A bright autumnal round including the Corbett Monamenach accessed from Loch Beanie and return via a high ring of hills with sunny views across the Grampians.
Date: 12th October 2013
Hills: Monamenach [Corbett]
Weather: Cold and clear all day. Strong wind on the tops.
Route: View on OS Maps
The original plan for this walk had been a through walk starting in Glen Isla and crossing across the hills to Glenshee. Sadly our coach compnay, used for several years by the hillwalking club, went under during the week and so we hastily rearranged the walk to suit a car based outing.
It was a fine autumn day and as we drove through Braemar early on Saturday morning the rising sun caught the first snows on the Cairngorms. It was beautiful display of alpenglow. By the time we arrived at the hotel at the Spittal of Glenshee the sun was shining brightly and all looked pleasant in the golden glow of autumn.
Our route saw us following the Cateran trail from the Spittal south along the glen, threading our way through farmsteads and along quiet farm tracks with the views bright and sunny down the glen.
Above the Outdoor Centre we turned to head up towards Loch Beanie, a faint track emerging here and there from marshy ground besides the Allt Mor. The loch provided a good stopping point for elevenses with the Corbett of Monamenach rising directly up from the far shore.
After walking along the beach at the head of Loch Beanie we climbed the steep southwestern slopes of Monamenach with improving views out across the Grampians. By the time we crested the subsidiary top of Craigenloch Hill both Glas Tulaichean, with its great eastern coire, and the sinuous outline of Beinn a' Ghlo, were clearly visible.
From here it was easy walking on a narrow track through the heather to the summit of Monamenach, a flat summit with a few too many fence posts but excellent views across to the Mounth and down into the head of Glen Isla.
With a strong bitter wind blowing we didn't spend too long at the top but after taking in the views dropped down northward to the shelter of the bealach before the pull up to Black Hill. We stopped for lunch in the sunshine.
There now followed a series of heathery hills which led us along a high route above Glenshee towards the top of Carn Ait, the southern end of Creag Leachach's long and winding ridge. The going was mostly good on short clipped heather as all around us the roar of stags echoed around the glens and up across the hillsides. There was a short section of peat hags and bog on the far side of Black Hill but progress wasn't hampered too much and we were soon up to the final top of the day.
The rocky summit of Carn Ait provided a pleasant wind break and we sat for a while enjoying a late afternoon snack with excellent views across Glenshee and the winding A93 road far below us, north to the Cairnwell area and across to the lumpy summits of the Grampians.
We dropped down, following the falling ridge down southward as it headed toward the Spittal of Glenshee. There were numerous mountain hares around, skittering amongst the rocks as we descended. We followed the new fence along until the point beyond Carn Chomh-Stri where we could drop down to a vehicle track leading off the hills.
Under beautiful afternoon sunshine the track led us downhill and back to the Cateran trail which took us without much trouble back to the hotel where pints and snacks were enjoyed in the oddly enjoyable surroundings. It had been a fine autumn walk with clear views and the other worldy sound of the deer roaring accompanying us most of the day.