We arrived at our guest house in Brechin around 6.30pm on Tuesday evening and Matthew's first priority was to get the wi-fi code so he could check a) if Arsenal had signed any new players that day and b) the weather forecast for Mount Keen the following day. And it seemed a little more promising than the previous predictions. The worst case scenario appeared to be sunshine and showers with thunderstorms not due to early evening. It was agreed we would head for the Invermark car park in the morning and make a definite decision there.
We both showered, then headed off to find a pub for something to eat .Then it was back to guest house and the lights were out at 10.30pm.
Wednesday morning, we arrived at the Glen Esk car park to find only one other car there. It was cloudy, but the clouds were high and the sky was bright so it was OK to go, but I got Matthew to agree that if the sky darkened significantly we would turn back.
We set off along the path that runs parallel to the Water of Mark and after about an hour reached the Queens Well where the obligatory pictures were taken.
As we passed the quiet Invermark Cottage, I mentally made a note that the outbuildings could provide shelter if things went pear shaped weather wise.
Just beyond the cottage there was a couple of bicycles propped up against a rock and I remembered that the other car in the car park had a bike rack so I surmised that whoever came from the car had cycled in and saved themselves around 45mins of walking. However Matthew thought this was cheating. Explaining a walk was what you made it and didn't have a definitive starting point didn't wash. Some hills would have a walk in much longer. Didn't matter. Cheating!
This is where the route starts to gain height and eventually glimpses of our goal, which unfortunately had a covering of cloud on the summit, came into view. As we reached the fork in the track that leads to MK we met a couple returning from the summit and it was them indeed who had cycled in. They were jacketed up, so we were expecting a temperature drop when we hit the clag. We also noted a group of four men catching up on us, and they overtook us just as we entered the cloud which I guess was on the top couple of hundred feet or 10-15 mins walk from the summit. We reached the summit seconds after the lads and together we hunkered into the shelter that is just below the trig point, still managing to get by with our short sleeved tops. Munro No17 for Matthew and No32 for me. The guys were up from the south of England and were spending a week in the area taking in some peaks.
We all began the descent together but the lads soon shot way ahead. We came out of the clag and, as per normal, by the time we reached the path junction ahead, the cloud had lifted and the summit was completely clear. By now I was relaxed about the weather. The sky was still light and I was confident we were not going to catch a thunder storm. We hadn't even had the predicted showers, so our descent was slow (longer than the ascent) with a few stops to take in the views. The sun actually broke out quite strongly as we neared the cottage. . When we did reach the cottage we were surprised to find a group of people having a champagne picnic in the front lawn. What a place for a picnic!
Another hour, during which we passed a number of people headed for the well, and we were back at the car. We decided to grab our casual shoes and headed for the river to give our feet a soak in the cool water.
It had all come about at very short notice but we had achieved our objective of three Munros in two days, the first time either of us had hillwalked in consecutive days. Happy days!!!
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