About Time for a Wee Munro, I Think

The "quartzite rocks" on the move. Should have gone to Specsavers!

After successfully completing a couple of walks on the Grahams, I decided that myself and The Fatdog should extend our range a wee bit and tackle an easy Munro.   Glas Tulaichean was a fairly easy option.  Lying just to the east of Glenshee this wee bump, with its track to the top, was going to provide zero by way of awkwardness for either of us.  At over 15km and 700m of ascent of a round trip it would be our longest walk in recent months.    We hadn’t been at this height (1051m) since last August!

The Route

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Dalmunzie House Hotel currently charge £2.50 to park the car, but they do take your reg number, emergency contact phone number and your destination, times etc. so that if you don’t appear when you should they can set the search and rescue ball in motion.  A good service, I think.

We followed the line of the old tramway up Glen Lochsie, much to The Fatdog’s delight.  Perfect grassy walking surface climbing at a steady gradient up the glen.  It did get a bit boggy (and froggy) in places but it didn’t detract from the effortlessness of the ascent.

The Fatdog begins the ascent of the old tramway

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…on the old tramway

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Froggy Time

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Reaching Glenlochsie Lodge with the next section of track clearly visible up the rise ahead

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Here’s an extract from http://www.scottish-towns.co.uk on the subject of the old tramway.

The Dalmunzie Railway…
The railway used to run from Dalmunzie House (O.S. Map Sheet 43, Ref. 091713) which is now a country house hotel, to the Glen Lochsie Shooting Lodge (Ref. 064726), gaining over 400 feet in height over an approximate distance of 2.5 miles. This track was built by Sir Archibald Birkmyre in the early 1920’s for the sole purpose of transporting grouse shooting parties in August. This was in the days when the Empire was still at its height with people making vast fortunes and competing with one another for ways of spending it on ostentatious projects, and this must have been one of the more outrageous ones.
The railway was narrow guage with a light engine drawing a string of miniature carriages complete with miniature freight wagons for all the food, drink, guns, ammunition and all the other paraphenalia required for a grouse shooting party of that era. The engine was powered by two petrol engines brought back from the First World War trenches. The Head Keeper leading a garron (Highland pony) and holding a red flag, walked in front of the engine, so the whole affair was done at a very leisurely pace of some two miles per hour. Altitude was achieved with a series of forward and reversing manoeuvres through sets of points up the hillside in a zigzag fashion. When the railway reached the lodge the passengers would alight, the more sprightly ones proceeding on foot and the older ones being transported on garrons up to the shooting butts for the day’s sport to commence. The rail track was in full working order until the 1970’s when new Government legislation was introduced bringing all private railways under the auspices and control of British Railways. The landowner at that time was informed by British Rail that he would have to upgrade and improvethe railway to meet the new regulations. This was going to cost at that time some
�60,000. The landowner did not see the point of spending this kind of money on such a toy and decided to uplift the rails which were subsequently sold as scrap. Fortunately the engine and carriages were retained and are in storage at Dalmunzie House at present. The route of the old rail track is still very apparent and can be walked the entire distance and there has been some talk of reinstating, if not all, then perhaps part of it as a tourist attraction.

As the old tramway ends at the remote ruin of Glenlochsie Lodge we picked up the estate track leading to the summit of Glas Tulaichean.

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Looking back down Glen Lochsie. The tramline is clearly visible on the hill to the left

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The change of gradient came as a bit of a shock to the system.  Even The Fatdog wondered what was going on as she appeared to be flagging on the steepening gravel track.  Every so often she would stop and look back wondering…”what is this idiot up to?”…as the far end of the glen, where our adventure began, was becoming a tiny spec in the distance.

I checked my watch.  We’d been on the go about 1 hour 10 minutes and were now beginning to make a dent in the initial steeper section of track up Breac-reidh.  While neither of us move particularly fast we both appear to have “good engines” which allows us to move at a fairly constant speed without the need to stop to draw breath and so very soon we found ourselves on the shoulder of Breic-readh looking at the final part of the climb.  I checked my watch…we seemed to be well ahead of SMC time even allowing for a deduction for our advanced start at Dalmunzie.  I was sure I’d miscalculated.  In fact so puzzled was I that I had to check I was on the right hill!  Mr.P will no doubt wish to comment at this juncture…

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On the long, broad, ridge up to Glas Tulaichean

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The map definitely showed the summit just beyond what I could see in front…and yes…we were on the right hill.

Two hours and 10 minutes from our start at Dalmunzie we approached the summit trig point on Glas Tulaichean.

I’d noticed a rock near the trig point which had a couple of large white quartzite stones placed on the top.  It was somewhat disconcerting when one of the “stones” hopped off and began to waddle away!  I stopped…The Fatdog stopped…the ptarmigan stopped…and so the tableau was set as we all waited to see who would blink first.

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The “quartzite rocks” on the move. Should have gone to Specsavers!

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Eventually the ptarmigan began to suspect that the white plummage was now, in fact, so last season and the assumed invisibility nothing but a delusion.  Both birds decided to “leg it” and waddled off towards the remaining snow cornice beyond the trig point.  The Fatdog was restrained…not because of the ptarmigan but because of the cornice.  FD does love to roll in the snow…a hazardous obsession at this time of year!

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The cornice

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Carn an Righ…a Munro too far for us today. Legs would have seized adding an extra few km onto the walk.

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Happy FD

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Possibly Deceased FD after the exertion of being Happy FD

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Burning grouse moor?

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It’s not a bad view, is it?

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We made it back to Dalmunzie with no serious aches and pains..just a minor hobble from the usual stiffness caused by the descent.  Next week we would end up “going for broke” on a wee jaunt I hadn’t reckoned on either of us making this year.