Hill: An Socach
Company: Myself and Ken
Date: Saturday 26th January 2008
Time taken: 8 hours
Distance: c. 26km
Weather: Very windy and wet throughout
Have previously climbed An Socach from Glen Shee (as per SMC guidebook route).
The following approach is definitely a much nicer, but longer, route. Started
walking from Muir Cottage 1km West of Inverey. On reaching Inverey, we set off along the 8km landrover track up Glen Ey. (Nice walk in, real slog on the way out)
About 2km into Glen Ey, we took a slight diversion to go down for a look at the Colonel's Bed. Incredible amount of water raging past.
Another kilometre or so on, I took a photo of "Piper's Wood". This is an experimental Woodland Re-generation project funded by Cairngorm Club and Nature Conservancy Council. 1.72 hectare area was fenced-off back in 1989 and left to see what would naturally grow there from seeds blowing in. The fence protecting the area from grazing deer, etc.
Two further photos of Glen Ey track.
All the streams and rivers were in spate due to the recent (and continuing) rainfall.
Photo of Ey Burn from bridge approaching Altanour Lodge:
Altanour Lodge is a ruin. Definitely not 5 star accommodation:
We crossed the Ey Burn at Altanour Lodge via a small wooden bridge over a Linn and then began the ascent up slopes of burnt heather.
Took a photo looking back down towards Altanour Lodge:
It wasn't long before we reached snow and rapidly deteriorating conditions -
very strong winds and sleet:
Most of the day I spent trying to keep up with Ken. I had packed far too much into my rucksack and felt a bit weighted-down.
We reached the ridge beside the East Top of An Socach. The 2km walk from the East Top to the West Top was really unpleasant. The strong wind was against us the whole way.
After nearly four hours from setting off we reached the summit shelter and a wee bit further on, the summit cairn.
We stayed at the summit cairn just long enough to have a bite to eat and a cup of soup. With the wind now behind us the going became much easier. We returned as far as the East Top and then decided to continue a bit further along the ridge. The descent from the East Top to the 855m top was just superb - a fantastic bum-slide down neve.
At the 855m top we agreed to separate as I was keen to get back to Glen Ey (out of the wind) and Ken was keen to continue along the ridge.
I descended a number of snow slopes alongside a stream.
I reached Glen Ey around 1km from Altanour Lodge (still 8km back to the starting point)
Looking back at where I descended back into Glen Ey.
As stated earlier the walk back out was a real slog. Was dark by the time I got back to Muir Cottage.
After a shower and a bit of a rest, I and other Club members enjoyed a Burns Supper. A great way to end the day.