Map 44, Grid Ref 310851
“England! thy beauties are tame and domestic, to one who has roved o’er the mountains afar. Oh, for the crags that is wild and majestic! The steep frowning glories of dark Lochnagar!” So wrote Lord Byron who climbed Lochnagar from Invercauld by the Garbh Allt, accompanied by a ghillie when only a boy of 15 years. Queen Victoria often wrote about Lochnagar in ‘Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands’. She commemorated saving Ballochbuie Forest in 1878 by having a cairn built on Craig Doin which overlooks the forest.
Its inscription ends with “The Bonniest Plaid in Scotland” from the old legend that McGregor, the last laird of Ballochbuie, sold the forest to Farquharson of Invercauld for a tartan plaid. Winter will likely be upon us by then, so ice axe and crampons are a likely must. Variations to Lochnagar include Broad Cairn and any number of lower hills should the weather be truly inclement.