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Sleep walking in Gleenshee.

Sleep walking in Gleenshee.


Postby teaandpies » Sun Sep 27, 2015 2:56 pm

Route description: The Cairnwell Munros

Munros included on this walk: Carn a'Gheoidh, Carn Aosda, The Cairnwell

Date walked: 24/09/2015

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 595m

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For anybody that has an ambition to complete all the Munros they will have to do these hills. Described by Cameron McNeish as the most depressing of all the Munros. Having paid a visit to Glenshee last month to nab 6 Munros on the west side of the road http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=55774 and I got a little taste of the area and why the place is so belittled by many, not all, but many of the hill walking community.

Knowing the reputation of the place I had devised a plan to walk these hills in a slightly different order from Carn a'Gheoidh to Carn Aosda via Cairnwell.
The plan was to park up at the ski centre before walking back down the road (A93) about 4km and picking up a road that goes off onto the hills at Rhiedorrach. Looking at the 1:50 Landranger Map you will see some detail but no marked path to the top of Carn a'Gheoidh...HOWEVER...if you check out satellite images you can clearly see an old road that forks off from the one that goes up Creag nan Eun and follows Allt Coolah parallel to it's source pretty much before meeting a path that will be the last pull to the top of Carn a'Gheoidh and from there you just finish the loop the standard way.

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That was my plan anyway, not the most ambitious but different from the norm. SO, I put the idea to Matthew and Samantha on Wednesday(23rd) night as we were going to the cinema together. I didn't sense much enthusiasm for my idea before the conversation was swiftly changed to the actual drive to the Ski centre, more specifically the last long hill that takes you up to the car park as last month the small engine in the hire car couldn't really handle it very well and as Samantha drives a car with a small engine that struggled at points getting to Schiehallion she wasn't enthused for that either. I told he she should try walking up that bloody road :shock: :lol:


Walk Day

Poor Matthew has to had to get a train from Crossmyloof at 7am but he couldn't get to Annisland until 7:41am, 40 minutes to travel 4 miles or something in the same city, pretty disgusting how backward Glasgow is at times. Anyway, we picked him up from Anniesland train station and made our way along Great Western Road joined the motorway with no problems, the journey to our destination is a fairly long one, it'll turn out to involve more driving that actual walking :crazy:

We arrived at the Glenshee Ski Centre around 9:45am, only having just made it up that slope in the wee car. To reinforce the nature of this place the first thing we saw as got around the corner was a helicopter working away lifting cement from the overflow car park (which was ringed off with cones) to a spot half way up the Cairnwell :crazy:

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We set off directly to the Carn Aosda about 10am, all thoughts of the longer walk abandoned. The first bit of walk was pretty steep I have to say and the road wasn't as well maintained as I thought it would be. If fact, it was pretty poor. Big boulders sticking out, deep troughs running down the road and generally very uneven. The maintenance road up the Cairngorm mountain is in far better condition. We didn't follow the all the way up, we decided to turn off it and take a more direct route straight up one of the land scars through the clag to the sign that lets you know where you are...but we/I thought the sign was pointing along the road so we followed the road around expecting to see some further walking to be down but actually there was none to be had. Out of the gloom we spotted a cairn, just like that we were at the top and there were no other folk there. Ok, we were huffing and puffing on the steep slope but to be standing on the summit of a Munro just over 30 minutes after starting is kind of strange. It would have been sooner if...

A) I hadn't stopped to take a bunch of pictures of nothing really...

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B) We didn't mess around before making our way to the summit cairn :lol:

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Just head straight up the slope here!

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Sarcastic poses at the claggy summit

From the summit we followed the road down from Carn Aosda that would take you to the Cairnwell however just above Loch Vrotachan we took a narrow path that cuts across the hill to start our walk to our Carn a'Gheoidh. This path was very boggy, so that was the girlfriends feet wet then :lol:

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The boggy path

If you ignore this path and walk up the road just a little further there is a better path that branches off for the walk to Carn a'Gheoidh but to be fair neither is marked on the map and in the clag we couldn't see it.

Eventually the 2 paths merge and it's just a case of walking across the to the moor, by this point we had left the noise of the helicopter well behind.

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There are many paths that scar the land between the hills here, I think it's really about time somebody makes the decision to build a couple of proper paths for walkers to follow so damage on the land here is limited. I personally don't see this place as a lost cause. We spotted a beautiful female Ptarmigan, tons of Grouse, hares galore, deer, little birds, Ravens and other predatory birds. There are things worth preserving here from the ground up.

It doesn't take that long to cross the land between the Ski Centre and Carn a'Gheoidh, it's easy going until you reach the short pull up to the summit which is just steep enough to remind you that's your hill walking.

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We stopped to have lunch at the summit in the little shelter. This was the second summit we had gotten to without any views and again had to ourselves, which did come as a bit of a surprise.

Heading for Carn nan Sac...

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From Carn a'Gheoidh we trudged our way to Car nan Sac and as we were on our way there the cloud was starting to lift and the views were opening up nicely. We got some cracking views across to Creag Leacach, my favourite hill in the area and of course across to the Cairnwell itself. I was impressed by the scale of the place, the gap between Carn nan Sac and The Cairnwell isn't far but it's deep and I was very happy that there is a nice wee ridge walk to get around to it :lol:

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The walk from the Carn nan Sac to The Cairnwell was the best part of the day, what a difference a view can do to your mood.
We took a well worn path up the side of The Cairnwell which got the lungs going again. There comes a point in the path that forks and you have an option to follow the path around on a more gentle rise to meet the road or take a steeper approach that involves a small scramble before reaching the road, we opted for the latter to add a bit of interest to our walk, it was a short little scramble but fun. From here we nipped across to meet the main path up to the summit.

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The road to the summit is steeper than it looked from afar so the head was down and I puffed my way to the top. Yeah, The Cairnwell what can I say that's not been said already?

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How badly did I want to climb to the top of that tower for a better view? Am I the only person who wanted to do this?

We probably hung around the summit for longer than normal and again, we had this one to ourselves too. I tried the doors of the hut, checked out the nasty wee shed and done a little pole dancing on the communications mast base :lol:

10KMs walked but with little effort. The walk leaves you feeling unsatisfied to say the least. We made our way off the summit and just followed the road to the bottom, as simple as that.

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We did nip in for a cup of burnt coffee and dried out cake served by some kid that obviously just doesn't give a crap about his job.

The drive on the way home was more exciting than our walk...we were stuck behind an old woman driving a Skoda at 40mph :roll:

Hardcore hill walkers will struggle with this place, sure you can mix up the approach to the hills but there is no way off avoiding the development here. It's a very easy day out and for most people it's just a case of ticking these off a list. When the views opened up I rather enjoyed the walk, I tried to keep myself from focusing on the bad by trying to orientate myself by looking at the hills in the distance and putting names to them, something I'm pretty bad at but I'm still learning and trying to learn what I can when I can.
Last edited by teaandpies on Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:48 pm, edited 4 times in total.
teaandpies
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Re: Sleep walking in Gleenshee.

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:10 pm

Read your report then realised it's years since I did these three. Seem to remember I enjoyed the walk out and back to the more remote hill but the rest of the walk was distinctly average.

I've climbed nearby hills Carn an t-Sagairt Mor 13 times and Broad Cairn 12 times but never been back to Carn Aosda and pals which probably says it all.

Bit of a clag bound day, at least it cleared up later on for you.

I would have killed for 40mph along Loch Lomond on Saturday afternoon, somebody thought 30 was plenty and still needed to break for every corner. Not sure if they looked in their mirrors to see the large queue behind but either way they weren't tempted to pull over and let everyone past - made for a long journey back from near Inverary.
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Re: Sleep walking in Gleenshee.

Postby kaye.cantlay » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:16 pm

I did those 3 but added on An Socach too - made for a tough enough day that way - and they were so of my first solo Munros - so I really enjoyed them.
Compared to what I've walked since, I guess they were a bit benign
:-)
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Re: Sleep walking in Gleenshee.

Postby jmarkb » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:36 pm

Gordie12 wrote:Read your report then realised it's years since I did these three. Seem to remember I enjoyed the walk out and back to the more remote hill but the rest of the walk was distinctly average.

I've climbed nearby hills Carn an t-Sagairt Mor 13 times and Broad Cairn 12 times but never been back to Carn Aosda and pals which probably says it all.


Doing Carn a' Gheoidh from Spittal and including Ben Gulabin and Carn Binnein in a round is a decent day out, and Carn Aosda's north ridge from Baddoch is worthwhile for a short day, or as a better way to start the 3.

Even I have to admit it's hard to love Cairnwell, though.
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Re: Sleep walking in Gleenshee.

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:52 pm

jmarkb wrote:
Gordie12 wrote:Read your report then realised it's years since I did these three. Seem to remember I enjoyed the walk out and back to the more remote hill but the rest of the walk was distinctly average.

I've climbed nearby hills Carn an t-Sagairt Mor 13 times and Broad Cairn 12 times but never been back to Carn Aosda and pals which probably says it all.


Doing Carn a' Gheoidh from Spittal and including Ben Gulabin and Carn Binnein in a round is a decent day out, and Carn Aosda's north ridge from Baddoch is worthwhile for a short day, or as a better way to start the 3.

Even I have to admit it's hard to love Cairnwell, though.


Hi jmarkb - assume that would be going over Carn Chrionaidh? If so, I've looked at it several times when driving past and thought about it but never got round to trying it.
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Re: Sleep walking in Gleenshee.

Postby ancancha » Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:58 pm

It ain't so bad if you get the views to the west, but if not then it is pretty grim :(
As you say though plenty of wildlife, especially big fat mountain hares 8)
Guess perhaps if it's covered in white stuff it's more entertaining, done quite a bit of ski touring in the area, less boggy around Loch Vrotachan if it's covered in the frozen white stuff :lol:
Looked like there were dismantling and rebuilding the chair up to the top of the Tiger, hence the chopper for the cement I guess.
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