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A day on Lochnagar with Hillgoers.

16 Jul

Lochnagar with Hillgoers

Lochnagar with Hillgoers

At the end of June I headed up Lochnagar accompanied by a lovely bunch of folk keen for a day on the hills and under the guidance of the lovely Garry from Hillgoers. Lochnagar is one of those “must do” Munro’s, famous for both its beauty and its association with Queen Victoria. Its a 19km walk and the descent via Glas-Alt Shiel, Queen Victoria’s Widow’s Lodge means you get to enjoy the special scenery around Loch Muick too.

Hillgoers are a local company who offer guided walks by Qualified Mountain Leaders up small hills, Corbetts and Munros. Walks can be for just a few hours, all day, or you can elect to camp out all night and take in a sunset and sunrise on Scotland’s spectacular hills. They even offer bespoke hill walking adventures so perfect for a group of friends or family who want to do something a bit different.

Now you may ask why bother with a guide,  and yes if you’re a seasoned hill walker and know the area then I accept it’s not for everyone. But I was keen to make it to the top of this Munro and back safely without getting lost. Frankly too many of the local mountain rescue team know me and I had no desire to call in the fact that I was lost on a hillside! Several of the group went with friends or relatives but I didn’t and it really didn’t matter, we all chatted away and got to know each other.

From the moment I met Garry from Hillgoers I felt confident that, if I was fit enough, I would make it to the summit and back down in one piece. Thankfully I did!

We walked at the pace of the slowest walker and Garry kept us informed about where we were, how much further we had to go (not always good to know!!) and  historical stories about the area. Flora and fauna were explained and wildlife pointed out. I would have missed the golden eagles overhead had Garry not called out; I was too busy watching my step at that point!

I thoroughly enjoyed my amazing day and really look forward to another walk with Hillgoers very soon. Thank you Garry!

Setting off with Hillgoers

Setting off with Hillgoers

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A nice flat start to begin with!

 

And up we go!

And up we go!

And on we go some more!

And up we go some more!

A decision to be made here on which way to go - thankfully not my decision!

A decision to be made here on which way to go – thankfully not my decision!

We just keep climbing!

We just keep climbing!

What a place to stop for lunch!

What a place to stop for lunch!

Just stunning views all the way up!

Just stunning views all the way up!

Some red deer enjoying the hills too.

Some red deer enjoying the hills too.

Wow!

Wow!

Even some snow left!

Even some snow left!

The summit is close!

The summit is close!

Garry from Hillgoers at the top. We all got celebratory chocolate :)

Garry from Hillgoers at the top. We all got celebratory chocolate 🙂

And down and down we go. Definitely harder than going up.

And down and down we go. Definitely harder than going up.

 

 

Really really fancied getting under this waterfall!

Really really fancied getting under this waterfall!

The last section through the trees before we reach Glas-Alt Shiel.

The last section through the trees before we reach Glas-Alt Shiel.

Dactylorhiza maculata - heath spotted orchid.

Dactylorhiza maculata – heath spotted orchid.

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Drosera rotundifolia – a carnivorous plant which traps insects & dissolves their bodies in enzymes.

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Pinguicola Vulgaris – Butterwort – a carnivorous plant that will digest trapped insects.

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We’ve reached the end of Loch Muick, following the decent.

Nearly finished!!

Nearly finished!!