Sat 11th July
A good run up to Sgor an h-Iolaire, via Loinveg and up the eastern shoulder.
View of the cliff on the way up:
and the view towards Lochnagar:
Good run for 2k north along the top, but then tried short cutting down the north east towards Creag Ghiubhais – only to clamber down steep slopes & deep heather.
Aborted Creag G and returned via road to starting point at Littlemill bridge.
There are a number of CPs in the high Cairngorms where we will need to bike\run so we thought we would have a practice closer to home by doing cp46 and cp40.
Parked near the Royal Lochnagar Distillery and headed down the track almost to Bovaglie. Left the bikes, changed shoes and hiked up to the day’s first point.
A fine view from here but also an intimidating view of the 862m of our next point.
Back to the bikes for lunch before moving on.
Well there we are: Lochnagar back in full winter clothing, all the buttress routes looked in fine shape from bottom to top. Feeling maybe I was a wee bit optimistic in putting the full winter gear in the loft with a variety of shorts and t-shirts in the outdoor draw. Plodded slowly up Glen Girnock, which has a great dirt road and is truely stunnng. At Loinveg I headed up hil and track was soon replaced by heather. Fairly short grunt to gentle slope leading to the final steepening. Several fine cairns on points of no significance with a tiny pile of stones on the summit.
Afternoon had dogs to be walked so wondered up Baderonoch Hill, descending via Lazy well. Then ticking took over and Knockergetty and Tomnaverie stone circle.
Marie and I set off from the gate by Loch Ulachie through the forest and onto the path that skirts the ridge up to the Coyles. Still some fresh snow from last night, but it was quickly melting leaving a lovely wet slush. From the Coyles we headed south west making a pretty straight line down then back up through deep rocky heather onto Craig Megan. From here we headed North (more deep rocky heather) to cross the Girnock river which has some convenient stepping stones just where the track meets the river on the other side. We followed the track to the disused farmhouse at Camlet before a sharp ascent onto Sgor an h-lolaire. Skies had cleared and we had a lovely decent along the ridge towards Creag nam Ban. At the col we descended through more deep rocky heather, crossing the bog and then up more deep rocky heather onto Creag Ghiubhais. This was finished by, guess what, even more deep rocky heather as we dropped back down to the Girnock river. The final mile on the road was somewhat of a relief.
I think we can definitely say that we have had sufficient heather bashing training for the Mountain Marathon, I might be quite disappointed if there is none!
We parked at the bridge over the Girnock and set off up Creag Ghiubhais from the east. I knew this would be a tough wee climb and it was, up through steep man-eating heather and rocky stuff, and I rapidly realised this was not the best day to have chosen for my first shorts outing of the year as blood started dripping down my shins. The stunted old pines at the top almost made up for it – this is one of our favouritist spots in Deeside. We then dropped off the west side down broken rock and across the bog (bubbling with amorous frogs) to climb towards the gap between Creag nam Ban and the next cp on Sgor an h-Iolaire. It’s a few years since I’ve been up here but I’m sure there were far more deer tracks at the time, now it’s just lots more man-eating heather in amongst one or two magical ancient trees. We finally picked up a path once we got onto the ridge proper and broke into a trot for the first time, but sadly this petered out again soon after the high point. Jon mutterred about turning left once we hit the track, but I (foolishly) told him to man up and we crossed the next bog towards the foot of the Coyles of Muick and our 3rd cp. The one good thing about this hill is that it is mostly grassy, but we were both tired and it was a slow climb to the top. Then it was just a long slow run back along the ridge, but a run at least. We found a decent line off the north west end back down to the gate in Glen Girnock.
All in all this was a bit of a beast made a lot worse by us starting tired and low on energy.
I had a quick ice bath in the Girnock after, to help speed up recovery.
Fooled the kids (and their cousin) into collecting another checkpoint. Lovely day for an epic walk (epic if you are 4 or 44) up the Craigendarroch. Much fun was had by all as you will see from the photos. On the descent we took a little detour to see the burnt remains of the Darroch Learg Hotel.
I ventured up this beautiful glen to get up Sgor an h-Iolaire, the rocky cleft of the eagle. I approached it from the track up to the old farm of Camlet, mainly because you can get quite high up the hill on short grass (see photo). I disturbed a group of around twenty black grouse from the trees at the farm.
I ran out from my house and up Glen Girnock. There’s a lot less snow than last weekend. Just before Loinveg I went up the shoulder which is a bit less heathery than the rest. When you go up that way you get a glimpse of the cairn you need to head towards. The views were stunning as it was so clear. I came down to Bovaglie before heading back down the glen and home for soup. If you are planning on going up Creag Ghiubhais aswell its a nice run to go down the side of Creag nan Ban towards Abergeldie farm and along the bottom. Don’t do Creag Gh first as you will have wet feet for the rest of your run. Please don’t come straight down off Sgor an h-lolaire heading for Creag Gh because its a bog and I don’t want your rotting body to taint my water supply.