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Blue skies, big winds, rainbows and wildfire!

Blue skies, big winds, rainbows and wildfire!


Postby 0Neji » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:34 pm

Route description: Mount Keen from Glen Esk

Munros included on this walk: Mount Keen

Date walked: 22/02/2017

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 810m

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It was with trepidation that I set out on Tuesday morning. Forecasts from the night before suggested 90km/h winds at the summit and having never climbed in those conditions, I was a little unsure of what to expect. I'd convinced myself that I'd be happy to get out there and see what the winds were like, and if necessary, turn back having failed to reach the summit.

Having set out at 6am - I decided on a whim to take the scenic route to Mount Keen, passing through the Cairngorms, past Glenshee and back down and around to Glen Esk where I would begin my climb. Blue skies dominated the landscapes as I drove through the ridiculously beautiful hills:

ImageOutside Glenshee Ski Centre by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

ImageRoad in Cairngorms by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

After this slight detour, I finally reached the car par at Invernmark, swapped my boots and headed out - shortly after two other walkers who arrived just before me.

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

Here I was worrying about the wind and upon my first hurdle - a large gate - it swung open for me as if possessed by a friendly ghost. Greeted by an open area surrounded by hills, I carried on following a path which would lead all the way up to the summit.

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

The winds here were staggering, blasting directly towards me making it difficult to breath - not quite strong enough to blow me off my feet but I was already having second thoughts about the whole thing. Still, now I was on the track, I knew I'd be massively disappointed if I didn't see it out. So on I went, finding some respite at Invermark Estate.

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

From there, I could see the path winding up between a couple of hills which I was hoping would shelter me from the wind. As I headed up the path, the wind definitely gave me a much needed respite. At one point, it stopped dead - perfectly still - I was honestly so happy at that moment.

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

I hadn't really Mount Keen and it's summit until a few moments later when it began coming in to view. I passed the first sign of snow and shortly after saw Mount Keen rising up slightly in the distance.

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

As the summit came in closer, things began to get a little more tricky in the increasingly open area. The wind at this point was doing it's best to knock me off my feet but knowing I was less than a mile from the top was enough to push me on. It was slow going as the wind took it's toll, draining both breath and energy out of me. Towards the top, I was greet with the final rocky ascent - the winds kicked up just that little bit more and in a couple of instances, I had to steady myself by grabbing on to rocks as the wind kept fighting. I reached the top to be greeted by the girls who had gone ahead of me. We took some ridiculous summit photos and found shelter just below the trig point.

ImageSmooth by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

I stayed up for 5 or 10 minutes after the girls had left, had a quick snack before taking a couple of shots of the beautiful views - including one almost magnificent panorama.

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

This wasn't quite the end of the story however, as I began to descend back to the car park I noticed a puff of smoke hanging in the air. I wasn't quite sure what it was a first but it became clear as I headed further down. Wildfire had spread up and over the hills below us.

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr

And finally, I rainbow greeted me as I got closer to the car.

ImageMount Keen - 22.02.2017 by Ben Palmer, on Flickr
0Neji
 
Posts: 3
Munros:7   
Joined: Mar 11, 2016

Re: Blue skies, big winds, rainbows and wildfire!

Postby Somerled87 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:37 pm

Lovely walk, great day by the looks of it.
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Somerled87
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 113
Munros:127   Corbetts:10
Grahams:10   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:5   Hewitts:11
Wainwrights:12   
Joined: Feb 20, 2016

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