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Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise (from Glen Isla)

Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise (from Glen Isla)


Postby foggieclimber » Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:36 pm

Munros included on this walk: Cairn of Claise, Glas Maol

Date walked: 06/07/2013

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 24.7 km

Ascent: 1280m

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On Friday, I set off to my Mountaineering Club’s weekend meet in Glen Shee. Having ascended most of the hills in this area previously, I initially struggled to come up with a plan.

On Saturday morning, I got Landranger 43 out on the breakfast table and whilst pondering over the map found an interesting-looking glen that I had not been along previously. A few kilometres along this glen, it looked possible to undertake a horseshoe taking in Monega Hill, Little Glas Maol, Glas Maol, Cairn of Claise and Druim Mor – effectively a circuit of the hills above Caenlochan Glen. I decided to give this route a go.

I drove to just beyond Auchavan, in Glen Isla, and parked beside the bridge between Auchavan and Dalhally.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

The initial few hundred metres, starting from the “Public footpath by Monega Hill to Braemar” Right of Way sign, was fairly rough underfoot.

Start of walk from parking area just beyond Auchavan:
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However, it wasn’t long before I was up and onto the excellent-quality track which runs alongside the River Isla leading to Caenlochan Glen and Canness Glen.

Thankfully there was no need to cross the dodgy bridge in the next photo :).

Dodgy bridge over the River Isla:
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As I walked alongside the River Isla, I saw numerous birds including Stonechat, Meadow Pipit and several little brown ones that were beyond my ID skills.

Looking towards Shanovan Hill from Glen Isla:
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Entrance to Tulchan lodge:
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A short distance beyond the entrance to Tulchan lodge, I stepped over the broken section of gate to access the track beyond. The ridge ascending Monega Hill looked fairly pleasant – a nice, gentle grassy slope.

Looking towards Shanovan Hill and Monega Hill:
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On reaching the sign in the next photo, I took to the hillside. The next couple of hundred metres was fairly rough underfoot. I would recommend carrying on along the main track a short distance further to pick up a much better track leading up the hill.

Start of track ascending Monega Hill:
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Once onto the grassy track ascending Monega Hill, I ascended at a nice gentle pace - I was in no hurry :).

Looking back towards Mount Blair, Glen Isla and Monamenach:
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Ascending Monega Hill:
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After passing several cairns during the ascent, I eventually reached the summit of Monega Hill.

Summit of Monega Hill:
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From the summit of Monega Hill, I could see across to the other side of my horseshoe.

Looking across to Cairn of Claise and Druim Mor from Monega Hill:
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The next section of walk, from Monega Hill to Little Glas Maol, only took fifteen minutes. Little Glas Maol is a Munro Top.

Despite having ascended Glas Maol six times previously, all from the A93, this was my first ascent of Little Glas Maol.

Looking towards Glas Maol from Little Glas Maol:
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On reaching the col between Little Glas Maol and Glas Maol, I stopped to take some photos of a Mountain Hare that seemed content to just sit and watch me.

Mountain hare at col between Little Glas Maol and Glas Maol:
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Looking across to Cairn of Claise from col between Little Glas Maol and Glas Maol:
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On looking back, I was surprised to see a Land Rover near the edge of the cliff. I did hear rifle shots earlier that morning – the start of stalking season :(.

Looking back to Little Glas Maol and Monega Hill:
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On reaching the summit of Glas Maol, I spent at least fifteen minutes at the summit having a nice seat and a sandwich.

At the summit of Glas Maol:
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On descending from Glas Maol, I passed a group of circa twelve mountain hares all of which scarpered except for one which stayed still long enough to let me take a photo.

Mountain Hare on Glas Maol:
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Between Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise, I passed another Land Rover.

On the track from Glas Maol to Cairn of Claise:
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Final ascent of Cairn of Claise:
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I stopped for a few minutes at the summit of Cairn of Claise where I had a brief chat with three others who were already sitting at the summit.

Approaching the summit cairn:
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Looking back to Monega Hill, Little Glas Maol and Glas Maol from Cairn of Claise:
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From the summit of Cairn of Claise I made my way across to Druim Mor. Druim Mor is a Munro Top.

Dunlin?:
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Despite having ascended Cairn of Claise five times previously, all from the A93, this was my first ascent of Druim Mor.

View from summit of Druim Mor:
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Looking back to Cairn of Claise from Druim Mor:
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Glen Isla from Druim Mor:
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From Druim Mor, I made my way across to the start of a footpath marked on my map as “Caderg”. On the map it looked very steep. In reality it was also very steep!

Looking back to Druim Mor:
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Glen Isla during descent from Caderg:
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The path descending from Caderg is fairly indistinct in places. It does however make the descent a bit easier so worth finding the path.

Looking back at steep descent from Caderg:
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Caenlochan Glen during descent from Druim Mor:
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During the descent it was nice to come across my first dragonfly of the year. I love dragonflies and damselflies.

Common Hawker Dragonfly:
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On reaching Caenlochan Glen, I knew I now had a long walk back out to Auchavan. It was now really sunny and warm.

Caenlochan Glen:
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During the walk out, I had a quick stop at Bessie’s Cairn before continuing on and out to Auchavan. I have drawn an arrow on the photo showing the steep descent from Caderg.

Looking back to Druim Mor from Bessie’s Cairn:
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Looking along Glen Isla towards Monamenach:
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I really enjoyed this walk. It is a MUCH nicer way to do Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise than the standard route from the A93. It is however a good bit longer.
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Re: Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise (from Glen Isla)

Postby Collaciotach » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:57 pm

Nice one Foggie

Love the 1st pic of the Hare :clap:
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Re: Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise (from Glen Isla)

Postby Driftwood » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:58 pm

That looks a fine route - especially compared to the ski centre direction, but also as an alternative to the Monega Hill > Monamenach loop I've read about.
I've vague plans of doing Glas Maol and Creag Leacach from Glen Isla, but including Druim Mor, so your photos and notes on the Caderg path are very helpful, thanks!
It looks like a fine area for wildlife too (though my bird identification doesn't go much beyond "a little/big/medium-sized brown one").
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Re: Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise (from Glen Isla)

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:14 pm

Hi foggieclimber

Like you, I've done these Munros a number of times but never by this route. Looked like a really good day and one to remember for the future.
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Re: Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise (from Glen Isla)

Postby Sabbathstevie » Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:29 pm

I've had my eye on this area for a while - yet to do any of the Glenshee hills but since I grew up effectively on the banks of the Isla I've always wanted to do a circular starting from Auchaven to follow it to its source in the Caenlochan glen. I'd originally thought of doing the WH route up Monega, Glas Maol and back via Creag Leacach and Monamenach but this looks better since you get almost the full circuit of Caenlochan...but would leave me with a pesky Creag Leacach on its own for another day! :crazy:

Great report, many thanks for sharing.
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Re: Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise (from Glen Isla)

Postby jmarkb » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:36 pm

Sabbathstevie wrote:but would leave me with a pesky Creag Leacach on its own for another day!


I wouldn't get too hung up about bagging these hills in the most efficient way: there are quite a few good routes in that area that are better than the standard bagging ones. Since these hills are easily accessible from Edinburgh and often have the best weather in the Highlands, you will almost certainly end up repeating some of them in any case. I've done Glas Maol 8 times by at least 4 different routes!
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Re: Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise (from Glen Isla)

Postby Sabbathstevie » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:56 pm

jmarkb wrote:
Sabbathstevie wrote:but would leave me with a pesky Creag Leacach on its own for another day!


I wouldn't get too hung up about bagging these hills in the most efficient way: there are quite a few good routes in that area that are better than the standard bagging ones. Since these hills are easily accessible from Edinburgh and often have the best weather in the Highlands, you will almost certainly end up repeating some of them in any case. I've done Glas Maol 8 times by at least 4 different routes!


I agree. I've never liked the idea of "see how many you can bag in a day" approach from the Cairnwell Pass and have constructed routes (though not attempted any of them yet) that would offer the best views/experiences while getting these hills. So I'm looking at Leacach and Glas Maol from Glen Isla, Cairn An Tuirc and Cairn of Claise from Glen Callater (ascend via Coire loch Kander doable?) and Tom buidhe and Tolmount from Glen Doll... At least that's what I had planned until this circular of Caenlochan was thrown into the equation!
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Re: Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise (from Glen Isla)

Postby jmarkb » Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:10 pm

Sounds like a good plan!

Sabbathstevie wrote:ascend via Coire loch Kander doable?


Yes: about 1km of fairly rough going from Jock's Road to Loch Kander, then quite steep but grassy and straightforward slopes NW of the loch. You can include Creag nan Gabhar to make a nice circuit.
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Re: Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise (from Glen Isla)

Postby Driftwood » Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:23 pm

jmarkb wrote:Sounds like a good plan!

Sabbathstevie wrote:ascend via Coire loch Kander doable?


Yes: about 1km of fairly rough going from Jock's Road to Loch Kander, then quite steep but grassy and straightforward slopes NW of the loch. You can include Creag nan Gabhar to make a nice circuit.


I didn't tread the Coire Kander route, but will second the suggestion of adding Creag nan Gabhar to a Glen Callater approach. It would probably mean a slightly stonier descent from Carn an Tuire, then a heathery stretch, but much of it can follow tracks (if you chose).

I included the Tolmount and Tom Buide from this direction, which made for a longish walk, but does show the Tolmount's finest side. Well, I think it has at least one fine side. :)
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Re: Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise (from Glen Isla)

Postby Sabbathstevie » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:14 pm

Driftwood wrote:
jmarkb wrote:Sounds like a good plan!

Sabbathstevie wrote:ascend via Coire loch Kander doable?


Yes: about 1km of fairly rough going from Jock's Road to Loch Kander, then quite steep but grassy and straightforward slopes NW of the loch. You can include Creag nan Gabhar to make a nice circuit.


I didn't tread the Coire Kander route, but will second the suggestion of adding Creag nan Gabhar to a Glen Callater approach. It would probably mean a slightly stonier descent from Carn an Tuire, then a heathery stretch, but much of it can follow tracks (if you chose).

I included the Tolmount and Tom Buide from this direction, which made for a longish walk, but does show the Tolmount's finest side. Well, I think it has at least one fine side. :)


I agree - it looks like Tolmounts best side faces Glen Callater but I really want to get in and about Coire loch Kander! Plus I have a long standing love affair with Glen Doll so any excuse to get up there (for Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and maybe the two southerly white mounth Munros) is a tempting one.

So sorry for hijacking your post Foggieclimber, but it shows the kind of interest a new take on familiar hills generates! :)
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Re: Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise (from Glen Isla)

Postby foggieclimber » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:50 pm

No worries, re hijack.
Another good route for Tolmount and Tom Bhuidhe is a traverse from Auchallater to Glen Clova via Jock's Road.
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