Wednesday, 1 September 2004

The many tops of Lochnagar

Summer holidays over - but a work commitment in Aberdeenshire, and a free day before it - and the weather was looking good.  Time to collect the scattered tops of Lochnagar.

I'd been there before - a quick up and down of Lochnagar back in 1980 with Anne, Mary and Conan - see earlier blog entry.  Then, my half-way Munro in 2002 was Broad Cairn, just across the Dubh Loch, another rich seam of top-collecting.

So, on 31st August 2004, I left Selkirk early, and reached the Glen Muick car park at 11am.  All looked good, with blue skies but a cool breeze from the NW.  Made rapid progress up the Land Rover track and up on to the first top of the day, Meikle Pap.  

Enjoyed the superb view across the coire to the cliffs below the summit, Cac Carn Beag (right).

Back down from Meikle Pap, and then up on to the plateau.  A short detour to the left to visit the summit of Cuidhe Crom.

(left) plateau and summit from Cuidhe Crom

Retraced steps to rejoin the path / motorway across the plateau, then up to Cac Carn Mor.

Peered down abysmal drops, then a short rocky scramble to the summit, Cac Carn Beag (14.10).  The views all round were extremely clear.

(below) Meikle Pap and Cuidhe Crom from the summit

From the summit, a pleasant amble across to The Stuic, then to Carn a' Choire Bhoidheach, (formerly known as The White Mounth) the 2nd Munro of the day.  It was quite windy, and I had to lie low behind some rocks to get shelter for a cuppa.  Seems hard to justify this as a separate Munro in my opinion, as the rise to its top is only 40m, except that the whole massif is possibly too big to be counted as a single Munro.

Anyway, I continued on my way, dropping slightly down now into Coire Boidheach.  Suddenly it felt warm, so it was 'change into shorts' time!  A short rise to the next top, Top of Eagle Crag.  A large herd of deer ran across just below the summit, and I descended slightly to get a better view.  Also, a great view across to Cairn Bannock and Broad Cairn across the Dubh Loch.  The photo here shows the view. 
An American artist, James Swanson, had read on my website about my trip over Broad Cairn, and was interested in the name Dubh Loch, and asked if he could turn my picture into a painting - here is the resulting painting!  You can read about the making of the painting on James' blog "painting from afar"
So, onwards towards the last two tops of the day:  firstly to Creag a' Ghlas Allt, nothing more than a gentle swelling on the plateau, then down to cross the Glas Allt and main path before contouring round the south side of Cuidhe Crom.  This was hard going, and not recommended.  it would have been easier and quicker to go back over the top of Cuidhe Crom - I'll know better next time!  Finally reached Little Pap at 17.00, and rested a while, admiring the view over Loch Muick, before descending back to the main path over heathery slopes, and back to the car park at 18.50.

A good day - 2 Munros, 6 other tops, 25km round trip in 8 hours.