We decided to take on Lochnagar knowing that it would be a big challenge for most of us. Lochnagar's rocky plateau extends to 1,155 m (3,789 ft) above sea level at its highest point. The munro is located south of Balmoral Castle in the Cairngorms National Park which is just over an hour outside of Aberdeen.
Lochnagar also provided the opportunity for those who didn’t think they’d manage the Munro, to walk along Loch Muick. Loch Muick offers good views of the surrounding hills. The walk takes in the impressive Glas-allt Shiel house built by Queen Victoria.
Lochnagar- Andrew Forsyth, Cameron Bruce, Laurie MacDonald, Cameron Johnston, Daniel Watt, Darren Hannam, Jennifer Tulloch, Laura McConnell, Melanie Gilmour, Nicola MacLennan, Sarah Robb, Stewart Forrest, Ewan Grant, Jamie Summerton, Robert Ross, Tom Faichnie and Cameron Birnie
Loch Muick- Tracy Shylan, Sarah Philliben, Cheyenne Anderson, Lewis Winram Hannah Bycroft, Garry Begg, Gemma Thomson, Rosie Nesland, Yvonne Macaskill and Yvonne Watt
We wanted to work together as a team to make it to the top of Lochnagar and back with no injuries. We had a wide range of abilities within the team which required a vast amount of encouragement and support!
An early start to the day our hike/trek towards Lochnagar/loch Muick at 9:30am Two groups: the walkers and the hikers!
The first part of the walk is was an easy amble across the flat plain of the glen, and then a gentle ascent until Alt Darrarie. Further up, the views started to open out and a slight breeze picked up. The sun broke through, but the fog lay thick at the top of the munro. From here the path became rocky and steeper, but nothing too strenuous. A clamber up the bouldery ladder provided us with the most obvious feeling of ascent for the day and with lots of care there were no problems other than a few heaving lungs. By this point, the fog had thickened and visibility was scarce.
The views would have been amazing on a cloud free day! The next hour or so was a blur. We didn’t know where we were going but it was clearly the wrong direction. We decided to stop and think about our route. Scouts went out to investigate, as the group waited patiently. The lack of visibility, drizzle and cold winds added pressure. We were pleased when Jamie returned to say he’d found the path. We stayed close together after that. Soon afterwards we had made it to Lochnagar! The plate at the summit details the nearby landmarks. We saw very little but on a good day it must be pretty spectacular. Cameron pulled out the banner and we celebrated our victory.
The descent over slippery boulders was a bit tricky, but a view over a beautiful waterfall made it easier. Not long after this we reached the path and followed it to the left at the marker cairn along the shores of Loch Muick. It was a very long walk back and took us the best part of two hours (maybe more) to get back to the carpark. The advantage to this meant that when the sun reappeared we could take some scenic photos and dry out a wee bit. We arrived at the car park seven hours after we had set off. We were quite pleased with our time considering that we were lost for over an hour! Altogether, we hiked for 16 miles instead of 12, however we all had a great time and lived to tell the tale!