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too early

too early


Postby ancancha » Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:09 pm

Route description: Glas Tulaichean and Carn an Righ, Spittal of Glenshee

Munros included on this walk: Glas Tulaichean

Date walked: 03/07/2015

Time taken: 4.1 hours

Distance: 21.2 km

Ascent: 847m

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Glas Tulaichean 20150704.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Friday afternoon and I've had enough and needed out.
When I bought a mountain bike several weeks ago one of the first Munros I thought I'd be doing was Glas Tulaichean. Looking on Google Earth I was thinking hey look you can cycle all the way to the top of that one :!:

Set off and got to Blairgowrie only to discover that the road was closed as they are presumably finally fixing the subsidence at bridge of Cally. No matter, headed for Alyth and back round coming out at the bridge and falls at Dalrulzion. A worthwhile detour

Glas Tulaichean Dalrulzion.jpg


As I was going to cycle I parked at the parking space just in from the gate lodge and started off along the tarmac road

Glas Tulaichean start.jpg


and past Dalmunzie Castle Hotel with the very big thumb screw :shock:

Glas Tulaichean thumb screw.jpg


obviously no half measures if you stepped out of line around here :!:

Baring this in mind I complied with the notice and left the road and continued through the field and round the houses to the start of the railway and landrover track

Glas Tulaichean after gate.jpg


I continued on the landrover track though was considering coming back down the railway track which is very visible on the other side of the

Glas Tulaichean railway bridge.jpg


The track twists and turns and the Lochsie burn needs fording a few times. If the burn where in spate then I doubt you could ford the burn and you'd need to go up the railway track.

The going is pretty easy, although I hadn't gone far before I could see that I'd be off and pushing in the very near future

Glas Tulaichean very first view.jpg


A first view of the Glen Lochsie hunting lodge as well; evidently a very substancial building in it's day, now sadly like so many a ruin

Glas Tulaichean industrial unit front.jpg


The burn needs fording just before the lodge. Plenty of places to cross, for me just a few metres down stream

Glas Tulaichean ford.jpg


Mouched around the ruined lodge and the other ruins which I assume are associated with the quarrying and railway for a while before continuing up the track.

Meant to say that an eagle cried out on the way up the track and I took loads of photos, but it was a very long way away :( This is the best of them

Glas Tulaichean eagle.jpg


On checking out the photos it seems there was another bird much higher up, but not clear what it was.

It was a bit of a slog pushing the bike up the steep track, but I knew it would be very much worthwhile for coming back.
A view of the railway line just to the left of the burn

Glas Tulaichean railway line.jpg


Onwards and upwards and the views are starting to open up. Looking at the satnav I can see that the first slog will end and I will be able to make some good cycling progress along the flatter plateau before the summit. So focused on what I was now calling the cairn of ease in the distance :lol:
Got there and a first good view of Glas Tulaichean

Glas Tulaichean cairn of ease.jpg


Onto the bike and making good progress when a golden plover started distracting

Glas Tulaichean golden plover.jpg


Some fabulous views of the surrounding hills before the final assent up to the summit

Glas Tulaichean last slog.jpg


I'd done Carn an Righ a week or so ago and had at the time intended to take in Beinn Iutharn Mhor and Glas Tulaichean as well, sadly it didn't work out, but I was interested to find out what it all looked like, and this was a great vantage point.

Carn an Righ, Beinn Iutharn Mhor bealach, wasn't the best light for photos in this direction at the time

Glas Tulaichean Carn an Righ pass Beinn Iutharn Mhor.jpg


Met a Ptarmigan on the way up just before the track splits with the better landrover track heading down the ridge that I would have followed the week or so before had I completed Glas Tulaichean as part of my Carn an Righ circuit

Glas Tulaichean ptarmigan.jpg


Got to the summit trig point

Glas Tulaichean bike top.jpg


and walked down the ridge and a great look down into the very wide Glas Choire Mhor

Glas Tulaichean Glas Choire Mhor.jpg


when I heard bird cries again, or should I say squaks :lol:
Turns out they are gulls funning themselves in the updraft blowing up the Choire

Glas Tulaichean gull fun.jpg


An Socach with Loch nan Eun

Glas Tulaichean an socach.jpg


The way the sun was and the clag coming in my photos didn't come out great :(
had something to eat and as the clag had blanketed the summit headed back down. Hadn't gone far before the clag disappeared leaving a beautifully clear and calm Scottish evening :roll:

Got to the lodge and crossed the bridge. This really is an idyllic spot with the waterfalls and seclusion

Glas Tulaichean industrial unit idilic.jpg


Tried the railway line, it would have been fine if walking only, but it is pretty boggy in places and I didn't get far before I just retraced my track, forded the burn again and back. There were other mountain bike treads in the track, so others may have persevered.

As the road at Bridge of Cally would possibly still be closed I opted to cross over to Pitlochry and head back to Edinburgh that way.

Seems my relatively early start for me had been about an hour and a half too early :roll:
I could see the sunset being painted across the now clag free sky and once I got within sight of Ben Vrackie it was fabulous 8)

Glas Tulaichean creamy sunset.jpg
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Re: too early

Postby KatTai » Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:20 pm

Hate to say it but your eagle is a buzzard :(

Nice report though and lovely photos!
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Re: too early

Postby ancancha » Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:22 pm

KatTai wrote:Hate to say it but your eagle is a buzzard :(

Nice report though and lovely photos!


Are you absolutely certain ?
I have lots and lots of other photos I took and they show the very distinctive square tail and large wings going back to the tails.
What makes you so sure ?
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Re: too early

Postby KatTai » Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:45 pm

Pretty sure - first giveaway is the calling, eagles are usually quiet. Secondly the head, the the beak looks a lot too small for an eagle which have a bigger, heavier beak. There is also the hint of the horse-shoe white band on the chest and paler sections on the wings (may help to lighten the photo a bit). The general shape also matches a buzzard. Sorry :(
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Re: too early

Postby ancancha » Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:50 pm

KatTai wrote:Pretty sure - first giveaway is the calling, eagles are usually quiet. Secondly the head, the the beak looks a lot too small for an eagle which have a bigger, heavier beak. There is also the hint of the horse-shoe white band on the chest and paler sections on the wings (may help to lighten the photo a bit). The general shape also matches a buzzard. Sorry :(


Hi KatTai

Same bird

eagle silhuette.jpg


Still a buzzard :?:
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Re: too early

Postby KatTai » Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:24 pm

Very hard to tell from that photo but I'd still probably go for buzzard.
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Re: too early

Postby ancancha » Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:35 pm

KatTai wrote:Very hard to tell from that photo but I'd still probably go for buzzard.


I did take into account the head which isn't clear on any of the photos I got. None of the photos are clear enough to show any plumage colour, it was a long way off, 30x zoom on the photos I took :roll:
The clincher for me was the squared off tail 8)

If you go by the RSPB photos in flight of the Golden Eagle and Buzzard it is very clear that the Buzzard has a very rounded tail
http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/b/buzzard/index.aspx
as opposed to the Golden Eagle
http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoy ... index.aspx
which has a much squarer tail

Would be great if these both impressive raptures would come in close enough for a really good photo :wink:
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Re: too early

Postby Dave Hewitt » Sat Jul 04, 2015 4:09 pm

Looks like a buzzard to me, too. Golden eagles have much more rectangular-shaped wings than the bird shown in the pics, plus they have prominent splayed "fingers" at the wing-tips, again more so than the bird pictured. Here's a good picture of a golden eagle in flight as seen from below:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/35/Golden_Eagle_flying.jpg

The other giveaway is size - buzzards are big but golden eagles are massive - although there's nothing in the Glas Tulaichean pics to give any sense of scale. Also, as KatTai says, the calling is a big clue. I've seen a few golden eagles over the years (but not heaps) and can't recall having heard any of them making a noise. Buzzards by contrast are noisy - there are lots in these parts (Stirling/Hillfoots) and it's commonly the case that you hear them first, then look up and see them. They make a mewing sound - a good example of it is in the soundfile on the RSPB site:
http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/b/buzzard/index.aspx
whereas golden eagles seemingly have a voice that is "weak, high and shrill" and "a particular tendency for silence" (Wikipedia). Tellingly the RSPB golden eagle page doesn't seem to give a soundfile, whereas with almost all birds they do. If the cry you heard was a mewing sound then that pretty much nails it down as a buzzard.

I'm no expert - it needs someone with more bird/wildlife knowledge than me to comment - but if the picture hadn't been labelled I'd have said buzzard without hesitation.
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Re: too early

Postby ancancha » Sat Jul 04, 2015 4:47 pm

Dave Hewitt wrote:Looks like a buzzard to me, too. Golden eagles have much more rectangular-shaped wings than the bird shown in the pics, plus they have prominent splayed "fingers" at the wing-tips, again more so than the bird pictured. Here's a good picture of a golden eagle in flight as seen from below:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/35/Golden_Eagle_flying.jpg

The other giveaway is size - buzzards are big but golden eagles are massive - although there's nothing in the Glas Tulaichean pics to give any sense of scale. Also, as KatTai says, the calling is a big clue. I've seen a few golden eagles over the years (but not heaps) and can't recall having heard any of them making a noise. Buzzards by contrast are noisy - there are lots in these parts (Stirling/Hillfoots) and it's commonly the case that you hear them first, then look up and see them. They make a mewing sound - a good example of it is in the soundfile on the RSPB site:
http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/b/buzzard/index.aspx
whereas golden eagles seemingly have a voice that is "weak, high and shrill" and "a particular tendency for silence" (Wikipedia). Tellingly the RSPB golden eagle page doesn't seem to give a soundfile, whereas with almost all birds they do. If the cry you heard was a mewing sound then that pretty much nails it down as a buzzard.

I'm no expert - it needs someone with more bird/wildlife knowledge than me to comment - but if the picture hadn't been labelled I'd have said buzzard without hesitation.


Hi Dave I definitely heard a shrill cry which made me look over and up, perhaps a buzzard above it :?:
I only noticed the other bird in some of the photos once I'd uploaded them; I was focused on the larger bird

Glas Tulaichean eagle other bird.jpg


I've seen probably hundreds of buzzards as I'm sure most hill walkers have and some of them can be quite big these days, but as you say nothing like on the scale of a golden eagle. I guess perhaps another identification factor would be the fact that golden eagles flap slowly because of the size and drag on the big wings, though I would guess mostly you never see this action as they are riding thermals and updrafts as this bird was mostly although I do have this photo of it flapping

Glas Tulaichean eagle flapping.jpg


here are some more photos which show the end wing feathers

Glas Tulaichean eagle splayed wings square tail.jpg


with the squared off tail.

Glas Tulaichean eagle splayed wings tree.jpg


Because of the square tail, size and speed of flapping I doubt it is a buzzard, perhaps an Osprey :?:

http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/o/osprey/index.aspx

though again the Osprey has the more rounded tail.

Interesting debate, would have been great to have been able to get a photo as close as that in your link for conclusive identificaiton, sais la vie...
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Re: too early

Postby KatTai » Sat Jul 04, 2015 5:51 pm

It definitely isn't an osprey, they have much longer wings and an altogether different shape. The other bird in the photo looks like a martin or swallow - in which case the scale in comparison to the other bird would also point towards a buzzard. None of the photos really say anything other than buzzard to me.
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Re: too early

Postby ancancha » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:24 pm

KatTai wrote:It definitely isn't an osprey, they have much longer wings and an altogether different shape. The other bird in the photo looks like a martin or swallow - in which case the scale in comparison to the other bird would also point towards a buzzard. None of the photos really say anything other than buzzard to me.


Hi KatKai definiitely not a martin or a swallow, on it's own at 3000 feet :?: they hunt and hang around in what I would term swarms at lower levels :!: I doubt the camera as good as it's supposed to be would have picked up anything that small at that distance and displayed it as anything other than a spec anyway. I know the call of swallows and martins, they make them pretty much continuously when they are flying and that's not what I heard. Not many midges at that height for them to eat either :?: Swifts do hunt high so far as I know :?: but again tend to hunt and hang around in packs.

Tend to agree that it wouldn't be an Osprey, though I do have a photo which looks as though the talons are down

Glas Tulaichean eagle talon down.jpg


which an Osprey may do, but it could be just a tail feather out of place, so difficult to say from the grainy photos :(

The shape of the head and beak don't seem right in some photos, but is was a long way away for that detail as well.
Ospreys and Buzzards have rounded tails and this doesn't in any of the photos I have, and that is very clear.

The mystery continues; I think we will all have to agree to disagree on this one with no conclusive verdict either way as the evidence just isn't convincing enough. 'Not proven' as they say in Scots Law or has that now been done away with :?:
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Re: too early

Postby KatTai » Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:34 pm

You could try asking on one of the specialist bird forums, I'm sure there will be people there who can id the bird from the photos you have.
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