Mount Keen is the nearest Munro to where we live but it’s a bit of a lump. Lochnagar is the nearest ‘interesting’ hill, which is about 90 minutes drive from our house.

Lochnagar is one of my favourite hills. I first climbed there in the 1970s in the days when I was into winter climbing and I’ve been to the top countless times since then.

Black Spout
Winter climbing on Black Spout Buttress

This year, I was chatting to our (relatively) new neighbours and discovered that, although natives of Aberdeen, they had never been to the top of Lochnagar. So we planned a day trip there when the forecast was good.

So, we I picked up Scott and his son James one sunny summer morning and we headed to the car park at Spittal of Glen Muick.

The walk from there is pretty straightforward - follow the path past Allt-na-Guibhsaich to the top of the pass, turn left uphill to the summit plateau then follow the edge of the corrie to the summit. There’s a good path all the way.

Black Spout
Negotiating the boulders on the edge of the plateau

There is a wee bouldery bit as you get close to the plateau. Scott and James are not experienced hill-goers they slowed up a bit here but managed fine.

After the boulders, there’s a good view of the Lochnagar corrie and cliffs. Black Spout is the obvious gully in front of the camera.

and cliffs
The Lochnagar corrie and cliffs

We took a break with great views over the Cairngorms.

Cairngorm views
Views to the northern Cairngorms

When you reach the plateau, Scott and James thought we were almost at the summit but it takes a surprisingly long time to go round the corrie to a top at Cac Can More then to the main summit at Cac Can Beag. ‘Beag’ in Gaelic, means ‘small’ and ‘Mor’ means ‘big’ so whoever named these tops on the map got a bit mixed up.

Black Spout
James and Scott on the summit

As we started to head back down, we had a fine view over to the Stuic and its wee lochan. I once jumped straight into this lochaan for a dip on a hot summer’s day - I immediately jumped straight out again. It was absolutely freezing - its main input was melting snow from the gullies above.

The Stuic
View to the Stuic

We took the alternative route down to Glas All Shiel then along Loch Muick. Scott’s knee was hurting and James was suffering from blisters (he believed the received wisdom that you need boots on the Scottish hills in summer). We had a good view of the waterfalls on the Glas Allt on the way down then what always seems to be an interminable trudge along Loch Muick back to the car park.

A good day out.

Waterfalls on the descent route to Glas All Shiel