For an 8 AM departure it had to be worth it. What was on offer was 14.5km (which we managed to upgrade a bit to just over 16km) with over 800m of ascent. AND it started and more importantly finished from a pub with real ale.
The essential route is here: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/maps/map1_9af.shtml but we put in an initial deviation to take in corrie of clova, because its very pretty and then rejoined the path to ascend above loch brandy to the east. It’s a steep walk up the ridge at the right;
but worth it for the views, the tourists can’t resist taking photos
and scaring themselves by looking over the edge
but the views are stunning
Once up on top, it’s quite an easy walk above 800m, but you do hit some peat hags with quite deep streams, some still in winter plumage
attempting to cross that in the wrong place can send you plummeting 6 feet down. Even as it was, near the top, with a fence to hang on to I broke through and my foot went down over 2 foot and that was near the edge.
We were pretty lucky with the weather but you can see the snow showers starting to advance
By the time we got set up on top the wind was pretty strong, as the temperature at the car park was only 3.5C it wasn’t too hot on top but there’s a nice bit of shelter to hunker down in, there are cracking views of Lochnagar to the North
So, the radio. Well all I can say is thanks to the OK and OM community because without their contest it would have been a struggle to qualify the summit. I managed a grand total of 8 qsos over more than an hour. I failed to break through to ha7ul/p on 40m for an s2s but oddly made a qso to a station running only 5 watts /p in cornwall where I couldn’t raise anyone else except gw3xhg. Things were extra complicated due to having no mobile signal at all to self spot with.
By this time I was getting quite shivery despite full winter gear so time to head down, with a wave to the beach:
As we started to head down,we saw that the snow showers had pepped up to the west
But we were still getting away with it
Loch wharral is hugely pretty
The summit is just to the right of here:
Rather than heading down and then along the road as most routes take you we preferred to follow a traverse to pick up the route down by loch brandy, it became apparent that we werent going to dodge the next incoming snow:
and sure enough,we didn’t
It was heavy enough to completely cover our jackets!
But it wasn’t too long lasting and, did I mention that this walk starts and finishes at a pub with real ale?