Recovery Plan 1,2,3 done. Skip 4. On to 5.

Route: Glas Maol Munros circuit, Cairnwell Pass

Munros: Cairn of Claise, Carn an Tuirc, Creag Leacach, Glas Maol

Date walked: 24/07/2020

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 20km

Ascent: 987m

Some of you may have read a couple of reports I did recently describing my attempts to regain confidence in my body and also my hill fitness, which were both lost after a spell of sciatica which, coincidentally, almost perfectly spanned the period from the beginning to the easing of the lockdown measures.
Like many, if not most people, lockdown along with the physical discomfort of the sciatica left me pretty low and I thought my hillwalking days may be over before I got really started (I'm a late starter). I was particularly disappointed that my Munro total was going to come to an end at 46. If only I had got to 50, I would have been, if not happy, a little more personally satisfied with what I'd achieved. If only😭!
However, here's the good news. The meds kicked in, or for whatever reason, the symptoms eased and I found myself planning hills to ease my way back to being able to tackle the kind of walks I felt I could cope with last year.
A very easy walk in the Kilsyth Hills led to tackling the two Lomond Hills from Falkland in Fife. My grandson Matthew was with me on both these walks and friend Andy joined us in Fife.
Next step up was a Corbett. After searching around I settled on Ben Donich at the Rest and be Thankful, accompanied again by Matthew. I really enjoyed it. It was perfect for my needs. It tested me a little more and rewarded us both with excellent views from the summit. Apart from the huge quantity of summits, there were so many lochs, sea lochs and the Clyde all visible from the top of this hill. Plus it had the benefit of being relatively quiet. As we headed home, the Succoth car park, despite being a weekday, was mobbed. Don't they know there are other hills such as Donich, The Brack, Beinn an Lochan just around the corner? Maybe it's best that they don't :).
a Starting Ben Donich..jpg
Starting Ben Donich.
b summit of Ben Donich..jpg
Summit of Ben Donich.
c descending Ben Donich..jpg
Descending Ben Donich.

So now, was I ready for a Munro? Something I wouldn't have bet a penny on during March, April, May and June. I wasn't 100% sure. I was still suffering s bit of pain at the back of my knee and numbness/pins and needles in my right foot. I looked at my map and tried to select a suitable hill. Looking to avoid a repeat if possible and not wanting something super strenuous, made the choice quite difficult.
Then it leapt out at me. Let's skip Step 4, a single Munro, and jump straight to Step 5, a multiple circuit!! And the Glas Maol round on the east side of Glenshee seemed to tick the boxes. More ascent would be required but not TOO much, and, if I managed, the last summit Creag Leacach would be my 50th individual summit. YESSSS!!! I might get there after all. Now I have to admit I had hoped and planned that my 50th would be the slightly more glamourous Ben Cruachan but beggars can't be choosers. So, again with sidekick grandson Matthew, this circuit would be our next goal.
We set off at 7am, reaching the layby and ready to go for 9. Firstly there is a gently rising walk in, followed by a steeper grassier section and near the summit some steep scree which in fact is in evidence on all the summits on this walk.
d looking back at the Cairnwell and Carn Aosda.jpg
Looking Back at The Cairnwell and Carn Aosda.
On this walk we met a couple and the lady told us she had just returned to hillwalking after breaking an ankle on a previous walk. I'm not sure if I would consider this the ideal walk in that circumstance as there is plenty of opportunity to repeat that accident on this climb.
d Loads of scree..jpg
Loads of scree.

As normal you have to gain most of the height before you have settled into the walk and before you get your hoped for second wind. Well that is the case for me and Matthew anyway. But eventually, after a couple of hours and after picking our way through the scree we arrived at summit No.1, Carn an Tuirc, where a short break was taken and our second wind arrived :lol:.
e Summit of Carn an Tuirc.jpg
Summit of Carn an Tuirc.

An hour's walk took us on to Cairn of Claise.
f Matthew, summit of Cairn of Claise..jpg
Matthew at summit of Cairn of Claise.
f1 selfie at summit of Cairn of Claise.jpg
Selfie at summit of Cairn of Claise.

After some chats and pics we set of for Glas Maol.
g Heading towards Glas Maol..jpg
Heading towards Glas Maol.
During our walk we saw hares, a couple of frogs and several small scuttling rodents moving too fast to identify.
Nearly stood on this little guy(or gal).
h taking in the view.jpg
Matthew taking in the view.
Again, one hour was the time taken to bring us on to summit number three Glas Maol, which at 1068 metres is the highest of the four summits.
i 35th for Matthew  at Glas Maol..jpg
Glas Maol summit. 35th for Matthew.
j double selfie at Glas Maol..jpg
Double selfie at Glas Maol.
k Glas Maol summit 1.jpg
Glas Maol summit pic 1.
l glas Maol summit 2.jpg
Glas Maol summit pic 2.

Creag Leacach could now be seen bending round to the south and two scree covered peaks would have to crossed before reaching the summit on the third.
m Heading of for Creag Leacach..jpg
Heading for Creag Leacach.
n Creag Leacach.jpg
Creag Leacach.
An hour and a half saw us scramble up the last of these and onto the summit. My 50th Munro😊. And Matthew had a bump up to 36. Not too bad for a 12 year old who now wants to push on to 50 himself.
o summit of Creag Leacach 1.jpg
My 50th Munro (1) Creag Leacach
p summit of Creag Leacach 2.jpg
My 50th Munro (2) Creag Leacach.

Some more rations and pictures were taken then it was time to head back to the car.
One downside of this circuit is that Creag Leacach leaves you furthest from your car and worst still the last 1.25 miles is beside the road. We set off and for a short time the weather threatened to worsen. Banks of cloud sped in, but fortunately did not amount to anything.
r the clouds roll in.jpg
The clouds roll in.
s creag leacach summit in cloud now..jpg
Creag Leacach summit now in the clag.
s creag leacach summit in cloud now..jpg
Creag Leacach summit now in the clag.
A descent path was picked up which eventually merges with the track from the ski centre to Glas Maol.
t looking down on the A93..jpg
Looking down on the A93.

We reached the ski centre and began the trek back to the car which at least was also downhill. But despite this, Matthew began to flag and complain. He certainly wasn't enjoying this bit. But it was hard to be annoyed with him as he had done well up to that point.
But after 8hrs (we didn't rush, plenty of stops and time on the summits) and 12.25 miles we were back at the car.
What now? Well, despite my foot feeling a bit weird, I got through this OK, as did Matthew, and I thought about what a similarly aged gent said to me about goals on the summit of Cairn of Claire. That my next one should be my age. 65. Here's hoping 😁!!!

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Comments: 2

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Distance: 15km
Ascent: 600m
Views: 130

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Attachment(s) Date walked: 02/07/2020
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Ascent: 285m
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Attachment(s) Date walked: 02/04/2020
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Ascent: 5m
Comments: 2
Views: 225

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Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Earl's Seat
Date walked: 26/10/2019
Distance: 10.75km
Ascent: 709m
Views: 838

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Attachment(s) Date walked: 17/10/2019
Distance: 11km
Ascent: 455m
Comments: 7
Views: 1229

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Attachment(s) Munros: Ben More, Stob Binnein
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Ascent: 1350m
Views: 624

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Attachment(s) Munros: Bidean nam Bian, Stob Coire Sgreamhach
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Distance: 11km
Ascent: 1316m
Comments: 3
Views: 866

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Date walked: 07/09/2019
Distance: 17.5km
Ascent: 1302m
Comments: 3
Views: 1015

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Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Nevis
Date walked: 25/08/2019
Distance: 17km
Ascent: 1352m
Comments: 9
Views: 1385


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Activity: Munro compleatist

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Last visited: Aug 03, 2020
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