The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Tea Atop Creag Leacach

Friday was the day we were to head back south, but we had enough time available to us to pop up to drink tea and admire the view on a couple more hills so, continuing the theme of ‘quick and easy’ we picked two to the east of the Glenshee ski centre, which (once again) gave us the advantage of starting at over 2000’.

The skies had been clear earlier in the morning and as we set out it was still fine down to the south of us...


…but looking to the north, the skies were rather heavier and I feared that we were going to be climbing into our waterproofs before we got to the top of our first hill.


That’s Carn Aosda, up which we had been a couple of days before.

Glas Maol was our first objective (although, on reflection, we would have been better reversing the order) and after no small amount of huffing and puffing (on my part at least) we found ourselves on its summit. With the summit lying on a big plateau, it’s not the most interesting top we’ve been on, although I did later find that it has the distinction of not being just a Munro, but also a county top.


Disaster was averted when Mick noticed that the lunch box was not in his pack before we left the summit, and over we headed to Creag Leacach, which is a far more interesting and pleasing hill than Glas Maol (according to my criteria as to what makes a hill nice; other opinions may vary). Here’s the view over to it (and as you can see, the weather was turning fine after all):


A wide, gentle, grassy ridge sits between the two hills from where the ascent up Creag Leacach looks much harder than it actually is. With the going made more interesting by stoniness and a couple of boulder fields it held my attention until, before I knew it, we were spying the first people we had seen out all day, as we approached the summit cairn.

With the sun upon us, it was a fine place to stop for sandwiches and tea (even if it was a bit of an early lunch), before we turned around and enjoyed the same route back down to and along that lovely grassy ridge. Had we parked slightly further down the road, there is an obvious (and very nice looking) circular walk (which admittedly we could have followed even from where we parked, but finishing a circuit with a 600’ ascent didn’t appeal to me), but we didn’t entirely do an out-and-back as I didn’t feel the need to revisit the summit of Glas Maol on the way back.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the route we took for our initial descent, but we did eventually hit the trod we wanted, from where we headed over to rejoin the main ascent path. There we accidentally led a couple astray, as they made that school-boy error or seeing us approaching and assuming that our route was the one they wanted. Quite how the missed the great scar of an ascent path, which you can see for miles, I don’t know:


Even in this little snap it’s an obvious path!

The only reason we know they didn’t intend to go the way we had come, was because we looked back and watched them contour a while, have a chat, head steeply upwards and then eventually traverse back over to the path.

As for us, we continued our ‘ridiculously steep’ theme, as we short-cutted the track on which we had ascended. Having successfully negotiated all of the steepness, I managed to come a cropper immediately upon stepping back onto the flatness of the track. Like stepping onto a plate of ball-bearings, it was, as I stepped onto the layer of stones which lies on top of the old tarmac surface. Fortunately, no damage was done as my legs flew out from under me and I came crashing down.

As for that heavy sky, as the forecast suggested it would, it returned as the day went on and the rain started about five paces before we entered the car park. Not bad timing, I’d say.

The stats for the day were 7.3 miles walked with 2200’ of ascent.

1 comment:

  1. Ouch. Dented pride if nothing else in that moment when you pop back up on your feet and look round to see who was watching.
    I never do that...