Steep Frowning Glories O’ Wild Lochnagar

Alan Rowan

Munro Moonwalker, Alan Rowan,
battled through a stormy night to
reach the summit of Lochnagar


WE were hoping to catch a clear night on Lochnagar for the Hunter’s Moon and for a couple of hours it looked promising…

In the end, however, we were treated to something akin to the little-known middle verse of Lord Byron’s seminal poem Dark Lochnagar, with its gales, stormy mists and tempests.


“Round Lochnagar while the stormy mist gathers,
Winter presides in his cold icy car.
Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers;
They dwell in the tempests of dark Lochnagar.”


The wind was almost symphonic in its sweep through the trees as we set off. The top of the mountain was visible with a wispy intrusion of cloud hanging around it. The horizon behind was calm and beautifully backlit, the autumn shades morphing through subtle layers.



Once we reached the levelling of the track the sudden change was breathtaking.


A Gathering Storm


The mountain heights were silhouettes, the high dappled cloud under the blue canvas began pulsing red and purple, stitched together with yellow jagged veins.

Behind us, the sky had taken on the look of a portending alien invasion, roiling clouds burned orange in their turbulence. Then, with the flick of a switch, it was gone. At one point, there was a glow in the distance, the moon appearing like the eyeball of a great beast slowly opening one eye, but it quickly slammed shut again.

All we had now was darkness, and we taking a battering. The corrie bowl was being scoured by the wind, the inability to escape its confines increasing the power of the maelstrom. The result was an unpredictability of where the next blow would come from. We were being knocked back and forth, at some points off our feet.



We felt a little punch-drunk when we topped out, but it was calmer here and on to the plateau despite a drizzling mist blowing across. It wasn’t until we reached the summit rocks that we felt the strength of the wind again.

The moon made a fleeting appearance above the huge cairn on Cac Carn Mor and we raced over to capture the moment, but it didn’t hang around. Dark Lochnagar had lived up to its billing.


This Hunter Moon expedition was
hike number ten on Alan’s mission
to “bag” all 13 full moons this year.

You can read the Mountains Of The Moon
blogs so far here.