Footprints Across Scotland
Why not make a few of your own!
5th February 2012
A circuit of Loch Muick taking in Broad Cairn
The passing snow storms had dropped just part of their load on Scotland but it was further south in England that had received the heaviest falls. The road down Glen Muick was a little slippery in places and one vehicle had been left by the road side with a damaged wing. There were already a few vehicles in the car park as I arrived and some of the occupants were just preparing for an outing into the hills. Nathalie and Eanon had also arrived and were almost ready to go so after a quick hello I returned to the van and prepared for the off. The initial views around loch Muick were all in monochrome but things seemed to brightening with patches of blue appearing as we started our clockwise circuit of the water.
Mist brushes the top of Broad Cairn above Loch Muick
Fresh snow had covered the tracks and proved to be knee deep in places where it had drifted. We soon reached the footbridge over Black burn at just over half way along the loch shore. From here we followed the zigzag path that climbs the hillside to reach the boggy plateau of the Capel Mounth The grassy track sides provided better footing as we tried to avoid the iced sections that were well masked by the snow. Heading toward Sandy Hillock along the main track proved heavy going as progress was continually halted to free legs that had sunk deeply into the snow. The ground at the side of the track again provided for easier going and allowed better progress.
Along the ridge to Broad Cairn
A veil of mist was still toying with the top of Broad Cairn as we reached the barn at foot of the final section of climbing. From here the summit looks deceptively close but we knew from experience that there was still some work to be done. At least the steeper sections on this side of the hill provided some shelter from the cold wind. There was a stark contrast between being in and out of the wind and we guessed that the true temperature was probably a few degrees above zero.
Crossing a snow field on Broad Cairn
After crossing a fairly level section we then worked our way through the boulder field that encircles the top and probably accounts for the peaks name, giving the it appearance of well; a broad cairn! The sun was now reflecting brightly from the snow plastered rocks and gave occasional clear views back down to the loch. Lochnagar to the north however seemed to have little relief from the low clouds and remained shrouded in a blanket of mist.
Loch Muick from Broad Cairn
A quick bite to eat was had at the summit before we started our descent back down the way we had come.
Glen Doll in the background
We returned as far as the barn before taking the path that sweeps steeply down into Corrie Chash toward the head of loch Muick.
Loch Muick from the path descending from Corrie Chash
A deep bank of snow had buried the path part way down and added a bit of interest as we carefully traversed along the steep incline. The ground beneath felt hard and frozen for the final few meters before the path was regained with some relief. Back down on level ground we headed along the beach and over a couple of foot bridges as we continued with our circuit of the loch.
Looking back down Loch Muick
The snow covering on this side of the loch was firm and allowed for easier progress but as ever the return journey seemed to take so much longer than the approach. The skies darkened as we neared the visitor centre and we could feel a slight hint of a rain shower but all in all the weather had been kind and allowed us to enjoy a fine round of the loch.
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