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Glas Maol and Creag Leacash

Glas Maol and Creag Leacash


Postby Myth » Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:06 pm

Route description: Glas Maol Munros circuit, Cairnwell Pass

Munros included on this walk: Creag Leacach, Glas Maol

Date walked: 22/09/2008

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Glas Maol Munros route description

September 2008, 2 adult, 2 teens, 1 old dog. Long time since our last outing...

We've been here before trying to get this route done, and left because of low cloud only to see it open up again later from Cairn of Claise... so when we woke in the morning and saw cloud at 600m, we assumed that the MWIS forecast for clearing was reasonable. We travelled light, but did need Jackets and gloves.

From the car park just south of the Devils Elbow, we crossed the stream and headed North up the Leachann Dubh "ridge" with the wind behind us. This has a first class path/track, and lots of grouse, and a couple of stag nearer to the ski ironworks... pooch did not appreciate walking to heel. We walked into quite heavy cloud at about 650m half way up the ridge, but up to the lifts, it's easy and clear going. The tracks on the ground didn't match my 1:25000, and where was that shed? But by turning uphill/ eastish at every opportunity we reached the top lift without any difficulty.

From the top of the ski lift I let the kids do some navigation: visibility was well under 25m here, so I guided their map & compass work, and we sighted/leapfrogged off and stuck to our bearing. Glas Maol is a big dome, with a nice not-quite-scramble to lift up the side of the dome, then a good walk (when following a small girl with a compass, no clear track and swirling 20m-40m viz) to the summit cairn. LONG time since my last visit here, but I remembered the cairn/shelter, and we paused for hot chocolate. After not seeing anyone on the way up, we saw another 4 groups within 300m of the top... dog did his usual "meet and greet" service.

Since we were still in cloud I again set a bearing for the trip towards Creag Leacash, aiming to cross over the top, down a little to make the rise clear, then rising to the ridge/cairns from whence to follow the wall south. Worked well, with the kids (finally) appreciating that crossing a slope on a bearing with 20m-40m viz is hard work.

The Ridge is well rounded with lots of sharp, loose rock - like scree but on the flat! We stopped by the shelter (lovely workmanship - complete with hare carcass) and chatted to two other pairs of walkers, and the cloud started to go whispy whcih raised viz to about 100m for the last set of rise/fall/rise over the very rocky lumps before the summit. I managed to twist my ankle, and the dog wrenched his shoulder on this section, but neither badly... he was limping more than me!

The Summit of Creag Leacash was almost disappointing, given that we could see nothing from it - usually you can see the pinnacles of the ridge to North and South, but we saw nothing. We didn't stop but carried on, over the next top (impressive cairns) and thence dropped straight off the hill down to the stream. Just as I was setting the compass to navigate over towards Meall Gorm, we dropped out of the clouds at about 800m, and cut straight for the bottom of the glen. No real path here, but here's a tip - cross back over the stream to the North side, and go UP and along - the paths nearer the stream are sheep trails and all difficult unless you have 4 paw drive (and even he was struggling with his wrenched shoulder).

In spite of not seeing anything from above 800m it was a good walk, and appreciated by us all, possibly nice not to see all the ski hardware, althougy I would have enjoyed seeing something from the summits... Would not fancy doing it the other way about - the haul up the slope to the south west of Creag Leacash is steep.

Simple, enjoyable, and an easy 6ish miles.
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Re: Glas Maol and Creag Leacash

Postby Paul Webster » Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:40 pm

Good report. Hope your ankle is ok - is it the same one giving you trouble earlier in the year?

I had my wettest ever day in the outdoors walking over these hills - the less said the better - but really enjoyed them on another day with lots of snow. The Munros in that area are about the right level of difficulty for winter conditions for me.
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Re: Glas Maol and Creag Leacash

Postby goth_angel » Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:02 pm

Glad you had a good day despite the weather. We did these just over a month ago and had the views from the top but it closed in pretty badly when we were on the way down.
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Re: Glas Maol and Creag Leacash

Postby bio-man » Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:20 am

Good description Myth. Did these Munros in 2005 alongwith the 3 opposite starting from the ski-centre. Was at a time when I was ticking them off and got them out of the way quickly, really put off by the ski centre, crowds and lifts. Highlights were the winter conditions and the stay at the Spittal of Glenshee with the large open fire.
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Re: Glas Maol and Creag Leacash

Postby Myth » Tue Sep 23, 2008 4:45 pm

Yep, same ankle Paul - I'm usually good at protecting it, after seriously damaging it 25 years ago! It's been weak ever since, and I've almost perfected a half-fall-kneel-step-recovery that apparently looks awkward but usually lets me avoid a real twist, just leaving a minor tweak.

It was GREAT just to get out again - abroad for over a month in the summer, and all the planned trips since then have been usurped by higher priority events... BAH!

We saw most of the views when we did Lochnagar and the pair due North from Glas Maol last year - but I did want to see South...

found that kids BOTH need new jackets and boots - predictably didn't tell me until we were walking. "Dad, my toes are touching the front" he says "Argh" says I. "So are Mine" she says "*bleep*" I yelled to passing ptarmigan. Silly blighters had still stuffed two pair of socks in, so some respite was possible, but they do both need new - and their Columbias are still in fantastic condition compared to my KSBs (which leak, I think through sole) which are now so comfortable I'm hanging on to them in spite of their condition...

Talking of ptarmigan, I forgot to mention them - we saw two BIG coveys on top of Creag Leacash's southern top - about 20 in one, 10-12 in the other. All busy shedding their white and very reluctant to flight.
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Re: Glas Maol and Creag Leacash

Postby ConnieW » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:12 pm

We did this the other way round last Sunday and spent some time aimlessly wandering about in the mist. Obviously our compass navigating skills weren't quite up to scratch. But we came across the wreckage of an ultralight aircraft or hang glider, looked fairly recent to me. Does anybody know anything about this?
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Re: Glas Maol and Creag Leacash

Postby Can 0f Airy » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:27 pm

Hi Connie. This explains what happened:

Microlight pilot walked away from mountain air crash

It seems he was very lucky indeed!

Like you, I did this route the other way round. It was in winter conditions and I had a hangover. There's nothing like fresh air to sort you out.
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Re: Glas Maol and Creag Leacash

Postby ConnieW » Fri May 01, 2009 7:29 am

Very lucky indeed. Thanks
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