Hills: Little Pap, Cuidhe Crom and Cac Carn Beag (Lochnagar)
Date: Tuesday 22nd March 2016
Company: Myself and Cuillin
Distance: 20km, Ascent: c.1000m
Time: 6Hrs 40Mins

After reviewing several MWIS forecasts yesterday evening, I deduced Deeside was the place to be today. This was convenient in that Ballater is a mere 1Hr 15Mins from home. I decided to head to the Spittal of Glenmuick with a view to either walking round Loch Muick or ascending my remaining two Munro Tops of Lochnagar, Little Pap and Cuidhe Crom.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

On arriving at the Spittal of Glenmuick, I paid the £3 car parking charge, got suited and booted and set off towards Loch Muick. It was a beautiful morning .

On the track from Spittal of Glenmuick to Loch Muick:

As I made my way towards the east end of Loch Muick, I passed numerous red deer and two grouse, one of which was kind enough to pose for a photograph.

A Red Grouse:

On crossing the River Muick outflow, I saw a Dipper on the opposite bank. Unfortunately, by the time I got close enough for a photo, it had flown off.

Crossing the River Muick outflow:

After passing the old boat house, we made our way along the track leading to Glas-allt-Shiel. I was a touch disappointed to find much of this track is now enclosed with deer fences. While this is good for the trees, it is not good for photographs.

Cuillin on the track leading to Glas-allt-Shiel:

On reaching Glas-allt-Shiel, we had a brief stop at the bothy before taking the path through the small wood alongside the Glas Allt.


Inside the Glas-allt-Shiel bothy:

It didn't take long to ascend as far as the Glas-allt-Shiel waterfall. This waterfall is worth a visit when in the area, although as per most waterfalls it is most impressive during or just after heavy rain.

Looking across to the Streak of Lightning path ascending Broad Cairn:

Looking down to Loch Muick:

Cuillin at the Glas-allt-Shiel waterfall:

Beyond the waterfall, we walked just above the track as the track itself was covered in snow. After crossing the bridge over the Glas Allt, we left the path and heather-bashed our way up the hillside towards Little Pap, a Munro Top.

Approaching the bridge over the Glas Allt:

Looking back towards Broad Cairn and Glen Doll hills beyond:

Despite ascending Lochnagar circa twelve times previously, I had not been up Little Pap or Cuidhe Crom.

Ascending Little Pap:

There were a couple of short sections of boulderfield to negotiate to reach the summit of Little Pap. This was however nothing compared with the much larger section of boulderfield to come on ascending Cuidhe Crom.

At the summit of Little Pap:

Cuidhe Crom from the col between Little Pap and Cuidhe Crom:

Cuillin did remarkably well ascending the boulderfield on Cuidhe Crom.

Cuillin atop the summit tor of Cuidhe Crom:

To extend the day, and add another Munro to Cuillin's tally, I decided to continue on to the summit of Lochnagar.

Heading for Lochnagar:

Seeing the Lochnagar cliffs always reminds me of my ascent of Eagle Ridge back in 2003. It is one of the best climbing routes of its grade in the UK.

Lochnagar cliffs:

Lochnagar cliffs:

View from Lochnagar:

During the ascent of Lochnagar, we passed three Mountain Hare. Cuillin was keen to give chase but much to his disappointment, I had him on his lead.

A Mountain Hare:

Looking back to Cuidhe Crom during ascent of Lochnagar:

The White Mounth:

The Stuic:

On approaching Cac Carn Beag, the summit of Lochnagar, we passed a Snow Bunting. Today was turning out to be a great day for wildlife.

A Snow Bunting just below the summit of Lochnagar:

We had a short stop at the summit to take photos and have a drink and bite to eat.

Cuillin at the summit toposcope:

Cuillin at the summit trig point:

While having a bite to eat just below the summit, a large Raven landed on the trig point. I took around fifteen photos of it before it decided to fly off.

A Raven atop the summit trig point:

A Raven atop the summit trig point:

From the summit, we made our way back skirting the top of the cliffs but staying well back from the cornices. We then followed a line of cairns leading to a recently constructed set of stone steps.

I got my ice axe out for the descent of the Ladder to the col as the snow was fairly hard and the ground steep. The stone steps were mostly covered in snow.

Looking back at steep descent (the Ladder):

During the walk out, I again stopped to photograph more wildlife; two Ptarmigan.

A Ptarmigan:

Looking back towards Meikle Pap:

The walk thus far was fantastic that is until I went over my ankle and had a bit of a painful walk out. The track is currently awful. Given they charge £3 for the privilege of parking, hopefully COAT will soon carry out some repairs to the tracks.

Lochnagar is definitely one of my favourite Scottish hills.