Lochnagar or Beinn Chìochan is a mountain in the Grampians of Scotland, located about five miles south of the River Dee near Balmoral. It is a popular hill with hillwalkers, and is a noted venue for summer and winter climbing.
Technically, the English name is a misunderstanding, being named after Lochan na Gaire, the ‘little loch of the noisy sound’, a loch to be found in the mountain’s northeast corrie. Today the lochan is popularly called Lochnagar too. The summit itself may be referred to as Cac Càrn Beag, meaning “small cairn of faeces” in Scottish Gaelic, or less euphemistically, ‘little pile of shit’. Peter Drummond, former chairman of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, has also suggested that cac is a corruption of cadha (‘slope’), which would lend a translation of little cairn of the slope.
Lochnagar’s alternative name, Beinn Chìochan (mountain of breasts), is probably the original Gaelic name for the mountain.
This 360 Route starts at the car park at Spittal of Glen Muick and travels in a clockwise direction to the following Munros.
Broad Cairn 998 m (3,274 ft)
Cairn Bannoch 1,012 m (3,320 ft)
Carn an t-Sagairt Mor 1047 m (3435 ft)
Carn a’ Choire Bhoideach 1110 m (3641 ft)
Cac Carn Beag 1155 m (3789 ft)
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Black Spoute Route
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Alternative route to the top of Lochnagar. This route traverses around the left hand side of the Lochnagar lochan over very rough ground before the steep ascent up the pathless Black Spout.
And Something Different
The Old Man of Lochnagar is a children’s book written by Charles, Prince of Wales, and illustrated by Sir Hugh Casson. The story revolves around an old man who lives in a cave in the cliffs surrounding the corrie loch under the Lochnagar, a mountain which overlooks the royal estate at Balmoral in Scotland where the Royal Family spend much of their summer holidays.
The story starts with Prince Charles entertaining some bored children at Balmoral. He tells them about an old man who, in search of peace and quiet (and a hot spring bath), has made his way to a remote cave at Lochnagar. He comes across a cave and, dragging a bathtub inside, claims the place as his own. The old man makes a lot of noise and mentions that his neighbours used to complain about the banging and noise coming from his home late at night. He chats to an animal he names Maudie, the original occupant of the cave, while setting up the apparatus for running his long awaited bath.
Finally, all is ready and the Old Man appears in his tartan dressing gown, ready to step into the bath. But, as he jumps in, he realises that the water is freezing and his squeals echo round the loch. He tells Maudie that he will have to wait for a bath until he has found a way of heating the water, and pulls the plug on his full bath.
Unknown to the Old Man, his cave is near the underground home of the Gorm, a clan of Scottish pixies, who are responsible for pushing up the spring flowers in Scotland. The Gorm King is an inventor, and has created a curious device (which looks and sounds like a set of bagpipes) which reduces full grown flowers back to seeds. The seed will turn back into a flower when it gets wet and the Gorm Queen and Princess declare that the King has changed the way everyone will work from now on. However, as they are discussing this, a flood pours down unexpectedly from above. When the Old Man emptied his bath, the water followed his complicated arrangements of pipes and into the Gorm’s underground workshops, ruining the flowers and flooding out the workers. The Princess and her younger brother end up being washed away from their parents and come out of a tree stump alone and wet. They look up to find a ‘giant’, tending to a huge pot over a roaring fire and the young Prince fears that they will be made into soup.
In fact the ‘giant’ is the Old Man, who has found a way to heat his bath by lighting a huge fire underneath it. As he waits, still in his tartan dressing gown, he is suddenly hit by the Gorm King’s device, which has been picked up by the young Princess. He immediately shrinks to the size of a pixie and is taken away by the Prince and Princess, to see what his bathwater has done to their home. At first, he thinks he is having a strange dream, and so he appears callously unconcerned at the devastation, stating only that “I’ve never dreamed in colour before”. This delusion lasts until he falls down a hole, hitting his head. As he exclaims at the pain in his head, it dawns on the Old Man that since you can’t feel pain in a dream, what he’s seen must be real and the damage is his fault.
The Prince and Princess take the Old Man back outside but, to their shock, the whole world seems to be on fire. The fire underneath the Old Man’s bath has spread and is threatening the countryside. The Old Man offers to help, but he needs to be bigger before he can do anything. The Princess is reluctant to help the Old Man, but she relents and tells him that he needs to ‘get watered’. With the help of Maudie, the Old Man is catapulted into his bath and returns to normal size. He pulls the plug again, flooding the area and putting out the fire, while protecting the pixies’ underground home from further damage.
The Old Man has learned that his actions affect others and that he must think of the consequences. The story ends with the Gorm sharing a huge bath with the Old Man, complete with water wheels and boats. When he is finished, the Old Man drains his bath using more of his special plumbing skills to reuse the water to reactivate the magic seeds and causing flowers to pop up all around.
The story closes on the Old Man of Lochnagar and returns to Balmoral and Prince Charles. The children tell him that it was a good story, but that’s all, just a story. Charles replies that you never really know, and lifts a set of bagpipes from his desk and begins to play. After a few notes, the Prince is affected in the same way as the Old Man, shrinking to a tiny size and suggesting that his story was inspired by true events. The children he has been entertaining then race off through the house to find the bathtub, to restore the Prince to his rightful size.