A long day walking in the hills of the eastern Mounth, including Conachcraig & Mount Keen
Distance: 31km; Ascent: 1300m; Warm & sunny, but misty on the tops; Mostly solo
The weather was forecasted to be good today, which was promising as it was due to be my penultimate day up in the hills on this year's crossing. I had a reasonably leisurely start to the day and found that half the tents had already gone by the time I got up! And by the time I set off walking just after 9am, there were only a couple of tents remaining.
|Just a couple of tents remaining as I set off walking|
|Lochnagar from near Gelder Shiel|
|Last views back to the Cairngorms on the way up Conachcraig|
Eventually I reached the summit of the subsidiary top of Caisteal na Caillich (Corbett Top) at around quarter past eleven. A reasonably pleasant misty walk over the plateau, punctuated with granite outcrops brought me to the higher summit of Conachcraig (Corbett, Marilyn) around thirty minutes later.
|On the summit of Conachcraig|
|Heading down the track into Glen Muick|
|In the Glen Muick woods|
|Louise & Laura approaching Allt-na-giubhsaich|
|Crossing the River Muick|
After a reasonably long and restful break in the sunshine, I decided that I'd better get going again as I still had to get over to the Water of Mark if I was going to fit Mount Keen into my day tomorrow. Therefore at around 2pm I set off walking up alongside the pleasant Allt Darrarie. Lynsey and I had previously walked this way back in 2008, during the only few hours of rain of our entire crossing!
|The Allt Darrarie|
|Bridge over the Allt Darrarie|
|The Burn of Mohamed|
|The upper part of the Burn of Mohamed|
For the first couple of kilometres along the river, I was able to cross at will to pick the easiest line although this was only possible due to the low water level. As I got further downstream the glen became more well defined with steeper sides, meaning that I was sometimes down at water level and other times picking a way across the heather slopes high up above the burn.
|The Water of Mark a couple of km downstream from Shielin of Mark|
|Looking down Glen Mark|
|The Water of Mark near Craig Michael, with Mount Keen in the distance|
My original plan had been to follow one of the side streams up onto the moorland, but I'd noticed that the slopes of Little Hill seemed to offer a grassy alternative ascent. This turned out to be quite pleasant initially, but soon turned into rough heathery moorland. However there were lots of mountain hares bounding around on the moor this evening, which were entertaining to watch :-).
|Looking East towards Mount Keen|
|A hazy view down into Glen Tanar from the NW slopes of Mount Keen|
|The summit rocks of Mount Keen|
|On the misty summit of Mount Keen|
|Boundary stone on Mount Keen|
|The track alongside the Ladder Burn|
|Looking back to Glenmark cottage at dusk|
|Looking up Glen Mark at dusk|