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An Socach - Braemar

An Socach - Braemar


Postby ChrisW » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:01 pm

Route description: An Socach from Glen Clunie

Munros included on this walk: An Socach (Braemar)

Date walked: 25/04/2011

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 748m

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Easter weekend was always going to be busy in the Cairngorms so I needed to find a 'less popular' hill to go at. WH to the rescue again with 'An Socach'. I reasoned that anyone making the drive to Braemar area for bagging purposes would be looking at multiple's i.e. the cairnwell munros to make the journey worthwhile and your average 'day tripper' wouldn't even be aware of An Socach.

So I approached the parking spot beside the A93 with a healthy mix of excitement and anticipation, there was only one car parked there and I knew the guess was a good one. The sky was still a whiteout but MWIS tell me that will be gone by 12 noon, so 11am was an excellent arrival time.
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So, kitted up in new lightweight 'summer boots' carrying the usual snacks, an orange and more drinks than a man could possibly need I headed off through the gate and down the ATV track.
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In a very short distance you round a curve to see this beautiful little cottage nestled in the base of the hills
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As the track turns around the cottage it's clear that it is well maintained but currently 'closed up' - a summer let perhaps?
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Behind the cottage is a style, make sure you stick with the ATV track and don't get tempted by the small bridge crossing Baddock Burn
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The glen then opens out in front of you and Braddock Burn switches sides under a small well constructed bridge
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The track makes for good going as it undulates along the glen hugging the lower flank of Sgor Mor
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About 3.5k into the glen you cross the first real ford of the day, an easy task today after such a long dry spell
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Immediately after the ford turn west and begin the ascent of Socach Mor along the narrow track barely visible perhaps reflecting its popularity
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As it was so dry I cut off the path and away across the heather toward the cairn situated midway up Socach Mor
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looking back shows it is a rapid ascent through the heather but good going all the way, perhaps it would be more difficult in wetter times
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Eventually I reach the cairn that is much larger than first expected and so appeared much closer from lower down the slope, its one of those "how much bloody further is that cairn" cairns, Socach Mor is behind the cairn still wearing a small belt of snow on its northen slope
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As someone had taken the time to build a cairn I thought it only proper to sit down and have a cuppa and take in the views across the glen....not just resting :wink:
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zooming into the hill I see a lonely figure wandering down with a small white blob jumping around beside him. It turned out to be the owner of the other car at the layby and his 'westie' , we shared a 10 minute chat about the usual before he went on his way - so now I have the place to myself.
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I set off up the side of the hill with a new kind of excitement that comes from knowing the sky is clearing and you have a 2k flat top to wander about on all by yourself.....the steep side of the hill soon focussed my attention on just getting up it!
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Even at the first false summit the views are fantastic
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and at the next one the same again
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At last the cairn is in sight for the top of Socach Mor which is virtually all of the ascent done
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MWIS got it bang right again delivering beautiful clear skies at exactly the right time - it's difficult not to say 'wow' out loud when faced with such views across to the Grampians..... and so I do...several times
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looking along the top to An Socach at the end of the snow line, just a nice 2k wander in sunshine with blue skies on a warm and beautiful day...all alone....fantastic
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Best have a cup of tea in the shelter first though and grab a pic for the records...
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looking back toward Braemar shows the last of the solid cloud burning away
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then its time to get going to the summit and I'm a little surprised to see a 'well trodden path' in the rocky ground, perhaps this hill is more popular than I thought
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another look over to the Grampians as I cross the saddle
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looking south-west as I wander I am surrounded by stunning views, there is virtually no noticeable ascent as I cross so I can just wander along enjoying the views
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from the southern edge of the saddle Loch nan Eun comes into view sitting above the glen
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soon the summit cairn is in sight and its a slight increase in ascent to finally make the top, though the views around mean you still don't notice any effort to make it
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turns out that is the summit shelter, the cairn is a little further west so off with the bag and a summit wander is in order
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looking back from the summit across the saddle shows the virtually flat top
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to the north the Grampians look spectacular away on the horizon and the lush green glens like a puzzle pathway to get you to them
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best get one of these for the records, I'm not being artistic, there's no trig point up here to set the camera on
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a closer view of Loch nan Eun
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after a good 30 mins up top really enjoying the scenery, the weather, the beauty and the solitude of the place its time to decide on the descent - back the way I came or the drop off half way across the top and down to the track below
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it is tempting to stay up top and go back the way I came because everywhere I turn is a view to good to leave
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as I drop down toward Allt Boruiche and a potential descent that way I take a last look north
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in keeping with my dislike of doubling back on a route I elect to take the route down beside Allt Boruiche careful not to walk across the snow that may well be hiding some dicey drops
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once I have skirted round the initial snow banks a path (of sorts) appears beside the burn
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it's a good descent, steep in places but I can't help but think it would be bloody awful when wet, looking down at my new 'lightweight summer boots' I'm glad this is not the bog it could be
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after a short time I come across the ATV track marked on the map and make my last tea stop on a well sited boulder beside the track
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The track meanders along slowly descending the rest of the way to the bottom of the glen
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There are a number of fords along here but they present no issues today, when its good and wet they might
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Soon I am almost back to the point in the glen where I turned off and headed up Socach Mor
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the open end of the glen looks a lot better bathed in sunlight than it did on the way in
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when the small cottage comes into view it is almost a shame that I am coming to the end of the walk, it seemed very short even though it comes out at 10 miles
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I can't help but envy the owner of this cottage on a day like today
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just a few hundred yards now past the horses along the side of the plantation and I'm back at the car
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When I set out this was a bit of a 'make do' hill to avoid the easter crowds, at the end of the walk it was a little cracker that I really enjoyed and seemed pretty easy too....maybe it was those new 'lightweight' boots :lol:
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Last edited by ChrisW on Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An Socach

Postby Stretch » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:10 pm

Didn't see a thing when I was up there Chris, nice set of pics! I doubt I forget doing this hill for a while, experienced some of the strongest winds I've faced up on that broad summit ridge - and I dragged a fellow American up there for her 1st Scottish hillwalking experience :lol: :lol:
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Re: An Socach

Postby ChrisW » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:23 pm

Stretch wrote:Didn't see a thing when I was up there Chris, nice set of pics! I doubt I forget doing this hill for a while, experienced some of the strongest winds I've faced up on that broad summit ridge - and I dragged a fellow American up there for her 1st Scottish hillwalking experience :lol: :lol:


Thanks stretch, a broad summit has its own value in strong winds :lol: I suspect your fellow American was less than impressed, I can imagine it to be rather dull in the clag.....to say the least :lol:
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Re: An Socach - Braemar

Postby trailer » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:20 pm

Glad to see you did the "proper" top! A lot of guide books and maps don't actually say that the western summit is the highest.
Super photos again too!
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Re: An Socach - Braemar

Postby ChrisW » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:26 pm

trailer wrote:Glad to see you did the "proper" top! A lot of guide books and maps don't actually say that the western summit is the highest.
Super photos again too!


Thanks trailer - I never use guide books, just rely on good old 1:25000 OS maps where each summit has its height detailed....no mistakes then :wink:
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Re: An Socach - Braemar

Postby PeteR » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:37 pm

Another great report Chris. And excellent pictures too :D I don't think it will be too long before I am back in this area for some more walking. This looks like a great walk - so long as you get the rightr weather of course, which you certainly did :D
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Re: An Socach - Braemar

Postby rockhopper » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:42 pm

Great report and photos as usual chris - very timely as well as I'm hoping to get up this way soon :D
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Re: An Socach - Braemar

Postby ChrisW » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:18 pm

rockhopper wrote:Great report and photos as usual chris - very timely as well as I'm hoping to get up this way soon :D


Thanks rockhopper - come on up, the weather's fine :lol:
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Re: An Socach - Braemar

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:27 pm

Some cracking pics there Chris,only 10 mls the leg must be feeling much better
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Re: An Socach - Braemar

Postby ChrisW » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:38 pm

gammy leg walker wrote:Some cracking pics there Chris,only 10 mls the leg must be feeling much better


Thanks Gammy, I reckon its as good as its going to get now...but the fitness still has a way to go :lol:
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Re: An Socach - Braemar

Postby rockhopper » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:26 pm

ChrisW wrote:
rockhopper wrote:Great report and photos as usual chris - very timely as well as I'm hoping to get up this way soon :D


Thanks rockhopper - come on up, the weather's fine :lol:
maybe this weekend....who knows..... :wink:
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Re: An Socach - Braemar

Postby morag1 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:52 pm

Another great report and another fine set of pics :thumbup:

Glad your leg is holding up :)
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Re: An Socach - Braemar

Postby ChrisW » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:10 am

morag1 wrote:Another great report and another fine set of pics :thumbup:

Glad your leg is holding up :)


Thanks Morag, gonna give it a rest tomorrow and have a nice coastal wander I think :D
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Re: An Socach - Braemar

Postby Merry-walker » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:34 am

What a fantabulous report and gorgeous pictures Chris. Can't wait to go back over to Braemar (did I mention I love it there :lol: :lol: )

Great stuff :D
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Re: An Socach - Braemar

Postby jonny616 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:57 am

Nice one Chris

looks like you had a grand day away from the hoards

Regards

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