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Falling in Love, East of Glenshee

Falling in Love, East of Glenshee


Postby roscoT » Fri Dec 23, 2016 5:16 pm

Route description: Glas Maol Munros circuit, Cairnwell Pass

Munros included on this walk: Cairn of Claise, Carn an Tuirc, Creag Leacach, Glas Maol

Date walked: 05/12/2016

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 19.9 km

Ascent: 1005m

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glas maol munros.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


The last day of 3 in the Eastern Cairngorms and I awoke early in Ballater after a wholly necessary long sleep in the excellent Habitat Hostel, which I had had all to myself. Air temperature was a balmy -7 as I let myself out and drove down the icy A93 with the sun rising over clear skies. The trials of the previous day on the White Mounth had left my legs feeling heavy, and the top of my right foot swollen, but it was nothing a positive mental attitude and lashings of ibuprofen gel could not negate. The plan was to do the Glas Maol circuit, although a spanner was almost put in the works upon arrival at the layby, where I discovered I had made my second schoolboy error in 24 hours by leaving my boots in the car overnight - frozen solid :shock:

Unperturbed, I set off, painfully at first, toward the distant Carn an Tuirc, never to see another sole until I returned to the road 6 hours later :D

ImageCarn an Tuirc from the layby by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1030822 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

In the shade of the sun in the east, it was really cold, but the lack of wind meant it wasn't bitterly so: clear, crisp and sunny: perfect Winter walking conditions. The path climbs gently and steadily, any bog put to the rest by the frost, before arriving at the bottom of the mountain proper past some shielings, where I thought it best to make a bee-line rather than attempt to follow the feint path. Behind me, whisps of cloud were drifting over the illuminated summits of Carn Aosda and The Cairnwell. Ascending further, heavier cloud hung suspended in Garbh-choire.

ImageP1030824 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1030826 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageThe Cairnwell by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageallt a gharbh choire by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagegarbh choire by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1030836 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

The climb continued apace, steeper now. Legs were tired and foot giving me jip, but I knew this would be the longest climb of the day - 'once you're up, you're up' and all that. 100m from the summit, my toils were rewarded handsomely with this view:

Imagewestern cairngorms by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

The final section is a bit more rocky, having to watch footing a bit more closely given the ice, but no real difficulties. Elusive mountain hare aplenty, although I have still never managed to get close enough to them despite many attempts. Arriving at the summit plateau, the panorama was perfect. Good time for a break to consolidate this 3 day fling and growing love affair, I thought.

Imagemountain hares by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagecairn toul etc by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagefinal ascent by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1030846 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagecarn an tuirc summit by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagewind shelter and carn aosda by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1030851 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Continuing eastwards over the rocky plateau, I dropped down for a GANDER at Corrie Loch KANDER (thanks), but realised I should have stayed on the higher side as the loch itself was hidden from view from the west side. Oh well. The walk from here follows a track over gently rising ground to Cairn of Claise. To the east, Tolmount, Tom Buidhe and the White Mounth was enveloped in cloud. The sky was really starting to show some lovely colours, and made for some great shots, even from a terrible photographer such as me!

Imageto Glas Maol by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageinto corrie Loch Kander by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1030860 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

A drystone dyke is reached and followed to the summit cairn which sits alongside. I had thought about linking Tolmount and Tom Bhuidhe from here, but knew my legs and the sunlight hours would not allow it. The cloud cover over those two made my mind up for me. Another stop for some food and (thankfully not frozen this time) water and it was onward, descending into the freezing cloud and the bealach below Glas Maol. I believe there is a path somewhere here, but I didn't find it.

Imagecairn of claise summit by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagebeinn a ghlo...maybe? by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagewall and Glas Maol behind by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1030868 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1030871 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Back above the cloud, the views were still brilliant - no other verbage I can really give it. Heading initially for the distant ski poma, then cutting left, the trig point of Glas Maol, the high point of the day, was reached. I was getting pretty tired by this point, but the view to my final target, Creag Leacach, which looked a lot more characterful than the 3 hitherto, spurred me on - time to suck it up and, most importantly, enjoy it :D

ImageGlas Maol sumit by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1030876 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagefrom Glas Maol by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagethe way forward by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Descending to Bathach Beag then heading north alongside another drystone dyke, I was feeling great again, literally nowhere I would rather be. I saw some yeti footprints down here, however they could have easily been from snowshoes - one can but dream. Time for a meditation, which I have started incorporating into my solo walks (try the 'buddhify' app if you are interested), and onward up the steep and stony subsidiary top of Cul Riabhach, which hides Creag Leacach behind it.

ImageP1030884 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageyeti footprints by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageCul Riabhach by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageCaelochan glen by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

It was a hard push for such a short ascent, 11 munros worth of lactic acid running through my legs, but eventually the 12th and final one was reached. Almost all the cloud of earlier had lifted, allowing for clear views across The Cairnwell pass and beyond, the top sprinkled with remnants of snow. Just great :D

ImageP1030895 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Retracing my steps over Cul Riabhach and back to Bathach Beag, a skirt around the west side of Glas Maol was not kind on my ankles at the steeper parts, after which I made towards the ski tow at the summit of Meall Odhar. Sun beginning to set, I was now thoroughly knackered.

ImageP1030897 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageback to Creag Leacach by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

An easy track now winds it's way down the mountain past all the ski paraphernalia all the way to the ski cenre carpark, 2km from my starting point down the road. But this part of the world wouldn't let me leave her without one final gesture - a beautiful sunset bathing Glenshee and setting my heart on fire. What a trip - I will come back for you one day, my love! :clap:

ImageP1030910 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageglenshee sunset by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1030913 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
User avatar
roscoT
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Re: Falling in Love, East of Glenshee

Postby ScotiaTheOne » Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:15 pm

roscoT wrote:never to see another sole until I returned to the road 6 hours later :D


No wonder if all the water was frozen! :lol:
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Re: Falling in Love, East of Glenshee

Postby jacob » Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:14 pm

Wow, there's some pretty impressive pictures. Great clouds, great light. Nice one :clap:
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Re: Falling in Love, East of Glenshee

Postby rockhopper » Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:17 pm

Superb :thumbup: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Some cracking shots there - cheers :)
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Re: Falling in Love, East of Glenshee

Postby Gordie12 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:53 pm

Hi Ross

These are my "locals" and although not everyone's cup of tea I love them especially with so many starting points and routes to choose from.

Although I make several visits a year I can't remember ever getting a day like that one - looked stunning. Those 3 days fair helped with the Munro count.
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Re: Falling in Love, East of Glenshee

Postby teaandpies » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:23 pm

I done the 6 but didn't get those views. The last hill is the highlight for sure but the walk back up the road almost ended me, I came off the hill much further down :lol:
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Re: Falling in Love, East of Glenshee

Postby jupe1407 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:36 pm

Great trip rep and some of the best photos I've seen of these hills. Very enjoyable :clap:


teaandpies wrote:I done the 6 but didn't get those views. The last hill is the highlight for sure but the walk back up the road almost ended me, I came off the hill much further down :lol:


My other half and I did the same. Finished on Creag Leacach and dropped down to the lower car park. that walk back up the long steep bit of road was absolutely spirit-crushing. She gave up at the ski centre and I had to jog down to the Carn an Tuirc car park for the car :lol:
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Re: Falling in Love, East of Glenshee

Postby teaandpies » Sat Dec 24, 2016 8:17 pm

jupe1407 wrote:Great trip rep and some of the best photos I've seen of these hills. Very enjoyable :clap:


teaandpies wrote:I done the 6 but didn't get those views. The last hill is the highlight for sure but the walk back up the road almost ended me, I came off the hill much further down :lol:


My other half and I did the same. Finished on Creag Leacach and dropped down to the lower car park. that walk back up the long steep bit of road was absolutely spirit-crushing. She gave up at the ski centre and I had to jog down to the Carn an Tuirc car park for the car :lol:


Thankfully I parked at the ski centre :D
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teaandpies
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Re: Falling in Love, East of Glenshee

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:00 pm

What a phenomenal day - so many quite amazing pics. Just wonderful. :clap: :clap: :clap: I've never even considered these hills, but after these pics reconsideration is required...
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