The Great Munro Adventure Day 36 – The Lochnagar 5 and 4 new tops. A few memories.

DAY 36 ( 5th JUNE )

Lochnagar (Cac Carn Beag) (1155m, Munro 20) ‘pass of the small cairn’

Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach (1110m, Munro 42) ‘hill of the beautiful corrie’

Carn an t-Sagairt Mor (1047m, Munro 84) ‘big hill of the priest’

Cairn Bannoch (1012m, Munro 117) ‘peaked hill’
Broad Cairn (998m, Munro 142) Lochnagar: ‘little hill of laughter or noise’
Fortunately my personal taxi service turned up from Inverness ( many thanks Alan Duncan) to take me back to Glen Shee to reunite me with my van, from there we headed to Ballater and the Balmoral bar for a excellent meal and staff . Alan left for home and I traveled to Glen Muick to the car park for the night had a brew and a early night in this quiet location.

Section 7
Had a real live cuckoo clock awakening at 3.45 this morning a bit early to get up though so back to sleep and up at 7, I was having company today Andy Wednesday Lawson due at 8 and turned up at 7.30😉😉. There was low cloud this morning and the forecast was occasional light showers and clearing up later on in the day, headed down the loch side first as we were doing a clockwise circuit of these hills today up the steep winding road and along to Sandys seat for a photo, now it was thick cloud and the rain came on as we got to Broad Cairn summit. Andy’s plan now was to touch every rock / stone on the plateau that any reasonable height so for the next 2.5 hours we roamed about In the mist and rain doing so.( but we both did get 4 new Munro tops done ) onto Carn Bannoch still in the clag and rain. While heading down towards the clouds started to open up and by the summit it was reasonably clear all round, when descending we stopped and Andy took photos of the plane wreckage from many years ago, there are still a few very large pieces around.



Picked the path again to the high point and did a out and back to the clear summit of Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach , the wind was strengthening now as we headed for the final hill of the day Lochnagar and when we got there in the mist again but dry it was extremely windy , a few photos then started heading down ,on the way passing two ill equipped tourists on the way up ?? . It was a long day we had and the boulders were taking their toll on the old feet today and was glad to hit forest track then the level road back to the car park . Thanks for the company today Andy.

Photo of Penny by Andy Lawson!

Photo of Penny by Andy Lawson!

Today’s totals
22.44mls – 1575m ascent  – 9hrs 2mins
107 Munros to date – 4 new Munro tops.



Lochnagar Munro/Climbs Memories Good and Bad and the Canberra Aircraft Crash on Carn an t-Sagairt Mor 

For Penny

For Penny

I have had some great days in this area it was a well-used stomping ground for me in my days in RAF Mountain Rescue.  Lochnagar was a favourite cutting my teeth on some of its famous climbs when at RAF Buchan on the East Coast. In winter it is a wild place and I have had some epics including a huge avalanche in the 80’s. My Blog tells that tale. In winter it is an incredible place and the long walk in made it a place to savour and once we climbed 4 days in a row on this great cliff. I was caught also in a wild storm after climbing West Gully and had a real epic getting off the wind came from nowhere and it was full survival mode and not getting the rope of till back at the car it was frozen solid. I also enjoyed the classic rock climb Eagles Ridge on many occasions what a grand climb and a few times we would finish with the 5 Munros making it a big mountaineering day, Nick Sharpe now a Mountain Guide in Canada took troops on this classic and the nipped over a few Munros and on to Creag an Dubh Loch for another big rock climb. This was because I stupidly asked him to get more hill walking time in how daft was I. The poor troops had a day to remember, memories they would never forget.  Mr Robertson the local keeper in my early years was a great friend of the teams and we made use of the tracks in these days to gain quick access on call – outs. Creag an Dubh Loch is another huge cliff and also incredible in winter what fun we have had even a huge lower down the cliff 1000 feet plus some interesting situations. It is an area neglected as many are on the chase for the Munros and miss this massive cliff, well worth taking a detour and enjoying the views.

Winter fun Lochnagar

Winter fun Lochnagar


Twenty Years ago last month I lost two great friends on Lochnagar Neil Main and Mark Sinclair who fell from Parrell B Gully in winter, both were killed. It was a tragic time for us all and both at the time were climbing so well and at the top of their game. They were recovered by my great friends Breamar MRT and the 202 Sqn Sea king.  This is when I really needed friends and the care of Graham Gibb and the Team at Breamar gave me and Marks wife will never be forgotten. I saw another side of Mountain Rescue that made me very proud to know such people. These were dark days for us all it was a hard winter that year with some terrible tragedies many I was involved in. Losing Mark and Neil made me take a few months of the Rescue Team and the week later I lost another friend Paul Williams’s rock climbing in the Peak District. I had to go back to Lochnagar over the years to Lochnagar and even climbed a few routes in winter.  It is still an incredible moving place with on the right weather an incredible atmosphere and place that means so much to me. I regularly have a wander into the Corrie when on these hills and how the memories come flooding back. These huge cliffs mean so much to me over the years

The 5 Munros can be a good day in winter hard going.


Lochnagar (Cac Carn Beag) (1155m, Munro 20) ‘pass of the small cairn’

Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach (1110m, Munro 42) ‘hill of the beautiful corrie’

Carn an t-Sagairt Mor (1047m, Munro 84) ‘big hill of the priest’

Cairn Bannoch (1012m, Munro 117) ‘peaked hill’
Broad Cairn (998m, Munro 142) Lochnagar: ‘little hill of laughter or noise’

The Lochnagar 5 ‘This group of five Munros forms a high-level circuit around Loch Muick. The highest peak is Cac Carn Beag, which looks down into the dark coire of Lochnagar below, which is a favourite winter climbing area. The other summits are less characterful, but many discoveries are made when roaming over them, including wildlife, waterfalls and plane-wreckage. The second site I visited is perhaps the most spectacular air wreck site in the Scottish mountains. An RAF Canberra jet crashed on the summit of Carn an t-Sagairt Mor in 1956, Killing both crew and a very large amount of the wreckage still lies scattered around the summit area. The debris field covers an area of about 600m by 600m, centred on the flat 1047m summit of Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, with large pieces to the north, west and east of the summit, some lying in boulder fields away from the main walking paths, down to an altitude of about 960m. It used to make an interesting navigation exercise during the hill day for the RAF mrt team members This is From the Site Air Crash Sites Scotland

“On the way, you should encounter some scattered plane wreckage, including a large section of wing. These pieces are the remains of a Canberra jet that crashed into the hill in 1956 (more info A good amount of the remains of all three of the Canberra’s main wheels are still at the site, including one that is standing upright and in excellent condition – this is perhaps one of the most unusual pieces of air wreckage of all the crash sites in the Scottish mountains. Remains of parts of the Canberra’s Rolls-Royce Avon jet engines and wings are still visible as well.”

RAF Kinloss Archives

22/11/56 Carn an t Sagairt Mor44/208844 Search for a missing Canberra aircraft and the recovery of 2 Crew. One Of Ray Sunshine’s Seftons first call out.  Locals & RAF Leuchars RAF Kinloss on call out . Crew recovered with assistance of a RAF Sycamore Helicopter! Early Rescue/ Recovery in the mountain by Helicopter.



“From the summit  there are excellent views at the site towards Lochnagar and the southern Cairngorms, and this site one of the most likely to be encountered by hill walkers in Scotland, as it is so close the main path to a Munro summit.”


Great hills great memories and lots of interesting things to see, there is also the remains of another aircraft on the way to Lochnagar! See if you can find it?  So many great days wild climbs, searches and fun with good people. I envy Penny and Graeham  they are going so well and are having some weather   



About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Enviroment, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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