A KEENLY COLD MOUNTAIN
With the rest of the UK being hit with some rather heavy snow showers, Matt and I decided to head up to Glen Clova, as there appeared to be a potential weather window and we might get the chance to bag a few hills.
Thursday night found us in the Bunkhouse next to the Glen Clova hotel discussing, over some liquid refreshment, where we should should try first, Glen Esk or Glen Doll. We settled on attempting to get up Glen Esk and wander up Mt Keen.
Up early on Friday morning and away, the drive into the Glen being interesting with both of us thinking, if it snows will we get out again!!
We parked the car at Invermark with the outside temp being -5*C and headed up a very icy track to the Queens Well.
After about an hour of slipping and sliding we reached the Queens Well, which surprisingly wasn’t frozen. Boots were tightened and up the hill we headed, following an obvious snow covered path. We spotted a herd of deer on the hillside but they soon disappeared in the snowy landscape
The next obstacle was a rather frozen iced up stream with a metal grid which looked like it was going to be fun to cross but we decided that it was on with crampons time and away we went. . . nae bother
Mt Keen soon came into view as we hit the ridge and by this time we were walking straight into a rather cold wind (that’s putting it mildly) The last couple of hundred meters of climbing seemed to take forever, we were glad we had our crampons on as the ground was frozen, a snow layer that had melted and refrozen, with a layer of powder snow on top that was being blown into drifts.
Once we hit the summit it was a quick couple of pics and away, definitely wasn’t the weather to hang around it. We estimated that it was around -25*C on top with the wind chill. Heading down I lost Matt a couple of times as the powder snow being blown everywhere made visibility rather difficult.
The rest of the trip back to the car was uneventful apart from recrossing the iced up stream, just as I stepped onto the ice I took cramp in my calf and at the same time caught my crampons, luckily enough I fell backwards onto dry land otherwise it would have been a rather icy early bath.
We were soon thawed out and back in the hotel re-hydrating and checking out the weather for Saturday as we were intending to wander onto Glen Doll and attempt Mayar and Driesh.
However when we looked outside on Sat morning the car was covered by an inch of snow and it was snowing quite heavily, so we decided to pack up and head west to see if the weather got any better as we didn’t fancy getting stuck in Glen Doll.
Snow showers were following us, so after a quick trip around the Trossachs and wandering along the side of a frozen Loch Venacher, trying to break the ice with stones, we decided to head south back to Englandshire.
Only the one Munro “bagged” but a fun time had in the snow!!