Walk: Cairns Broad & Bannoch - what lies beyond Loch Muick

[Dubh Loch]

The vast majority of visitors to Loch Muick are here to explore the loch itself or Lochnagar to the north. Few venture into the hills to the south or west from here, and they're missing out. Picturesque waterfalls and waterslides on The Stulan Burn and Allt an Dubh-loch are only the prelude to the magnificent rock architecture above Dubh Loch's southern shore: no wonder this is a famous rock- and ice-climbing location. The following ascent is a bit of a slog, but the rest of the circuit is a high-level stroll (in good conditions) over two Munros, with Loch Muick pointing the way home.

[Excellent views continue all along the ridge beyond Broad Cairn]

Name: Walk: Cairns Broad & Bannoch - what lies beyond Loch Muick ★★☆
Length: 24 km / 15 miles
Ascent: 1150 metres
Main summits: Cairn Bannoch (1012 metres, Munro); Broad Cairn (998 metres, Munro)
Points of interest: Loch Muick; The Stulan waterfall; Dubh Loch
Start / finish: Car park at Spittal of Glenmuick, 8 miles south of Ballater, G.R.: NO 310851 / storms drives parsnips

Route: Car park - footbridge at Loch Muick outflow - Glas-allt Shiel - The Stulan - Dubh Loch north shore - cross Allt an Dubh-loch at NO 228833 - Coire Uilleim Mhoir - Cairn Bannoch - Broad Cairn - bealach between Style Burn and Corrie Chash - cross Black Burn at NO 288822 - start.
Terrain: Good paths and tracks along Loch Muick, then narrower path to Dubh Loch. Paths fade to nothing for ascent to Cairn Bannoch, then eroded bagger's paths and tracks for return.
Wildlife today: Several mountain hares on Cairn Bannoch, deer by Loch Muick's lower end... horrible midges near car park and visitor centre!
Weather today: Light winds often sunny and warm enough not to need a jumper, but cloudier in the middle of the day with some other tops in the mist. A few showers elsewhere creating rainbows, but dry overhead.

[The Stulan (centre) is one of several picturesque waterfalls passed on this circuit]


Route credit: Scotland off the beaten track

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