Ascent. 986M Accum. Ascent. 6648M
I awoke early having enjoyed one of the most memorable nights, not.. The snoring was loud enough to lift the roof tiles. Keith seemed to be getting the blame but i think it was George not Keith.
So downstairs others were about and it wasn’t long before Bill was up and making breakfast for us all. Thanks Bill, my porridge and your bacon butties serves me well.
As we breakfasted the door opened and in came 2 Californians, Christy and Dan Rosander. Full of joviality and at that time of the morning should be banned. So after intro’s and refreshments they had a good look round and checked out all the wonderful photographs of earlier crossings.
It wasn’t the best of days as we set off, although its straight up hill and therefore the body warms up quickly.
Its a decent path but as we got higher the wind really picked up and it was chilly. Two guys behind us were moving very quickly and it resulted that they were not challengers but weekenders who had camped at the far end of Loch Callater. They were peak bagging.
Loch Callater with the lodge just visible at the head.
Lochnagar somewhere in the murk
When we rounded Carn an t-Sagairt mor we were losing visibility rapidly. We made the decision to miss Lochnager top and go for the lesser ridged group leading to Broad Cairn. It meant that we would walk off our maps but we both had the luxury of a mapping GPS and a compass so it was considered adequate and the route followed the boundary.
There was a decent if sometimes obscure path down from our location to the first top of Fafernie at 1000M, our highest point so far. The two lads we met earlier were here and also a lady day walker.
Following the boundary our next tops were Cairn Bannock at 1012M our new highest point, point 991M unnamed, Cairn of Gowal at 993M and Broad Cairn at 998M. We had a fair sized snow field to cross and the views north towards Eagle Rock and the waterfalls were amazing.
Looking back, Eagles rock (rhs), waterfall at Allt a choire Bhoidheach and the summit of Carn a coire Bhoidheach with the cloud lifting.
JJ leans into the wind and prepares for take off.
Coming up to the summit of Broad Cairn.
Coming down from Broad Cairn is quite steep and rocky and because of the wind chill encountered coming across the tops we both still had our shell jackets and gloves on in stark contrast from those coming up the other way who were in shorts and tee shirts. They would get a shock at the top.
Heading for the LRT and the animal huts at the watershed we spotted Keith and Charlie and waved.
View east from summit of Broad Cairn.We were going to make a brew here but the water was less than inviting and so gave it a miss. We just had a bite to eat instead and then moved on.
We chose to walk the wide track that follows the high route along Loch Muick on the south east side.
Loch Muick and the route over to Dubh loch for the SE high level path.
One of Queen Elizabeth’s smaller places.
As is usual in hag country its not easy to keep to a bearing exactly and as we had excellent visibility we just made for the track intersection where it splits up to Watery Hill.
The Lochnagar range now completely clear, taken from Capel Rd.
In hindsight, we maybe should have stayed on the boundary line to Gallow Hillock from the animal shed at the bottom of Broad Cairn and then followed the Capel Rd track. Or, stayed on the boundary line continuously to the Sheilin. I wouldn’t recommend the route across the hags if the weather was poor or after a period of prolonged rain.
From the summit we followed an ATV track for a while down the NE shoulder of Black Hill to the Allt Darrarie. We should have followed the Burn of Mohammed until the intersection but i recon we followed the more obvious Kate’s Stripe and so we hit the Water of Mark south west of the Bothy. From here it was just a matter of following the water course to the bothy itself.
Weather wise the afternoon had been a stunner with extensive views. Although the distance was only 23km it had been a hard day and i was definitely feeling tired. It was great to find Dave Williams, Ian Sommerville, John Sanderson and Mervyn Grimshaw already at the bothy and we had a bit of a laugh together whilst making a meal. Completely by surprise it started to rain. It had been clear blue skies ten minutes before.
Route day 10.