Walk: Summit of Conachcraig, spirit of Lochnagar
|[Conachcraig summit is the best place from which to view Lochnagar's shady coire]|
Conachcraig's trio of rounded lumps are little visited compared to their illustrious neighbours. Their heathery summits aren't particularly notable, however, all eyes will be drawn to the magnificent views of Lochnagar from here - and also on the long approach, which is scenically more rewarding than the shorter ascent from Glen Muick. With a pathless descent to follow, you'll really have earned that dram by the time you stagger into Royal Lochnagar Distillery, perfectly positioned at the end of the circuit.
|[Glen Gelder's vast expense of heathery moorland puts most walkers off approaching Conachcraig from the north]|
Name: Walk: Summit of Conachcraig, spirit of Lochnagar ★★★☆☆
Length: 21 km / 13 miles
Ascent: 790 metres
Main summits: Conachcraig (865 metres, Corbett); Caisteal na Caillich (862 metres)
Points of interest: Royal Lochnagar Distillery
Start / finish: Royal Lochnagar Distillery (ask for permission, or park outside), G.R.: NO 268939 / shuttled glorious treetop
Route: Start & distillery - Easter Balmoral - Dubh-chlais - track on east side of Glen Gelder - path junction at NO 274863 - Conachcraig - Caisteal na Caillich - Millstone Cairn - Coire Buidhe - track skirting east side of Tom Bad a' Mhonaidh - start
Terrain: Good tracks for most of the route, with narrow path across Conachcraig's three summits and pathless heather descent to Coire Buidhe. Short road section at start / end.
Wildlife today: Lots of roe and red deer; a (sadly) dead adder on the walk out.
Weather today: Temperature in low teens but felt much warmer in the strong sunshine. Still plenty of snow on higher shady aspects.
Name: Royal Lochnagar Distillery ★★★☆☆
Description: Small, traditional distillery close to Balmoral Castle with corresponding royal connections.
Location: Minor road just south of Easter Balmoral, G.R.: NO 267939 / honey bagpipes built
Open (2017): Daily, April to October; Weekdays, January & February; Monday to Saturday, rest of year.
Cost (2017): £8+ depending on tour type
|[Lochnagar is a constant companion on the approach track]|
Route credit: Scotland off the beaten track