“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail”.
Glen Ey is a beautiful spot situated relatively near Braemar.
We were heading up to this location for a weekend wild camp to bag some of the more remote Munro’s.
For us it was an ideal spot as even just to get to the base of some of these Munro’s meant it would be a long couple of hours walk in or a cycle which would take just over an hour. This usually means less people about making the Munro’s more enjoyable.
We decided this time to cycle to our secluded camping spot which would break up our journey and it would also save us carrying all our gear on our backs. Our trick for this trip was our small bike trailer which we loaded up and towed behind. So after parking the car and loading up our trailer, we were on our way.
We began our beautiful cycle in through the ‘wee bit hill and glen’.
The weather was splendid and the views even more so…we pretty much took our time cruising along, enjoying the view as we were in no rush. After around an hour and 20 minutes of cycling we came across an old ruin which used to be known as Altanour Lodge.
From here we found our ideal spot down by the river to pitch our tent…it was perfect.
After setting up camp for the evening we were itching to do something so we decided to undertake a free standing Munro…we may aswell I mean what else was there to do around here. So after changing our boots we were hiking to summit An Socach.
From this side of the mountain there were no ‘paths’ up…nothing whatsoever, we were on the remote side. So we made our own way up which involved firstly trying to get over a fast flowing river which proved interesting. Once safely across we were on to steep, boggy, heather and scree terrain, there was no other option!
This is where you either go crazy mad or grin and bare it.
Eventually, but it felt like it took forever and it was a big eventually we had cleared the initial steep slopes. Once on the ridge things improved and it was a good enough hike from here to the summits cairn.
The wind was howling on top and it was cold. Although views were nice enough if I’m being honest I felt slightly let down after all that effort. This summit wasn’t the highest one around so it didn’t give you that feeling of seeing for miles and miles around, however it was still nice. We didnt stay around too long as the chill factor was pretty cold.
We took another route down, basically we could go wherever we chose as long as we headed towards the river but we had to be careful as there was massive boggy bits that needed to be missed.
Once at the bottom we made our way along the river bank trying to look for a good place to cross.
There was no good place to cross surprise surprise so we hoped for the best and chose a random spot with rocks.
This became comical and took quite some time. Our tent across the river looked inticing but it felt unreachable at this point as we attempted several times to cross unsuccessfully.
We managed to move some rocks about in the river which we then used for stepping stones until eventually we were across, how on earth we did it but we did without getting wet…but it was a close call.
Next morning we woke up relatively early but the beauty about wild camping here was it meant no rush.
After eating breakfast we were off to summit Càrn Bach and Beinn Lutharn Mhòr. These two Munro’s tend to be undertaken together due to the long approach up Glen Ey.
Càrn Bhac was pretty straight forward, a relatively gradual up until nearer the summit which got steepish before turning into a bit of a boulder field.
Once at the summit the views were pretty amazing.
From here we could see our second Munro of the day and it looked miles away…I guess it was!
We firstly had a bit of a walk downwards before coming to a cresent like top and then we were back on the downwards. There were no paths here once again you just made your own way down.
We eventually entered peat land and let me tell you this if conditions hadn’t been dry here for several days this would have been a totally different walk. Today we were able to literally walk right through the peat, which went on for miles might I add.
We were then on to more downwards which gets you thinking….yeah my thoughts exactly…I’ve to do all of that upward climbing once again, right from the bottom.
We were now standing at the bottom of Beinn Lutharn Mhòr which looked like a much meaner, interesting hill to summit. It was a straight away steep grassy upwards, which went on for ages. Once at the top of the grassy hill we were then on to a steep scree incline which would bring us to the ridge.
I actually preferred going up on the scree to the grass, it was more interesting.
Once up we could see our nice gradual horseshoe type climb to the summit which still had a shoulder of snow lying around it.
We had reached the cairn which provided us with a nice spot to have some lunch and take in the view.
As we were enjoying our view we realised the time. We had actually completed these two Munro’s pretty quickly and the day was still young. So we had a bright idea. There were another two Munro’s in the distance that we could potentially summit giving us four peaks for the day, the legs felt ok, we were camping another night so no real rush, it was tempting.
So off we went to Munro number 3 of the day Càrn an Righ. Once again this looked like it was miles in the distance. We decided we would see how we went and if we felt it was unachievable then turn back. Conditions were good and before we knew it we were at its base. This looked like a steep climb up but once we had started, heads down, we were up on top. Once again there were beautiful views but the temperature had really dropped so we didn’t stay around too long.
The decent of this Munro was one of the best ever and we practically ran off the hill in one of our quickest descents ever.
We were now onto Munro number 4. Which was basically to our right and looked relatively close. Looks can be deceptive. This sneaky Munro had you walking away from it before you could even summit. So we basically had to do a long walk past as going across to it would mean walking through wet boggy land. This part seemed to take ages, but it was a pretty nice scenic walk in fairness.
Then we began our climb up. By this time the temperature had dropped again and the wind picked up and we climbed and climbed and climbed until we summitted.
After taking a few quick photos we headed back down as it felt freezing.
At this stage and I quote Andy remarked “at least we’ll have a nice walk out through the glen”. There was no nice walk out through the glen as it appeared we were the only ‘idiots’ to choose this route. There were no tracks. We went straight through the heather, straight through the bog, down steep banks, up steep banks, crossed over one river before crossing over another and it went on and on and on.
And then we were down at the river bed. That famous river bed from last night, the one that gave me the fear. So I said ‘ow no we don’t need to cross that again do we” and I was told “no, we will stay the other side it will be fine”….then funnily enough I was crossing the river…cursing the fact I was crossing the river that I had been told I didn’t need to cross, but the response was, this is just a small bit…like that helps!
Eventually we arrived at camp after a hard days effort on the hills. It had been a long day but after completing something like this it does feel good and you feel like you have challenged yourself. We went to bed tired but happy.
Next morning we packed our things away before our cycle back out through the glen.
The weather had been kind to us here in Glen Ey and we had managed to escape to a quiet spot to recharge with another 5 Munro’s ticked off.