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An Socach - Last of the year?

An Socach - Last of the year?


Postby StevieC » Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:16 pm

Route description: An Socach from Glen Clunie

Munros included on this walk: An Socach (Braemar)

Date walked: 29/09/2020

Time taken: 5.15 hours

Distance: 18 km

Ascent: 650m

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Being off work but with nowhere to go I thought I'd get a Munro trip in before winter/lockdown brings trips to the high hills to an end for the year and decided on An Socach as a straightforward looking trip. The forecast for Tuesday looked good so I forced myself up and out in time to pull up at the start of the walk for about 10am. There are "No Parking" signs up at the area around the gate leading into the estate, but there's room for about 6 cars just across the road (full) and another space for a couple of cars a few hundred yards up the road towards the ski centre (also full), so I ended up in a larger parking area another couple of hundred yards up the road (empty) - in total about 5 mins walk from the start of the walk.

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Entrance to Invercauld Estate and start of the walk

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Clunie Water

A track takes you across the Clunie Water and then forks - take a left to follow the Baddoch Burn for a couple of kms, passing a neat-looking house on the way. At first I thought the hill behind the house - Sgor Mor - was where I was heading as there was a clear path up it, but apparently this hill is a "nothing", which surprised me.

Image
House at Baddoch with Sgor Mor behind

Just beyond the house I became aware of a bit of commotion above me - a raptor being mobbed by a couple of corvids. I managed to get a picture and convinced myself that it was an eagle, but it was probably just a buzzard. Looked bloody big next to the crows or whatever though.

Image
Buzzard (or eagle maybe??) being mobbed by a crow

Eventually the track arrives at a stream crossing - just after this the path onto the hill starts. It follows the stream for a short while then heads off to the left through the heather and climbs steeply - the first bit of exertion of the day.

Image
Start of the path up onto An Socach

After the initial steep section the slope eases off and becomes a bit peaty and boggy - but it looks worse than it is. Most of the boggy parts will support you and those that look more dodgy can be easily circumvented without any trouble. Once on this flatter section the first glimpse of An Socach appears.

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First sight of An Socach

The next steep section arrives shortly, with the climb up onto Socach Mor, which has a substantial cairn on top of it - a good place to stop for a breather and a snack.

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Cairn on Sochach Mor

From here you can see the final - and toughest - section of climbing ahead, up onto the summit plateau of An Socach. There are several paths up this section - just pick the one you fancy and get the head down. It's quite steep, but it doesn't last very long and soon you are up on the plateau and the worst of the climbing is now behind you.

Now it's just a matter of navigating the rubble-strewn plateau, with some minor ups and downs, until you arrive at your destination. I was distracted by lots of Wheatears bobbing around wagging their tails at me. There's also nice views to the south across to Loch Vrotachan and the Cairnwell hills, but it was pretty windy by now so I just got my head down and concentrated on picking a path through the stones.

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Wheatear

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Summit plateau

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Final approach to An Socach summit

There's a substantial cairn/shelter at the summit, but I didn't hang around as it was very windy and quite chilly by now, having been calm and warm almost all the way up, and the view from the summit isn't great - good but not great. So I took a few snaps and headed back the way I had come. I don't think there's really an alternative to a straightforward "out and back" route for this hill.

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An Socach summit cairn

So just over five hours - a nice quick "bag" and a pleasant walk in a quite picturesque glen with a few wildlife encounters. Glad I talked myself into it and I hope it doesn't turn out to be my final Munro outing of the year - we'll just have to see how it goes I suppose.
StevieC
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Re: An Socach - Last of the year?

Postby jmarkb » Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:38 pm

Nice report! I think that was definitely an eagle.

StevieC wrote:I don't think there's really an alternative to a straightforward "out and back" route for this hill.


A couple of (fairly minor) variations are possible - you can drop down from the col between the two tops to the end of the main track, or (what we did last week) carry on along the ridge to Sgor Mor and descend a reasonable path down the E ridge/shoulder to Baddoch. The footbridge there is now just a single girder, so it is worth checking the river crossing on your way out!
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jmarkb
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Re: An Socach - Last of the year?

Postby StevieC » Wed Sep 30, 2020 4:29 pm

jmarkb wrote:Nice report! I think that was definitely an eagle.

StevieC wrote:I don't think there's really an alternative to a straightforward "out and back" route for this hill.


A couple of (fairly minor) variations are possible - you can drop down from the col between the two tops to the end of the main track, or (what we did last week) carry on along the ridge to Sgor Mor and descend a reasonable path down the E ridge/shoulder to Baddoch. The footbridge there is now just a single girder, so it is worth checking the river crossing on your way out!


Yes, I noticed the path up/down the east ridge of Sgor Mor...and the "bridge" :D I don't think I'd fancy taking that on at the end of a long day, but I like your route now that you mention - if only Sgor Mor were on some kind of list, dammit!
StevieC
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Posts: 333
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Re: An Socach - Last of the year?

Postby jmarkb » Wed Sep 30, 2020 5:22 pm

StevieC wrote: if only Sgor Mor were on some kind of list, dammit!


It's a Hump, a Simm, a Corbett Top, a Yeaman, and a Deleted Corbett, but none of those lists are terribly popular!
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jmarkb
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Re: An Socach - Last of the year?

Postby David-Main » Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:25 pm

Golden Eagle,Cracker .
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David-Main
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Re: An Socach - Last of the year?

Postby Fudgie » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:07 pm

jmarkb wrote:Nice report! I think that was definitely an eagle.

StevieC wrote:I don't think there's really an alternative to a straightforward "out and back" route for this hill.


A couple of (fairly minor) variations are possible - you can drop down from the col between the two tops to the end of the main track


That is exactly what I did few weeks ago. A tougher descent than retracing your steps but once I was on the track it was very easy going.
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Fudgie
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Re: An Socach - Last of the year?

Postby StevieC » Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:02 am

David-Main wrote:Golden Eagle,Cracker .


My first Golden Eagle! That's made my day!!
StevieC
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 333
Munros:74   Corbetts:6
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:7   
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Joined: Apr 3, 2013

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