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Mount Keen

Mount Keen


Postby iainwatson » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:56 am

Route description: Mount Keen from Glen Esk

Munros included on this walk: Mount Keen

Date walked: 18/12/2011

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 18 km

Ascent: 700m

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Arriving at the car park earlier than planned and with it still being dark i (as usual) decided to have a half hour kip and wait for the sun to begin to rise before setting off.So after getting kitted up i set off up the icy path in Glen Mark and i knew today was going to be a winter classic,there was hardly a cloud in the sky and the sun was rising over the hills behind me,lighting up the Glen and the promise of the summit views put a big smile on my face.
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the start of the track in Glen Mark

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looking back down the track as the sun rises

I wasnt sure how this walk would be,many people dont rate the walk and terms such as 'boring' are often used in the description,maybe is the lack of effort needed or the length of the walk but straight away i was impressed,Glen Mark is lovely and its a nice easy walk in before any real effort is needed to gain height.
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Glen Mark

I reached the Queens Well in just under an hour,something i was looking forward to even though my guide book describes it as
'an odd feature,lacking in interest apart from being visited by Queen Victoria,surrounded by a rather ugly stone structure shaped like a crown'
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Queens Well

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the spring inside Queens Well

i have to say i totally disagree! i stopped here and took many pictures and i was really suprised to see that the well is still flowing,i was tempted to have a drink from it,just like Queen Vic but staying on the side of caution i chose not to and walked on,up past Glen Mark house(which can be rented) and then shortly after the ascent begins on a good path which was iced over but a fresh layer of snow provided enough traction and i reached the cairn at the top in decent time where i stopped for ten minutes to absorb the surroundings.
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Mount Keen appears for the first time on the ascent path

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Mount Keen from the cairn at the top of the track

From here i chose a direct approach to the summit rather than taking the path and it was fairly easy going with the snow only really reaching knee height in places and after 2.5hrs from the van i reached the summit,which was a bit breezy but certainly the coldest i've ever felt any summit to be.
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Mount Keen Summit

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A cold Mount Keen summit

Cue lots and lots of pictures from here,especially of Lochnager and its corrie which looked stunning in its winter covering and i was in my element,snow below my feet and the sun above my head with 360 degree views....does it get any better than this?
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Lochnagar :0)

After lots of hot coffee and a snack i decided it was time to head back,i was starting to lose the feeling in my toes and fingers due to the low temperature and lack of movement so i retraced my ascent route and on the way down i met a few walkers and stopped for a good chat,sharing the delights that the day had served up.the descent was a little more tricky than the ascent as going down the icy path was very slippy but luckily no falls and after passing the house i stopped at the well again for more pics before sauntering back down the Glen to the van.

Just before returning to the van i decided to go up to the remains of Invermark Castle for a nosey and to get some pictures
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Invermark Castle ruins

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Invermark castle ruins

then a short walk back to the van to get changed,before setting off just as a snow shower passed over the area.

A shorter walk than usual but i really enjoyed it and i would highly recommend this for winter,Glen Mark is lovely and the well is worth a visit and the views on a clear day are great :D

a huge thanks to iainG for letting me know the roads in the area were ok to drive,which had been my only worry the night before 8)
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iainwatson
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby pigeon » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:40 pm

Nice one Ian,as you say makes a good wee winter hike :thumbup:
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby Tomsie » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:02 pm

Was my 1st and have being to the foot of it few times since , but neverwent from glen esk always glentanar
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:29 pm

Good one enjoyed that :)
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby Redrock » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:42 pm

The summit picture is amazing - definitely in the deep freeze. :D It's a lot whiter than when I visited! It's great to see the blue skies over the snow! Cheers! 8)
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby pollyh33 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:57 pm

Really enjoyed this smashing report Iain. :D

Gorgeous clear photies but it does look cold !!!! :lol:

Well done for not being a victim of the slippery path :clap:
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby monty » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:59 am

Nice report Ian.
Looks like you got an excellent day for it with sunshine most of the walk :D
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby dogplodder » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:46 am

Did this on a hot summer's day years ago before I was careful about sun screen so got my legs burnt! :lol:

It's beautiful in the snow and your photos capture it so well. :D
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby quoman » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:28 pm

Nice report Ian fantastic photo's

ave still to do that one will try and do it before the end of january.
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby SMRussell » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:13 pm

Did this back in the summer when is was all purple and green with the heather and fern. Looks equally lovely in the snow - tempted to revisit!
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby Graeme D » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:32 pm

Nice stuff Iain! You got a great day for it. As has been said already, you can't beat summit views featuring blinding white snow below bright, deep blue skies. I too did this one day in mid June a few years back (a cracking summer day it was) when it was all greens and purples. Will definitely revisit in the depths of winter one day. 8)
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby Huck Finn » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:40 pm

Really braw photos, This walk makes my top 5, looks even nicer with the snow :D
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby iainwatson » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:50 pm

thanks all for the kind words :D certainly a much easier walk than some of the recent reports but its just great to be out on a day like this

its an area i'd like to go back to at the height of summer but it will have to wait till i've compleated,no repeats till then
(apart from the first two on that south shiel ridge,ha ha)

i was most impressed how well the roads had been tended to with regards to the snow,east renfrewshire was miles worse

polly-hows the finger now?
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iainwatson
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby Graeme D » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:55 pm

iainwatson wrote: its an area i'd like to go back to at the height of summer but it will have to wait till i've compleated,no repeats till then
(apart from the first two on that south shiel ridge,ha ha)


Aye well, if you will insist on wimping out and making a bee-line for the pub at the first sign of some questionable weather! :lol:
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Re: Mount Keen

Postby iainwatson » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:06 pm

ha ha ha,when i was sitting sipping a pint in the warm cluanie inn i was thinking of you hardy souls fording rivers and walking in the dark(wishing i was still there) 8)

i couldnt have carried on that day,3.5hrs sleep,terrible hangover(dont know how that happened :think: ) and pouring rain---a sure sign to head to the nearest pub!
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