Sunday, 14 September 2014

Scotland, September 2014. A Six Munro Walk from Glenshee.

We awoke this morning to fog but the forecast was for excellent visibility on the tops with cloud in the valleys so hopes were high for perfect conditions.  The support team drove us up the valley and over the top of the Cairnwell to our start point.  Although the summit of the pass was clear, we were in thick fog to start.  We quickly dropped to the burn and then, almost immediately began to climb, and climb.....  I certainly got my comeuppance for bragging that my fitness was returning; it was a lung bursting climb which had me gasping and sweat spouting out of every pore.  We soon climbed through the murk, however, and quickly reached the summit of our first Munro with cloud filled valleys spread out all around and summits poking through.  What a magnificent sight.  Then followed a superb roller coaster of a walk over five more Munros with the route never dipping below 800m; magical.  I had never seen so many mountain hares as I did on this day.  They were everywhere in large groups of ten or more and amazingly tame, as if they didn't know what to make of us.  I even managed some (poor) shots with my compact camera and would have given my eye teeth for my long lens; even the 100-400, but I have reached that stage when carrying an extra 15lbs of camera gear plus tripod does not hold many attractions.  As well as the hares, we saw plenty of ptarmigan again and several huge herds of red deer in the corries below us.  The arctic/alpine tundra not only makes for excellent walking, it is rich in specialist plants: club mosses, lichens and bright colourful mosses. At the end of 16 fantastic miles and 6 more Munros we dropped steeply into a beautifully sylvan glen to be met by the ever faithful support team and then retired to the site for the ritual beer shower beer before fish and chips from Braemar.

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