Having never been up the Glenshee road before and an ascent of the Cairnwell Munros planned in several weeks time i wanted to visit a pair of lesser hills with accessible and fairly quick routes to the summits. After consulting my SMC guides which spoiled me for choice i narrowed it down to Ben Gulabin and Mount Blair the former giving me a good view north and the latter giving me views to the south.
Parking at a layby up the road from Spittal of Glenshee i set off through a gate and up a gravel estate road which rises steeply above the main road and curves up on to the open moor. After just over 1km the obvious path to Ben Gulabin breaks off to the left over a boggy section then climbs steeply up the hillside all the way to the summit cairn. I reached the top in 50 mins and took in the views which were extensive and completely new to me.
The highlight was the Cairnswell Munros to the north and the Cairngorms to the northwest where patches of snow could still be seen. From here i could also see my next hill of the day with a mast crowning its summit, Mount Blair. Since any alternative descent looked to involve a walk along the A93 i choose to retrace my steps back down the estate road.
Leaving my car at the edge of the woodland about 1km east of the tiny hamlet of Cray i set off along the narrow and quiet B951 where a short distance later i passed through a gate on the right and followed a very steep grassy path up a sheep dung covered field. By now the sun was high in the sky and the heat was really beating down but thankfully the top of the summit mast eventually appeared and again, 50 mins after leaving the car i was on a hilltop. Its quite a cluttered little summit with a trig pillar, a large cairn, a transmitter mast and a circular walk in view indicator which i've never seen on a hill before but it looked very impressive.
From the summit i could see Ben Gulabin and beyond as well as Duchray Hill, the Graham opposite Mount Blair which is in full view all the way up. The view to the south was the most extensive though being new to this area i had trouble identifying anything.
After a well earned lunch i reflected on a couple of quick but steep ascents and their fantastic views of an area i will definitely visit again.
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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.