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Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar

Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar


Postby Sabbathstevie » Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:01 pm

Route description: Mayar and Driesh, Glen Clova

Munros included on this walk: Mayar

Date walked: 10/10/2011

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 12 km

Ascent: 834m

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As something of a preamble to my first proper walk report, I must express my appreciation for the resource that is walkhighlands.co.uk. While I’ve always had a great fondness for country walks, a week spent stravaiging in the countryside back in June of this year had been scenically enhanced by the inclusion of many of the walks introduced to me by walkhighlands – the Burn O’ Vat in Royal Deeside and the Falls of Bruar in Highland Perthshire to name but two. While exploring the walks detailed throughout the site, I couldn’t help but begin to read the descriptions of some of the mountain walks, marvelling at the amazing images captured by walkhighlands members and reading with no little awe the descriptions of some of their more terrifying traverses. My interest was most definitely piqued! :D

But where to begin? I knew that we’d be spending a day or two at the home of my parents in Coupar Angus in Perthshire – a base that would be much closer to Munro country than my Edinburgh home – after the first week in October. As we all know, October in Scotland can mean beautifully crisp and clear autumnal days but it can also herald the arrival of winter and the first serious dustings of snow on the hills – something I’m certainly not yet equipped to deal with. Similarly, I hadn’t had any great experience of hill walking before other than the usual suspects in central Scotland (the Pentland hills, East Lomond, Arthurs Seat etc) and one half-hearted and ill-advised hike halfway up Ben Nevis – I didn’t have any great comparison for how challenging a long and arduous Munro walk might be. I needed a “beginners” Munro – a baseline that would either give me the confidence to tackle future mounts or terrify me into remaining at sea level for the rest of my days :lol: .

Having identified a very broad location, I had to narrow down the selection to a suitable hill within that region. My first instinct was to go with Scheihallion – a peak I’d long contemplated ascending during various previous visits to the surrounding area however I’d conned my partner (Becca) and our tiny Jack Russell (Maggie) into joining me for the walk and needed a Munro that would double as an equally long and pleasant low level walk as an alternative, should any of us decide either we weren’t up to it or if the weather were to take a nasty turn. I’d often driven up the A83 to Braemar and passed the Cairnwell which also appeared to be a straightforward hike however I felt I needed something a little more memorable – I needed a route that would kick start a hillwalking passion. Looking East, I stumbled upon Mayar & Driesh in Angus and found our perfect walk, encompassing a forest, a relatively simple route and all within an hour’s drive of our home base.


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



We arrived at the Glen Doll Car Park somewhat later than planned but perhaps fortuitously, given that the rain from earlier in the day had now given way to patches of sunshine and blue sky. I’d spent many a happy childhood day in Glen Clova before and It always takes me by surprise how quickly the rolling green hills and verdant farmland gives way to the increasingly rockier and more impressive peaks that surround Glen Doll and form the southern part of the mounth. We began the long walk through the forest of Glen Doll, eager to make good progress while the sun was shining. The crags of the surrounding hills were just visible above the tall pines, giving us a tantalising glimpse of what was to come.

Glen Doll Forest.jpg
Craig Mellon.jpg
Entrance to the Corrie Fee.jpg


Having devoured almost all of the walk reports available of this route, I had thought myself well prepared for the view at the end of the path… I wasn’t. As you break from the tree cover and the panoramic drama of the Corrie Fee unfolds before you, it’s hard to not to be impressed – particularly when, at that exact moment, a golden eagle takes off from several feet in front of you (as our Jack Russell makes a headlong dash for it) and soars away in the sunlight. Photographs many times better than my feeble attempts still struggle to truly capture the scale and feel of gazing out into the great bowl – it really has secured a place in my memory as one the great hidden gems of Scotland. From here, the walk up the side of waterfall looked pretty steep… :shock:

Corrie Fee.jpg
Corrie Fee Path.jpg
Corrie Fee Reserve.jpg


Careful to pace ourselves, we had short break at the foot of the waterfall walk before beginning the ascent. Although the path was pretty steep, I found it surprisingly easy going although Becca, who had just completed a marathon amount of work in the preceding weeks, was not fairing quite as well (and was making this point well known!). Maggie on the other hand must have made the climb several times over, checking every nook and cranny on the way up – prior to the walk I’d been concerned whether it’d all be too much for such a tiny dog but she was certainly in her element and showed no sign of slowing! Once the plateau was reached, the views looking back towards the forest were incredible.

Corrie Fee from above.jpg
Ascending the Corrie Fee.jpg


We still had a little bit to go to reach the summit – the ground here was pretty boggy and pathless but it was obvious which direction we needed to go in - up. With each step taking us higher, I kept turning around to admire the ever improving views and to catch fleeting glimpses of mountain hares before Maggie chased them off, their legs starting to turn snow white. The summit cairn finally loomed into view, with both of us feeling not too bad for our first ever Munro. Although the day was predominantly sunny, a small patch of rain lashed against us at the summit which, coupled with the incredibly cold and piercing winds meant that we didn’t linger too long. The sweeping views of the Strathmore valley to the south were excellent – the sun could be seen reflecting off the surface of the distant backwater reservoir and it was clear enough to see right over to the Sidlaw hills. The view north was equally good, with the tantalising peaks of the White Mounth beckoning for future climbs.

Plateau.jpg
Mayar.jpg
Mayar Summit 2.jpg
Mayar Summit 1.jpg


From the summit, we descended a little to the east in order to find a sheltered rock on which to have a break and something to eat. Although we had relatively good cover against the wind, I was really beginning to feel the cold seeping into my bones so we quickly set off again towards Driesh, admiring the fantastic views down into Glen Prosen on our right.

Summit Pool.jpg


Once we’d arrived at the start of the ascent to little Driesh, it was time to make a decision. It was now getting on for late afternoon and I was concerned that if we made the trek up Driesh, the (very long looking) walk back to the car park through the forest might need to be made in low visibility or possibly darkness. I hadn’t the foresight to pack a torch and really didn’t want to make a mess of what had so far been very a successful outing for our first Munro, by getting lost in darkness. Becca was quick (perhaps too quick…) to agree and so, with one last glance at the summit of Driesh in the distance (I resisted the temptation to shake my fist), we turned onto the Kilbo path and began descending the Shank of Drumfollow.

Shank of Drumfollow 1.jpg
Descending the Kilbo Path.jpg
The Scorrie.jpg


Although it doesn’t look much in the photographs, I found this to be one of the best parts of the walk – the steep slopes on both sides and the great cleft between them looked beautiful as the last rays of the sun struck the exposed rocks on the western flank of Driesh. A vast herd of deer had congregated at the bottom of the glen and the rutting stag’s mighty roars echoed operatically up the glen (and terrified Maggie in the process!) It was only upon finally reaching the bottom of the shank and re-entering the forest that we stopped to look back at the impressive path on which we had descended. Immediately upon entering the forest, something long and brown ran past us and up into the trees. I didn’t catch a good enough look at it to establish what it was (and Maggie was by this point too tired to give chase) - it was certainly too large to be a red squirrel but too red to be a grey – a pine martin perhaps? :? Pleased with our wildlife quota for the day (eagle, hares, deer, unknown forest mammal) we then wound our way back through the forest to the car park and then back to Coupar Angus.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get much of a chance to rest afterwards – the next day saw us making the long drive up to Ullapool and then catching the ferry over to Lewis to visit “the in laws” for a few days! I’ve definitely got An Cliseam marked for future visits and will be keeping a close eye on the Lewis/Harris section of walkhighlands for updates. However, back on the mainland, we’ve since returned to the Capital and are pondering our next move. Overall, Mayar was a hugely enjoyable experience and any disappointment I felt at having not scaled Driesh has been quickly forgotten – it only gives me a good excuse to revisit the marvellous Corrie Fee in a different season! It has certainly whet both of our appetites for more of the same. With winter fast closing in, the question has to be – where next? :)
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Re: Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar

Postby weescotsman » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:59 pm

Nice day compared to the claggy day I had on Saturday..... now I can see what I missed.... :(

Some cracking photos and I'm jealous ( slightly ) at you seeing a Golden Eagle..... we did here a few stags rutting higher up the valley but had no chance of seeing any of them at all....
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Re: Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar

Postby Gable Gable End » Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:58 pm

great photos!

that isn't a jack russell pup from the breeder near Montreathmont / Forfar is it? :shock:
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Re: Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar

Postby Sabbathstevie » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:30 am

weescotsman wrote:Nice day compared to the claggy day I had on Saturday..... now I can see what I missed.... :(

Some cracking photos and I'm jealous ( slightly ) at you seeing a Golden Eagle..... we did here a few stags rutting higher up the valley but had no chance of seeing any of them at all....


Thanks! I think we were very lucky to get the weather we did - had we had a day like yours then maybe my enthusiasm for more hills wouldn't have been kick started at all! The eagle was bloody massive - would have been more than capable of carrying our little jack away if it wanted to!

Gable Gable End wrote: that isn't a jack russell pup from the breeder near Montreathmont / Forfar is it? :shock:


No, we got her from a family in Bilston, just outside Edinburgh. She's mad as a brush - 2 years old but still looks and acts like a puppy!
IMG_2788.jpg
Maggie
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Re: Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar

Postby ChrisW » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:34 pm

Great report SS, Corrie Fee really is a beautiful localtion, not doing Driesh whilst there is (as you say) an excellent excuse to see it all again :D
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Re: Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar

Postby pollyh33 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:15 pm

Fantastic pics of a fantastic day out!!!

I totally fell in love with this place, so like you and several others, I'll be back :D
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Re: Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar

Postby Sabbathstevie » Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:27 pm

thanks guys - I can definately appreciate why you all love this so much now! The only problem really is that I don't have a clue where to go next :shock: ....any suggestions?

Edinburgh seems like it's as far away from Munro country as you can get in Scotland, the closest probably being Ben Vorlich and Ben Chonzie. Having said that, I've always got the option of Coupar Angus as a start base, opening up the possibility of more Angus glens (Mount Keen beckons) to the East, the likes of Ben Lawers, Scheihallion and the Tarmachan Ridge to the West and, perhaps most invitingly, more of the Grampians to the North.

Based on the reports I've read on here, Lochnagar is really calling out to me although as something of a Munro novice I don't know if the onset of winter means I've missed my opportunity this year...

I'm also definately going to book a short break in Skye next year - not that I'm about to start climbing the Cuillins but certainly Sgurr Na Stri, Marsco and the Quiraing all look very do-able. And amazing.
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Re: Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar

Postby Graeme D » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:19 pm

A very enjoyable debut trip report. That's you well and truly hooked now pal! Your life will never be the same again, in the most amazingly positive sense! :D
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Re: Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar

Postby sdsmart » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:07 pm

Enjoyed your report - I think Mayar was my first Munro too, and a happy visit it was (back about 1817 it seems now!)

If you're based in Couper Angus sometimes, you are also handy for walks in Glenshee (like Glas Maol and other hills nearby - also Glas Tulaichen from near Spittal of Glenshee) and not much further to Braemar for all the great walks into the southern Cairngorms starting from Lynn of Dee (but maybe take a bike for the first part of these)

Lots to choose from :-)
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Re: Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar

Postby Sabbathstevie » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:23 am

by Graeme Dewar » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:19 pm

A very enjoyable debut trip report. That's you well and truly hooked now pal! Your life will never be the same again, in the most amazingly positive sense!


Absolutely - it's funny how even after only having done the one I'm constantly thinking about where to go next...the many walk reports on here are almost enough to tide me over!

by sdsmart » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:07 pm

Enjoyed your report - I think Mayar was my first Munro too, and a happy visit it was (back about 1817 it seems now!)

If you're based in Couper Angus sometimes, you are also handy for walks in Glenshee (like Glas Maol and other hills nearby - also Glas Tulaichen from near Spittal of Glenshee) and not much further to Braemar for all the great walks into the southern Cairngorms starting from Lynn of Dee (but maybe take a bike for the first part of these)


Thanks for the suggestions - they are definately on the "to do" list. While some of the mountains of the West and North West look utterly incredible, I think growing up in Coupar Angus and Blairgowrie has given me a strange affinity for the hills in that part of the world - one of the reasons why Mayar just felt so "right". The Cairnwell munros, Mount Keen and the other Mounth summits are likely to evoke the same feelings.
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Re: Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar

Postby Merry-walker » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:20 pm

Excellent place (I would say that, this place is my garden :lol: :lol: )

Lovely effects on the photographs.
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Re: Curiosity Piqued on Majestic Mayar

Postby Sabbathstevie » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:40 pm

Thanks Merry Walker - pic effects are "Lomo-Fi" courtesy of Instagram - something I'm addicted to at the moment :lol:

I have to agree though - the whole experience from Glen Doll, through the Corrie Fee and back down the Kilbo path is just fantastic. Your winter shots of the Corrie Fee are amazing.
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