30th to 31st of October, 2010 – Loch Muick, Camp and Hill Walking

What was originally planned as a weekend involving canoeing, hiking and camping in the area of Loch Mullardoch had to be modified due to strong forecast winds to a location with a better chance of cloud free tops and the canoeing element was abandoned. The Lochnagar area suited us both, in terms of interest and having a good chance of being dry for the most part, so we opted for there instead with a view to taking in the five munros surrounding Loch Muick and Dubh Loch; Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach and Lochnagar.

Saturday – After establishing that there were bridges crossing the river at the west end of Loch Muick, we headed along its south side, set up camp just west of the end by the river then came back to the head of the loch and ascended by the stalker’s path up to Broad Cairn then Cairn Bannoch. Looking at the possibility of a wet trudge out below us by Dubh Loch and the limited hours of daylight, we decided to leave the next summit (Carn an t-Sagairt Mor) for following day and re-traced our steps back to camp.

It was pretty cold up top in the winds but largely dry with just a couple of short lived showers and views were fairly unspoiled by cloud cover in all directions.

Arriving back at camp at dusk, we were not long in getting fed and getting the fire going, we had carried in my fire box and a bag of kindling which kept us toasty for three or four hours before a well-earned and comfortable sleep, heather can be a great mattress!

Sunday – Well rested, we awoke to a gorgeous and still morning with the call of deer and grouse all around. After a leisurely breakfast, we set off the few hundred meters to Loch Muick where we started our ascent to Lochnagar and from there, continued anti-clockwise in a loop taking in Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach and Carn an t-Sagairt Mor then down past Dubh Loch and the impressive cliffs and slabs on either side of it to camp. Tents down and a very quick rest before the tough walk out on tired feet with heavier bags.

A shame we never managed our original aims but a very pleasant weekend was had anyway. Autumn was in full swing with a definite hint of winter on the way, lots of hares and ptarmigan in their full or partial white coats.

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