Hill: Mount Keen
Date: Thursday 9th July 2015
Company: Myself, Becky and Cuillin
Distance: 18km, Ascent: 715m
Time: 5Hrs 25Mins

As the weather forecast for today looked pretty-good, I decided to take the day off to do something with Becky. On asking Becky what she would like to do, she advised she would like to go up a hill. After pondering over the maps, I soon narrowed down our options to something in Glen Shee, something at Drumochter or Mount Keen. In the end I opted for Mount Keen via Glen Mark.

This morning we left home at 06:15 and were parked up at Auchronie by 08:45.

On lifting up my DSLR, I was shocked to hear the sound of broken glass. I had dropped the camera whilst in its Lowepro case, from a height of 18", at the end of my previous trip but didn't realise I had damaged it. On looking at the camera, I found the lens cap squashed into a smashed UV filter. I removed the lens cap and the smashed filter glass praying the lens underneath was undamaged. Thankfully it appeared ok, except for one very deep scratch at the edge of the lens. The scratch on the lens doesn't seem to be affecting the photos. I am really fortunate not have broken my Canon 18-200mm lens. I need to be more careful!

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

We set off walking along the track hoping to see at least one adder. On my last ascent of Mount Keen, I saw half a dozen adders on the Glen Mark track. Today we didn't see any.

Becky in Glen Mark:

I have ascended Mount Keen at least three times previously; my last ascent was in 2004 and my first ascent in 1991.

Glen Mark:

As we made our way towards Queen's Well, we spotted numerous birds and also lots of different flowers. We stopped to look at a Meadow Pipit and also Mountain Thyme, Birds Foot Trefoil, Butterwort, Tormentil, Common Orchids, etc.

A Meadow Pipit:

Becky was looking forward to stopping at the Queen's Well to throw a few coins into the well and make a few wishes. Hopefully her wishes will come true whatever they may be.

Becky and Cuillin at the Queen's Well:


Beyond Glenmark, we crossed a small burn using a number of stepping stones before starting our ascent of the hill.

Looking back to Glen Mark during ascent alongside the Ladder Burn:

We stopped briefly two or three times during the ascent. Despite asking Becky to slow down several times during the ascent, she was keen to keep up a good pace.

Top of Mount Keen in the distance:

Becky setting off ahead after a brief stop:

Looking towards Mount Keen:

Lochnagar was looking good today; a classic North-East hill.

Looking towards Lochnagar:

On the new track leading to the summit of Mount Keen:

Looking back towards Glenmark:

On reaching a height of circa 850m we saw a ptarmigan doing the broken-wing act. We didn't spot any of its chicks. I didn't want to venture too close as Cuillin was already paying too much interest in the adult bird.

A Ptarmigan (zoom):

A Ptarmigan (zoom):

Approaching the summit of Mount Keen:

Before reaching the summit, we stopped briefly at the boundary stone.

Becky at the Boundary Stone:

After congratulating Becky on making it to the summit, we descended a few metres and had a decent stop for some refreshments.

Becky and Cuillin at the summit of Mount Keen:

Becky and Cuillin at the summit of Mount Keen:

While sitting at the summit, we could see numerous dark clouds approaching. These passed us by without dropping any rain.

Looking towards the Cairngorms:

We made our way back down to Glenmark at a fairly good pace.

Cuillin Coolin' Doon:

During the walk out, we again visited Queen's Well to make some more wishes.

Looking back to Glenmark from Queen's Well:

Becky and Cuillin walking out towards the car:

Stepping stones across a small burn:

Well done to Becky on summiting her 4th Munro. A good walk in fantastic company.