Scottish Winter Climbing And Mountaineering Routes in Scotland UKScottish Winter Climbing And Mountaineering Routes in Scotland UK
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The Black Spout.
Black Spout of Lochnagar Map Photos
The majestic cliffs of Lochnagar have just one line of weakness, a deep gully called the Black Spout. Although the Black Spout looks intimidating from a distance, it normally gives a straightforward snow climb set at an angle of between 40 and 45 degrees.
Area: Southern Cairngorms
Grade: Winter I   what does that mean?
Total Distance: 16 km
Total Ascent: 1000 m
Time: 6½ hours
  • Ordnance Survey Landranger 1:50,000 Sheet 44
  • Ordnance Survey Explorer 388
  • Harvey Lochnagar Map (1:25,000).
  • Avalanche hazard: The Black Spout is very dangerous after heavy snow or during thaw conditions. In avalanche prone conditions, ascend Lochnagar via the descent route described, rather than the Black Spout.
    Avalanche Forecast area: Southern Cairngorms.   more
    Gear: Take a 50 m rope and wear a helmet in the Black Spout.
    Tips: The single track road to Spittal of Glenmuick may be impassable after heavy snow.
  • The left branch of the Black Spout is a nice variation, just a little steeper than the main gully but still grade I.
  • Central Gully of Creag an Dubh-loch is an easy grade I gully in spectacular surroundings but involves a long walk along Lock Muick and up to the Dubh Loch.
  • Start 

    From Ballater on the A93, follow the signs for the B796 across the River Dee and turn right towards Braemar. Half mile beyond the bridge, take the single track road sign posted for Glenmuick. Park in the car park at the Spittal of Glenmuick, which is reached after about 8 miles. The car park is pay-and-display, currently for a fee of £2.

    Grid Reference NO310851.


    Walk through the visitors' centre and follow signs for Lochnagar which direct you through the trees. Follow an estate road for just under 1 km to some more buildings, where further signs direct you towards Lochnagar. Walk through a wood and follow the rising track for about 2 kms to where a large cairn marks the point at which you leave this track.

    Head WSW towards the bealach between Meikle Pap and the main Lochnagar ridge (descend a little at first). There is quite a big path here.

    Black Spout 

    From the bealach, make a descending traverse towards a small promontory where there is a stretcher box (NO251857). Viewed from the stretcher box, the Black Spout is directly in front of you (bearing of 282° from the stretcher box). Climb the steep slopes to the entrance to the spout and follow the main gully line, ignoring the left branch which starts about halfway up. Climb over the cornice to reach the corrie rim.

    Cac Carn Beag (1155m) 

    Follow a bearing of 330° to reach the main summit of Lochnagar, Cac Carn Beag.


    Turn round and head towards the lower summit, Can Carn Mor. In poor visibility, precise navigation is necessary to reach Can Carn Mor safely as the direct line takes you close to the top of the Black Spout and, more seriously, the deeply in-cut Black Spout left branch. It may be best to make a dog-leg to avoid them.

    From Can Carn Mor, descend the corrie rim, again watching out for steep drops on your left (E). You soon reach a flatter area, where you may find some cairns. Follow the cairns up a short rise and continue along the ridge back to the bealach below Meikle Pap.


    Reverse the walk in back to the car.

    © 2007