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Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Mount Keen from Glen Tanar


Postby Gordie12 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:52 am

Munros included on this walk: Mount Keen

Date walked: 29/09/2020

Time taken: 7.1 hours

Distance: 33.2 km

Ascent: 919m

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I have climbed Mount Keen several times but always from Glen Esk so I was keen to try this alternative route to see how it compared.

I parked at the lower car park (without realising it was the lower car park :? ) but as has been mentioned by others the top car park remains shut for now.

Starting at the lower car park means the first kilometre is along the road but it's quiet and on the plus side you have the chance to buy some free range eggs (probably best to do this on the way back) :lol:

Navigation round all the estate buildings is straightforward and I quickly reached The Mounth track that would take me through the woods and on to Mount Keen.

The walk through the woods is on a good track and on a very slight incline staying fairly close to the Water of Tanar.

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A really nice first hour through the woods then it's out on to the open moor just as the sun came out. As the track heads through the glen it's still a consistent and very slight climb with Mount Keen appearing in the distance.

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First view of the open countryside


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Etnach Cottage


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If you like old stone bridges this is a great route


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First view of Mount Keen


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Mont Keen from slightly further up the track


The route crosses the Water of Tanar a couple of times as it heads up the glen and on a good day the route ahead up Mount Keen is obvious (and appears to be pretty steep).

10.JPG
Looking down the glen


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Last bridge before the climb


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Easy grit track for the larger part of the climb


13.JPG
View looking west as I left The Mounth road


I had my first quick stop of the day at the last bridge before the climb to get some food down me then it was time for the hard work. The first two thirds of the climb is steep but on a good track it's straight forward. After leaving The Mounth track it's a stone staircase all the way to the top and a couple of stops (for photos obviously) are in order. The end of the steps marks the end of the steep climb and it's then a short walk to the summit.

14.JPG
Mount Keen summit


Having had the entire length of Glen Tanar to myself (other than an estate worker passing me in his landrover) it was a surprise to see half a dozen people at the top and another two couples just about to arrive. While at the top there was a bit of cloud cover and with a stronger wind it got fairly cool for the fifteen minutes I stayed there.

While at the top I took the decision to take the Glen Esk descent to pick up The Mounth and then head back round the hill to link up with my ascent track. This added on just under 2 miles and some extra ascent.

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The climb back round Mount Keen having picked up The Mounth track


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The Mounth track and the stone staircase make for good walking, looks like a lot of work has been done on this side of the hill in recent years.

Having got back to my ascent route it was now time for the drop down to the Water of Tanar and this was the hardest part of the day for me. I'm probably a size 11.5 boot but after size 11 there are no half sizes so it is either cram in to an 11 or space out in a 12. I go for the spaced out option which is great on the flat or the climb but can occasionally be hell on a steep descent and this was one of those days with my toes continually banging off the front of my boot. The descent down to the bridge was slow going made all the worse by misjudging a step and kicking a large boulder :thumbdown:

18.JPG
The view down and the woods look a long way away


I was glad to reach the base of the hill but I knew a few minutes of flat walking and the pain would go. Back down in the glen the cloud had gone, I was sheltered from the wind and the sun was out so it was short sleeve time.

Having had the glen to myself in the morning it was a bit busier in the afternoon (all mountain bikers - no walkers).

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Water of Tanar looking down the glen


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and again


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Another bridge


On the way back down the glen I had the sun behind me and the light was fantastic.

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Water of Tanar


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Back in the woods


Back in to the woods and whilst at the start of the walk there was cloud cover now there was uninterrupted sunlight. A lot of Scots Pine here and the trees are well spaced out so a lot of sunlight gets down to ground level.

Back on tarmac I complied with the following instruction.

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Autumn is here


At the car I was surprised to see that I had covered a total of 20.6 miles which is just under 4 miles longer than the WH report. This was due to a) starting at the lower car park and b) my loop of Mount Keen rather than retracing my steps.

Having now climbed this hill from both Glen Esk and Glen Tanar there's only one winner for me and I'll definitely be coming back to do this walk again. From Glen Esk you don't really see much of Mount Keen, from Glen Tanar it's completely different. This was a walk of thirds for me, a third through the woods, a third of open glen and a third of climbing.

Can't recommend this route enough, if doing Mount Keen and you have the time - this is the way to go :D :D :D :D :D
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15.JPG
Looking down towards Glen Esk
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Gordie12
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Re: Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Postby dogplodder » Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:00 pm

Enjoyed that Gordie. Think I agree, having done both approaches, this is the way to go! but you were a sucker for punishment doing the loop at the top. :lol:
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Re: Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Postby Gordie12 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:15 pm

Hi DP

I'm hopefully starting a long distance walk next week so I'm trying to remind the legs about what it feels like to walk 20+ miles per day - for various reasons I've had a poor year for walking so a reminder is definitely in order.

It's only an extra 30 minutes in the car so no idea why it's taken me so long to do this route but I'm glad I finally got round to it.
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Re: Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Postby jayedubya73 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:57 pm

I absolutely love Glen Tanar. When I did Mount Keen, i went this way, what a beautiful route.

I took the mountain bike. Easy riding to the foot of the hill and plenty of spots to leave the bikes for the walk up. Really enjoyed seeing the photos, can't wait to get back up there again.
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Re: Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Postby dav2930 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:57 pm

Great report and pics. Brought back good memories of when I did Mount Keen by this route (using a bike, which I parked at the last footbridge) - a very beautiful approach. I've never done the Glen Esk route so I can't compare it. Glad you think Glen Tanar is the way to go! :)
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Re: Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Postby Gordie12 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:51 pm

jayedubya73 wrote:I absolutely love Glen Tanar. When I did Mount Keen, i went this way, what a beautiful route.

I took the mountain bike. Easy riding to the foot of the hill and plenty of spots to leave the bikes for the walk up. Really enjoyed seeing the photos, can't wait to get back up there again.


And it was midge free, what more could you ask for?

Hope you get back soon.
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Re: Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Postby Gordie12 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:54 pm

dav2930 wrote:Great report and pics. Brought back good memories of when I did Mount Keen by this route (using a bike, which I parked at the last footbridge) - a very beautiful approach. I've never done the Glen Esk route so I can't compare it. Glad you think Glen Tanar is the way to go! :)


I think your bike to the bridge then walk is what more or less everybody was doing last Tuesday. The bridge seemed to be a mountain bike bike park when I came down off Mount Keen.

There were a couple of guys at the summit with mountain bikes but they came from Glen Esk.
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Re: Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:14 pm

Looks a very enticing route - thanks for the temptation :lol: :lol:
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Re: Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Postby Gordie12 » Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:37 pm

That's the problem with these reports, so many tempting places to go and not enough time to fit them all in.
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Re: Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Postby litljortindan » Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:21 am

I've not been either way but that's a good advert for the Glen Tanar option. That suits me as it is closer but looking at the map I am surprised that it is Glen Tanar that wins the vote -just that Glen Mark looks topographically interesting.
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Re: Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 8:34 pm

Hi litljortindan

The main plus for me was that with the Glen Mark ascent the hill is hidden for a good part of the walk and when it does come in to view the top doesn't look that dramatic whereas when you come in from Glen Tanar you see all of the north side of the hill from a couple of miles back on the track and it looks much more impressive.

I'll still do Mount Keen again from the south, it's an enjoyable walk and the starting point isn't that far from home.
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