My first solo walk and three more in the bag

Route: Tolmount and Tom Buidhe via Loch Callater

Munros: Cairn of Claise, Tolmount, Tom Buidhe

Date walked: 12/09/2014

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 29.8km

Ascent: 1023m

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Since the forecast was spectacular but nobody was free to come walking I decided to embark upon my first solo day of hill based adventures. A nervewracking prospect for me! To make sure I had time on my side I had packed up my bag and set off for Braemar by 6am and arrived at the empty car park shortly after 7am.

Empty early morning car park

After a quick cup of coffee I set off down the slightly eerily misty path signposted for Glen Clova.


I reached the shooting lodge and bothy in just under an hour poked my head inside for a quick nosey. As you can see it is in pretty good nick at the moment. Long may it continue!
Comfy looking chair!

A few seconds later I got my first view of Loch Callater. Absolutely breathtaking and the highlight of the day for me. Seeing the loch in complete solitude with the morning mist and the sun just rising over then glen is up there among the best outdoor scenes I've ever had the fortune to witness.
Crystal clear waters

I continued along jocks road (now a path) to the other end of the glen and found a good spot for elevensies (well, ninesies thanks to my early start! :lol: )
A nice pit stop view

After a nectarine and a coffee I started walking again, this time faced with the epic climb out of the valley. Be under no illusion, Jocks Road becomes near impossible to locate amidst the bog here and it is a hard slog up onto the plataeu! That said, once you have gained the height the hardest part of the day is done. A short easy climb follows and I reached Tolmount at 10.25am.
Tolmount selfie!

After an apple, yet another cup of coffee and being feasted on by what I am sure was half the midge population of the highlands, I made my way round to Tom Buidhe by 11.02am.
Tom Buidhe selfie!

I was still feeling pretty energetic so I decided to add on Cairn of Claise. On my way across I bumped into a chap carrying a HUGE backpack whom had camped out on the Glas Maol the night before. We had a quick natter then I continued on to my final summit of the day. I arrived at 11.50am and my rumbling tummy told me it was a good spot to stop for lunch.
Cairn of Claise selfie!

Now came the long slog back to the car along the otherside of the glen. Those that have walked with me before will know this is the part of the day I start to get a little grumpy! :lol: I skipped past Carn an Tuirc because I bagged this one ski touring last year. After what seemed like forever the lodges at the end of the loch came into view. A very welcome sight for this weary traveller!
Almost there!

I was making good time so I decided to have a final break with a pear and the last of my now cold coffee (yes, I do just empty the contents of my fruit bowl into my backpack!). It really is a lovely spot.

I dragged myself away from the view and walked the final stretch back to the car. The views of Ben Avon were much better than earlier since the mist has cleared.

All in all I would say this walk is well worth doing. The views and the early morning solitude were wonderful. I love company in the hills but I might start throwing in the odd solo trip now I have broken the fear factor!

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Comments: 9


Location: Aberdeen
Activity: Hill Bagger
Mountain: So far...... Lochnagar
Ideal day out: Any time in the great outdoors sounds good to me. I have very little winter experience (except on skis) but would like to start venturing out when the white stuff has fallen as well as in the summertime.

Munros: 22

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Trips: 1
Distance: 29.8 km
Ascent: 1023m
Munros: 3

Joined: Feb 25, 2012
Last visited: Jan 16, 2015
Total posts: 20 | Search posts