Royal Deeside : Munros near Braemar
|Climbing and walking the Scottish Mountains is a very popular pastime and one of the great challenges is to scale all the 'Munros'. A Munro is one of the 284 Scottish mountains which peak at over 3000ft and they are so named after Sir Hugh Munro who published a table of such mountains in 1891. Of the Munros, some 70 exceed 3500 feet and just 9 exceed 4000 feet. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland at 4409 feet but the next 5 highest mountains (Ben Macdui, Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Cairngorm) all belong to the Cairngorm range just north-west of Braemar. Indeed Mar Lodge Estate lying just to the west of Braemar was recently bought by the National Trust for Scotland to preserve some of the finest and most important of the Scottish mountains.|
The Munros accessible from a base in Braemar fall into 3 groups
The Southern Cairngorms,
west and north of Braemar (12 Munros)
A little further away (and more readily accessible from Aviemore) is;
The Northern Cairngorms, north-west of Braemar (6 Munros)
About one quarter of all Scottish Mountains above 3500 feet belong to one of these groups. In order of decreasing height they are
Ben Macdui 4295, Braeriach 4252, Cairn Toul 4236, Sgor an Lochain Uaine 4127, Cairngorm 4081, Beinn a' Bhuird 3927, Beinn Mheadhoin 3878, Ben Avon 3842, Beinn Bhrotain 3796, Derry Cairngorm 3789, Lochnagar 3789, Sgor Gaoith 3668, Monadh Mor 3652, White Mounth 3642, Bynack More 3576, Beinn a' Chaorainn 3553, Glas Maol 3504,
Visitors to Braemar are constantly aware of these mountains. Coming to Braemar from the south one can see Glas Maol and other Munros dominating the head of Glenshee and marking the position of the Glenshee Ski Centre. Once past the centre and dropping down into Braemar the great hills of Beinn a' Bhuird and Ben Avon are seen forming a backdrop to the village of Braemar. (Indeed Ben Avon, almost due north of Braemar, acts as a sighting point when the daily weather records for the village are taken.) Braeriach is the source of the fine River Dee which flows down past Braemar and Balmoral on its way to the sea at Aberdeen. Ben MacDui, the second highest mountain in Scotland, was recently the site of a tragic air crash when two US Air Force F15 jets were lost. The recovery operation was based on Braemar where there is now a memorial to airmen killed in the hills.
Travelling towards Aberdeen in the east Lochnagar and the White Mounth dominate the southern skyline. Part of the Balmoral Estate these mountains are extremely popular with walkers. From the tops one can see the lights of Edinburgh 100 miles to the south. The poet Byron even wrote a poem (Dark Lochnagar) in their praise and Prince Charles wrote a childrens' story about them (The Old Man of Lochnagar)
But the Munros are not the only mountains to be climbed. Popular destinations also are many of the smaller hills or 'Corbetts'. One such Corbett is Morrone which rises up above Braemar and gives fine views of all the surrounding mountains and valleys. Whatever your requirements, Braemar is a fine base for your next attempt at climbing a Munro.
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