I decided to take a day off work and have a day in the hills. Thursday was the only possible day this week – so, in spite of the weather forecast, I headed off to Cairngorms. Stopped in Ballater to buy a couple of the excellent pork pies from the local butcher then up Glen Muick to the car park at the Spittal.
There were still midges around so this hastened getting going and I set off up the track along Loch Muick to Broad Cairn and the adjacent Munro, Cairn Bannoch. When I was younger I was an ‘anti Munro’ bagger i.e. I scorned those who ticked off tops and made a point of not doing so. I may have been up these hills before but have no memory of it if I have.
Shortly after setting off, the rain started. Not heavy, just light drizzle from high clouds. The walk up to Broad Cairn is easy for most of the way – on an estate Land Rover track. The top bit is very bouldery though – I was on my own so picked my way through the boulders pretty carefully, it was no place to break an ankle. Lunch on the top, where I enjoyed my pork pie.
A quick dash over to Cairn Bannoch and then a dilemma – should I go on to Carn an Sagairt Mor or head back? It wasn’t late but was still raining and the mist was coming in so I decided that going back was the more sensible option. I’m glad I did – even to Cairn Bannoch its quite a long walk and adding a couple more hills would have made it a really long day.
Lots of wildlife – red squirrel, deer, mountain hare, black grouse, ptarmigan (starting winter plumage), heron and various small birds I couldn’t identify. Hardly any people – I met only one other walker all day.