Having done a similar trip back in April as a combined bike/hike, the end of May saw me back with the Cairngorm Club on a bus trip, but it was nice to do a sociable amble to the crags of Dubh Loch again.
The wind was fairly whipping down Loch Muick, it was going to be in our faces all the way along the loch but hopefully the rain would stay off.
The loch-side trudge was over soon enough, quickened perceptually by chatting with the various members of the group. A brief coffee stop in the bothy then onwards up the path to Dubh Loch
Showers swept through as we made our way upwards, and the waterproofs went on as they got heavier
Various flowers were out alongside the path and I poked here n there for a closer look
The forecast had been for much better weather, and with that in mind and the long haul back along landy tracks I’d opted for lighter footwear than normal, and with the ground soggy was beginning to regret the choice coming up to the section of maximum bogginess soon, but already damp feet.
Following the slab-side path, one of the members crossed the stream to investigate the waterfall more closely, and then we decided to stay this side and clamber more directly towards the bottom of Coire Uilleam Mor. Perhaps the bogs of doom further up could be avoided.
Last time out the side of Cairn Bannoch had been covered in snow and ice, and we hadn’t fancied a steep, slippery, and potentially avalanchey ascent and had countoured round. This time as we pondered this option to the right, or the gentle slopes of Coire Uilleim Mhoire to the left, a member of the group started hacking up the side in a shallow gully, and this cut short the dithering and we headed up after him.
It soon levelled off to bouldery terrain, and in hindsight a good way up: Coire Uilleim Mhoire looked a bog-fest now clear of the clutches of winter and free of snow.
A brief break in the lee side then onwards: pretty chilly and dreich
We stopped briefly again, but thought it wiser to head down to Allan’s hut to get out of the wind before eating more. A few cracks in the clouds began to appear and it looked like we might get a view yet: Loch Muick bursting clear momentarily
Once across the boulder field below Broad Cairn it was easy going on the refurbished path
Glad to see Allan’s hut had survived the storms earlier in the year: it looks like a ramshackle construction but I guess there must be some good planks involved inside
There was nice light sweeping now over the land and I stopped to glance back as the cracking view developed on the high track above the loch
As we were further along I zoomed in back to Coire an Loch Bhuidhe, interested to see how it was retaining snow, as a location which generally collects a deep windward wall on it’s west side
The zig zag down to the Black burn waterfall tested the knees as always, glad of the poles.
Earlier I’d discussed the zig zag track on the map above the north side of Loch Muick, nobody had ever used it, and strava heatmap shows no real use. From the north side it was clear to see. The gully to the right might be a more exciting adventure up though.
26km completed. All that remained was a well earned pint and some grub in the pub at Ballater, lovely.