Saturday 8 April 2017

Mayar and Driesh

River South Esk - views north from near Glen Doll Ranger Centre

So, we've bought a van (forthwith to be known as Cyril).

Cyril is to be converted into a weekender - a mini camper van. He's not a very big van, the space in the back is just large enough to sleep reasonably comfortably.

At the moment, he's really just a metal tent - but due to the excellent forecast, we decided to try a night out, followed by a hill walk.

The Scorrie from the head of Glen Clova

As we're still feeling a bit feeble, we chose to tackle another shorter walk, but this time with two Munro's - Mayar and Driesh in the Angus Hills.

It took about three hours to drive down to Glen Clova and we found a good spot, just off the road to kip.

It was flipping freezing! Thank goodness for a hot Rafe!

We were up and about early, to find a glorious clear morning - with a generous sprinkling of frost! But as the sun made it's way down the flanks of the mountains, the temperature was soon rising and the greens and golds won through.

Jim and Rafe setting off on the Corrie Fee track into Glen Doll Forest

After a good breakfast and several mugs of hot brown liquid, we headed off from the Gen Doll Ranger Station car park on the well signposted route to Corrie Fee (Forestry Commission green route!).

Rafe - the Jock's Road junction

We passed the junction with Jocks Road and continued on up the glen - an excellent track, winding through the trees - Rafe bounding about and fetching sticks - a gradual ascent, good walking.

Looking back (east) to Craig Mellon from the Corrie Fee track

Craig Rennet over Fee Burn from Corrie Fee track

Rafe and Jim head west on the Corrie Fee track in Glen Doll Forest

Rafe and Jim on the Corrie Fee track

Rafe - Corrie Fee NNR

We crossed a little bridge, climbed a few steps through the trees...

Corrie Fee from the edge of Glen Doll Forest

...and suddenly found ourselves amongst the most marvellous circle of hills - Corrie Fee. The photographs just don't do it justice.

Perhaps it was the suddenness of coming out of the trees into the open cirque. Perhaps it was the glorious early spring sunshine. Perhaps it was because we had the vista to ourselves.

Or perhaps it is just a wonderful place! Breathtaking!!

Panorama of Corrie Fee

There was just too much to get into one photograph - we tried a panorama, but of course that just makes the hills look like a line in front - it doesn't give any idea of the glory of the place.

Go there.

Jim and Rafe crossing Corrie Fee

There was a good path across the floor of the corrie - following the burn, winding between moraines and erratics - and all around the cliffs and crags of the corrie walls cradling us under the sky.

Views east, back along our route across Corrie Fee

Jim - Corrie Fee

The waterfalls on the Fee Burn could be seen ahead, falling from rocky head of the corrie, with the path climbing beside it.

Waterfalls on the Fee Burn, Corrie Fee

Jim - Corrie Fee

The walk across the corrie was over too soon - and we were climbing into the hills, with the views opening up behind us.

Jim and Rafe - ascent out of Corrie Fee

Rafe and Jim - ascent out of Corrie Fee

Waterfalls on the Fee Burn, Corrie Fee

Views back (east) into Corrie Fee

Jim and Rafe - ascent out of Corrie Fee

There were a few more waterfalls in the zone between the corrie and the open hillside, before the ascent eased up a bit and we came out, rather suddenly, onto the Cairngorm Plateau.

Waterfalls on the Fee Burn

Jim - good path out of Corrie Fee

Views back into upper Corrie Fee

The views were expansive, the sky went on forever.

Rafe and Jim - ascent of Mayar

There was an obvious path straight across the hillside - a gentle ascent to our first summit of the day - Mayar (Munro 253, 928m).

Looking back (north) to head of Corrie Fee

But the climb was just a bit further than we expected - those Cairngorm perspectives - it's always further than it looks!

Mayar summit (Munro 253, 928m) - views north west

There was a cool breeze on the top - once the summit photo session was done, we dropped behind some handy rocks to the east of the top and had a first (and rather early) lunch.

Jim and Rafe - lunch near Mayar summit - views south

Crags on Mayar - views north west to Glenn Doll

The views were clear across the Cairngorms and beyond - the rest of today's route obvious across the moorland undulations to the east.

Descent from Mayar - views north over Corrie Fee and Glenn Doll

Once the first of our sandwiches were eaten we headed off - easy walking - we made good time.

Jim - descent from Mayar with views east to Driesh

There were a few more people about now - hikers, dog walkers, runners - all out enjoying the exceptional weather and good views.

Views back (west) to Mayar

Views back (west) to Mayar

Jim and Rafe - corssing moorland undulation between Mayar and Driesh

The path followed a line of old fence posts across the moor, along the summits of the undulations. We undulated, and breathed in the hills.

Views south over the Black Skellies from bealach (sh 809m NO260737)

Rafe and Jim - views east to Little Driesh

The ascent stiffened slightly, above a lonely snow patch as we made our way up Little Driesh - but it wasn't anything to really get the heart racing.

Jim - ascent of Little Driesh

Views back (west) to Mayar frmo ascent of Little Driesh

And we were soon on its rounded summit.

Expansive views from summit of Little Driesh (915m)

From Little Driesh, it was only one more gentle undulation to our second Munro, Driesh (Munro 209, 947m).

Rafe and Jim - heading for Driesh

Jim - near Driesh summit

Seemed like a good place for a second lunch - we tucked ourselves in, behind the summit shelter, out of that cold wind,

Driesh summit (Munro 209, 947m)

We chatted with a couple of other walkers as they bagged the hill - and Rafie played for a few minutes with their friendly golden retriever.

Rafe - Driesh - views over Corrie Kilbo

We wandered the summit plateau, taking in the views and taking photo's - reluctant to start our descent. It felt too soon to be heading down.

Rafe and Jim - descent from Driesh - views over Corrie Kilbo, Corrie Fee and Glen Doll

But - we had to make a move. We retraced our steps down to the bealach to the east of Little Driesh and then up to the obvious path running just below the top of the Shank of Drumfollow and down into Corrie Kilbo.

Descent under Shank of Drumfollow into Corrie Kilbo

The path was good, if a little rough in places. We descended quickly and the cool wind blowing over the hilltops dropped to nothing. It was hot!

Looking back to Driesh and Little Driesh from Shank of Drumfollow path

I was soon down to a tee shirt!

Jim - descent into Corrie Kilbo

There was a group of young walkers coming up the path in shorts and vests. They were dripping sweat and obviously suffering in the heat and with the ascent. And there was Jim in his winter weight fleece jacket, hat and gloves! I felt the need to explain that it was chilly on the top!!

Little Driesh and Corrie Kilbo

We were soon in Glen Doll Forest, meandering through the trees - and Rafie had a bit of a plodge in the Burn of Kilbo.

Burn of Kilbo in Glendoll Forest

Descent into Glenn Doll

The route was well signposted through the woods we were in the glen bottom too soon - a gentle stroll back to the busy Glen Doll car park.

Craig Mellon from descent into Glen Doll

Cyril was waiting - and we soon had a brew on the go...

White Water, Glen Doll (NO278762)

Route:  Car park beside Glen Doll Ranger Station in Glen Clova (NO284761), NE then E on track into Glen Doll to Corrie Fee (green route), continue E through Corrie Fee and ascend to Cairngorm Plateau on good path, S to Mayar (Munro 253, 928m), NE for 100m following old fence posts, then E  to bealach (sh 818m), sh 834m, junction of fenceposts (NO258739), SE bealach (sh 809m), SE to Driesh (Munro 219, 947m), return W, over Little Driesh (915m), descend to bealach (sh 809m), ascend to fp NE (NO258739) into Corrie Kilbo, into Glen Doll Forest, follow obvious track to forest road, cross and continue NE on red route back to main Glen Doll path and E back to start

Statistics:  Distance:14.5km  Ascent: 850m  Time: 5hrs 30mins

Map:  OS Explorer OL53 Lochnagar, Glen Muick & Glen Clova

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