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Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tirran

Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tirran


Postby Graeme D » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:53 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Tirran

Date walked: 04/12/2011

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 12.6 km

Ascent: 864m

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I had always wanted to save Ben Tirran for a winter walk. I'd seen lots of photos of Lochs Brandy and Wharral, with their craggy backdrops blanketed in snow, and I wanted to see the same thing for myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's a cracking walk on a fine, warm, sunny summer day (should such a thing ever happen), but I had it on the winter list.

My mate Robin was joining me for this one, our first outing together since a fine August day on Meall nan Eagan and The Fara. Since then, he had been through a period of enforced hill abstinence, so I suggested Ben Tirran, with the carrot dangling at the end being the prospect of a pint in the Climber's Bar of the Clova Hotel afterwards - their wood burning stove being another reason I wanted to do this one in the winter months. :D

I met him at his house at 8 o'clock and we piled into the one car and headed through Coupar Angus and Kirriemuir into Glen Clova. By the time we were parked and ready to start walking, it was almost 9.30 and it was clear it was going to be a nippy one. :o

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Clova Hotel from the carpark


We headed through the hotel carpark and the jumble of bunkhouses, chalets and outbuildings behind it and then through the gate and onto the moorland path up to the corner of Loch Brandy.

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Through the gate and onto the open moor with Ben Reid on the left


Robin had never been to Loch Brandy before but remembered his father talking about how he used to go fishing there years ago, so he wanted to see it for personal reasons as well. When he did, he certainly understood why his father cherished it so much, and I had added a new place to my growing list of future family picnic locations (for that nice day in summer, should it ever come to pass!)

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Looking down lower Glen Clova from the edge of Loch Brandy

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Loch Brandy


From the corner of Loch Brandy, we both agreed on the steeper route option onwards, over the Snub and above the edge of the cliffs above the loch.

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Ascending the Snub


The views opened up as we climbed, down the lower reaches of Glen Clova and north west towards Mayar and Driesh and the start of Jock's Road. We stopped frequently, more to try to capture shots of the swirling spindrift than to try to catch breath, but we soon reached the summit cairn.

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Spindrift above Loch Brandy - Corbett summit away in the distance

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Driesh and Mayar

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Robin caught in a flurry

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Loch Brandy from the edge of the crags


From here we could see Lochnagar and Mount Keen to the north, and to our east, the twin rounded domes of Ben Tirran and her actual Corbett summit, The Goet.

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Mount Keen from the Snub cairn

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Driesh and Mayar from the Snub

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Robin looking to Lochnagar


We dropped down to the bealach between the Snub and Green Hill, becoming briefly mired in a bog which had not quite yet had enough prolonged exposure to the winter conditions to provide pavement-like walking conditions.

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More spindrift over Loch Brandy

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Lucy Dog, Loch Brandy and the pale winter sun

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Loch Brandy from on high


Once through that, it was a straightforward meander across Green Hill to pick up the line of the new electric fence by one of the little lochans, and then up to the trig point and my 41st Corbett. 50 by the end of 2012 G - this is a start. :)

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View to Loch Brandy crags from Green Hill

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The loneliness of the plateau

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Little lochan and start of the final pull

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Robin and Lucy marching on

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Distant Mount Keen

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Closing in a bit over Lochnagar


We hunkered down in the shelter cairn with our flasks and lunch, Lucy making herself dizzy going round in circles trying to get as low to the ground by my feet as possible.

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Robin atop the Goet

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Number 41


Robin wandered off after lunch to answer a call of nature, and when he returned, I did likewise. By the time I got back, he was practically on hands and knees behind the trig pillar, a pained expression etched on his face, alternating between wringing his gloved hands and shoving them firmly into his oxters.

We quickly flung on as much gear as we could and made a sharp exit in the direction of the Ben Tirran cairn. I had on thin, silk glove liners with a pair of fleece-lined windproof gloves over them and a big pair of Mountain Equipment mitts over the top and still my hands were wracked by pain from the severe wind chill which I roughly calculated to be somewhere in the region of -372˚C. :lol:

As we descended, the howling gale abated gradually and the feeling came painfully back into our hands. Cameras were well and truly stowed away for the rest of the day and our objective was focused purely on getting to the bar!

We decided to cut across the hillside below Loch Wharral and down towards the hotel that way, rather than descending down to the road and back along the tarmac. Perhaps in hindsight the road would have been a better option as the going was pretty awkward with lots of rough ground and sections of bog.

However, exactly 5 hours after setting off we were back at the carpark and heading inside for a well deserved pint and bag of crisps. :thumbup:

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A fine end to a fine day!


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Last edited by Graeme D on Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby LeithySuburbs » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:02 am

Likewise, on my winter hit list :) . Looks like a good day out :D . Did you not get out this afternoon if school was shut early :lol: ?
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby dooterbang » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:08 am

Great report Graeme.

your photos make this look a great walk.

Well done on Robin getting back out , great to spend time on the hills with friends.
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby Merry-walker » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:32 am

Phwaarrrr, Graeme. :D :D

Fab lovely place. :D
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby Merry-walker » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:32 am

Phwaarrrr, Graeme. :D :D

Fab lovely place. :D
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby Merry-walker » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:34 am

Ha hah a, so good, I said it twice, seemingly :lol:
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby rockhopper » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:10 am

A cracking day Graeme and some great views :thumbup: Think I'd have wanted whisky and hot chocolate at the end to warm me up - certainly looks very cold. Am rather jealous - haven't been able to get out for a while for various reasons and now looks like it'll be a wee while yet :( cheers
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby Bod » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:19 am

Well done Graeme, looks like a lovely day out. Been saving it too....mmmm
:%
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby kevsbald » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:57 am

You are a credit to the hill-walking malarkey.
That looks a great walk and I think I'll need to get that done before Spring is here.
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby iainwatson » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:28 pm

great report as always greame,good to see you getting out in the white stuff!

whats a Corbett? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby Sabbathstevie » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:35 pm

Fantastic report - I loved part of the world when i made my one and only munro ascent back in October and this looks to be an absolute cracker.

Thanks for sharing! :D
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby PeteR » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:48 pm

A great report Graeme :D And great photos too :D

An enforced absence from the hills for just one weekend and I can't wait for my 2.30 am alarm this Sunday so I can get back out there. It's all these reports with snow making me jealous :lol:
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby L-Hiking » Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:26 pm

As always good stuff Graeme, none of the white stuff this far South as yet :( Hope you have survived the bad weather up there?

Thanks for sharing from an envious Sassenach :lol:
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby Morecambe Monkey » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:50 pm

Nice report Graeme,looked lovely up there with the combination of blue skies,sunshine & with snow underfoot,probably my favourite conditions to walk in. Must admit to more than a touch of envy as it's been a month now since i managed a hill walk of any substance. :( Some nice photo's too,though the summit shots look more than a tad cold!
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Re: Feeling winter's opening shot across the bows on Ben Tir

Postby Merry-walker » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:54 pm

iainwatson wrote:great report as always greame,good to see you getting out in the white stuff!

whats a Corbett? :lol: :lol: :lol:



:shock: :wtf: :wtf: :wtf: Shame on you :lol:

Wiki states: Corbetts are the hills that real walkers attempt :lol:
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