Walking in the Scottish Highlands

An atrocious weather forecast for the West Highlands of Scotland put paid to the climbing we planned to do in Ardgour one weekend so a friend and I headed north instead to the shores of Loch Muick and the Glas Allt Shiel bothy.

Unusually for a Scottish bothy, Glas Allt Shiel is attached to a larger building (see footnote). The estate allows the Dundee University Rucksack Club to maintain it as an open shelter for hikers, hillwalkers and backpackers. Unfortunately not all visitors to the bothy appear to follow the club's instructions to look after the place and the ground floor was a haven for rodents with half-eaten food packets and mice droppings littering the shelves.Upstairs however was a better prospect and we had a comfortable night's sleep (well, one of us did, the other listened to me snoring).

In the morning, we headed up Glen Muick to the Dubh Loch and its high cliffs (pictured). From here, a steep walk up a gully took us up onto a high, grassy plateau where we spent the day in the mist and rain reaching the summits of 5 Munros - Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach and Lochnagar - before descending to the car and driving home.

(*The outer building here can best be described as a shooting lodge. It is fairly grand. A quick Google suggests it is termed the 'Royal Bothy' as the Royal Family use it when they venture out on day trips from their 'holiday home', Balmoral Castle).