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Glas Maol

Glas Maol

Postby gary » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:44 pm

Route description: Glas Maol Munros circuit, Cairnwell Pass

Munros included on this walk: Cairn of Claise, Carn an Tuirc, Creag Leacach, Glas Maol

Date walked: 27/11/2011

Time taken: 5 hours

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After two friends joined me to bag their first munro last weekend we were keen to get out again this week, I had also been in contact with Matt18 about meeting up for a walk. We decided to head for Glenshee to tackle the Glas Maol circiut as we would have two cars, allowing us to shave the 4km walk up the road at the end

The only problem was going to be the weather, with severe gales to storm force winds forecast it was going to be quite a task! However after some discusion and deliberation between ourselves we decided to give it a go and if it got to bad we would give up and try again another time.

I arranged with Matt to meet him at 7.30 a.m in the layby at the end of the walk, he would jump in with us and head to the start and upon completion he would return the favour.I picked up Craig at 6.30 a.m and tried to get in touch with my other mate but it turns out he ended up going to the pub on Saturday night and never surfaced until around 10. So the two of us headed up to Glen Shee to meet Matt and he arrived in the Layby just before us which was great timing. Matt and his dog Lenny jumped in with us and we headed to the start point.

By the time we were kitted up and ready to go it was 8 a.m which was just fine as daylight was just coming in.It was not particularly windy at this point but it was very cold. We started off on the path which was very boggy and with the gradual rise the wind picked up and before long we had our first of many snow showers. At this point it was blowing from behind us so it did not feel to bad unless you turned to look back. Before long we reached a much steeper section and altitude was gained quickly and the wind had been picking up steadily and was pretty much gale force by this time and coupled with the snow led to poor visibility but we were all coping at this stage. The shower cleared for a minute or two and I grabbed my first photo of the day.
Looking back towards the road
Craig and Matt haeding towards the summit

It was quite hard going from here and the weather really closed in limiting visibilty but at this stage that was not to much of a problem as we just had to head up basically. At this stage I was beginning to think it was a bad idea to be out but the thought of turning back into the wind and snow was enough to keep me going. After what felt like an eternity we finally reached the first summit of the day. Due to the severity of the wind we only stopped long enough for a few photos then headed towards Cairn of Claise in the hope of some shelter from the wind.
Craig and Matt at summit
Me on summit holding onto my hat to stop it blowing away

Heading down the bealach the snow was never off for long and the wind relentless, we marched on as quick as we could and before long we reached Cairn of Claise the only real difficulty was navigating in the near whiteout conditions and what felt like storm force winds. Again we only stopped long enough for a few photos due to the wind making it very cold
Me and Matt on second summit

We were soon on our way following the old dyke for navigation but had to head away from it as the wind was unforgiving and soon I was chasing my hat. We picked up a path shortly after and followed it eventually coming alonside the old fence posts and heading up towards Glas Maol. This was probably the calmest it had been since half way up Carn an Tuirc. It was also the first time for a while we were able to speak to each other instead of shouting. We seemed to make good progress up to Glas Maol and before long the summit cairn came into view and it was being used by a couple of guys as a shelter for a food stop. Matt was in first and had a chat with the guys but although I was standing in the cairn could not hear a word they were saying due to the wind blowing a gale again. We used this oportunity for a chance to grab a quick bite to eat ourselves and grab a few photos.
Me and Craig on Glas Maol

I think stopping was one of the worse things we could have done as once we got going again it was the first time all day I really felt the cold, navigation from here to Creag Leacach was easy enough as the sky was starting to clear and the next summit was visible, instead of following the old fence line we just headed southwest to join up with the wall when it started and it was about here before I started to feel my hands again. Now it was a case of heading up the rocks to the summit and we passed a few couples on the way down too. It looked quite a steep ascent from further back but it was not to bad, the worst bit being the wind blowing you off course when you aimed to step on a rock. We stopped again at the summit for a quick break as we were making good time and grabbed a few more photos. Then just as we reached the summit the sky closed in again and the snow started.
Craig on summit

We headed along the ridge for a short bit but the wind was really bad so we decided to head down as soon as we found a suitable point. We ended up heading down after about a couple of hundred meters along the ridge which did not seem to steep from the top but looking back up it was hard to believe we had descended it by that route, it worked a treat though as we were soon half way down and the wind had dropped significantly. From here we could see Matts' car directly in front of us. We just kept heading down and followed the stream although this involved crossing it a few times and there was a faint path through the heather which proved quite tricky and I think we all fell at one point or another.
Before long we reached what looked like the remains of an old footbridge but had no spars on it so we had balance across on the beams which was not bad and if we did fall in the car was only another 5mins walk from here.

I was glad to get back to the car but I also enjoyed the walk, it was the first time any of us had walked in wind like that and it certainly made it more interesting.
Looking up towards Creag Leacach from the road. We came down it just before the corner
Mountain Walker
Posts: 80
Munros:236   Corbetts:6
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Location: Forfar

Re: Glas Maol

Postby matt_18 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:58 pm

Great walk in testing conditions! Great report Gary, you certainly remember things in more detail than me! :D
Mountain Walker
Posts: 63
Munros:58   Corbetts:2
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:11   Hewitts:1
Joined: Sep 18, 2011
Location: Methlick, Aberdeenshire

Re: Glas Maol

Postby rocket-ron » Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:00 pm

well done guys on heading out in shocking conditions
Posts: 912
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Joined: Jul 19, 2010
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