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Mount Keen

Mount Keen


Postby ChrisW » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:17 pm

Route description: Mount Keen from Glen Esk

Munros included on this walk: Mount Keen

Date walked: 28/03/2011

Time taken: 5.05 hours

Distance: 18 km

Ascent: 890m

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Looking out of the window this morning it was difficult to believe MWIS about the clag lifting above the Munros. Because of this I headed down to Invermark with the thought that I would do the Loch Lee/Hunt Hill walk if the weather didn't look like clearing and Mount Keen if it did.

When I finished having a cuppa and feeding the chaffinches that haunt the car park I set off in the general direction of both walks..... it didn't look too promising
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I didn't realise it would be so soon that I had to make the decision on which route to take
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Yeah, I guess the title gave it away but I took the turn toward Mount Keen and in a short time followed the left turn toward the glen
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My first glimpse of the glen has a tiny amount of blue sky which gave me confidence in my decision
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It was great to see the glen open out in front of me and I strode out with some purpose, deciding to make a real attempt at neasmith (5hours 15 mins) for this walk
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The first ford presented no problem which was unexpected, I though the snow melt would have swelled the waters
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As I continued along the side of the river the sky became brighter and the cloud base rose to a very reasonable height
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My first view of Queens Well, though I was more focused on the track beyond it leading up toward the target for the day
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On arrival at the well it is more impressive and appears to fit very well into its surroundings
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No time to admire the construction too long, with a target time to aim for it was onward to the ascending pathway
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I'm soon climbing the steep pathway and stopping only for a quick snap of the glen below, seems I have company now (the small red dots on the path mid photo)
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In no time at all I can just see the top of Mount Keen peering over the edge above, though I can really feel the pull up this long continuous drag looks like MWIS would be right and cloud free munros would be the order of the day
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Looking back down the pathway there is no sign of the two walkers behind me but there is a long view down the glen
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As I turn the sharp hairpin bend on the track there it is, so close I could almost touch it.....not too bad a walk this I thought
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As I rise over the crest of the hill I'm left a little deflated to see how much further remains...some kind of optical illusion going on there....or wishful thinking maybe :wink:
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After what seems like an endless drag toward the right turn that ultimately leads to the summit, I take a moment to look back and have to say, even with the low cloud it is a beautiful sight
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Ah, almost there now, just up this little rise......
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Two ptarmigan seem happy to stay quite close, they can probably tell I'm 'done for' and couldn't bother 'em if I wanted to
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Almost there now, though it does seem to have been a hellish long drag, maybe setting a target time was not such a good idea
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The summit trig point at last
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I rested a little before I took this :lol:
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The views were great with the cloud base just high enough - thanks MWIS
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After a good 20 minute break on top, hot tea and snacks I'm refreshed and feeling good, the couple who were following arrived as I left and we exchanged pleasantries. It was a young couple and the first munro for the lady, I gave my congratulations and departed...now I know how I managed to stay in from of 'em :lol:
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Looking back................... the road home
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The low cloud continued to hang on the way back and I thought myself lucky that it had lifted sufficiently for a clear summit
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Toward the bottom of the climb looking down the glen there is a suggestion that the sky may clear
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By the time I reach the beautiful little cottage at the foot of the ascent there is a break in the cloud at last
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Who wouldn't want to rent this place for a few days
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I took advantage of the little table with benches outside the cottage and had a quick tea break before taking on the remaining couple of miles of flat easy going
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In a short time the cottage and queens well is a long way behind
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The clear path in the clouds has closed and the final mile is again under cloud
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Almost there and confess I am happy to see the road out to the car park
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Finally passing the small church and into the car park 5 hours and 5 minutes after setting off
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I'm pleased to have proven to myself that I can meet neasmith if I need to but confess that this will likely be the first and last time I do, I felt like I had rushed to a point of being over tired on the ascent, and even though back at the car it never seems so bad I think I will stick with my steady plod approach in future.

Hope there aren't too many pics on this report, I'd rather tell the story in photos than words :D
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ChrisW
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby Gable Gable End » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:32 pm

some great shots there. Love the side on shot of the Mark Cottage: I need to get back there to grab the number for renting for a weekend away!
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby Alastair S » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:53 pm

Great report & photos. Yet to do Mount Keen from that side. Might try with my MTB in the summer as the paths look pretty good most of the way. The pull out of Ladder Burn glen looks a bit steep however.
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby malky_c » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:30 pm

That's quite some path that leads to the summit! I'm sure that didn't used to be so well defined on the top section. You seem to have got some nice colours in your photos despite the overcast weather. Fancy giving the photos in my last trip report a bit of a spit and polish? :lol:

Hunt hill is a nice walk too, so something worth going back for 8)
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby dooterbang » Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:51 pm

cracking photos mate.

Well done on getting out, again.
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby PauloUK77 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:12 pm

Great photos Chris,after seeing them I'd be Keen to have a go at this Munro. :lol:
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby Merry-walker » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:33 pm

A very fine report for this beauty of a hill 8)
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:08 pm

Well done again chris w,another fine report and pictures you have there,did this wee gem not long ago with alan s,stretch and jb likes a beer and had a great day out
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby ChrisW » Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:48 pm

Gable Gable End wrote:some great shots there. Love the side on shot of the Mark Cottage: I need to get back there to grab the number for renting for a weekend away!


Thanks - you should have said before I set off, could've got the number for you :lol:

Alastair S on Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:53 pm
Great report & photos. Yet to do Mount Keen from that side. Might try with my MTB in the summer as the paths look pretty good most of the way. The pull out of Ladder Burn glen looks a bit steep however.


You're right Alastair, its a great track all the way....but that pull out of ladder burn will leave you walking I reckon :D

malky_c on Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:30 pm

That's quite some path that leads to the summit! I'm sure that didn't used to be so well defined on the top section. You seem to have got some nice colours in your photos despite the overcast weather. Fancy giving the photos in my last trip report a bit of a spit and polish?

Hunt hill is a nice walk too, so something worth going back for


Thanks malky - overcast conditions are quite good for photography as far as catching colours go, but its a pig for getting the contrast right :? wasn't your last report 'Creag Dhubh (Newtonmore), Creag Liath' there were some cracking pics on that one as I recall...

Will be heading back for hunt hill at some point........soon :D

dooterbang on Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:51 pm cracking photos mate.

Well done on getting out, again.


Thanks dooterbang - I'm loving it, I've got more confidence in the leg now and have pushed it quite hard recently, just a matter of fitness and weight reduction now but even that is already improving :D

by PauloUK77 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:12 pm

Great photos Chris,after seeing them I'd be Keen to have a go at this Munro.


Thanks Paulo.....terrible joke :shock: :lol:
by Merry-walker on Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:33 pm

A very fine report for this beauty of a hill


Thanks MW , it really is a beauty, I will be back that way I'm sure :D

by gammy leg walker on Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:08 pm

Well done again chris w,another fine report and pictures you have there,did this wee gem not long ago with alan s,stretch and jb likes a beer and had a great day out


Thanks GLW, I hurried mine I think...almost killed me :lol: reckon I might go back in better weather and take a slow wander :D
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby rockhopper » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:01 pm

Very nice Chris - you're starting to rack them up now. :thumbup:

Some great colours in your photos - I can never seem to manage to get great photos but then my camera's fairly run of the mill (what's that phrase about bad workman/tools....) :lol:
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby ChrisW » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:31 pm

rockhopper wrote:Very nice Chris - you're starting to rack them up now. :thumbup:

Some great colours in your photos - I can never seem to manage to get great photos but then my camera's fairly run of the mill (what's that phrase about bad workman/tools....) :lol:


Thanks rockhopper, it is fair to say a quality camera helps capture detail and therefore colour saturation but the best way to make the most of any camera is to move away form the 'green square' (auto) and set the exposure yourself.

The auto function on modern cameras is incredible really and so much more impressive than people realise, but exposure is always a trade off and when the light is not perfect (particularly in high contrast like heather and sky) the dreaded green square will sell you out and burn out the sky whilst trying to get the heather a bit lighter so you end up with 'washed out' colours, something like this......
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Often it will be much worse with the sky just totally white and the colour really washy as the auto function tries to balance the light....

ooops sorry mate, I seemed to have turned into a bleeding preacher....its a love of photography that does it...I blame my dad :lol:
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby pigeon » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:33 pm

Some great pictures there chris ,was up there a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it.It's a seemingly never ending road from edzell to the car park though :o
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby ChrisW » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:41 pm

pigeon wrote:Some great pictures there chris ,was up there a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it.It's a seemingly never ending road from edzell to the car park though :o


:lol: you're not wrong pigeon, I hear a lot about the road to Loch Muick being a pain but its only 6 miles, edzell to invermark is 16 :shock: tricky little twister too....got to be careful down there :D
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby lomondwalkers » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:36 am

Great report and pics Chris :thumbup: I really need to get into this photography malarky :D
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby stomper » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:44 am

certainly looks a better route than doing it from the north i think when i get to do this one will do it from this side
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