Since getting back from the TGO Challenge in May, I’ve had a couple of weeks of family holiday, sorted out my allotment and spent stupid amounts of time (between showers) painting the exterior of my house. I haven’t been any higher than the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and have been feeling the need to get out for more than a walk along the Deeside Way. Today, the forecast was, for once, for a completely dry day so I ditched the paintbrushes and headed for Glen Muick.
There is an old saying that any day can be a winter’s day in the Cairngorms. I’m well aware of this but when packing for the day, I looked at the sunshine and decided there was no need for gloves and a hat. There was a bit of a breeze when I left home but no inkling of what was to come.
After a brief stop in Ballater for pork pies from the butcher, I arrived at the car park at the Spittal of Glen Muick. The wind had got up a bit and it was cool enough for a fleece on top of my base layer. After a quick loo stop (where there is a curious sign saying the water is unsuitable for ‘drinking purposes’) I headed up the path to Lochnagar.
The wind continued to increase in strength and when I reached the top of the pass, I swapped my fleece for a windproof and took the well-made path up the corrie. It was a bit more sheltered there with a few other people on the path. There was a great view of Lochnagar’s ridges and gullies.
When I reached the summit, my hands were completely numb and I was very cold. Thankfully, there was a sheltered spot so I managed to get my fleece on and soon warmed up in the sun. Great views in all directions.
I had contemplated going on to Carn an Sagairt Mor but this would have meant another 4km straight into the wind. I decided this wouldn’t be fun and headed down to summer again in Glen Muick, where the bell heather was in bloom.
Overall, a very exhilarating day out – definitely beats painting from a ladder.
PS I can recommend Aldi’s Fruit and Nut mix as a hill snack – lots of juicy dried fruit and not just cheap peanuts. It’s in a resealable packet where you have to snip the top. Do this BEFORE leaving home – it is impossible to open without a knife or scissors. After fighting with it for several minutes, I ended up spearing the packet with a walking pole. Definitely not resealable.