Historical trip report
Monday 5th May 2008 this was. Getting lazy wi' ma postings. Its the hassle o' gettin' the pix affae ma phone you see.
Anyway with the rugby season and its heavy toll on pixie points almost over it's time to head upwards again. Exactly one week after skiing in Cairngorm including a leg-tormenting slide doon the slush in Coire na Ciste, you'll be able to see the snow was but a memory on these sun baked hills.
For those of you who like a bit of schadenfreude and who recall my bragging of innate directional sense and well honed map skills, read on..
Glen Clova is a touristy spot, well visited when the sun's oot by maw, paw, umpteen weans an' dugs etc. In visibility we aviators call CAVOK I took but a glance at the map, noted the path went up the rive droite of the large stream and set off trying to look like a proper walker. Instead the moniker proper wanker would be more apt.
I followed the stream headed north, fully 90 degrees off course and twenty minutes in when the bridge that definitely wasn't on the map would sustain denial no longer, performed a volte face and meekly slunk back to the car and on up the corrrect path.
Even here, preferring to stay on the trail rather than the road it is easy to walk past the exceedingly helpful (to those already certain of position) sign saying Kilbo path ==>
The day was warm and, although well stocked with water and exotically expensive fizzy juice of purported merit and weird colour, one had forgotten sun screen and even one's bunnet.
Actually I had some headgear in the sac but never got it oot. A week later with flakes the size o' walkers crisps peeling aff ma baldy napper and with a black T-shirt subtly enhancing my dandruff from hell look, I had cause once again to reflect on the need for thorough prep; even in summer.
Anyway, the hills. A fine two-fer these pair best climbed as a traverse. Either way round will do, but we chose Dreish first then Mayar which I also think is the better way.
Despite the heat we actually overhauled a party ahead, but it was three retired blokes so nothing to shout about. Once free of the trees and on the long steep approach of fairly brutal angle, the heat was punishing. At the coll a wee bit snow was still standing and second wind kicked in and the rest of the walk to two summits was all achieved in guide book time, something of a stretch goal for me these days.
Son #3 trotted along, barely out of breath it seemed, and after a few encounters I noticed that all the folk on the hill (except for a pair of lovebirds) were under twenty or over forty.
In fact one guy was there with his eight year old. I high fived, enquiring if it was his first munro. "I've done a fair couple..." he began.
"Fifteen" his dad said. Jings.
Later, on Mayar, a couple with four kids, 6, 8 and up, were doing Mayar on its todd from the other side.
But the PlayStation generation were absent in droves.
The descent from Mayar down Glen Fee is another immaculately sculpted path with all the steep bits practically stair-cased with slabs of stone, which makes for good time on the way down. Plenty of good clean streams when yer fizzy juice is aw gone an' aw'.
Looking now at the map, I see the brutal part of the way in has its own name, Shank of Drumfollow which joins the Shank of Drumwhallo when it becomes a steep descent to the path-eponymous Kilbo.
You can see the Drumfollow bit in one of the pix of Jack. It's the diagonal near his elbow.....
So with a bit of luck and a few more two-fers or ridges, 2008 should see me get to the half way mark.......
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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.