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Leaving the Herd behind

Leaving the Herd behind


Postby Driftwood » Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:05 pm

Route description: Monega Hill and Glas Maol round from Glen Isla

Munros included on this walk: Creag Leacach, Glas Maol

Date walked: 02/06/2014

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 28.75 km

Ascent: 1200m

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The forecasts were not promising (nor for the next day) in the East or West. After some pondering, I decided that the rain and cloud might not reach the Eastern Highlands until overnight, so they may be the best chance of a dry walk, then heading west once they had passed.
My hopes were looking unlikely during the drive around Edinburgh, then past Perth. The skies were low and I'd already passed through some bouts of rain before reaching Glen Isla, but I decided to persevere. The weather was merely drizzly, so on with boots and gaiters for a long approach through the glen.

This is a fine walk in, even in damp and looming conditions, with wild flowers in profusion beside the path (shared with a vehicle track for much of the way), which wanders between the river and a mixture of boggy moss and rough pasture along the broad glen floor. There's still a footbridge (shown on my OS map), though not in a reassuring state of repair.
DSCF3688.JPG
A bridge too far?


I did attempt a short-cut across one mossy stretch, though by and large the simplest route is to keep with the track. The signposted Monega Road climbs (moderately steeply, though I could see a path) that hill, which in turn joins a shoulder of little Glas Maol. I'd decided on a steeper ascent (with a path on the map, though I didn't have a lot of luck following it) north of a bridge and the remains of a building, near to the head of the glen.
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Approaching Caderg


More rain came on as the slope steepened, then eased before increasing to about 45 degrees. I caught a brief glimpse of Monega Hill behind me, then the cloud descended (or I struggled up into it).
The Caderg slope does call for footwear that can cope with steep, grassy and - at the time - wet footing, though at least the ground felt stable. There are crags to either side, though I reached the plateau without incident (or confirmation quite where I had emerged).
This led to some interesting navigating (or, wandering along, trying not to step in anything too boggy or blunder off the crags) to Druim Mor, a practically-flat Top of Cairn of Claise that I'd left out walking some of these hills from Glen Callater last year. There's a cairn, though I wasn't convinced whether that was the highest spot. So I meandered a little before attempting a claggy traverse of the corrie feeding the Glasallt Burn.

Heading west brought me to a vehicle track which turned, divided and climbed gradually. After a mile or so, it levelled and tended eastwards, so I parted company to make a gradual and mildly rocky ascent to the cairn and stone-built trig point. The rain had eased off to damp clag by then, but visibility was still a stone's throw at best. That made for some more interesting navigating west, then southerly, to a broad ridge and stone wall (the old boundary between Angus and Perthshire) to Creag Leacach.
DSCF3702.JPG
Along Creag Leacach


This ridge becomes quite narrow at points - not precipitous, but quite a contrast to the other rounded hills about. I did get a glimpse down into Glen brightly, hinting how steeply the slopes fall away. Then the cloud closed in again, even from the SW Top. I reluctantly opted to return over Little Glas Maol, leaving the Monamenach for another day. The map shows a shelter between Glas Maol and Creag Leacach, though I only noticed it among the rocks while retracing my steps.
DSCF3705.JPG
The wee howf


My route out called for another claggy traverse of Glas Maol's southern slopes, but eventually I picked up the track towards Monega Hill (then fairly quickly branched off south from that).
I stuck with the track, rather than the Monega Road, for my descent. So I can't vouch for the path, but the track keeps an easy gradient and avoided any potentially slippery grass slopes. Even the cloud lifted, giving some views, patches of blue sky.
DSCF3710.JPG
Descending to Glen Isla


A herd of at least a hundred deer watched me warily from across the glen (though too far off to look like much on photos), enlivening the long walk back to my car and something warm to eat. I paused briefly on spotting something among the wildflowers along the river.
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Moths gathering


As it turned out, the weather kept decent overnight, giving me a view up the glen the next morning before I packed up and headed off westwards.
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Isla morning
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Driftwood
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 310
Munros:205   Corbetts:43
Grahams:19   Donalds:24
Sub 2000:19   
Joined: Jun 9, 2011

Re: Leaving the Herd behind

Postby SecretSquirrel » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:54 am

A long(ish) route for 2 hills, but it looks a good choice. I really like the hills in this area, especially routes that avoid the clutter in Glen Shee.
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SecretSquirrel
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 420
Munros:124   Corbetts:26
Grahams:24   Donalds:76
Sub 2000:10   
Joined: Jul 2, 2012
Location: Hamilton

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