Hills: An Socach
Date: Friday 2nd April 2021
Company: Myself and Ann-Marie
Distance: 18.6km, Ascent: 555m
Time: 4Hrs 40Mins

Due to ongoing disproportionate lockdown regulations, imposed by the authoritarian Scottish Government restricting travel to within your own local authority area or up to a maximum of five miles beyond, while it would have been fantastic to head for the Highlands to tackle one of my remaining thirty-eight second round Munros, instead I had to make do with a third ascent of a fairly dull Munro in Aberdeenshire. This would however be a new hill for Ann-Marie.

My first ascent of An Socach was in July 1996 - I started from the Glenshee Ski Centre car park first ascending Cairnwell before descending to the Baddoch Burn and then up An Socach. I reversed this route on the way out. This was definitely not the best way to ascend An Socach! My second ascent of An Socach was in January 2008 - a winter ascent starting from Inverey. For this third ascent, I decided to follow the standard ascent route from Baddoch.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I met Ann-Marie at the start of the walk and once suited and booted we followed the excellent track leading towards Baddoch and beyond running alongside the Baddoch Burn. At the outset it was -6C and the weather throughout the walk was nowhere near as good as had been forecast.

The excellent track made for fast progress as did my desire to do the entire walk without stopping for a break . Ann-Marie stopped several times but was good at catching-up .

Track alongside the Baddoch Burn:

As we progressed along the track we passed countless Red Grouse. This is prime grouse country with all the crap that goes along with that. We could see various sections of muir burn taking place and the track reeked of smoke on passing previously burnt areas. On the hill we also passed numerous grouse butts. Apart from Red Grouse and a number of Red Deer there was almost no other wildlife to be seen which is typical of grouse moors.

Looking back along the Baddoch Burn:

On reaching the turning area at the end of the track, we took to the hillside following the burn uphill in the general direction of An Socach.

Ascending An Socach:

It didn't take long to reach the wide ridge running between An Socach and its eastern top. Having ascended the eastern top twice previously, I decided not to bother ascending it for a third time.

Heading out towards the summit:

Approaching the summit cairn (pic by Ann-Marie):

On reaching the summit we took a few photographs and then reversed our route back out to the van and car.

At the summit of An Socach:

View from the summit of An Socach:

The highlight of this fairly dull walk was meeting three beautiful Highland Ponies.

Beautiful Highland Ponies:

Looking forward to getting back to the Highlands.