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The Glenshee Massif - A weekend of 2 halves

The Glenshee Massif - A weekend of 2 halves


Postby Jaxter » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:18 pm

Munros included on this walk: Cairn of Claise, Carn a'Gheoidh, Carn an Tuirc, Carn Aosda, Creag Leacach, Glas Maol, The Cairnwell, Tolmount, Tom Buidhe

Date walked: 15/04/2017

Time taken: 10.5 hours

Distance: 39.37 km

Ascent: 2160m

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The savage wind that had been sweeping the country hadn't dropped (maybe my wind dance wasn't good enough :lol: ) but it was the last weekend of the Easter holidays and I was determined to get out somewhere. The direction of my "somewhere" was determined partly by the forecast (mad windy everywhere but visibility better east) and a crashed lorry causing havoc on the A82 which I was keen to avoid :shock:

Despite feeling seriously lethargic (and battling a serious addiction to back episodes of Silent Witness) I readied myself, slept through my alarm and headed up the road, mercifully only about half an hour behind schedule :roll:


Glenshee day 1.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Finally arriving at the car park just before the Glenshee Ski Centre, I could feel the car being buffeted about by the wind and was reluctant to get out the car.... but I had to at least try now I'd got this far and at least the visibility seemed good :thumbup: I readied myself inside the car and headed off quickly up the track in an effort to get some warmth into my limbs. The track was steep and I was warming up when I was out of the wind, but then I'd be out of shelter and was getting battered :shock:

More Type 2 Fun :D :thumbup:

The views down Glenshee were stunning, but it doesn’t tell the whole story :lol:
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Ahead to Creag Leacach
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The track took me to the top of the ski lift and I took a path to the right which traversed across the front of Glas Maol and brought me out on the ridge leading to Creag Leacach. I met a fellow crazy human who warned me it was difficult to stand at the top. Fabulous... :crazy:

These hills never seem to get a good write up from anyone, but wind aside, I was pleasantly surprised so far - apart from yet another boulder field this ridge was much more exciting than I had expected :thumbup:

Glas Maol from Creag Leacach
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Creag Leacach
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I met another fellow crazy human at the summit - he had come up the other side. He was heading the same way as me, so we had a nice chat all the way to Glas Maol, which was the most interesting thing to be said about this part of the journey! My companion was on his 5th round and was excellent company. We parted company at the summit of Glas Maol and I hunkered down in the shelter to get out of the wind for a few minutes and check my bearings. There were lots of people coming and going here, clearly the wind wasn't scaring off many people!

Does anyone else have those moments where your brain does this:
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I was wondering why my bearing was sending me back the way I'd just come from... fortunately one of the many people I was chatting to at the time turned my map the right way up and suddenly my bearing made sense.. face palm.... :roll:

Glas Maol
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Glas Maol looks a bit more interesting from this angle!
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An easy to follow track led across the gentle ups and downs leading to Cairn of Claise. I met lots of people here, all agreeing that we were a little bit insane :lol:

Ahead to Cairn of Claise
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A bit more boulder hopping was required to reach the summit where I met a man hiding behind a wall. I think he was sheltering from the wind...if it was me he was hiding from he wasn't very successful :lol: He pointed out Tom Buidhe - an almost unnoticeable lump with a snow patch just below the summit being the only distinguishing feature.

Tom Buidhe & Tolmount
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Lochnagar
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Glas Maol and my new pal
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Western Glenshee hills and Glen Ey behind
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Another windy summit
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I decided I would kick myself if I didn't, so off I went, fortunately there was a clear path all the way across some bog and lumps and bumps, all the way to poor Tom who is the lowest rated Munro. It didn't help that I arrived at the summit during a blizzard - the skies had opened and snow was being pelted at me at something around 50mph. Eww.... :crazy:

Tom Buidhe summit
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Tolmount
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I moved on quickly and once I was slightly more sheltered I added more waterproof layers and some trendy sunglasses so I could actually keep my eyes open :lol:

Visibility was pretty rubbish (even with my eyes open) but I could see enough to guide me across the boggy bealach and to pick up a vague path which became more obvious as I climbed. This path brought me quickly and easily to the summit of Tolmount, a hill with slightly more character than the previous, and fortunately a bit more shelter which I utilised for my first Jaxter of the day!

Rocking the blizzard protection :lol:
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Fortunately the blizzard abated so I was able to enjoy some views - the approach from Glen Calater did look more interesting (one of the people I had met earlier had been camped down there)

The return of visibility also had the advantage that I could see my route ahead!
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Lochnagar (behind) and Glen Calater
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Mayar and Dreish and Corrie Fee
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So off I went; I tried to avoid losing too much height but I still ended up crossing some very moist ground. This was probably the least enjoyable bit of the day - the blizzard was on and off blowing snow at me, I underestimated the stability of some snow and landed in a (mercifully small) stream and I was plodding up pathless bog :crazy: However, at last I topped out and was back on the ridge. The sun was out, I was on a path and I could see my route ahead! Bazinga :thumbup:

Suddenly enthused again I headed along, taking the left fork diagonally across the side of Cairn an Tuirc which brought me out in between two cairns. I was sure the summit was to the left but decided to visit them both anyway. Another very welcome shelter was waiting for me at the summit.

Cairn an Tuirc summit
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Gorms
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The Cairngorm Massif
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Some impressive corries
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Lochnagar again
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I had already decided that I wasn't going to attempt the 3 the other side of the road today (too much wind) which was going to leave me with a bit of a road walk at the end...a map check confirmed that cutting across would not make things any easier.

Bracing myself for the wind, I headed off the summit. And guess what...yet more boulders.... :crazy: Fortunately they didn't last too long and I soon picked up a path that wound its way down the steep face of the mountain. Looking back it looked even worse :lol:
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Looking back up
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The pretty Glen and Carn Aosda ahead, a mountain for tomorrow
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A bit of bog hopping and a thankfully easy river crossing saw me onto a good path which led me all the way down the Glen…
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…past some lovely waterfalls (further proof that the glens are prettier than the hills themselves in the east!)…
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…and brought me out at a bridge and the road. A couple of tents were pitched here, not a bad spot!

Sadly despite there being 6 cars parked here, there were no evidence of people so it looked like I was walking... to be fair, compared to walking along the A82 this was a joy.

I met some deer – the 3 stooges :lol:
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But I was very relieved to see Blondie, the bright yellow beacon heralding shelter from the wind, and a warm dry seat :lol:

I stopped off at the Glenshee ski centre for their facilities (sadly the cafe was closed) before continuing down the road a short way to find somewhere to pitch my tent.

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Tented and Tea-ed, and using the sunnies for sun now :lol:
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The wind had already dropped noticeably and with the exception of one snow shower, I enjoyed a relaxing evening :thumbup: 8)

The following morning I was reluctant to get out of my nice warm cocoon but the thought of hot chocolate finally stirred me :lol: I managed to enjoy a hot drink and my breakfast while still 3/4 inside my sleeping bag. Outside looked dry and clear but cloudy. And white :shock: ok not super white but there was definitely a dusting :thumbup:


glenshee day 2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



I drove the short distance to the ski centre and headed up the track. It was lightly snowing...once past the ski hut the track got steeper and steeper....and the snow heavier. But I was at the summit of Carn Aosda in 23 minutes, a new record I think!

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The Cairnwell and Carn a’Gheoidh
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Glas Maol & Creag Leacach beginning to hide away
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The weather seemed to be closing in, so I grabbed a few snaps and got a move on. It was another easy track to follow but the snow was getting heavy so stopped to add goretex. I could just about see Carn a'Gheoigh ahead in the mist, but visibility was getting worse by the minute. By the time I reached the bealach above Loch Vrotachan, Carn G had vanished.

Loch Vrotachan
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Thankfully there were clear paths and viz wasn't so bad I was going to walk off a cliff! As I made my way onwards I met a couple from Northern Ireland, could only apologise for our weather :lol:

Carn nan Sac and Carn a’Gheoigh just about visible
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A semi-frozen lochan
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I passed Carn nan Sac and then traversed across the hillside to a steep pull up onto a boulder-strewn plateau with a large cairn. Relieved to have made it, but not having any views to enjoy I risked getting my camera wet before heading down. A lot of my footprints had already disappeared!

Summit!
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I went back past the wee howf (it's marked the Coolah on the map :shock: )…

The Coolah
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… and took the wee short cut towards the Cairnwell and met up with the track. It was surprisingly steep! Just before the summit I felt my knee pull up...great....this wasn't part of the game plan 

Arriving at the top I was greeted by nae views but a convenient wee shelter where I could hide from the blizzard and have a seat! Also meant I didn't need to get my camera wet :lol:
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The weather didn't look like clearing so I headed back down. I noticed the chair lift seemed to be working and was half tempted to see if I could hop on, in the interests of my knee of course :wink: But I didn't want to cheat, and there was no man at the top so I wasn't sure if it was actually running for people... So tempting as it was, I headed down the track a few metres before striking off diagonally across the slope towards the top of the ski tows, where it was an easy walk down the piste to the track which led me back to the car.

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It was almost lunchtime so I treated myself to some soup and cake in the cafe. Seriously, cream of cauliflower cheese soup...mind blown :shock: it was amazing :thumbup: I was glad I hadn't gone for Lochnagar today, would have been a bit of a shame in bad weather. I was toying with the idea of a Corbett on the way home, but with bad weather and sore knee this seemed a poor idea :lol: there will be other days and I figured I maybe ought to get doon the road before I got snowed in :lol:

Gotta love Scottish weather :lol:
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Jaxter
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Re: The Glenshee Massif - A weekend of 2 halves

Postby Water Gypsy » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:38 pm

Yes!! a lefty Jaxter :clap:
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Re: The Glenshee Massif - A weekend of 2 halves

Postby arjh » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:38 pm

I was the guy you met hiding at the top of Cairn of Claise :lol: - thought you seemed familiar but didn't know from where...

After we agreed it was clearing up I saw Tolmount disappear in that snow shower and thought 'called it too early again'... :roll:
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Re: The Glenshee Massif - A weekend of 2 halves

Postby Mal Grey » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:24 pm

Not sure I could have motivated myself for those ones in windy weather, too much like hard work. Good effort!

I was stuck on an island on Loch Morar, and very happy to be stuck somewhere like that.
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Re: The Glenshee Massif - A weekend of 2 halves

Postby Jaxter » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:40 am

Water Gypsy wrote:Yes!! a lefty Jaxter :clap:

Mixing it up :wink:



arjh wrote:I was the guy you met hiding at the top of Cairn of Claise :lol: - thought you seemed familiar but didn't know from where...

After we agreed it was clearing up I saw Tolmount disappear in that snow shower and thought 'called it too early again'... :roll:

Ah so it wasn't me you were hiding from :lol: yeah it was a bit on and off wasn't it...did get some views from Tolmount so wasn't a complete loss :wink: I hope your tent was still there when you got back!! :D



Mal Grey wrote:Not sure I could have motivated myself for those ones in windy weather, too much like hard work. Good effort!

I was stuck on an island on Loch Morar, and very happy to be stuck somewhere like that.

Sounds like there are worse places to be stuck :lol:
I think these hills are windy all the time. I probably managed to pick a day that was worse than usual though :lol:
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Re: The Glenshee Massif - A weekend of 2 halves

Postby arjh » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:19 pm

Jaxter wrote:Ah so it wasn't me you were hiding from :lol: yeah it was a bit on and off wasn't it...did get some views from Tolmount so wasn't a complete loss :wink: I hope your tent was still there when you got back!! :D


Yes all in one piece thanks, bit of an icy night but the red wine helped... :D
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Re: The Glenshee Massif - A weekend of 2 halves

Postby dogplodder » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:19 pm

My old stamping ground when I lived in Dundee - but I spaced them out a bit more than you did! :lol:
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Re: The Glenshee Massif - A weekend of 2 halves

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:01 pm

"These hills never seem to get a good write up from anyone...". Well, the report is thoroughly entertaining as usual :clap: :clap: ; but I'm still not at all convinced that these hills are worth the effort. I think they'll remain at the back end of any list...

BTW, hope you don't have a patent on the "2 halves" description - it really did fit my experience on the Monday also, and in my defence, I had drafted the text before I read your report... :)
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Re: The Glenshee Massif - A weekend of 2 halves

Postby past my sell by date » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:15 pm

Not the greatest of hills, but compared to Fafernie, Crow Craigies, Cairn of Gowal et al. - that I assume you have still to do, these are positively steep and pointed :lol: :lol:
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Re: The Glenshee Massif - A weekend of 2 halves

Postby Jaxter » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:02 am

arjh wrote:
Jaxter wrote:Ah so it wasn't me you were hiding from :lol: yeah it was a bit on and off wasn't it...did get some views from Tolmount so wasn't a complete loss :wink: I hope your tent was still there when you got back!! :D


Yes all in one piece thanks, bit of an icy night but the red wine helped... :D

:lol: :lol: :lol:



dogplodder wrote:My old stamping ground when I lived in Dundee - but I spaced them out a bit more than you did! :lol:

I just couldn't be bothered with the drive! Or a separate trip for Tom Buidhe :shock:



Alteknacker wrote:"These hills never seem to get a good write up from anyone...". Well, the report is thoroughly entertaining as usual :clap: :clap: ; but I'm still not at all convinced that these hills are worth the effort. I think they'll remain at the back end of any list...

BTW, hope you don't have a patent on the "2 halves" description - it really did fit my experience on the Monday also, and in my defence, I had drafted the text before I read your report... :)

Thankyou - they aren't that bad :lol: well....some of them are. If I did the most again if mebbe do it from the other side, much more interesting views. Some of corries look impr swig but you only see them looking back. I won't hold it against you...unless you win the prize :twisted: :twisted:



past my sell by date wrote:Not the greatest of hills, but compared to Fafernie, Crow Craigies, Cairn of Gowal et al. - that I assume you have still to do, these are positively steep and pointed :lol: :lol:

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
Snow or clag hills then :lol:
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