About Time for a Wee Munro, I Think

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.

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16 thoughts on “About Time for a Wee Munro, I Think”

    1. Fortunately Maisie stopped that sort of thing many years ago.

      Unfortunately when hungry she does suddenly take a liking to rabbit poo. 😦

  1. Wonderful stuff.

    What a wonderful job – the Dalmunzie Express Train Driver! Even I could do that….
    Glenlochsie Lodge could be rebuilt as the train drivers lodgings… Sigh.

    Good to hear that all six legs held out. As Father Ted would say… “Careful now!”

    1. It must have been great to see that old line in action! I wonder if train driver was the plum job on the estate. Just think, if it was still in action it could be used to haul up propellors etc. 😉

    1. MrP has already suggested I’m fit enough to do a two day bothy trip, Geoff. Sadly day two is still not a go-er. The legs are good for one day, but still require care and maintenance the next 😆 We’re getting there though. 😀

    1. Impressive health and safety regime. I can think of a few drivers who could do with that keeper with a red flag walking in front of them!

  2. 2 mph eh? Paint Maisie brown, wire her ears into an upright position and the pair of you could apply for the vacancy once the line gets reinstated.

    Well done that man. Good route choice and clearly strengthening legs. So what next?

    1. Can think of a lot worse things to do for a wee part-time job 😆 I reckon Maisie would enjoy plodding up and down that track all day.

      The legs are definitely powering up…but I must keep up the regime my physio gave me. Not yet sure how far they can improve. I’m still at the getting by stage. Have to avoid steep, snow and heavy bog!

      What’s next?

      The Mighty Gates of Inverar

      Then

      The Nemesis Bypass

      After that the future is still to be written…

    1. Thanks Andy 😀

      Our abilities are more limited than before but we can still churn out a few easy ones. The distance we’re having to travel is increasing, especially for the Munros…so I see us doing a lot more lower level walking to keep the cost down. As I don’t have anyone to share the fuel costs with it’s becoming a wee bit too expensive to do big trips on a weekly basis. So if anybody’s looking to travel share give me a shout 😆

  3. Easy Munro?…shorely shome mishtake?
    Nice Ptamigan photo.
    Maisie looks sooo happy – I never look that content in photos. Actually – I usually look like a grumpy git in photos. Now why is that….?
    (Perhaps I should try having a good roll around next time anyone produces a camera?)

    1. I have to confess she normally only looks happy when we begin the descent! Absolutely bounces when it looks like we’re heading back to “The Tank”.

      I reckon if you roll – a camera will instantly be found. 😆

      …and it was most definitely an easy Munro…just like most of the one’s we’ve done 😆 .

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