Sunday, September 04, 2011

131-136. Carn an Tuirc (113), Tolmount (202) Tom Buidhe (204), Cairn of Claise (71), Glas Maol (69), Creag Leacach (159). 30/08/2011

Having successfully rendezvoused with the Norwegian contingent of Harald and Henrik, I began to think of a suitable introduction to Scottish hills. The request had been for gentler slopes, but there was a clear interest in getting to the top of several munros, so we found ourselves in Braemar. The surrounding area has scores of the blighters and the walks are of such a sort that once you've completed the long walk-in and achieved your first top, you may as well make use of the height and continue on to a few more. Nowhere in Scotland is this more efficient than in Glenshee, where for a mere 1100m of ascent one can traverse no fewer than 6 munros.

Parking the car a few km north of the ski centre, we climbed a good (if sometimes wet) path most of the way up Carn an Tuirc. This was fairly easy going and only consisted of about 500m of ascent. From the top, we had to ascertain which of the myriad lumps in the plateau was our next goal. Keeping the gash of Glen Callater to our left, it soon became obvious which was the correct peak for Tolmount and although it was a distance of 4km or something, we covered the grassy ground without much difficulty. We munched flapjacks and contemplated our view of Lochnagar (which was momentarily out of the cloud) to the north. Tom Buidhe ("Tom Booee") was little over a kilometer away and I'm amazed these two are considered seperate munros, so the next leg of the journey only took us half an hour. Perhaps early Munro measurers lacked the precision equipment to distinguish the 1m height difference between these two and so were forced to give Munro status to both.

Still in good weather and good spirits, we paraded across to Cairn of Claise, where we found a stone wall and hundreds of Giant Hill Bunnies - and I do mean hundreds, they were everywhere. We followed the stone wall all the way to Glas Maol, negotiating a squally shower along the way. This was our highpoint and it was only just out of the cloud. It was also the only of the six to be a little spoilt by ski developments, but fortunately they weren't too obvious at the top. Creag Leacach was slightly different in character and slightly removed from the others along what I would almost call a ridge. A bit rockier and pointier than the others, this was probably my favourite, but I gather it is a little less kind on older knees.

After leaving the sixth clear top, the rain began to set in for most of the descent, but it was still definitely a successful walk - about 8hrs for the 25km loop to the ski centre.

Viewing Glas Maol from Cairn of Claise.

Looking back from the southernmost peak in the chain.


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