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Lizard hunting on An Socach

Lizard hunting on An Socach

Postby KatTai » Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:38 pm

Route description: An Socach from Glen Clunie

Munros included on this walk: An Socach (Braemar)

Date walked: 10/04/2019

Time taken: 5.45 hours

Distance: 15.75 km

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I had to book an eye test on a day with beautiful sunshine, didn't I? Oh well, fortunately it was first thing in the morning so it was a dash home grab the dogs and head out to Glenshee! At around noon were were parked up in the layby near the start of the walk and on our way! It was a pleasant walk along the glen, but it was feeling hot with no wind!

Highland ponies

We passed the highland ponies (the brown one is only new) and the cottage, headed through the gate and deeper into the glen until we reached the ford. Now, I have a problem crossing water which I have mentioned before so we followed the path up the glen looking for a "safe" place to cross heading further and further up...eventually we found a spot to cross but of course somehow my foot ended up in the water anyway :lol: But my foot stayed dry, the advantage of having decent boots they aren't quick to let water in!

Moss posing

Rejoining the track, we headed on up towards the very obvious cairn spotting something large flying overhead - a adult white-tailed eagle!

White-tailed eagle

While I was watching the eagle, Coinneach suddenly started pouncing in the heather. I was puzzled at first, and then I realised he was chasing lizards... Do you know how many lizards there are up there rustling around? Judging by how Coinneach was reacting, a lot! There is having a high prey drive, and then there is having a stupidly high prey drive and I think he definitely falls in the latter category! This is why he has to be kept on the lead. Moss was very confused, couldn't figure out what was getting him so excited and quickly lost interest in what her silly little brother was doing!

Coinneach the Lizard Hunter

From the cairn we could clearly see our route up. I wasn't sure what the snow-cover was going to be like. I'd checked the webcam at Glenshee Ski Centre and they had very little snow cover, but we'd already done the Cairnwell Munros so I picked An Socach which was a bit further along and I figured if there was a lot of snow we can reach this cairn at least. However, it was clear that there was very little snow, just a patch on the upward climb which was easy enough to avoid and at the top there was hardly anything, and no ice. It might have been cold overnight but any frost must have lifted quickly in the sun!

Moss at the cairn

Moss playing with a stone on one of the few snow patches

Having not seen any other walkers at all so far, I spotted a solo walker heading for the summit from another direction. He was doing a round of the munros, me though I was going up and down just the one. An Socach is a repeat for Moss and myself, but Coinneach earned himself his 4th Munro.

At the summit of An Socach, Munro number 4 for Coinneach! Just 38 to go to catch up to his big sister!

Heading down Moss started to nudge at my hand - she does this when she wants something. Sometimes it is just a cuddle she wants, but no I asked her what she wanted and she bounced playfully in front of Coinneach, back to nudging my hand and then bouncing at Coinneach again...she wanted him to be off-lead to play with her :( It's just not possible, he wouldn't play he'd be off after lizards or hare or grouse or whatever else he spotted to chase! I found it very sad, she was looking at me so eagerly hoping I'd let him off to play. She doesn't understand that he is just not trustworthy off-lead at the moment. We're working on it, he is getting better in places where there aren't many distractions but when even lizards are triggering a response we have a very big hill to climb! I may resort to taking out a long line to give them the opportunity to play in suitable spots, see how he goes with that.

Why can't he play?

I didn't go to the crossing spot I used on the ascent. I'd been telling myself off over this water issue and headed down to the ford. It wasn't THAT deep. Moss went and helpfully stood at a spot halfway in as if to demonstrate how deep it wasn't. I walked through, I'm sure the water reached above my boot but I was out just as quickly and aside from the bottom part of my trousers, I was dry. Really, what is all the fuss about?

Heading back.

On the main track again we headed along the glen and back through the gate. The ponies were now near to the cottage. We stopped to chat to the man at the cottage and one of the ponies came over. Now, Coinneach regularly sees horses on the other side of a fence but meeting them without a fence between them was obviously very different and he really wasn't quite so sure about that! The others came over to say hello too, and he got quite worried being surrounded by them. I would laugh, but if it was cattle rather than highland ponies I'd be the one in a panic! They were very interested in my rucksack and I heard the crunch of the empty can of Tango in one of the pouches. Not something to try and eat! The horses were lured away with mints by the people at the cottage and we were able to continue on our way back to the car. They are a nice bunch, used to dogs, but they are very friendly :lol:

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