Footprints Across Scotland

Why not make a few of your own!

13th November 2011

An atmospheric walk above Glenshee, through the mist and drizzle before enjoying a late burst of sunshine.

Route Map

As we approached Braemar the skies to the north appeared to be brightening and the weather in general looked quite promising. The improved outlook soon deteriorated however as we gained height when approaching the car park at the Glenshee Ski centre. After repositioning the van to provide a windbreak we sat by the opened side door watching the mist role across the car park. Erring on the side of caution we donned full waterproofs and as we prepared for the off we crossed fingers in the hope that the weather would improve. After heading across the car park we followed the track up through the ski tows and out onto the open hillside. Visibility wasn’t great, what with the mist in general and the moisture coating both inside and outside of my glasses, it was one of those days when I was able to see much better without them. After passing over Meall Odhar the way leveled out for a while before a steep pull onto the west shoulder of Glas Maol. The vague outline of the path led us across the rock strewn ground leading eventually to the cairn on the rather flat summit area. Prevailing winds were supposed to be from the south and John’s initial idea was to walk north with the wind at our back while we headed off to Cairn of Claise and Cairn an Tuirc. However the wind appeared to come from a more easterly direction and was now carrying a mixture of mist and rain. We had a number of options, carry on, return to the car park or head with the wind over our shoulder to take in Creag Leagach. We decided on the latter so after putting the map in its waterproof case and taking a reading we headed off with compass in hand. 200 meters later and John asks, were are you poles? So it was a quick about turn and back to the summit to collect them before we set off for a second time. Our bearing took us across grassier slopes and allowed us to pick up the line of fence posts that dot the pathway over to Creag Leacach. After a while the posts are replaced by what must have been a very fine stone wall in its day. The wall lead us along the undulating ridge until we made the summit cairn where we stopped for a bite to eat. At least the rain had stopped and we found suitable shelter from the strong wind. After following the wall further we crossed over toward top 943 before starting our descent, the way here was filled with slippery rocks and proved a little awkward until we made grassy ground a little further down. A better option may have been to continue along the main ridge for a while to reach a col and then backtrack effectively circumnavigating top 943. As we lost height while heading to the col below Meall Gorm the mist started to break up and we entertained thoughts of going back up to gain some higher views …, well maybe not! It was just as well really as the top of Creag Leacach remained cloaked in mist for the rest of the walk.

John & Leacann Dubh (left)

John & Leacann Dubh (left)

We were now out of the mist and into brightening weather, rays of sunshine were now splashing light over the hillsides high up in the corrie. We dropped down to the foot of Leacann Dubh and crossed the burn Allt Coire a’ Bhathaich without too much trouble. The walk back up the ridge to the ski centre proved to be very pleasant and the sight of the mist rolling off the tops was quite mesmerising.

Mist rolling off Creag Leacach

Mist rolling off Creag Leacach

I tend to carry my camera as a matter of course nowadays but was thinking that this was going to be one of those walks were it would remain inside my pack for the duration. Luckily there were some views worth capturing after all.

Mist rolling off Creag Leacach

Admiring the view

All in all it was an enjoyable walk, very atmospheric and the views over the final hour certainly helped to the make the effort all worthwhile.

Glas Maol

Last look back to Glas Maol

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