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If your Fine Weather Route takes you to Loch Muick, then your Foul Weather Route will be back down to Braemar. It's an easy walk and you have the added bonus of morning coffee & cake in Braemar. I've done it a few times over the years.
In one particularly unpleasant bit of a weather (a real hurricane) some hardy (?) souls tried the route around Creag an Loch and down the Feindallacher Burn. We came across them (after drying out in the Fife Arms in front of the fire with tea and cake) and they looked battered. I don't think that's a good idea.
All the best
The route you propose is very similar to my route last year (except I went to Sheilin of Mark after Lochnagar). My FWA started before I got to Callater - in Braemar. You'll get an up to date mountain forecast (and a chat to control who will have weather info) in Braemar, so making an early decision which route to take will be more informed than on some other parts of the route. My FWA went from Braemar round to Gelder Sheil bothy instead of Callater Lodge, then down to Loch Muick.
The weather on the Saturday when I arrived in Braemar was wet but not windy with low cloud. I decided to risk the main route, had a very entertaining night at Callater Lodge then a day of low cloud and rain as I climbed Carn an t Sagairt Mor, Carn a Choire Bhoideach and Lochnagar with frequent references to map and compass. Annoyingly those who partied harder at Callater and left later got to Lochnagar summit as the clouds lifted and had amazing views. Others at Sheilin of Mark had opted for the FWA in Braemar and gone via the Ballachbuie forest - I guess you may get a sudden change overnight at Callater - mountains are strange things where weather is concerned, but mostly you'll be able to make a good decision in Braemar.
I hope you get a better view on Lochnagar than I did!!
Enjoy your planning and crossing
Thanks to both of you. I was already wondering whether it might be possible to have a fair idea which route to take when reaching Braemar, and to spend the night there (or crack on to Gelder Shiel) rather than Callater if the weather looked bad, as I hate backtracking! Ballochbuie Forest/Gelder Shiel/Shielin of Mark was what I had in mind too - great minds and all that.
I am not holding out for views from Lochnagar - I have been on the summit of Fairfield 3 times this year and still not seen it... Pure bloody mindedness makes me want to have another go, but I can pretty much guarantee the outcome! This should probably serve as a warning for anyone else planning Lochnagar for that day :joy:
Good advice above. I just hope the guys who's route I am checking are not disappointed when they get my comments about their route!
If you plan on using Jock's Road, then your FWA pretty much has to take you round to the north of Lochnagar, and it'll be at least 2 days to get back on route (unless you were intending to drop down north east to Spittal of Glenmuick rather than go through to Clova).
The trick is to check the weather forecast at Braemar YH on your way through, and if it looks as though your FWA is going to be required, don't go up to Callater at all. Enjoy a night on the tiles in Braemar (the YH might have a bed, or you can get a pitch at the camp site, or find a quiet little wild pitch somewhere ... ) and you'll be able to enjoy a pleasant wander through the Balmoral Estate the following day. The authorised routes through the Balmoral Estate are all pretty pleasant even when the rain is howling and a heavy wind is falling ...