Central Gully, Creag an Dubh Loch

Creag an Dubh Loch

Creag an Dubh Loch

Here are a few pictures from a trip up Central Gully on Creag an Dubh Loch, at the head of Glen Muick in the Cairngorm National Park. We were lured up there by our friend Giancarlo who assured us that it was a ‘classic’ route. After our epic return in the dark from the Black Spout of Lochnagar back in December, we thought that we would save some time and effort by riding bicycles to and from the end of Loch Muick. This worked quite well on the way out, except for a few icy stretches. We then hiked up the valley to the Dubh Loch where we had a few problems getting across the river running into the loch. Giancarlo solved the problem by slipping off a rock then paddling the rest of the way. Gabrielle and I wandered further upstream until we found a place where the water flowed over a wide, smooth sheet of granite so it was very shallow the whole way across. From this point we could see that there wasn’t much snow on the slope leading up into Central Gully but we bashed on up the scree slopes anyway. As we neared the top of the scree slope we noticed that there were a lot of fresh rock scars and chunks of newly broken rock all over the screes. It looks like there had been a large recent rock fall from somewhere high up on the crag. We picked our way quietly up this section trying not to encourage any more deadly projectiles to come down on us. Eventually we reached the snow line and were able to strap on our crampons and make some good progress up the impressive gully. The gully was in excellent condition with firm snow and no nasty surprises. The cornice at the top of the gully yielded to a flanking manoeuvre on the left side and we arrived safely up on the plateau near the summit of the hill. A pleasant hike on the crisp snow along the ridge led us over the summit of Broad Cairn then it was a long downhill slog back down to Loch Muick and our bicycles. The track that had given us a firm surface for riding in the morning had softened during the day and the bike ride back along the loch side was very heavy going. Nevertheless we made it back to the Glen Muick car park intact and in daylight and headed back down the road for a feast provided by Giancarlo’s wife Joanne at their house.

Craig Cottage

First Impressions

This was our first look at Craig Cottage.

Craig Cottage on a cold, wet January day

Looking across the garden to Kirkandrews bay

The sycamore plantation - future firewood!