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A walk in Glen Clova

A walk in Glen Clova

Postby bootsandpaddles » Mon Dec 29, 2008 10:20 am

Route description: Ben Tirran by Loch Brandy and Wharral, Glen Clova

Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Tirran

Date walked: 22/11/2009

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The weather forecast looked reasonable for the Monday and Tuesday before Christmas so my daughter, Katie, and I set off for Glen Clova. We both wanted to add Mayar and Driesh to our tally of Munros and having accomplished this we headed for the bunkhouse at the Glen Clova Hotel. For £11 each we had an en suite room to ourselves and the use of a well-equipped kitchen. After dinner we walked down to the hotel for a pint only to find everywhere in darkness and the door firmly locked: it was only 8pm! So after a glass of water we had an early night.

We woke to a clear, cold morning with red clouds glowing in a deep purple sky.

Sunrise in Glen Clova

As we plodded up the steep track behind the hotel towards Loch Brandy we looked across to our left and the huge snow-fringed Corrie of Clova caught our eye. We could just pick out a narrow path traversing the east flank of Ben Reid and up onto the plateau above the corrie. It had to be worth a detour. Ploughing through deep heather, we crossed a small burn and headed up the hillside to connect with the path we had spotted. As we climbed higher a herd of about fifty red deer surged up the back of the huge corrie and onto the plateau.

Corrie Clova

Higher up, the path was covered in hard-packed snow and just before the gradient eased a flock of snow buntings fluttered across our path. After all that climbing it was time for a cup of tea. Suitably refreshed we made our way round the corrie to the cairn on The Snub, from which we had a good view of Loch Brandy. Looking to the north-west, the cliffs of Lochnagar were unmistakeable against the clear blue sky and Mount Keen rose up out of the lower ground to the north.

Tea Break: Looking towards Driesh and Mayar

We made our way over undulating frozen ground, across large patches of icy snow, to Green Hill and then carried on more or less due east to White Hill. Then following the line of a new fence up steeper slopes we reached the trig point on Ben Tirran or The Goet. The rock shelter afforded very little protection from the icy wind so we hastily consumed our lunch and more tea and then walked south-east along the ridge to the obvious cairn. From there we headed steeply downhill towards the outflow of Loch Wharral. Icy patches afforded some short bum sliding opportunities to speed our descent. Loch Wharral held two surprises. It was partially frozen, in contrast to Loch Brandy which had been free of ice. And it was home to three swans which, from a distance, resembled small icebergs.

Ice on Loch Wharral

Katie made a bit of a meal of crossing the outflow burn (she never wears her gaiters and always insists on sharing my trekking poles). I took several pictures, hoping to record her falling in.

Crossing the burn

But alas....

Dropping down towards Rough Crag we picked up a path that led us to another burn, which we crossed easily, before following it as it tumbled down to a wood at the bottom of the hill. We entered the wood at a gate and a followed a narrow track through the trees alongside a deer fence until we came to a lochan, which is used for fishing. Here we gained access to the road about ten minutes walk from the hotel.
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Re: A walk in Glen Clova

Postby Paul Webster » Thu Jan 01, 2009 5:41 pm

Great report and really stunning pictures. I seemed to spend the time between Xmas and New Year zooming around Scotland being pursued by dense freezing fog and hearing on the radio how great the weather was everywhere else.

I've had a visit to Lochs Brandy and Wharral pencilled in for quite a while now - probably I'll do them when Helen climbs Mayar and Dreish.
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Re: A walk in Glen Clova

Postby mountain coward » Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:00 am

I'd like to do Loch Brandy and it's surrounding hills soon too and I still need to do Dreish & Mayar. My mother did the Loch Brandy walk a few years back and said that, if the light is right (looking towards the sun I think) and if you walk out into the tarn (in summer this is) on a little peninsula from the back of the corrie, it stirs up loads of gold mica bits and the loch then shimmers gold... would make a great photo!
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