Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Monday, 10 September 2012

Saturday 8 September - Return to Lochnagar


 
Half the population of Aberdeenshire were on the hill today, or at least in the immediate environs. Or so it seemed. But it was after all a Saturday, and a beautiful one at that. Fortunately we were ahead of most of them by a good distance, with only the wind for company, as we followed the rim of the great NE corrie most of the way to the trig point perched on the granite boulders of Cac Carn Beag. An Aberdeen lad offered us a dram from his hip flask (declined!) before he went off to find a quiet spot to read his book.

To the west of Lochnagar lies The Stuic, its broken, north-facing rocks falling to Loch nan Eun. A perfect setting in Coire Loch nan Eun, corrie of the loch of the birds.

From top of the Red Spout, which in summer can be descended to the loch, we diverted to Cuidhe Crom over the pathless plateau with its golden autumnal grasses and pancake granite rocks. Here our plans, such as they were, changed, and instead of a descent via Little Pap to Glas-allt Shiel, we voted to stay high. It will be no hardship to return for Little Pap and to Meall Coire na Saobhaidhe, no hardship at all. And there is so much more to explore on this, one of the finest hills in Scotland.

The 200m cliffs of Creagan Lochnagar are steeped in climbing history. J H B Bell, Patey, Brooker, Quinn and Lang among others, pioneered routes. In 1958, Edinburgh climber Jimmy Marshall snatched the first winter ascent of Parallel Gully B causing something of a stir among the local Aberdeen climbers.

It's thirty six years since we last stood on the summit so to celebrate we had a tour of Royal Lochnagar Distillery, and bought a bottle of their 12 year old Royal Lochnagar malt.

AlanR - thanks for your comment on the previous post Alan. Surprising that we met no other walkers on such easily accessible hills. I'm looking forward to seeing your photographs from the Gairloch trip.

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