Nine Glenshee Munros plus Tops

Sunday 08 September 2013:

Glenshee Ski Centre – Creag Leacach – Glas Maol – Cairn of Claise – Tom Buidhe – Tolmount – Camp near Allt an Loch

Monday 09 September 2013:

Camp near Allt an Loch – Carn an Tuirc – Carn Aosda – Carn a’ Gheòidh – The Cairnwell – Glenshee Ski Centre

Day 1, Sunday 08 September 2013

26.6 km/1106 m/09:00 hrs

Munros (2nd round): Creag Leacach, Glas Maol, Cairn of Claise, Tom Buidhe + Tolmount (Nos. 4 – 8)

Munro Tops: Meall Odhar, Creag Leacach SW Top, Little Glas Maol, Druim Mòr + Crow Craigies (Nos. 4 – 8)

I was looking for a way to increase my Munro count, and with a promising weather forecast for the area, I decided to visit the Glenshee Munros, as they provide an easy and enjoyable way to bag lots of Munros in a couple of days.

From the Glenshee Visitor Centre where I had left my car, I walked S to the start of the track up to Meall Odhar. On the way, I passed the two statues that I had thought were portraits of Alfred Wainwright and his wife, but in the meantime I found out that they are actually called Tommy and Maggie.

Unfortunately, poor Maggie was damaged by a snow plough last winter 😦

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Looking back to the Ski Centre.

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View S along Gleann Beag.

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Creag Leacach.

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The first Munro Top of the day, Meall Odhar.

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From Meall Odhar, I followed the path that traverses Glas Maol’s W flank and leads onto the ridge of Creag Leacach.

Glas Tulaichean, seen through a “window” in the wall that goes all the way to the summit.

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I left my rucksack behind a boulder and followed the wall.

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Creag Leacach summit.

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Then I continued along the ridge towards the second Top, Carn Ait.

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View to Ben Gulabin from the summit of Carn Ait.

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The Cairnwell and Carn Aosda.

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After collecting my rucksack, I headed back along the ridge towards Glas Maol.

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Small stone shelter along the way.

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Soon I reached the summit shelter on Glas Maol, where I met a couple of hillwalkers trying to take a summit photo of themselves, balancing their camera on the trig point. I offered to take a photo of them, and then continued to Little Glas Maol.

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Easy grassy slopes on the way to Little Glas Maol.

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Little Glas Maol, with Glas Maol as a backdrop.

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Instead of using the track that traverses over the lower slopes of Glas Maol, I decided to take a shortcut above the Craigie Doubs crags.

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I was pleasantly surprised to find a path of sorts (or a sheep track?).

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From here, I got a nice view into Caenlochan Glen.

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I rejoined the main path to Cairn of Claise just above Garbh-choire.

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Cairn of Claise summit cairn.

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Again, it was just an easy walk over to the next top, Druim Mòr.

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Being situated at the edge of the plateau, Druim Mòr is a good viewpoint for Caenlochan Glen and Canness Glen.

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En route to the next target, Tom Buidhe.

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Tom Buidhe.

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Trying not to lose too much height, I first descended from Tom Buidhe in a northerly direction, contoured around Tolmount and then turned E towards Crow Craigies, crossing two tributary streams of the White Water on the way.

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Crow Craigies, with Loch Esk in the distance.

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The last hour or so it had been overcast, but all of a sudden the low sun came out again, creating a lovely light over Fafernie and Cairn of Gowal.

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View to Loch Callater on the way to Tolmount (zoomed).

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Low sunlight over Broad Cairn.

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Tolmount summit cairn.

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On the descent from Tolmount, I started looking for a camp site, and eventually found a suitable pitch near the Allt an Loch (and completely forgot to take a photo of it!).

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Day 2, Monday 09 September 2013

20.9 km/1004 m/08:30 hrs

Munros (2nd round): Carn an Tuirc, Carn Aosda, Carn a’ Gheòidh + The Cairnwell (Nos. 9 – 12)

Munro Tops: Carn Bhinnein (No. 9)

I packed up my tent and was on my way at around 08:00. Contouring around the northern slopes of Cairn of Claise, I suddenly spotted another walker coming towards me. Considering the time of day and being miles away from the nearest road, I assumed he had been camping as well, but when he came closer I noticed he was only carrying a small daypack. It turned out he had started from the car park by the bridge across the Cairnwell Burn in the morning and had already climbed Carn an Tuirc – and I had thought I had an early start!

On the way to Carn an Tuirc.

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Carn an Tuirc.

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Glenshee Visitor Centre and Carn Aosda.

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The direct way down from the summit is very rocky and steep, and I tried to keep to the right (NW), walking on the few grassy patches between the stones.

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Further down, the walking becomes a lot easier on a good path through heather and grass.

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One of several waterfalls along the way, with Carn an Tuirc in the background.

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I sat down by the old stone bridge for a second breakfast, enjoying the sun and the views.

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What followed, was probably the most unpleasant part of the whole walk – fighting my way up Carn Aosda’s steep NE ridge through knee deep heather…

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… and then it even started to rain, but thankfully the rain soon turned to showers and later died out completely.

Glen Clunie.

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Carn Aosda, with The Cairnwell to the left.

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Loch Vrotachan.

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Carn Aosda.

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Again, I left my rucksack hidden behind some rocks and continued with a small pack towards Carn a’ Gheòidh.

Looking back along the ridge.

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Unnamed lochan beside the path.

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The wide glen of the Allt a’ Choire Dhirich below The Cairnwell.

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Approaching Carn a’ Gheoidh.

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The summit of Carn a’ Gheoidh, with Glas Tulaichean behind.

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A mountain hare posing in the distance (zoomed).

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En route to the last Munro Top, Carn Bhinnein.

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The rocky summit of Carn Bhinnein.

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A large herd of deer in the glen below.

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I found a sheltered place to sit down just below the airy summit and had another break.

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The views from here were the highlight of the day – Gleann Taitneach…

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… and Glas Tulaichean across the glen.

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I could have sat there in the sun all day, but eventually I had to make my way back to Carn a’ Gheoidh.

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Second visit to Carn a’ Gheoidh’s summit for today.

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Lochan on the ridge.

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From the distance I spotted a handy path traversing below the 873 m top, leading to The Cairnwell.

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After using this shortcut, I soon arrived at The Cairnwell.

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Not exactly an attractive hill…

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… but a good viewpoint for Gleann Beag.

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The slightly dilapidated shelter.

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From the summit, I descended along the line of the ski tow that leads directly to the Visitor Centre.

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I arrived there at 17:00, just at closing time 😦 I would have liked some food, but I wasn’t hungry enough for a big meal, and something like a soup would have been perfect. So I drove to Braemar, hoping that Gordon’s Tearoom might still be open, but it was closed as well. In the end I got a pizza from the Hungry Highlander takeaway (I was told it would take 30 minutes – which it did – and by the time it was ready, I was hungry enough).

This had been a really good walk in an area that I have come to like very much over the last few years, after neglecting it for a long time. The feeling of a wide open space is very present, making it perfect for backpacking trips. I also felt that by visiting the Munro Tops I discovered some great viewpoints that I would have never found otherwise 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Nine Glenshee Munros plus Tops

    • Good luck with your Munro plans, and fingers crossed for nice weather, of course!

      I’ll be bypassing them this time, walking along Jock’s Road instead 🙂

  1. Great to see those hills again, need to revisit this area soon, its long overdue and lots of unfinished business! I have lovely memories of camping just below Tolmount, looking down on Loch Callater, then walking to the cairn around 11pm under a wonderful night sky.

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