Joining the uni's rucksack club for a great hike across five 3000ft+ peaks in the Highlands.
The morning gave a hint of an overcast day ahead, but no bother. We started at the Loch Muick, gaining elevation right away. Along the trail was a neat waterfall.
It didn't take long to reach on the White Mounth plateau, where the peaks are located.
The first to scale was the legendary Lochnagar.
The mountain is not too far from the royal estate Balmoral, and thus has been visited by figures including Queen Victoria and Prince Charles, who even made a book "The Old Man of Lochnagar." As there is an amazing view from the top on the Cairngorms massif, it has influenced local culture for centuries. There's a whiskey named after it, and George Gordon Byron wrote a poem about it in 1807:
"...And rides on the wind o’er his own Highland vale. Round Lochnagar while the stormy mist gathers, Winter presides in his cold icy car. Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers; They dwell in the tempests of dark Lochnagar."
However, all the Lochnagar's nobleness kind of goes in question when you translate the Gaelic name of its summit "Cac Carn Beag." It means "a pile of crap" in English. Um, right.
It would be an appropriate name for what followed weather-wise on us. In a matter of minutes, we were encircled by a storm, reducing visibility and comfort rapidly.
Somewhere in the fog, we reached the second summit that day, the Carn a' Choire Bhoidheach. Proceeding further, the weather decided to switch again.
It was only getting better from here, so by the time we stood on the Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, the third Munro of the day, it was neat enough to claim it as a lunch spot.
A short distance from the summit reveals a plane crash site from the 50ies, with the wreck still being there.
The scene vividly reminded a sight I went across in England's Lake District (See the story about that hike.) After a short break, we set off for the fourth Munro:
But since it is not very prominent, we kept the pace until the fifth one - the Broad Cairn...
...which; besides a neat view, featured a rainbow. What's not to like?
From here, we returned back to the Loch Muick.
During the descend, my recently injured knee started protesting a little, so I hypnotized the blue water surface to become closer. Once down, I did a bit of a rehab - swimming in the loch. Rather fresh; but oh, it was good.
..So was the bit of balancing before hitting the road towards home.
Another fine day in the Scottish Highlands down, yes please.
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