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Last updated: 21/04/14


Carn an t-Sagairt
3 November, 2013

After a pretty horrendous Saturday/Saturday night, eleven of us (counting two dogs) left Aberdeen with the rain easing off, and even blue sky to the north, and most of Lochnagar loomed white as we approached Ballater. Out at Keiloch while other cars arrived for a Royal Tour of Balmoral, we soon reached the Falls,




and then the Pony Shed, where the ground snow started.



From the shed, the majority (5+1) headed up the main path for Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, while the minority (4+1) headed across the moor, after Sue’s horror at burn-hopping led us to use the bridge a bit upstream. A long trog over the soggy moor (sightings: 1 stag, multiple grouse) got us eventually up the Sandy Loch,



and then to the Stui Buttress, which looked impressive enough. 



especially closer up:



We got up the first (easy) bit, but then discretion set in at the thought of heaving ourselves and dog Red up awkward corners onto snow-filled ledges while a bitter wind hit us from the north-west. So we traversed left, on vertiginous grassy slopes and ledges towards the LH gully – not a thing to be done over ice and/or hard snow, but this stuff was all new, and only the odd awkwardly sloping granite boulder led to slithery feet.


The dynamically luminous Sue decided to live up to her name by throwing a small yellow kit bag down the slope, luckily not quite reaching the waters of Loch nan Eun. So I went down to fetch that while Gregor led the ladies and dog (or was it the other way round?) round to the gully




and up to the plateau, where we had a cosy lunch inside the multi-coloured shelter before heading over to Carn a’Choire Bhaidheach for Bernice’s (and Red's?) Munro tick.




Then it was off west, down the snowy slopes of Can a’CB and onto the even snowier slopes of Carn an t-Sagairt Beag, where the wind had created substantial drifts into which Gregor and Bernice promptly fell.




Still, we were out of the worst of the wind there, and had good views south and south-east, until we approached Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, where we met three lads halfway along an ambitious round of Broad Cairn – Carn an t-S. – Lochnagar. Up past the Canberra wreckage to the summit, with good if cloud-topped views south and north.





There, I managed to shrug off the last of my Presidential Party to their fate in (or at least towards) Glen Callater, while I made a beeline for the pony shed. This was NOT a good idea: the north side of Carn an t-S. Mor is horribly bouldery in places, and, with a foot of snow everywhere, stepping from one to another was quite exciting. However, I finally made it down to the very soggy moor, across the swollen burn (to bellows from amongst a dozen or so deer up to the west), and down a miserable path to the pony shed. Then a race down to the minibus, interrupted by multiple messages from the Fife Arms asking where I was, and when could they stop drinking?


Arrived at Keiloch in the dark and a lather of sweat, belted up to Auchallater to meet Sue, Bernice, Red and Gregor, and then back to Braemar where Harvey (and Malcolm) sat dolefully at the door. A quick drink, and home to 7:30pm-ish after a day of heavy walking.


Author - Ken Thomson
Photos - Ken Thomson