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Boxing Day burn-off in Glen Isla

Boxing Day burn-off in Glen Isla


Postby malky_c » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:19 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Creigh Hill, Meall Mor (Angus)

Date walked: 26/12/2017

Time taken: 2.3 hours

Distance: 8 km

Ascent: 440m

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Sub 2k Marilyns: Creigh Hill, Meall Mor
Date: 26/12/2017.
Distance: 4 + 4km.
Ascent: 250 + 190m.
Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes + 1 hour, 10 minutes.
Weather: Cold and sunny.

With a decent forecast, I thought I'd manage to escape the general Christmas slobbishness for a couple of hours on the hill, so I headed out of Dundee and up to Alyth. The Marilyns in this area have been on my Christmas list for years now, but there has always been a reason not to head out this way (too much snow last year, Christmas in Inverness in 2015 and 2014, extreme drunkenness in 2013, flooded roads in 2012 etc etc).

I hadn't entirely decided which hills I was going for but knew I'd left too late to fit more than a couple in. While driving past the turning for Backwater Reservoir, I decided I would make Creigh Hill the first walk as I couldn't bear to spend another minute in the car with all that lovely sunshine outside.


Creigh Hill.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


I parked at the east side of the dam and headed straight for the heathery slopes - no fences to climb over until around halfway up, although there wasn't really anything resembling a path. For all the time I've spent in this area (Cat Law was a regular short afternoon out for me when I lived in Dundee), I don't think I've ever seen the Backwater Reservoir before.

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Backwater Dam

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Glen Clova hills across Backwater

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Backwater Reservoir

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Looking up Backwater Reservoir

Nice views over to Cat Law and Balintore Castle from the first summit. I wasn't sure which of the two 497m spot heights was the higher top, so I traversed the heather to the more northerly one as well. There were some great glimpses of the Glen Clova hills and Glas Maol in fresh snow from here - lovely to see after the rather extreme pre-Christmas thaw.

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Loch of Lintrathen and Sidlaw hills

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Ben Tirran

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Cat Law

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Balintore Castle

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Glas Maol plateau

I probably should have continued to the next summit north, as there was a reasonable track dropping down from here to the shores of the reservoir, but wary of the small amount of daylight remaining, I took a rather boggy shortcut back to the road, from where it was a 10 minute stroll back to the car.
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Back in the car, it was a straightforward 15 minutes to Brewlands Bridge in Glen Isla - I had decided to leave the conifer-clad summits of Crock and Hare Cairn for another day. Instead I was aiming for Meall Mor. Not a particularly imposing hill in itself, but it sits above a very attractive mini-pass between Glen Isla and Glen Shee, with good views of Mount Blair. For this reason, it was probably the most desirable of the hills in this area that I hadn't been up.


Meall Mor.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


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Glen Isla

I parked in a small quarry and wandered west for a short distance along the road, picking up a forestry track (although not the one that my map showed - this one can only be seen on the 1:25k map). This led nicely out of the plantation and onto the moorland, from where a faint path could be seen heading towards the top.

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Ben Tirran from the ascent of Meall Mor

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Nether Craig

The light was lovely at this point with the sun starting to go down, and Mount Blair is a lot more interesting to look at up close than you might expect - plenty of little knolls and crags on the lower slopes.

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Mount Blair

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Mount Blair

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East to Cat Law

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Drumore Loch and Glen Shee

A steepening in the ridge led to a wall which I followed to the summit, where it was rather cold. I harboured brief ideas of adding on a dusk ascent of Mount Blair to make a loop of sorts, but in the end I just retreated to the car by the same route. Probably should have stayed on the summit a little longer for the sun to set further, but the final red glow on the hills east of Glen Isla was still visible to me, and pretty spectacular in itself.

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Sunset from the summit of Meall Mor

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Glen Isla and Mounth hills

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West to Ben Lawers and Schiehallion

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Last look up Glen Isla

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Back to the summit

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Craigs of Wharral and Ben Tirran

So much for the burn-off mentioned in the title - this was actually a rather short and relaxed afternoon out, but I was glad I'd made the effort!
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malky_c
 
Posts: 6019
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Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Glasgow/Inverness

Re: Boxing Day burn-off in Glen Isla

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:47 pm

Very nice! I should have done something similar, but I too had lots of excuses not too... ...to which I sadly succumbed :(
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Alteknacker
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