M21 | 1155 m. | 3789 ft.
Translation: Little loch of the noisy sound (Lochan na Gaire)
Pronuncation: loch-na-gar

2008-05 Apart from being a very economical way of adding almost two percent of the total tally of 284 Munros to our tick list this tour is also an interesting and entertaining long plateau walk. Since we wanted to do them all in one go we started our tour at the Spittal of Glen Muick. As described in my tour of spring 2001 we climbed the landrover track beside the Allt-na-giubhsaich in fine weather.

At the col above Glen Gelder we took the well engineered path which within maybe half an hour brought us to the col between the Ladder and Meikle Pap. There Frank and I sat on some rocks and looked at the cliffs of Lochnagar. As said before by many people: Great cliffs and a beautiful Loch. Then we and quite a few other people climbed the boulders of the Ladder, crossed some flatter terrain, climbed the final steepening and reached the wide summit plateau. At the summit tor we took a break and checked the indicator. After having bagged this first Munro we turned south west, descended form the summit and headed for the rounded lump of the White Mounth aka Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach whose summit is marked by a small cairn. Easy walking but nothing exciting.

From the top of this second Munro we descended more steeply to regain the path leading over from the Stuic. It skirts Carn an t-Sagairt Beag and in due time lead us to the path that climbs Carn an t-Sagairt Mor our third Munro. At the cairn we sat in the sunshine and in strong wind and took another well-deserved break. Soon the wind chill drove us on and we retraced our steps heading south east over the grass and moss to Cairn Bannoch. This summit is not much more than some fairly big rocks in a sea of grass. With another Munro ticked our last top of the day was Braod Cairn visible a few kilometres away.

With a little descending and re-ascending this hill was finally reached. Five in one go at an easy pace and on easy terrain. Piece of pie! Only our feet ached since we had already done more than 20 kilometres this day, had spent the previous eight days hill-walking and still needed to get back to our car 8 to 10 kilometres away.

We started the final leg in the company of a nice Englishman who had camped somewhere on the plateau. Soon we met a further, older gentleman who seemed to have problems making his way back to Spittal of Glen Muick since he looked quited shaky and exhausted. Our companion volunteered to accompany the gentleman to the car park so Frank and I headed off. We took the foot path that leads down to the shore of Loch Muick and then contours 20 metres above the shoreline for a few kilometers until it reconnects with the Landrover track coming down from the plateau in steep zig-zags where a stream flows into the loch forming a little alluvial fan. There we took our last snacks and a cup of tea before starting the seemingly endless last leg of this hike to the car park.

Finally, after about 30 kilometres of walking we made it to our car, peeled off our sweaty clothes and drove off to Ballater to buy us a nice curry for dinner. An easy walk, great views of Lochnagar, Loch Muick, waterfalls and cliffs. Space for letting your eyes wander! The last tour of the May 2008 “campaign”.

BTW: Lochnagar is the Munro in our collection which was visited by us most often of all hills in Scotland! We’ll be back but on a different approach route next time.


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2002 The day before I climbed Lochnagar I had tried to reach the summit of Cairn Gorm from the Carin Gorm ski centre via the northern Corrie an t-Sneachda. But I had to break off that attempt after having climbed through steeply banked snow on the headwall of the corrie because of heavy winds, poor visibility and rain on the Cairn Gorm plateau. Not wanting to spend another day in Aviemore I had decided to drive to the east in order to visit an area of Scotland which I had only passed through once: Ballater, Braemar and Glen Shee. I arrived at the parking at Spittal of Glen Muick at about 11 am. From the road down Glen Muick I had already seen the headwall of the magnificent NE corrie. The visibility was quite good, a strong wind was blowing from the west and from time to time the summit of Lochnagar was veiled in clouds. I crossed Glen Muick and the River Muick and continued on the landrover track beside the Allt-na-giubhsaich. At the col above Glen Gelder I struck a line uphill to the col between the Ladder and Meikle Pap. With a little effort – the snow was deep – I reached the col. I paused on some boulders at the edge of the corrie and took in the views of Lochnagar’s awesome cliffs. The wind was strong indeed and I watched some other walkers presumably returning from the summit and picking their way down the steep slope above me. Fully equipped with all layers of insulation and windproof gear I fought my way up the Ladder and over the top of this first part of the summit ridge. After descending a few metres in height to the col before the last steepening in the ridge the visibility deteriorated considerably and I spent some time in the lee of some boulders where I crouched and ate some chocolate waiting for the conditions to improve before walking the last kilometre to the summit. The wind was blowing real hard. Not quite as bad as on the day before but apart from yesterday’s experience on Cairn Gorm there was only one day where I had experienced worse winds and that was on Meall a’Chrasgaidh with Frank. OK, finally the sky sort of cleared and on I went around the corrie rim first to Cac Carn Mor and further to Cac Carn Beag. An impressive summit with its tor and the circular table on top of it indicating more than fifty hill-tops and their distances from Lochnagar. Visibility had improved but the wind was still very strong so I did not spend a lot of time there before I made my way along the corrie rim back to the col below Meikle Pap and further to the landrover track which I reached elated but also clearly in need for some chocolate and a cup of hot tea for I had been exposed to strong wind chill within much of the past few hours so that I needed fresh energy. From the col I walked back to Glen Muick in a very relaxed fashion and arrived at the Spittal of Glenmuick at around 5 pm. A very satisfying day and memorable not only for the superb mountain setting but also for the many grouses that I had seen on this estate. I now know why the Queen loves to shoot grouse here.

Description Situated in the royal estate of Balmoral, Lochnagar is a majestic mountain, undoubtedly the finest in the Mounth. Its most splendid feature is the great north-east corrie with its 200-metre high cliffs overlooking the little loch which gives the mountain its name. South-westwards from the summit, the wide Mounth plateau stretches far away to the rounded dome of Glas Maol and the deep indentations of the Angus glens. Such is its height and commanding appearance that Lochnagar completely dominates the landscape of Deeside.The route to Lochnagar starts from the end of the public road up Glen Muick. From the carpark go to Spittal of Glenmuick and follow the track north-west across the glen to Allt-na-giubhsaich. Continue west through the pinewoods and up the track leading to Glen Gelder. From the col at the top of this track take the path south-west across a slight dip and then west up a gradually steepening slope to the col between Meikle Pap and Lochnagar, at which point the mountain comes into full view. Climb south-west up a steep bouldery slope called The Ladder to reach the plateau at the south-east corner of Lochnagar's great corrie, and continue along its edge (not too close if there are cornices) to the granite tor which is the summit of the mountain.