The Coyles of Muick
The Coyles of Muick, Deeside.
Height – 601 metres. Map – OS Landranger 44.
Climbed – 21 February 2010. Time taken – 5 hours.
Distance – 11 kilometres. Height climbed – 590 metres.
Trip Report Details:
The fine winter weather continued so I was out on the hills again enjoying these great conditions. The temperature on leaving Aberdeen was -6C but by the time I drove to the B976 South Deeside Road, west of Ballater, the temperature had dropped to -13C. I managed to get my car, which has 4 wheel drive, into a snow filled parking area directly opposite the vehicle track that led to Loch Ullachie. (Grid Ref NO3408395089)
Once geared up I crossed the road and entered the forest by a wicket gate and descended slightly to near the west side of Loch Ullachie which was frozen over. The track then climbed through the forest and I followed it and several bootprints which appeared to be from the previous day. After half an hour I exited the forest into a winter wonderland. There was lots of powder snow, the sun was out and I had my first view of the heavily snow clad Lochnagar.
Fortunately the folks that had walked through the forest the day before had continued towards my destination, The Coyles of Muick. There was a trail to follow in the powder snow that covered the heather. Deer had been scraping away at the snow to access this heather and I spotted some of them as I followed the trail south. Despite the low temperature it was quite pleasant in the sun and I stopped for a coffee taking in the views across the Balmoral Estate.
After my break I continued south above the top edge of the forest which was obviously used by deer for shelter. I then climbed to the summit of Meall Dubh where I had more great views of the surrounding snow covered mountains including Mount Keen, Lochnagar and my target hill, The Cyles of Muick.
I descended south-east and rejoined the trail to The Coyles of Muick and climbed its north face which had some neeve snow which made it a bit slippery. I arrived at the summit and stood on top of the snow covered cairn taking in the marvellous views of the hills already mentioned but now included Loch Muick and beyond to the Angus Hills.
The cairn shown on the map is supposedly the highest point on the Coyles of Muick but looking at my maps this cairn is on the 590 contour line. To the south-west there is a ring contour at 600 metres and the height of this Marilyn is given as 601 metres. I therefore think the south-west top is the highest point so I walked across to this top.
I was planning to make a circular route and descend through the forest to Birkhall so I headed into the forest where I found a vehicle track which unfortunately came to an end. I therefore climbed onto Craig of Loinmuie where I had lunch in the sun looking for a suitable route. While there I saw a couple of walkers on Meall Dubh.
After lunch I headed back into the forest in the direction of a track. However I was thwarted by cut and fallen timber and deep snow filled tracks caused by forest machinery. I therefore abandoned this plan and worked my way to the top of the forest and followed the trail used that morning to return to my car where it was now a warm -3C.
Photos taken on walk.