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Last updated: 15/10/10


Snow, Ice and Wind (with a little sun)
9 March 2008

A group of a dozen or so congregated into the minibus on Sunday 9 March 2008 for a jaunt to Glen Shee – one member made sure that Alec would stop in Peterculter by erecting traffic lights and a red “Stop” sign! As in January (see earlier report), Lochnagar loomed white against blue, but Ballater provided no comfort; however, the Braemar toilets proved more accommodating. Then it was up to the ski car park, where the clouds were foregathering higher up, and lifts were silent although some snow patches twisted down the slopes. However, the forecast wind was not too bad, and the temperature bearable. Groups went off from here and from lower down (see below), but the author’s group went up to above Loch Vrotachan and then west along the county boundary.

The first hour or so were not too promising, with mist obscuring the views, but the descent off Carn a’Gheoich provided some sunshine and even some glissading (see pic). Then good walking snow took us easily up and over Carn a’Chlarsaich to Loch nan Eun for lunch, where we looked out over the loch ice, the Iutharns and An Socach, with a possible eagle in sight. Elsewhere on the trip, hares, grouse and ptarmigan made their appearance, with deer above Braemar.

Having made such good progress, Glas Tulaichean was the obvious post-prandial target, and so it was up and over the 858m top, to tackle the main NE ridge. Here, underfoot conditions suddenly changed to hard snow-ice, tricky to detect and to negotiate. Ice-axes were soon out, and crampons considered (and should probably have been worn); but the problem was not so much the risk of a downward slip to oblivion but the difficulty of making upward progress.

Eventually, all reached flatter ground and then the summit trig point, with goodish views in most directions. However, a chilly wind, and the need to get down in time, did not lead to lingering. So, off down the SE ridge, and then down more steeply across heather and grass in Clais Bheag to the ruined Glenlochsie Lodge, whence the railway (track) was followed to Dalmunzie and the welcome sight of Alec’s cheery face on the road to the Spittal.

Having arrived at the pub before the meal service closed down at 5:15pm, the two other groups looked suspiciously well-fed and well-watered. One of them had scaled Glas Maol, and then the fine Craig Leacach to Carn an Daimh ridge, while the other had done both Ben Gulabin and Monamenach – an odd pairing, involving a dangerous traverse across the A93 (did they go up the wrong hill first?). The last-comers had to make do with a (very welcome) soup from the reduced menu before we all piled back into the minibus, got some newcomers to sign Club application forms, and hit the homeward road.

Once again, Alec Macmillan did the work of booking the minibus, and driving it (a threatened licence restriction having been averted), as well as organising the participants on the day (the President, having recruited, went skiing on the continent instead!). So thanks again to both, but especially the first!

Author: Ken Thomson