Footprints Across Scotland

Why not make a few of your own!

27th January 2008

Broad Cairn and Cairn Bannoch via Glen Clova

I have climbed these peaks a number of times before but always from Loch Muick near Ballater. Studying the map while climbing Driesh and Mayar a few weeks earlier I could see it was possible to reach the hills from Glen Clova. Starting at the Glen Doll car park at the top of Glen Clova I crossed the river by the road bridge that leads to the parking area. Heading north along a good track my first way point was the farm at Moulzie wedged between the slopes of Capel month to the east and Cairn Broadlands to the west.

The Strone

The Strone across flatlands from Moulzie

A combination of overnight rain and melting snow meant that the rivers were flowing with some force, providing quite a spectacle.

Melt water

Melt water

After about three kilometres the river and path bend westward and start a long easy ascent to the wood at Bachnagairn. A wooden bridge crosses one of two main burns and leads further into the wood. After around a 100 meters the path splits, my way saw me cross another bridge and join a good stalkers path that lead onto the heathery moorland between Sandy Hillock and Broad Cairn. Some parts of the path were thickly laden with snow making progress a little slow in places. It was around here when gaining the main path running up to Broad Cairn that the full force of the wind was felt. Pushing on it became a bit tricky when hopping through the boulder fields that guard the upper reaches. My walking poles certainly helped maintain balance. Not far from the top I came across a group of Ptarmigan, they ambled along for a while before taking flight. After reaching the cairn I managed to find reasonable shelter from the wind to enjoy a cup of tea and sandwich.

Loch Muick from Broad Cairn

Loch Muick from Broad Cairn

It was now about one o'clock, three hours from the start, so I figured I still had time to continue with my intended circuit. I was now on a broad plateau leading west then north west to Cairn Bannoch and it was a bit of a battle against the wind. I didn't linger on the second top and headed over to Fafernie and followed its ridge down to the knaps of Fafernie were I picked up Jocks road. I passed another couple of Ptarmigan on the way and many mountain hares, all in their white winter coats.


Lone Ptarmigan

From here Jocks road led down into Glen Doll and through the forest to return at the car park just before dark. It was around five and the sun reddened the few clouds in the sky out to the west.

Sunset above Glen Doll Forest

Sunset above Glen Doll Forest

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