Hills: Monega Hill, Little Glas Maol, Glas Maol, Cairn of Claise and Druim Mor
Date: Saturday 6th July 2013
Company: Just myself
Distance: 24.7km, Ascent: 1280m
Time: 7Hrs 30Mins

On Friday, I set off to my Mountaineering Club’s weekend meet in Glen Shee. Having ascended most of the hills in this area previously, I initially struggled to come up with a plan.

On Saturday morning, I got Landranger 43 out on the breakfast table and whilst pondering over the map found an interesting-looking glen that I had not been along previously. A few kilometres along this glen, it looked possible to undertake a horseshoe taking in Monega Hill, Little Glas Maol, Glas Maol, Cairn of Claise and Druim Mor – effectively a circuit of the hills above Caenlochan Glen. I decided to give this route a go.

I drove to just beyond Auchavan, in Glen Isla, and parked beside the bridge between Auchavan and Dalhally.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

The initial few hundred metres, starting from the “Public footpath by Monega Hill to Braemar” Right of Way sign, was fairly rough underfoot.

Start of walk from parking area just beyond Auchavan:

However, it wasn’t long before I was up and onto the excellent-quality track which runs alongside the River Isla leading to Caenlochan Glen and Canness Glen. Thankfully there was no need to cross the dodgy bridge in the next photo .

Dodgy bridge over the River Isla:

As I walked alongside the River Isla, I saw numerous birds including Stonechat, Meadow Pipit and several little brown ones that were beyond my ID skills.

Looking towards Shanovan Hill from Glen Isla:

Entrance to Tulchan lodge:

A short distance beyond the entrance to Tulchan lodge, I stepped over the broken section of gate to access the track beyond. The ridge ascending Monega Hill looked fairly pleasant – a nice, gentle grassy slope.

Looking towards Shanovan Hill and Monega Hill:

On reaching the sign in the next photo, I took to the hillside. The next couple of hundred metres was fairly rough underfoot. I would recommend carrying on along the main track a short distance further to pick up a much better track leading up the hill.

Start of track ascending Monega Hill:

Once onto the grassy track ascending Monega Hill, I ascended at a nice gentle pace - I was in no hurry .

Looking back towards Mount Blair, Glen Isla and Monamenach:

Ascending Monega Hill:

After passing several cairns during the ascent, I eventually reached the summit of Monega Hill.

Summit of Monega Hill:

From the summit of Monega Hill, I could see across to the other side of my horseshoe.

Looking across to Cairn of Claise and Druim Mor from Monega Hill:

The next section of walk, from Monega Hill to Little Glas Maol, only took fifteen minutes. Little Glas Maol is a Munro Top.

Despite having ascended Glas Maol six times previously, all from the A93, this was my first ascent of Little Glas Maol.

Looking towards Glas Maol from Little Glas Maol:

On reaching the col between Little Glas Maol and Glas Maol, I stopped to take some photos of a Mountain Hare that seemed content to just sit and watch me.

Mountain hare at col between Little Glas Maol and Glas Maol:

Looking across to Cairn of Claise from col between Little Glas Maol and Glas Maol:

On looking back, I was surprised to see a Land Rover near the edge of the cliff. I did hear rifle shots earlier that morning; the start of stalking season .

Looking back to Little Glas Maol and Monega Hill:

On reaching the summit of Glas Maol, I spent at least fifteen minutes at the summit having a nice seat and a sandwich.

At the summit of Glas Maol:

On descending from Glas Maol, I passed a group of circa twelve mountain hares all of which scarpered except for one which stayed still long enough to let me take a photo.

Mountain Hare on Glas Maol:

Between Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise, I passed another Land Rover.

On the track from Glas Maol to Cairn of Claise:

Final ascent of Cairn of Claise:

I stopped for a few minutes at the summit of Cairn of Claise where I had a brief chat with three others who were already sitting at the summit.

Approaching the summit cairn:

Looking back to Monega Hill, Little Glas Maol and Glas Maol from Cairn of Claise:

From the summit of Cairn of Claise I made my way across to Druim Mor. Druim Mor is a Munro Top.

Dunlin ?:

Despite having ascended Cairn of Claise five times previously, all from the A93, this was my first ascent of Druim Mor.

View from summit of Druim Mor:

Looking back to Cairn of Claise from Druim Mor:

Glen Isla from Druim Mor:

From Druim Mor, I made my way across to the start of a footpath marked on my map as “Caderg”. On the map it looked very steep. In reality it was also very steep!

Looking back to Druim Mor:

Glen Isla during descent from Caderg:

The path descending from Caderg is fairly indistinct in places. It does however make the descent a bit easier so worth finding the path.

Looking back at steep descent from Caderg:

Caenlochan Glen during descent from Druim Mor:

During the descent it was nice to come across my first dragonfly of the year. I love dragonflies and damselflies.

Common Hawker Dragonfly:

On reaching Caenlochan Glen, I knew I now had a long walk back out to Auchavan. It was now really sunny and warm.

Caenlochan Glen:

During the walk out, I had a quick stop at Bessie’s Cairn before continuing on and out to Auchavan. I have drawn an arrow on the photo showing the steep descent from Caderg.

Looking back to Druim Mor from Bessie’s Cairn:

Looking along Glen Isla towards Monamenach:

I really enjoyed this walk. It is a MUCH nicer way to do Glas Maol and Cairn of Claise than the standard route from the A93. It is however a good bit longer.