This trip took place on 29th and 30th of May 2014 but as it was our first Cairngorms backpack and included my 100th Munro Ive decided it’s not too late to write up a report. We were staying for a week in Ballater but took our camping stuff to escape for a couple of days. The weather was forecast for a cloudy start but then to improve during the first day ending in sunshine and a fine second day.
When we got to the car park at Spittal of Glenmuick we found that it was not possible to pay to park for more than 24 hours. A quick look at the couple of cars already parked there showed that other people were parking for longer than this so we decided to risk it. We started off in a steady drizzle.
All of today’s route can be found on this map which will open in a new window
After a quick look at the visitor centre we set off up the LRT (Land Rover Track) towards Alt-na-giubhsaish where we turned left and soon picked up another LRT now heading east and gradually climbing. We could see the tops were still in cloud and the steady drizzle continued on and off. After about 2k the LRT turns north and after about another 500m we took a clear path heading east towards the Lochnagar mountains. The gradient was still fairly gentle just before the climbing began in earnest we took a small diversion to find Fox Cairn Well. We had a “frusli” break and took the opportunity to top our water bottles up with the fresh water from the spring.
The clouds appeared to be getting higher so we decided to pop up Meikle Pap (980m) classified as a Munro Top.
From the col below Meikle Pap there is a steep section of ascent before the gradual climb around the Corrie of Lochnagar. As the clouds had again descended we opted for the main path away from the edge. Soon we reached the distinctive large cairn of Cac Carn Mor (1150m) The clouds had now lifted above the summits and the drizzle had stopped. Time for a spot of lunch.
A 550m walk then brought us to the summit of Cac Carn Beag otherwise known as Lochnagar (1156m) our first munro of the day, my 97th and Sian’s 89th.
Next we retraced our steps back towards Cac Carn Mor before picking up a path skirting the top on the west side that then descends towards the headwall of Coire Lochan nan Eun. However before reaching there we took a quick out and back detour to the muro top of Creag a’Ghlas-uillt (1068m) across flat, pathless tussocky terrain.
On returning to the main path we had about a kilometer of a steadily rising good path to reach The Stuic a fabulous viewpoint looking out over Coire Lochan nan Eun and back towards Lochnagar.
Having had a break to enjoy the view, taken some photos and had some food and drink we set off for the 500m walk gently uphill, crossing a small snow field, to the summit of Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach (1110m) our second munro of the day, my 98th and Sian’s 90th.
It was quite breezy on the top and as its very flat the views aren’t spectacular so we set off for our third and final munro of the day, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor (1047m) via Carn an t-Sagairt Beag. Approaching the summit of Carn an t-Sagairt Mor we passed the wreckage of a RAF English Electric Canberra B.2 / WJ615 that crashed here on 22 Nov 1956 killing both crew members. More information can be found here.
So our 3rd munro of the day and my 99th, but number 100 would have to wait until tomorrow as it was time to find somewhere to camp for the night. Our planned site was around the col between Carn an t-Sagairt Mor and Cairn Bannoch. On twitter Nick Bramhall @nickbramll had confirmed that this was a good choice with water usually available from the higher reaches of the Allt an Dubh-loch. The col itself was a bit boggy but a couple of hundred meters further on there was a nice area of flat soft grass. Perfect. I set the Scarp 2 up whilst Sian got water from a couple of hundred yards away where a snowfield was melting into the Allt an Dubh-loch.
We had the place to ourselves. We had not seen anyone for a few hours and would not until mid morning tomorrow. The sun was now out as promised. A brew, a meal, a wander around taking photos, another brew and a chocolate bar and a fine day came to an end. Off into the Scarp for a sleep. Wild Camping is good, life is good.
Day 2 coming soon.