Glenshee Ski Centre – Creag Leacach – Glas Maol – Cairn of Claise – Tom Buidhe – Tolmount – Camp near Allt an Loch
Camp near Allt an Loch – Carn an Tuirc – Carn Aosda – Carn a’ Gheòidh – The Cairnwell – Glenshee Ski Centre
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 😦
Looking back to the Ski Centre.
View S along Gleann Beag.
The first Munro Top of the day, Meall Odhar.
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.
I left my rucksack behind a boulder and followed the wall.
Creag Leacach summit.
Then I continued along the ridge towards the second Top, Carn Ait.
View to Ben Gulabin from the summit of Carn Ait.
The Cairnwell and Carn Aosda.
After collecting my rucksack, I headed back along the ridge towards Glas Maol.
Small stone shelter along the way.
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.
Easy grassy slopes on the way to Little Glas Maol.
Little Glas Maol, with Glas Maol as a backdrop.
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.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a path of sorts (or a sheep track?).
From here, I got a nice view into Caenlochan Glen.
I rejoined the main path to Cairn of Claise just above Garbh-choire.
Cairn of Claise summit cairn.
Again, it was just an easy walk over to the next top, Druim Mòr.
Being situated at the edge of the plateau, Druim Mòr is a good viewpoint for Caenlochan Glen and Canness Glen.
En route to the next target, Tom Buidhe.
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.
Crow Craigies, with Loch Esk in the distance.
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.
View to Loch Callater on the way to Tolmount (zoomed).
Low sunlight over Broad Cairn.
Tolmount summit cairn.
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!).
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.
Carn an Tuirc.
Glenshee Visitor Centre and Carn Aosda.
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.
Further down, the walking becomes a lot easier on a good path through heather and grass.
One of several waterfalls along the way, with Carn an Tuirc in the background.
I sat down by the old stone bridge for a second breakfast, enjoying the sun and the views.
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…
… and then it even started to rain, but thankfully the rain soon turned to showers and later died out completely.
Carn Aosda, with The Cairnwell to the left.
Again, I left my rucksack hidden behind some rocks and continued with a small pack towards Carn a’ Gheòidh.
Looking back along the ridge.
Unnamed lochan beside the path.
The wide glen of the Allt a’ Choire Dhirich below The Cairnwell.
Approaching Carn a’ Gheoidh.
The summit of Carn a’ Gheoidh, with Glas Tulaichean behind.
A mountain hare posing in the distance (zoomed).
En route to the last Munro Top, Carn Bhinnein.
The rocky summit of Carn Bhinnein.
A large herd of deer in the glen below.
I found a sheltered place to sit down just below the airy summit and had another break.
The views from here were the highlight of the day – Gleann Taitneach…
… and Glas Tulaichean across the glen.
I could have sat there in the sun all day, but eventually I had to make my way back to Carn a’ Gheoidh.
Second visit to Carn a’ Gheoidh’s summit for today.
Lochan on the ridge.
From the distance I spotted a handy path traversing below the 873 m top, leading to The Cairnwell.
After using this shortcut, I soon arrived at The Cairnwell.
Not exactly an attractive hill…
… but a good viewpoint for Gleann Beag.
The slightly dilapidated shelter.
From the summit, I descended along the line of the ski tow that leads directly to the Visitor Centre.
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 🙂