“England! Thy beauties are tame and domestic
To one who has roved o’er the mountains afar;
Oh for the crags that are wild and majestic!
The steep frowning glories of dark Lochnagar”
Rising spectacularly above the Royal Balmoral Estate, Lochnagar is easily the most impressive mountain in the North East of Scotland and must rank as one of the most beautiful in Britain. The name Lochnagar (Gaelic for lochan of the noisy sound) actually refers to the small loch which sits in the bottom of the North-east Coire. The true summit is the unfortunately named Cac Carn Beag (Gaelic for Little S**t Cairn) which belongs to an extensive massif of high plateau around the deep glacial trough which holds Loch Muick. The mountain caters for enthusiasts of all abilities: novice hillwalkers looking for an introduction to Scotland's higher mountains right through to mountaineers pushing the technical envelope in Scottish winter climbing. Whatever your ability Lochnagar is sure to be a memorable day out.
All logical approaches to this mountain are from the north with the two main bases being Ballater and Braemar. If you are travelling by car (car rental available in Aberdeen see www.hertz.co.uk) follow the A93 from Aberdeen to Ballater. From Ballater continue along the A93 to Braemar. There is a regular bus service from Aberdeen --->Ballater--->to Braemar and also Aberdeen to Ballater for timetables see (www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/index.asp). Braemar can also be approached from the south along the A93 from Perth via Glen Shee.
Nearest Airport: Aberdeen
Nearest Station: Aberdeen
Approaches to Glen Muick - most routes start here where there is pay and display carpark (£3 per day), public toilets, visitor centre and a mountain rescue post (un-manned). From Ballater cross the River Dee and continue south for about 1km to a junction. Do not cross the bridge but follow the sign to Spittal of Glen Muick. From now on the road is narrow with passing places for about 10km.
Approach to Balmoral / Crathie - Approximately 10km west of Ballater turn off the A93 just after a Tourist Information kiosk. The Aberdeen to Braemar bus stops here. Car park is pay and display but can get quite busy in the summer months with tourists visiting the castle.
Approach to Invercauld - A further 8km beyond Crathie look out for a sign to the walkers car park on the right about 200m before the bridge.
Approach to Glen Callater - From Braemar follow the A93 south for 5km to a small car park at Auchallater. Parking is free but spaces are limited so arrive early.
Camping is prohibited onthe Balmoral Estate. As are open fires.
When walking in the estate some paths run very close to buildings. Be courteous when walking by and respect their privacy, remember that they are letting you walk on their land; if you keep your part of the deal they will keep to theirs!
During the stalking season in autumn stick to paths and seek local advice. The rutting season occurs around October and during this time in particular avoid large herds of deer.
Take care not to disturb ground nesting birds, especially in spring when they may abandon young if upset.
When To Climb
Winter conditions can occur any time from November to April and then all routes up Lochnagar become serious propositions. It is a well known fact that a winter blizzard on the Cairngorm Plateau can be extremely severe. As the Cairngorm pioneer Tom Patey wrote from his experiences in the Greater Ranges, "Gasherbrum, Masherbrum, Lhotse Shar - all good training for dark Lochnagar".
For detailed mountain forecasts see www.metcheck.com/mountain_regions.asp?region=East%20Highlands
For daily avalache forecasts and climbing conditions through the winter months see www.sais.go.uk
Ballater - Camping and caravan site, B+Bs and hotels
Braemar - Camping and caravan site, Youth Hostel, B+Bs and hotels
For more information see :
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