It’s been a while since we’ve done Lochnagar, or to give it’s proper name, Cac Carn Beag. It’s also been a while since my last munro, so we decided to opt for something familiar, close to home and ‘easy’.
Up early, maybe not so bright, we had a quiet breakfast before (Bruce) loading the car. It was a good bit out the road before any conversation started. Arriving, the car park at Loch Muick was relatively quiet, perhaps the threat of road closure when it’s full keeping folks away.
The Long Way Up
Having quite a few running miles this week, and a day’s voluntary labour at work yesterday, my legs were feeling less than fresh. While Bruce managed to maintain a decent pace, I felt like I was toiling. Not long after turning off onto the Lochnagar path I was passed by a child – he’d decided to run up! I’m not convinced he ran all the way up, but he did make the summit well ahead of us.
Snack Stop: Overlooking Lochnagar
At our first ‘proper’ stop of the day we sat overlooking Lochnagar and Bruce ventured lower to take photos. I stayed put as I didn’t want to expend any more energy than required and got a little chilly. While it was very warm walking, the coolness in the air was apparent when stopped. The additional layer didn’t stay on for long as we started climbing once more.
A Wobbly Ladder
Continuing up the ‘ladder’ I had a very minor wobble. The last couple of times we’ve been up here there’s been thick, compacted snow, hiding the small gaps between the big rocks. Today instead there was some slushy snow, avoidable by following the path over the aforementioned rocks. I don’t feel comfortable on bits like this, thinking broken legs! Not great when building base mileage in preparation for marathon training! We were soon clear of these and onto easier terrain once more.
Heading around the crags, the snow cornices were very large and impressive! We stayed well clear, but did enjoy skirting around to view them from different angles. I’ve a feeling they may not be there for too much longer as the thaw is well underway.
The summit has two cairns, the furthest away clearly being the highest. It’s a short, easy walk between them. Prior to this we’d seen many small cairns, not convinced we’ve seen them previously, most likely as they’ve been buried under snow.
The second cairn has trig points and we shared this summit with a couple of guys we’d met on the way up and a group of young women. As always, it was good to chat and exchange stories. Although not busy today, the chat was good with the folks we did meet.
Heading down, we followed the Glas Allt path. Although slightly longer than an out and back, this is usually worth it as it takes in the falls. Descending today it was very apparent that the thaw was increasing the pressure on the stream, lots of white water and a good, strong flow.
The falls were spectacular and loud today! Coming close the roar of the water was really loud, yet moving away it quickly ceased. The spray was refreshing and the pool at the bottom looked incredibly inviting! However, I resisted as I’m sure it was also freezing.
Loch Muick: The Long Walk Out
This is my least favourite part of the walk as it seems to take forever, the end of the loch out of sight for some time. Today though, our journey was broken up thanks to a young couple showing interest in a trickle of water coming off the dyke. There we saw a small adder! We were very excited by this and it did us the honour of staying in situ, posing for photos and allowing us a good, close up look.
The walk didn’t seem so bad after this and we quickly reached the boathouse. Stopped for a blether again on the main path back to the car park having met an old lady watching the herd of deer that had come down for the evening. A day well spent.