Mount Keen by moonlight
by Alastair S » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:43 pm
Route description: Mount Keen by Glen Tanar
Munros included on this walk: Mount Keen
Date walked: 30/10/2010
Time taken: 4.5 hours
Distance: 28.4 km
Ascent: 952m6 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Walking: 2.5 hr, 7.4km
Frankly I’d had enough of the wild campers showing off their amazing sunset & sunrise photos so came up with a cunning plan. Well, not that cunning really – more like the bleeding obvious: get up at a ridiculous early hour and get up a hill before sunrise. For me it would only be worth the effort if there was a good chance of a decent atmospheric display and as I haven’t done any night walking before I wanted some decent moonlight. I was hoping to do this nearer the winter solstice but using the excellent The Photographer's Ephemeris I saw that around this time the moon was only out during the day. So when a cloud free gap appeared in the forecast last weekend I went for it. Going now also had the advantage that it wouldn’t be too cold. The only potential fly in the ointment was the predicted high winds (they weren’t wrong).
Mount Keen was the obvious hill for this venture as it is my closest Munro & I hadn’t bagged it yet. As it turned out the day split up in nice hour sized chunks: up at 4am, on my MTB at Glen Tanar at 5am, back on my feet at Shiel of Glentanar at 6am and at the top by 7am.
I’d recced the MTB approach a few week ago and knew it was a decent track to the Shiel of Glentanar. I was also my first bit of night-time off-road MTB’ing and thanks to an excellent (but not cheap) Cateye front light (a HL-EL530) this was no problem. This time I hadn’t forgotten by bike lock and used the nice new(ish) footbridge at the sheil as a bike rack.
Off up the track and I soon dispensed with my head torch and was rubbing my hands in glee – a brilliant (half) moon and star lit sky with a few high fluffy clouds. But half an hour latter things weren’t looking so bright. The strong SW wind had brought in low cloud and there were even a few spots of rain . But the cloud was fairly thin (the moon was still visible) and it still looked clear to the East (I could still see the lights of Aberdeen).
So got to the summit and it was blowing a hoolie up there (I did think of all those WH’ers over in Glen Coe) but there is a lot of shelter (& shelters) to be had up there. Put on all my kit and hunkered down for some breakfast. As it turned out the twilight & sunrise was obscured by cloud but about 20 minutes after sunrise the cloud broke up somewhat and I got some good shots of the sun shinning though.
Was up around the summit for 2 hours in all (the times at the report header have been adjusted for a 15 minute stop) and so was on by way back my 9am. Had a more leisurely walk/cycle back in lovely sunshine. Came across some walkers & a cyclist going the other way around 10:30. Thoughtfully refrained from bragging that I’d already done the hill.
I should really have taken some time to attempt some moonshine pictures on the way out - now I’ve done this I’ll know for next time. Could have been home for elevenses but for some errands on the way back. And yes, I did have a wee snooze on the sofa in the afternoon
View SE towards Glen Esk
View N towards Morven
Mount Keen Sunrise #2
Mount Keen Sunrise #3
View S to Glen Mark
Glen Mark again
Water of Tanar with Mount Keen in background
Water of Tanar at Glen Tanar house
by malky_c » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:58 pm
Some really good shots there. Well worth the early start!
by Merry-walker » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:36 pm
by Gable Gable End » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:41 am
Alistair, love these photos; stunning!
by Alastair S » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:43 pm
Now that I know I can get out of bed and be at the top 3 hrs latter (so long as I've got organised the night before) I know I'll be doing this again when a suitable opportunity arises. There's a full moon the day before the winter solstice this year so I'll be keeping my weather eye out then (even though the moon will be setting just after dawn).
by gypsy jazzer » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:35 pm
by skuk007 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:41 pm
by CurlyWurly » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:45 am
by Merry-walker » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:50 pm
by Alastair S » Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:06 pm
by lomondwalkers » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:59 pm