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Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol


Postby Graeme D » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:50 pm

Munros included on this walk: Creag Leacach, Glas Maol

Date walked: 30/12/2010

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 780m

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Having had no opportunities to get out on the hills over the main Christmas period, I'd had the 30th in my diary for some time. My wife was back at work for a couple of days between Christmas and New Year so I had the freedom of the hills. Only question was where. :problem:

I was 5 short of the century with hopes to hit the magic number sometime in January, so I plumped for Creag Leacach and Glas Maol. There was also the potential for an extension on to Cairn of Claise if time and conditions allowed it.

I dropped my wife off at the bus station at 7.45 before nipping back home to quickly finish organising myself and grab another cup of coffee for the road. At this point, it was a distinctly grey, foggy, skanky looking day in Perth and I almost pulled the plug altogether. :? However, hope was provided by the forecast on Radio Scotland as I drove back home. It reported that the best of the sun was to be found around the Angus Glens. Glenshee looked like it would be worth a punt then. :)

The drive out to Blairgowrie was the usual, straightforward drive on a road I know very well having driven it twice a day for a year when I worked out there. In saying that, it was more beautiful today than it had usually been back in those days. The white fields were bathed in a beautiful pink light and swathed in wisps of cotton wool-like cloud. From the turn off at Rattray, however, it was a very different story as I found myself in a long slow procession of cars most of which were sporting skiing or snowboarding hardware of some sort. This was going to be quite a painful journey. By the time I reached the parking area just before the Devil's Elbow, I was about 5 cars back in a solid line from a Mazda 3 which was averaging 30mph and whose driver seemed to experience severe spasms in his right foot which made it come into contact with the brake pedal at the merest suggestion of a bend in the road. :evil: :evil:

Anyway, I got quickly organised and set off down the slope behind the parking area and onto the snow clad track which skirts the lower northern slopes of Meall Gorm. Within 5 minutes I had stopped to don my crampons, taking the chance to also put on my gaiters and Regatta waterproof overtrousers over the top. This would prove to be a decision which came back to haunt me later in the day! :o

I decided on tackling Creag Leacach first and headed over the stream and up towards the bealach between Meall Gorm and Creag Leacach.

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Looking down on the Cairnwell and the Leacann Dubh with the Devil's Elbow in between


I passed the obvious line of footprints branching off to the left and carried on right to the high point of the bealach to get the views south which then accompanied me up the long slope of the Munro to the old boundary wall. From there it was an easy wander up to the 943 metre southwestern Top.

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Looking south to Mount Blair

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West to the cliffs of Carn nan Sac

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South west over Carn Ait with Ben Gulabin to the right

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Creag Leacach summit from 943 metre Top

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Dome of Glas Maol now appearing in the background


I didn't linger too long here before continuing on to the Munro summit, where I made a quick call to check in with my wife and describe to her exactly what she was missing as she sat at her desk in Dundee! :(

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The Cairnwell and Carn Aosda from the summit of Creag Leacach

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South from the summit along the wall


It was a bit more breezy up here so I hunkered down and poured myself a mug of hot white grape and peach cordial with a wee dash of Bacardi in it. Just the job for a Munro summit early Hogmanay celebration. :D

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West to Beinn a' Ghlo and Glas Tulaichean

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Wrapped up against the stiffening breeze

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Along the ridge to Glas Maol


The huge dome of Glas Maol loomed large from here, resembling some kind of enormous icing covered Christmas pudding. I packed up my bits and pieces and continued to follow the wall and fence posts down and then gradually up onto the brilliant white dome of Glas Maol.

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Back to Creag Leacach


As I started to ascend up onto the dome, the weather suddenly closed in. The sun was still there through the veil of thin cloud which had wafted across the summit dome, but the views had vanished.

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Creag Leacach disappearing into the clouds


The summit hardware soon loomed into view a short distance off to my left. This looked like a decent spot to perch on the little stone pillar and have lunch.

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Perched at the summit of Glas Maol

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Lucy having lunch


As I sat there, the cloud lifted again and the surrounding mountains came back into view. In my haste to grab the camera and get snapping, the first of two great misfortunes to occur today struck. Standing on the rim of the snow covered shelter cairn, I stumbled slightly and as I stood back, I realised that Lucy was standing behind me right under my feet. She was about to be trampled under my crampons, so I made a desperate effort to avoid standing on her. I succeeded, but with the result that I ended up falling flat on my arse accompanied by a loud shredding sound as the left leg of my overtrousers were ripped wide open from knee to ankle. :o At least there were no spectators to witness my humiliation. :lol:

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View east towards Mayar and Driesh

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West to Glas Tulaichean

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Spindrift on the just-visible summit of Creag Leacach

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North to the Gorms


I regained my composure before finishing my photography session and setting course for the car.

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Leaving Glas Maol


As I wandered westwards off the summit dome towards Meall Odhar, I could hear faint noises from the ski runs down below to the north and my eye was drawn to the distant Cairngorms beyond. I had received a copy of Robert Macfarlane's "Mountains of the Mind" from my mother-in-law for Christmas and had been making decent inroads into it over the last few days. I recalled what I had read in Chapter 2 about the formation (and destruction) of mountains over millions of years and how the Cairngorms had once been a mountain range to rival the modern day Himalaya. I tried to imagine and visualise this, but I guess you really had to be there! :lol:

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The Devil's Point standing out


Rather than going around over the summit of Meall Odhar, I took a more direct line down the steep slopes into the valley between Glas Maol and the Leacann Dubh - easy enough for me but Lucy did a fair bit of skittering around!

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Creag Leacach and Meall Gorm from descent off Glas Maol

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Lucy takes a last look before heading for the car


Then it was just a case of walking back along the track on top of the ridge past the little hut to the car, where four cross country skiiers were also just coming off the hill - the only people I came into contact with all day. :D

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Creag Leacach from the Leacann Dubh


As I got myself changed and ready to hit the road home, I popped a treacle toffee into my mouth and the second major misfortune of the day hit me as an upper molar crumbled under the strain of chomping on it! :shock:


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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby Glenrothes » Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:01 pm

Great area and photos to accompany there Graeme - It could have been worse, it could have been your leg that the crampon ripped into!!

Is that a 'Mountain Technologies' axe you have there??
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby doogz » Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:22 pm

Great pics mate

My nephew was skiing just across the way and text me it was rather nice.....

This indeed shows he was not at the wind up

Lucky dog you never made it into a kebab
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby Merry-walker » Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:48 pm

Smashing Graeme,

I was gona do this walk last month, but night shifts put paid to that. :shock:

Brilliant report and pictures 8) :D
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby Stretch » Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:56 pm

Very pretty photos Graeme, you're inching closer to the century mark!
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby mountain coward » Sat Jan 01, 2011 9:23 pm

I'm surprised you didn't see Monty up there as I believe he's doing a lot of skiing in that area just now.

That Mazda 3 driver was one of my locals - everyone, but everyone, drives like that all the time around here :o I keep thinking of having a machine gun fitted to the front of my cars... failing that, one of those bale spikes you see on tractors - would be very useful for clearing the road ahead!

Shame about your waterproofs - did Lucy apologise? You'll have to sharpen her claws into crampon points if you're going to take her on those steep and frozen slopes all winter!

My teeth are always breaking when I eat (feature of my osteoporosis but also a sign of age and chocolate/toffee abuse over the years) :( Despite it happening all the time, it still really spoils my day when it happens. All I can advise is to totally give up toffees - they really are tooth-destroyers par excellence!
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby dooterbang » Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:31 pm

Nice one Graeme, and the usual high quality photos.

Only 3 to go for that magic 100 :)
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby malky_c » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:00 pm

Nice work - I saw some of that nice weather while heading up the A9 yesterday afternoon. Didn't get a chance to get out in it though...

Funnily enough, I had a plan to do these hills from Glen Isla on the 31st, but that got scuppered by car shopping and heading back to Inverness instead of staying in Dundee for the new year. Would probably have bumped into you otherwise :)
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby kinley » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:05 pm

Graeme Dewar wrote:I made a quick call to check in with my wife and describe to her exactly what she was missing as she sat at her desk in Dundee!


That's a Geneva Convention breach :shock:

What has been your punishment? :lol:

More sun in that report than we've seen in 6 consecutive days in the west and north-west highlands :(

Happy New Year :D
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby malky_c » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:36 pm

malky_c wrote:Funnily enough, I had a plan to do these hills from Glen Isla on the 31st, but that got scuppered by car shopping and heading back to Inverness instead of staying in Dundee for the new year. Would probably have bumped into you otherwise :)


Doh! I see you were up there on the 30th, not the 31st!
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby Graeme D » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:23 am

Thanks for the comments guys and girls and may 2011 be good to you all! 8)

Glenrothes wrote:Is that a 'Mountain Technologies' axe you have there??


It is indeed G. I acquired it from a friend whose garage it had been kicking about in for years. He had another one and couldn't quite recall where this one came from so when I told him one day I was looking at what was the best axe to buy, he gave me this one. 8)

doogz wrote:Great pics mate

My nephew was skiing just across the way and text me it was rather nice.....

This indeed shows he was not at the wind up

Lucky dog you never made it into a kebab


He wisnae at the wind up at all doogz. It was a cracking day. In fact, for much of the initial ascent I was bare armed! :D

And yes, you'd think the dog would have learned by now that getting under my feet when I'm in crampons isnae a good idea! :lol:

Merry-walker wrote:I was gona do this walk last month, but night shifts put paid to that.


Don't put it off too much longer MW! :)

Stretch wrote:Very pretty photos Graeme, you're inching closer to the century mark!

dooterbang wrote:Only 3 to go for that magic 100


Yep, I'm getting excited now! :D

mountain coward wrote:That Mazda 3 driver was one of my locals - everyone, but everyone, drives like that all the time around here I keep thinking of having a machine gun fitted to the front of my cars... failing that, one of those bale spikes you see on tractors - would be very useful for clearing the road ahead!

Shame about your waterproofs - did Lucy apologise? You'll have to sharpen her claws into crampon points if you're going to take her on those steep and frozen slopes all winter!


Hm, a baling spike on the front of cars? Surely it's something the big manufacturers could easily put into mass production? Would be of great benefit in these situations! :lol: And no MC, Lucy did not apologise. No sense of guilt that dog! It'll be coming out of her pocket money. :(

kinley wrote:
Graeme Dewar wrote:I made a quick call to check in with my wife and describe to her exactly what she was missing as she sat at her desk in Dundee!


That's a Geneva Convention breach :shock:

What has been your punishment? :lol:

More sun in that report than we've seen in 6 consecutive days in the west and north-west highlands :(

Happy New Year :D


To be honest kinley, I don't think she objected. Truth is that at 7 months pregnant, a call from the summit of a Munro is as close as she's going to get to the real thing at the moment. :lol:

malky_c wrote:
malky_c wrote:Funnily enough, I had a plan to do these hills from Glen Isla on the 31st, but that got scuppered by car shopping and heading back to Inverness instead of staying in Dundee for the new year. Would probably have bumped into you otherwise :)


Doh! I see you were up there on the 30th, not the 31st!


Was that you on the New Year juice again there malky???? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby kevsbald » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:55 am

Jaloux encore une fois!

Well done G. I think these are a great duopoly and in Winter, they are quality. Nice report.
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby LeithySuburbs » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:56 pm

Glad to hear you had a good end to the year Graeme :) . I've these two pencilled in for a winter day out at some point :D .
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby rockhopper » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:21 am

Cracking report and pictures Graeme - pity about the trousers. Won't be long before you get to your 100 :D

Graeme Dewar wrote: describe to her exactly what she was missing as she sat at her desk in Dundee!
I suspect if I tried this with my wife I'd get a number 7 iron cracked over my head :lol: :lol:
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Re: Signing off on 2010 - a cracker on Creag Leacach & Glas Maol

Postby monty » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:54 am

Great report Graeme.
Excellent pictures. Shame about the trousers though but better that than lucy getting hurt. The snow up there has now turned to ice and hard packed snow so it would be a lot harder to walk it this week. :D
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