Sunday, 2 October 2011

Loch Brandy, the Snub & Green Hill Circuit

Friday 30th September,

We were looking forward to our first Friday walk for a while, especially with the weather forecast telling us that summer had finally arrived, even if it was only for a few days. We decided on Loch Brandy for a couple of reasons. Firstly we had never been there and secondly it was far enough from the coast to escape the fog but not so far west as to get the rain that was coming from that direction. The walk starts in the car park of the Glen Clova Hotel and we were surprised to find it busy. Not only busy with cars but with people milling around or sitting in their cars. They all looked like walkers but they weren't walking anywhere. In the end curiosity got the better of me and I asked the man in the car parked next to us what was going on. He explained that the road up Glen Doll, (and the start of the climb for the two Munros of Driesh and Mayar), was closed for repairs but that they had been told it would be open again shortly. Apparently that had been about an hour earlier! Anyway it didn't affect us so we got kitted up and set off up through the car park to pick up the Public Right of Way to Glen Esk.

We're on our way

The well defined, well maintained path starts uphill immediately, which I always feel is no bad thing although Mo might disagree! We gained height quickly and the views up and down the Glen steadily improved, although there was a haze that didn't do the photographs any favours!

Looking West

Looking South

Looking East

As ever when we go walking these days we generally have a couple of alternatives. Today our first objective was to reach Loch Brandy. The path remained in good condition as we continued to gain height passing the wonderfully named Laird's Chamber.

The Laird's Chamber

The weather was getting steadily warmer as the sun burned off the last of the haze and with the worst of the climb over we enjoyed a pleasant walk for the last half mile or so before we topped a slight rise to catch our first sight of the loch.

Loch Brandy

The path doesn't quite reach the loch shore so getting a good photo was proving a wee bit difficult as we settled down for a well deserved cup of coffee and some chocolate. We found a nice spot just off the path and sheltered from the brisk, but not cold, southerly breeze. We now needed to decide on whether or not we tried for our second goal of the day which was to try for the circuit of the loch and if so in what direction. Going west would mean a short but very sharp climb up onto The Snub. Going east would take us up the less steep but much longer pull onto Green Hill.

Path up to The Snub

In the end Mo made the call and we set off up the steep path towards The Snub. The path here now changed from the well maintained path we'd had all morning to a rougher, broken hill path. The effort involved was quickly rewarded with much improved views of the loch.

Looking across to Green Hill

Higher & Steeper

From the Top

We passed the cairn with a now very stiff breeze at our back and we decided to carry on down the other side before we would stop for lunch. The wind made it an uncomfortable walk along the north side of the loch especially for Mo who struggles in strong winds. We were able to pick out some very hazy views of the distant Lochnagar and Mount Keen. The other hills we could see were unfortunately too vague for me to even take a guess at them. I did however stop on a few occasions to take photographs of The Snub.

Looking back to The Snub

The Snub & Loch

Looking West across the Loch

The wind was becoming a bit of a nuisance by the time we stopped at the cairn that topped Green Hill, (870 metres), but we took what shelter we could and ate our lunch. It was too windy to sit about too long so we headed down the grassy path with the loch now on our right with great views across the loch.

On the way down

We were quite pleased that we'd chosen to head up the steep climb because although the path we were on was nowhere near as steep it was a long slow gradient and would have been a right slog if we'd come this way round. We stopped again at the place we'd had our original coffee break. By now the wind dropped off enough that we were able to have a nice long break before heading on down the original path.

On the way home, looking back

By the time we had arrived back at the car park it was suitably empty so the road up Glen Doll was obviously open and the "baggers" had moved on. We had set off just after ten o'clock and we arrived back just before four o'clock. It had been a good walk and, as ever, it could have been done much quicker but why rush a beautiful day.

J
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