Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Mount Keen from Glen Esk

Mount Keen from Glen Esk

Postby Colinowl » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:56 pm

Route description: Mount Keen from Glen Esk

Munros included on this walk: Mount Keen

Date walked: 04/12/2017

Time taken: 4.4 hours

Distance: 17.5 km

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

I am starting to get confused - I climbed Goatfell on Arran two months ago and was informed that Glen Rosa is the nicest Glen in Scotland. I climbed Lochnagar two weeks ago and was advised that Glen Muick is the nicest Glen in Scotland. Last month I walked from Linn of Dee car park all 29 miles to Tomintoul. I was informed that both Glen Derry and Glen Avon were the most picturesque Glens in Scotland. Whilst driving down Glen Esk prior to climbing Mount Keen I thought 'this Glen could give them all a run for their money'. You pays your money and takes your choice I suppose.

Anyway I stopped at the car park at Tarfside, got out of car, read notice board found no mention of Mount Keen, got map out and realised I was in the wrong car park, got back in car, drove four miles further on to correct car park.

I had asked on the forum if there was any snow as I was more worried with getting the car down the road than I was about snow on the walk. KatTai had kindly responded that all was well on the road/snow front.

Set off on the road, found the sign post and set off down the Glen - soon reached the Queens Well.
Queens Well.jpg
Apparently Queen Victoria had a drink out of this stream - half a mile further up there was a dead rabbit in the stream so I hope she was alright :-)

As I had been walking for two miles without climbing I guessed that the path must go up soon and when I went past the Queens Well and a farm house I was proven right. It was 7 degrees in the Glen and I had taken off my gloves, hat and one of my winter layers but I could see the snow on the top. I walked across two streams began to climb and about 50 yards further on came across a snow drift.
snow drift.jpg

In my beginner's complacency I had assumed that the snow would be a couple of inches deep and I would be able to tread across the top of it - instead it was about three feet deep and quite a hard trudge through it. Still onward and upward I thought.

The path reached a zig zag and climbed steeply up towards the plateau. Path was hard to follow but luckily someone had been before me
plateau snow.jpg
Don't need my Deerstalker hat and magnifying glass to know where to go

Following the footsteps I carried on climbing and soon could see what I assumed must be Mount Keen summit on my right. There must have been some serious snow here in the week though because there were overhangs of the stuff waiting to fall off.
overhanging snow.jpg

Looking back down the path I realised I was in Northern Scotland - this picture was taken at 11.04 am and the sun hadn't even risen properly
sunrise path.jpg

On the plateau it felt like a different world to the vibrant colourful one below. On my right there was a clearish view over to Lochnagar I think about eight or nine miles away.
plateau view.jpg

The path was now only visible in places so I began to make my way up to what might be the summit. When I looked at my phone (I have downloaded an altimeter ap) I saw I was still 500 feet short of the 3000 feet needed so I guessed that there must be a bit of a false horizon ahead.
I took this picture sideways and it looks either like a barcode or a piece of Japanese art

Once over the top the trig point is visible from a fair way away and I reached it at 12:18. It was very cold and once on the top the wind was gusting strongly.
trig point.jpg

The return trip taught me an important lesson. On the way up I had attempted to step into other people's footsteps to avoid falling in the snow - I started to do this on the way down but the snow in those footmarks had compressed into ice and after my second slip/fall i realised that the fresh snow was by far the safer option for descending.

It still gave me a kind of thrill though to see my bootprints going up as I was going down :)

This is my first post and only my third Munro - I am now officially hooked and cannot wait to get back into the Cairngorms. Thank you for reading my report
Hill Bagger
Posts: 8
Munros:16   Corbetts:1
Sub 2000:1   
Joined: May 2, 2017
Location: Stonehaven

Re: Mount Keen from Glen Esk

Postby KatTai » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:51 pm

Glad you enjoyed your walk :D Looks like you had a fair way to go before finding some snow!
User avatar
Posts: 835
Munros:52   Corbetts:15
Grahams:8   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:26   
Joined: Feb 12, 2015

Re: Mount Keen from Glen Esk

Postby Coop » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:47 pm

If it's nice glens you're after go up to Glen Doll and visit Corrie fee (beautuful). May as well do mayar and Driesh while your there.
Nice report cheers
Mountain Walker
Posts: 1038
Munros:268   Corbetts:109
Grahams:48   Donalds:72
Sub 2000:7   
Joined: Jun 5, 2016
Walk wish-list

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: AndrewC, AnnieMac20, Benaden887, ex drummer, Heffalump777, SecondRow and 81 guests