It is possible on a perfect day to leave Edinburgh at 7, climb 2 Munros, have a pint and still be heading down in daylight on 29th December. Here in Glenshee you get a lot of height from the drive in, so just one hour twenty of fairly strenuous toil gets you to the summit of Glas Maol. Our route was from the car park, a quarter mile before the visitor/ski centre, with direct access to the slopes of Meall Odhar and this takes a fairly direct line before a steep 100m climb puts you on the summit plateau.
Looking back at the not-yet-in-condition Tiger ski run and the fairly ugly summit of Cairnwell - also the easy-peasiest Munro at half an hour!
Once you get the height, the lower tops are out of view and the vista is just great. In this viz we could easily see our objective - a big lump of a cairn - but in dodgy weather a compass is advised here because it is pretty featureless.
And behind the lump - a trig point; a very easy 1068m and another tick on the list. Guide book time plus 2 minutes; not bad for a fat bastard. Being overtaken by a 71 year old? Not so great.
A lone walker of the young and fit variety heads off to the second objective Creag Leacach which is a hog's back ridge walk clearly delineated by a wall but with the best underfoot determining direction. We got there in about a further 50 minutes. Only issue a few bits of dancing through sharp angled rocks not yet covered with snow. why do I always forget my poles?
Now I don't like to stop for long but the others looked like lunch was on their minds. I made a brief attempt at pretending to hang around the second summit of the day by hauling on my jacket, but really I pretty much have my lunch in the car afterwards - a poor habit I cannae shake.
With such a superb day there isn't much risk in separation, but the descent is quite long requiring another summit on the way and I was off. Eventually my chums appeared as dots in the distance and caught me up fairly easily. Curses. You can see them near the wall.
Looking ahead from the same point, that diagonal snow ridge to the left topped a beautiful small neve frozen snowfield giving excellent crunchy underfoot grip to the secondary summit or top that may or may not be a named peak, a Corbett perhaps? After this the walk and the line become a bit tedious and a long yomp out is in store.
I strategically placed myself to snap them coming over the top here but they bypassed it so I hollered at them to go back up. That they did says a lot for fitness and this is the only staged/posed shot of the day.
There is a temptation after this summit to drop off left - looks easier to the road but footprints and possibility of an extra half mile on the road, plus one of our number insisting took us to the right. There is a stream hop and a short haul up (groan) to gain a deer path that follows the steep sided stream valley down until (groan) another up hill is needed to gain the road. As the driver it was down to me to walk the mile up to the car, but I know my countrymen. Dump the sack, jacket, hat etc and after fifty yards walked, thumb out, only one drive by, the next car stopped and gave me the lift my thighs craved. Ha!
All pix are with iphone5
1st time out since Nov 2013. Tick tick.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.