A day hike taking in the Corbett Ben Gulabin above the Spittal of Glenshee and then returning in a loop via the Munro of Carn a'Gheoidh, Loch nan Eun and then Gleann Taitneach.
Date: 29th June 2013
Hills: Ben Gulabin [Corbett], Carn a'Gheoidh [Munro]
Weather: Pleasant sunshine early on but increasingly cloudy with a bitter wind on the summits
Route: View on OS Maps
Ben Gulabin is one of those hills I’ve seen a dozen times but always put off walking up it, thinking of it as something to save for a short winter day or when heading to hills further afield. In the end though I was casting around for a new hill and a glen that I hadn’t explored in a few years; Gleann Taitneach near the Spittal of Glenshee filled the criteria, last visited on a very wet day in April 2009, and Ben Gulabin would provide a new hill in the area.
After leaving a drizzly Aberdeen behind I enjoyed a beautiful drive through Kirriemuir and Glenisla, eventually crossing into Glenshee by the high road. The morning sunshine lit up the fields and hedgerows whilst a certain blackness to the clouds led the scene a dramatic, moody look. I parked up at the Spittal of Glenshee hotel and was soon on my way, following the quiet road through the hamlet, passing wild flowers and enjoying the views up to the craggy southern prow of Ben Gulabin.
Rather than tackle this steep side I followed the A93 north a way, avoiding the road itself by following a faint trail leading through enclosures and gates. The landrover track appeared around a corner and I followed this up steadily. The early start meant it was quiet in the glen and I enjoyed the sunny views up to the Glas Maol group, a hill I had been on just a few weeks previous.
The unsightly new-ish track was picked up at the bealach and I followed this up steep slopes towards the summit of Ben Gulabin. Three quarters of the way up the vehicle track was replaced by a pleasant footpath and I ambled along to the summit enjoying the expansive views down to Perthshire.
I had breakfast at the summit cairn and then briefly visited the east top before heading back down to the bealach.
I now followed the track north as it curved its way above Glen Sith and up on to Carn Mor before passing a hunting hut and depositing me below the southern slopes of Carn a'Gheoidh.
The ascent was steep but relatively short lived and I arrived to find an empty summit wind shelter. I hunkered down against the bitterly cold northerly wind and enjoyed the views north to the Cairngorms, east to Glas Maol and west to the Grampians clustered around Glas Tulaichean with its sinuous ridges.
I now followed the broad ridge of Carn a'Gheoidh westward. It curved gently around the head of a wide, flat coire and then climbed up grassy slopes to the summit of Carn Bhinnein.
This is a distinctive peak and was one of Sir Hugh’s original Munros on his 1891 list. Since demoted to a mere top it is largely ignored by those traipsing around the Cairnwell Three but is a fine peak with fantastic views down across Gleann Taitneach to Glas Tulaichean’s less recognised eastern side and up towards Loch nan Eun and its clustered peaks.
From Carn Bhinnein I dropped down steep grassy slopes into the narrow glen containing the Allt Elrig which runs into Gleann Taitneach.
After having a break by the stream I then followed a side stream up, following a deer path that rose above an impressive little gorge cutting deep into the hillside.
As the slope eased I left the stream and picked my way to the summit of Creag Easgaidh. This led to a high level traverse of a series of tops leading along towards Loch nan Eun at the very head of Gleann Taitneach.
Along the way I encountered a huge herd of deer and spotted a couple of pleasant potential high camp sites with great views down Gleann Taitneach. The bitter wind persisted all the way along the chain of hills and I was glad to finally see Loch nan Eun.
The final slopes were gentle and soon enough I was by the side of the loch. A chill breeze blew across its surface and the cloud had thickened as midday approached. I ate my lunch enjoying this solitary spot and watching as the cloud lowered towards the Munro summits.
Although I could have returned via Glas Tulaichean I decided to stick to my original plan, returning via Gleann Taitneach. I picked up the track by the loch outflow and followed it as it descended past a series of impressive waterfalls.
There were plenty of wild flowers out and as I descended the sun broke through periodically. It was warm in the glen and I stopped often to sit by the stream and watch the world go by.
Beyond the narrow upper part of the glen it widened out and the path became a vehicle track. I enjoyed the views back up to the hills I had been up earlier and ambled along, the river growing as I went. I passed a pitched tent by a bend in the stream which looked like an idyllic spot to spend the night.
Down in the bottom of the glen beyond the Dalmunzie it all became rather civilised with sheep in the fields and wild flowers carpeting the meadows down by the river. Eventually I reached the Spittal of Glenshee where the hotel provided hot soup and a cuppa setting me up for the drive back to Aberdeen.