With all the snow melting in the Cairngorms it would have been rude to not take full advantage.
Therefore today armed with lots of body armour – some of it homemade – Calum Hogg, Leslie Simpson and myself headed out early (like half seven-ish) up to Glen Muick, Most commonly known for the falls of muick (Gd5). We got the the car park at the spittal of Glen Muick and kitted up in our armour.
Allt an dubh lochan
The walk/drag/stumble/paddle/wade/climb from the car park up to loch muick, across the loch, along some more track and then up through waist deep heather to the Allt an dubh lochan was torture due to high winds and poor terrain, however we were rewarded with some gnarly super steep and continuous slides, drops and boulder gardens(Gd5) . We walked up to a point where we decided to get on as the slides upstream were becoming too steep and gnarly for us.
Hogg drew the long straw and after setting up safety and more importantly cameras Hogg began his run. On the first drop he got a short kicking in a hole however after some “cartwheels” he made it out and continued down the next few drops and slides went well however while charging right for the chicken shoot on the last drop he went too far right and got wedged under a tree for a short time before managing to free himself snapping something off his BA in the process. The rest of his run down to the get out was smooth.
After some rock, paper, scissors I was up next. I hit the hole at the bottom of the first drop slightly sideways and had a short side surf before managing to pull myself out. The next drop went fairly well however as I entered the boulder garden section I messed up and got spun round by a rock. I got myself back round however another rock spun me again and I just avoided running the bottom drop backwards below the last drop I got a little pinned and nearly went in but recovered it and finished the run.
Leslie went last. His line on the top drop was perfect sailing through the hole cleanly and into the second drop however from below the second drop things started to go a bit wrong as he took a role in the boulder garden and cut his knuckles fairly badly he got back up in time for the last drop and finished the run smoothly.
Though Gnarly and steep this section was not the most fun as it was full of rocks to spin you round or flip/pin you.
The Black Burn
Following our runs of the Allt an dubh lochan we paddled down to Loch Muick and let the wind and waves take us across to the Black Burn. We had no idea what to expect as we hiked the short distance up the burn, however what we found was some of the best slides and boulder gardens I have ever paddled.
I jumped on first and sped through the first 70m long slide section and managed to catch the small eddy to avoid running a horrible tight boulder bit which didn’t look fun/worth running.
Leslie went next just as gracefully completing the slide section.
Hogg ran it last with just as much style as Me and Leslie.
After walking round the nasty tight boulder bit we finished off the run with a short boulder section leading into a short slide followed by an nice flare over a hole.
I nailed the line on the first bit setting me up nicely for the slide and flare.
Leslie bounced off a few rocks in the boulder section and ended running a short bit backwards before nailing the slide and flare.
Hogg got a fairly good good line down the whole thing.
We all met at the bottom in the loch and paddled the 1.5km down the lock with the wind and the waves behind us and then followed the Muick out of the loch and down until we reached the track to the car park.
All together and epic adventure with some awesome steep creeking and boulder bashing. I would not really recommend the Allt an dubh lochan, however the Black Burn seems to have a lot of potential. We only ran the last 200m of it as we were rather tired after walking in however we intend to go back and explore the black burn more fully.