Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

The Mounth

I finally managed to break away from the chores by early afternoon & drive the couple of hours over to Braemar quickly dropping the car & hoofing it up past the golf course heading for the Glen Callater bothy some 10km away. There was plenty of folk out for a stroll around the local paths enjoying the Autumn colours.

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I arrived at the bothy after 6pm, a couple of hours’ pleasant stroll. As expected there was no one at ‘home’ so quickly got a brew going & got the bed organised while there was still a bit of daylight. October makes for quite long boring nights but fortunately Bill was in residence in the Lodge so a couple of hours were spent in pleasant conversation in front of a nice log fire before retiring around 9:30pm.

The plan was to be up & away before 8am but within the dim bothy I managed to oversleep close to this time & ended up not getting underway until after 9am. The day’s weather looked very promising, broken cloud & no wind, the view over Loch Callater said it all.

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I headed up the LWT towards Carn an Tuirc mulling over possible routes; the plan leaving home boiled down to heading vaguely East to somewhere down Deeside before getting the bus back to Braemar.

After taking a slight detour from the track to Carn an Tuirc I finally pulled up on Cairn of Claise for a short break enjoying the open space of the Mounth plateau.

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Of the many possible routes two appeared favourite; Jock’s Rd down into Clova & then Capel Mounth to Spittal of Muick or North over Lochnagar & down into Glen Muick. The Lochnagar option won out mainly because it meant staying high.

Heading East the summit of Tolmount was easily reached but looking North towards Lochnagar the plateau looked less inviting than earlier with low cloud sweeping in from the NE.

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No time to hang around; down & across the wet ground around Jock’s Road before climbing to the faint but dry path running North up the Shank of Fafernie.

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The cloud cleared as I approached Carn an t-Sagairt Mor so I diverted to the summit only pausing to ponder that in around 5hrs I was less than an hour from my start point; such is the of way of just wandering. I descended NE passing a few of the many pieces of the Canberra wreckage that are scattered across the mountain.

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Despite the lowering cloud base I nipped over Carn an t-Sagairt Beag’s summit & headed up the Stuic which completely failed to provide a panorama today.

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I wandered through the cloud to the bump of Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach, about 500m away & only 20m higher (the 5th Munroe of the day, though it doesn’t feel like a Munroe to me), before doubling back & ascending towards Lochnagar.

By the time I reached Cac Carn Mor I’d had enough of wandering through the clouds so despite being only a few hundred metres & maybe 20m ascent I turned my back on the summit & followed the ‘tourist’ path East. Down below the cloud base near the ‘Fox Cairn Well’ my feet told me it was time for a break……time for a cuppa (I’d missed out on one at lunch).

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Oh Sh………..ugar! Digging around in the pack for my down jacket I noted that my lovely WM down bootees weren’t in there……….they must be at the bothy. It was probably about 4hrs back to the bothy & 50:50 whether they’d still be there…….what to do?

I abandoned the brew feeling very annoyed with myself. I’ve always said to myself (& others) to triple check a bothy for left gear, it’s far too easy to have something go astray particularly when there’s others in residence. It’s far easier to ensure no losses with a tent; when the ground is clear everything’s packed!

I deciding to head for Gelder Shiel; first bus from Craithie to Braemar in the morning & take an easy walk up Callater.

I arrived at the bothy around 6pm having taken then ‘short cut’ path which turned out to be a lot rougher going & wetter than I remember it (probably no quicker than he LRT really); I noted that the bridge & LRT that were damaged on last visit (Jan 16) have been fully repaired.  I quickly got the bothy stove going (which somewhat mitigated the ‘loss’ of the down bootees) & put the feet up with a brew; later I determined the day had been 30km with 1350m ascent which somewhat explained the weary feet.

Saturday, up & away by 7:45am, no wind but the temperature was close to freezing a mist hung in the glen.

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The ~6km dawdle down to Craithie was only marred by the onset of a cold light rain & the niggling suspicion that the bootees would have been bagged by some lucky individual.

The bus to Braemar was on schedule followed by the short drive up to Auchallater before yomping back up Glen Callater to the bothy. It was evident from the backpacks within that a few folk were in residence, but probably out on the hill. A quick search around the room soon located the offending bootees which in their black mesh bag were quite well camouflaged in the gloom under the sleeping platform……very lucky once again.

One positive note for the trip; I tried out my new MYO gaiters & they worked a treat, well pleased.

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This entry was posted on October 30, 2016 by in Trip Reports and tagged , , .
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