First walk of 2019. Glen Isla to Glenshee.
The first outing of 2019 proved to be a popular meet with 27 members taking part in this through walk from Glen Isla to Glenshee. After a minor hic-up with transport arrangements, (which all ended well), the coach dropped of the full party at Auchavan in the upper reaches of Glen Isla. At this point the attendees split into two groups and headed off in different directions, with both groups heading for some part of Glenshee. In uncharacteristically mild, even warm, conditions for January, as the members disembarked from the coach, it was noted that there seemed to be some activity ahead from the Tayside Police Search and Rescue Team. Had they heard that we were on our way? and were they on stand-by? - well as it turned out -NO, and I'm happy to report that they were not on a rescue mission either, but merely on a training exercise.
The first of our groups headed due west and gained height quickly as the climbed to the summit of Monamenach. From here they dropped down into Glack of Glengairney and climbed again to the top of Black Hill. With reasonably good views from just below the cloud level, this group then started the long descent continuing west and heading towards Glenshee. After reaching Westerton of Runavey, they then followed part of the Cateran trail to the Spittal of Glenshee, where they were reunited with the Coach.
The second group had a more leisurely start to their chosen route and followed the well formed track over level ground to 1km beyond Tulchan Lodge. Here they then left the track and started on the long ascent of the South ridge to the summit of Monega Hill. On the rise up the ridge there were magnificent views back down Glen Isla and further north into Caenlochan Glen. There was little, or no snow on the Hills except for a few of the gully lines in corries below which were holding some deep patches. At this point the cloud level dropped and careful navigation was required over Little Glas Moal, Glas Moal and Meall Odhar before clearing as the group dropped down towards the Glenshee Ski Centre carpark. Although there were no winter sport enthusiasts around the café at the Centre was open and made us welcome for tea, coffee and cake whilst the group waited for the coach to arrive for the homeward journey. This was a most successful day, with one member completing her second only Munro, others their first ascent of Glas Moal and some retracing steps taken many times before, all with the same sense of achievement (perhaps some more than others) and enjoyment.
There was an abundance of wild life noted and perhaps most obvious were the Mountain Hares in their full White Winter coats, who could do little to camouflage themselves on the bare mountain and moorland heather.
Attached image is of the second group about to leave Glen Isla and start the long pull up to the summit of Monega Hill.