Some days off gave space for a longer (for me) walk, and Mount Keen is within striking distance of Dundee...... Forecast was OK for mid-October, cloudy, supposedly dry and not too windy.
Arrived at Invermark car park just before 1000 - just a couple of other cars there, probably because it was midweek.
The walk up Glen Mark was uneventful - not a soul in sight.
Paused at the Queens Well as I suspect everyone does:
The stags were in full voice all around, though I hadn't seen any to this point. As I ascended up Ladder Glen saw the first evidence that stalking was taking place - a landrover at one of the zig-zag bends, along with an estate worker and her horse! Deer were in evidence on the ridge to the north-east on the other side of the glen.
Once out onto the open moor, the weather closed in - cloud came down, and there was a steady smirr - and it was noticeably cooler. Slogged on to the summit - the path towards the summit is in excellent condition, as the route description says. Sometime on the way up heard at least one shot - stalking definitely in progress!
Chilly lunch in the slight lee of the summit, then headed back down. Good path made for quick going. Just above the head of Ladder Glen is a cairn - and beside it the fresh carcass of a stag shot in the hour and a half since I'd passed on the way up!!
Rest of the way down was quiet - snack break by Invermark Cottage, passed the first other walkers of the day as they neared Queens Well, and then the long walk back the car park. Just before I was back to the car the landrover came down the path - with the stalking party in the front and the stag in the back....
A good day on the hill, though disappointing there were no views from up top because of the weather - and fascinating and poignant being so up-close to the realities of deer stalking for the first time.
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