Date Walked: 21st March 2011
Distance: 12.3 miles (19.6km)
Actual Ascent: 3120 ft (951m)
Time Taken: 7.5 hours
I've been down in Lincolnshire for the past week visiting my new Grand-baby so didn't get any walking in, couldn't believe my luck after a good nights sleep awaking to a glorious sunny day.
Not wanting this to escape I quickly picked a local walk, packed a bag and got going down to Loch Muick (a favourite place of mine) with my target being Broad Cairn - it would be the longest and highest walk since my leg op and I was genuinely excited about getting out there.
Though the 6 miles of single track road to the car park puts off a lot of people I enjoy the steady winding road and the views to be had from it, I arrived at the car park at 10.50 so boots on quick cuppa and away for 11 - it was then I began to realise there was a hefty wind blowing right into my face down the glen, though on a day like this it didn't seem to matter
Even with waves breaking by the boathouse I strode out excitedly alongside the loch.
I saw a couple with 2 dogs taking the track across the end of the loch being sprayed by cresting waves and wind blown spray as I climbed higher along the firm track. The loch had lost none of its beauty since my last visit
The small waterfall that normally trickles below the bridge at the corner of the loch was now a raging torrent and my thoughts turned to the snow conditions as I looked toward the zig zag track heading up the first climb.
I was right to be concerned about the snow; sinking at least a foot and often much more with every step taken on it and even though these steps were only where bands of snow prevented avoiding it without too large a detour, walking was hard over it each time. The paths as always held the most of the snow - a look back from the zig zag path toward the car park
Just a short time after taking the pic above I sunk to my waist on my right side, pressing my left foot down just put them both in deep snow, I heaved the right leg up and onto a firm surface beneath the snow and pressed down hard, as I elevated myself from the snow the foot slipped and I dropped sharply hitting my stomach and lower ribs hard as hell on a boulder under the snow. It really did hurt and I turned and puked involuntarily, I crawled out of the deep snow and then just laid on it for 10 minutes moaning and groaning and contemplating the possibility of broken ribs. I decided to go to the top of the rise and see how I felt from there. Once reaching the top I could see Broad Cairn beckoning me and the beautiful views forced me to keep going.
The huge headwind was becoming a concern and as I looked down on the Queens hunting lodge beside Loch Muick overlooked by Lochnagar, I stopped to take a cuppa and consider my course of action. I had to keep going, the conditions were fantastic except for the wind, I told myself I wouldn't take any risks and would avoid the summit if it was too strong....onward through the sloppy snow
From the cairn on Sandy Hillock my target looked more 'manageable' than ever - wind or no wind I couldn't turn back now
Dropping down again through some more hideous deep wet snow I made for the small animal shelter close to Little Craig and took cover from the incredibly strong wind
From here the camera went into the rucksack and I made the final ascent to the summit of Broad Cairn
Though the summit pic was difficult to get I did get one(had to 'build' the camera into the cairn to prevent it blowing away) this is not me trying to fly, this is me trying to remain standing in hurricane force winds.
Looking north toward White Mounth
A 10 minute huddle at the summit to take in some food and drink and then back the way I came, as the sun came out again I took another shot of the beautiful views to the south-east from the upper reaches of the boulder field
Soon I was well on the way back to the car park and looking back to Broad Cairn it seems somehow smaller now.....
looking Back down Loch Muick with two Ptarmigan (lower left) who joined me for a few metres before moving on
Another excuse for a scenic shot of the loch (even if I have to point it out in the upper left of the shot) is the only winter hare I managed to photograph today even though I saw about half a dozen
Before heading back down the hill to the lower level, I grabbed one more shot of that beautiful collection of hills
Almost back at the car park and a few deer beside the path
The final shot back at the car park, aching ribs, aching feet and legs, very tired. The wind was incredibly strong, the snow was sloppy and horrible, I puked and bruised my ribs, it took me 2 hours over neasmith time but......the leg held up, the views were fantastic and in all it was bloody great and I drove home very, very happy