into the car parkk since I was there last so I paid my £3 headed off stopping only to admire the electric heating in the gents at the visitor centre. I got my first view of my target looking great in the snow and sunshine.

first view.JPG
Hope the sunshine lasts

While I really wanted a bit of reindeer on snow action I was pleased to see that the snow line was high enough that the return down Glas Allt was likely to be clear if I needed it (in the dark). I realised however that daylight was precious so I headed off up the hill as fast as my little legs would take me. Unfortunately this was rather faster than my little lungs could manage so I had to stop and get rid off all my fleeces etc. into my rucksac.

Higher up, the path started to get patches of very hard and slippy snow but there were plenty of rocks to use to avoid them. Eventually however there was enough ice for the pogus to come out.

To pogu up or not.JPG
To Pogu or not to Pogu?

They are truly great on this type of hard packed snow /ice where the gradient is not too steep and I made much faster progress up towards the bealach betwen Meilkle pap and Lochnagar proper. There were a few tracks in the snow which made picking a route easier - that path had pretty much disappeared under the snow.

dec 12 walk 008.jpg
Footprints showing the way

This picture from my iphone does not do justce to the cliffs which were stunning.

The last time I'd done this walk in hot sunshine I'd managed to lose the new path up the ladder. This time there was no such problem. No path to lose! I followed a set of tracks straight up. Again the Pogu's felt fine so I didn't think I needed the full crampons i had. I was careful to make sure that if I did fall gravity would not pull me towards the cliff.
Frozen Loch Nagar.JPG
Cold looking!

Eventually i got to the top of the ladder. Stunning views, though I'm not sure your really want to see a sunset from that height if you have a long way to go.

dec 12 walk 014.jpg
Hope the light holds!

dec 12 walk 015.jpg
Do I really want to go there?

I decided that going up to the summit was a recipe for anxious parents and a worrying trip down in the dark
so I'd cut off the corner and go down the Glas Allt. This next part was probably the best part of the whole walk.
Pogu's off and slid/walked fast over the hard snow towards the path down.

dec 12 walk 020.jpg
Time for a fast descent

Eventually however the snow got deeper and softer and I had to slow down and I hit the most miserable bit of the day. The path was as tricky as the one on the way up but every so often I'd go through the hard crust. There were a large number of footprints on the Glas Allt path and every one was a trap, giving way as I stepped on it. Clearly it wasn't good king Wenceslas who'd been up!

Eventually I reached the footbridge and the steep bit down past the waterfall Thankfully the path was (mostly) clear of snow and I reached the loch about 4pm - just as it was getting dark. All that was left was the trek along Loch Muick and a quick chat to the 4 people who were going up to stay in the Glas Allt bothy. I'd never heard of there being one there.

I managed all the way back to the visitors centre without the head torch but after I'd been in to have a look it had got really dark and so the torch was needed for the last 100m to the car.

A great day!

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Comments: 3


User avatar
Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: Ben Lui
Gear: Alpkit down jacket
Ideal day out: Coming down hill after a high camp

Munros: 265
Wainwrights: 1
Hewitts: 2

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Trips: 1
Distance: 15.9 km
Ascent: 888m

Joined: May 14, 2012
Last visited: Sep 07, 2021
Total posts: 439 | Search posts