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Royal Deeside : 'Dark' Lochnagar

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For much of the journey between Ballater and Braemar the view to the south is dominated by one of Scotland's finest mountains, Lochnagar. It is celebrated in the poem 'Dark Lochnagar' by Byron, in a childrens' book ' The Old Man of Lochnagar' by HRH The Prince of Wales, in a malt whisky 'Royal Lochnagar' and even in 'Lochnagar crater' a relic of World War I.

Close to, but not part of, the main Cairngorms range, at 1155m (3785 ft) it is one of Scotland's highest mountains and classified as a Munro. It is part of the Balmoral estate and is a popular destination for hill-walkers. At the foot of the mountain is one of Scotland's finest inland lochs, Loch Muick, where Queen Victoria had a 'secret' cottage. The car park at Loch Muick offers the easiest access to Lochnagar and it is accessible from Ballater via the small road through delightful Glen Muick.

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Lochnagar viewed from Cambus O' May by Ballater

The mountain's northern face is dominated by a substantial corrie, as can be seen in the picture above. At the foot of this corrie is a small loch or 'lochan', Lochan na Gaire, the 'little loch of the noisy sound'. The mountain clearly derives its name from the lochan and both are now called Lochnagar. Viewed from Ballater in the summer, the northern face is often in shadow and the mountain takes on a brooding or, in Byron's poem, 'dark' appearance. However, as seen in the above photograph, in winter or spring the mountain is often snow covered giving the plateau its alternative name of the 'White Mounth'.

Lochnagar is a popular destination for 'mid-summer' walks. The night is short and, being an isolated mountain, the views are outstanding with the light of distant cities visible in good weather. However, climbing Lochnagar is not to be taken lightly. There can be rapid changes in the weather and in poor weather there are many dangers. Lochnagar is often a featured destination of a walk in Ballater Walking Festival

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Introduction Journey through Deeside A Dram of Whisky 1 A Dram of Whisky 2 Forests and Woodlands Lochnagar
The River Dee Red Squirrels Craigendarroch Hill, Ballater Clachnaben by Banchory Braemar Weather  




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