Thursday, November 26, 2009

Walk Lochnagar Scotland

Walk Lochnagar, Scotland.

Lochnagar is certainly one of my favourite munros. In spite of it's fearsome appearance, it is a relatively easy walk from Spittal of Glenmuick. To get to the starting point though requires a lengthy drive, so we decided to approach this wonderful mountain from the Balmoral Estate near Crathie.

The great advantage that this approach has is that the whole mountain is in view for almost the whole walk in. We parked near Crathie Shop and Post Office and followed the metalled road on the West of the burn which led to a track climbing through the forest. A left fork took us on the road to Gelder Sheil stable, a well maintained bothy where a sandpiper sounded the alarm. No sign of a fireplace though!

Gelder Sheil Stable Bothy.

The Estate Landrover was keeping a close eye on a large herd of red deer which had congregated on a large grassy area, an oasis in a sea of heather. I couldn't help wondering if perhaps this had been an old camping spot created by the drovers of old.

Drovers halt near Balmoral?

The track headed in the direction of our first target, the top of Meall Coire na Saobhaide. The slightly boggy track gave way to short heather on firm ground and the top was soon reached. A large number of red grouse took to flight, possibly more than we've seen for a number of years. A short drop to the col and stiff climb pulled us past a mating pair of ptarmigan up to the summit of Cac Carn Beag with tremendous views over to the Stuic.

Cac Carn Beag, from Meall Coire na Saobhaide.

Ptarmigan on Lochnagar.

Views from Lochnagar to the Stuic.

We then circled the Corrie taking in the spectacular cornices and vertigo inducing views down into the Loch. The path down the 'ladder' has certainly been improved since we were last here, or maybe we just missed it last time! It's worth making sure that you find this well built stone staircase as it would make for a very efficient ascent.


A long way back down the Estate track followed, finishing in a leisurely 6 hours. Taking into account the long drive up to Loch Muick that we avoided, we reckoned that we had made the correct choice. This was proven as we had a short detour to the Royal Lochnagar Distillery!

Royal Lochnagar Distillery.

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