Friday 11th Sept
From Glenmuick carpark, up to Caisteal na Caillich via the usual track up to Lochnagar. Then down and across the grassy bog around the north shouder of Meikle Pap to approach Lochnagar Loch from the north side. Very strong wind gusting down the cliffs and across the Loch, so went around the north shoulder and saddle to approach Lochnagar top up its NW shoulder. Brief stop on Lochnagar, very low visibility as cloud down over the tops. Then off to the Stuic – will have to come back when there’s good visibility. Then followed track west until the first burn, and followed that down to Dubh Loch. All reasonable running on descending ground. Followed track down from Dubh Loch for half k, then struck out up to Loch Buidhe and then across the flat mossy ground to the track down to Glasallt waterfall. The return back along the loch was quite an effort. 32Km walking/jogging, 6 hours moving time. Fab scenery.
Well to be honest the weather not exactly helped re fulfilling dreams of high bivvis and watching the sun rise from the hills on the shortest night. C’est la vie but still keen to get some exercise in case offered a place on the Larig Gru,(which I Iwas but it had expired by the time I opened it….showing my age re modern communications).
Anyway re ticking points had always envisaged combining with climbs where possible and of all checkpoints, the Dubh Loch is the summer place to go. Jules Lines writes in his book about his conversation at by the Dubh Loch with Paul Williams, the late guide book writer for Snowdonia., who has always held that Clogwyn Du’r Arddu on Snowdon is the Mecca for British climbers, that following his ascent of Goliath on The Dubh Loch that it was indeed a better cliff.
So point 37 is perhaps the tick point for me for this year, but the weather has not neen helpfull and I had become moderately obsessed with Loch Buidhe, a place I had not noticed on the map before, and never visited. The weather won the argument and a bike to Glas-alt-Shiel, followed by some uphill work to the Falls of the Glasallt ( a tick point already ticked) then up a short steep slope to a high valley and west to Loch Buidhe. This turned out to be pleasantly runable, after the steep start, and the lochs (there is a tiny one as well) did not disappoint. The weather did and to be honest it felt like snow would soon be falling, The descent west and down to the Dubh Loch was a pleasure. The Creag an Dubh Loch looked dark and threatening, but will draw me back. The jog down passed many hikers all enjoying the summer weather.
Started out up the Lochnagar path to the Meikle Pap saddle and dropped down into Lochnagar (loch). It had been suggested by a couple of helpful walkers, that we could come back out by climbing the ridge to the west of the loch. We had a look but we aren’t entirely happy on these steep slopes and my gammy arm clinched it – we would come back out towards the saddle.
Continued climbing to Lochnagar.
We were now looking at combining routes posted by SaraD and DaveH (in reverse).
Along the good path to The Stuic (cp36) and then over Carn a’ Choire Bhoideach and heading down into the Dubh Loch (cp37). It was a long, rough climb down and chapeau to SaraD who climbed up from the Dubh, and in snow!
From here we reversed DaveH route over past Loch Buidhe before getting onto the tourist route down to Glasallt waterfall(cp39).
Eventually got down to the lochside track and the long walk back.
A big day out and two weary Deeside Runners ended up at Aboyne for fish an chips.
1 – Lochnagar loch
2 – The Stuic
3 – looking down into Dubh loch
Biked in with Kathy from the Loch Muick car park to the Glas-Allt Sheil, then walked up to the waterfall. From just above the waterfall left the path and made our way via Loch Buidhe to the Dubh Loch. Mostly easy going, with a lot of grass rather than heather, and a spectacular view down to Loch Muick. I’d never been up here before and it was interesting to see the hills from a different angle. Very bleak though – it felt like the glaciers had only just left. Not much sign of spring this high but the trees are green around Loch Muick, and there are a lot more of them than there used to be. Definitely a good route, and an easy way of getting two points. Only 8km with 340m climb.
Arrived at Loch Muick car park in a whiteout and -0.5C. Sat in the car for a few minutes deciding what to do, by which time it started to brighten up and plan A was on the cards again. Cycled round the loch to the block of trees at the foot of the Glas Allt, then headed on foot up towards the Dubh Loch (cp37). From there carried on up the glen beyond the big crags before striking north up the hill towards Carn a Choir Bhoidheach. Into the snow by this stage which was difficult – very variable in depth and mostly quite soft. Disappeared down a few holes before getting firmer footing as I climbed higher. Quite a few mountain hare and ptarmigan on this side of the hill, and also what I think was a dotterel (didn’t get quite close enough but shape and size were right). Now into the cloud and glad that I’d thrown a compass in at the last minute. Found the summit of Bhoidheach and from there took a careful bearing to the Stuic (cp36). Thankfully found it before the nearby dodgy looking cornice. Then it was across the plateau (at a sensible distance from the edge) to contour below Lochnagar to the Glas Allt track. Snow was quite deep across here making for slow going, then I lost my right leg through a snow bridge over the source of the Glas Allt, jarring my left knee into my chest. More hard going before meeting the Glas Allt track and an easier run back off the hill. Stopped for the photo at the foot of the falls (cp39), then back to the bike. Glad to see it by this stage.
Turned into a bigger day out than I anticipated, but I was actually really lucky with the weather in the end, and the run had a good proper mountain feel to it. Fun 🙂
A half hour cycle from the car park at the Spittal took me to the start of the Dubh Loch path. Despite the earlier forecast it was still warm and sunny, and it was a treat to be up here again after some thirty years. I saw lots of red deer, plus buzzard, raven, kestrel, oystercatcher, curlew, common sandpiper, common gull, wren, willow warbler, both wagtails, ring ouzel and siskin.