Mayer & Driesh
Date Walked: 7th April 2011
Distance: 9.5 miles (15.8km)
Actual Ascent: 3228 ft (984m)
Time Taken: 6 hours
At 9am on the 7th I set off from Banchory genuinely excited at the prospect of a 'double' in great weather, I should perhaps have been taking more notice of the road ahead, as I rounded a tight corner on the narrow road heading toward Cairn 'O' Mount I hit the pothole from hell, within seconds the 4 week old Pirelli P6 was flat and chewed up. 20 minutes later I've changed direction and am heading toward Stonehaven on my crappy little 'space saver' spare to visit kwik fit, because they were so busy I dropped the wheel off and told the guy I'd be back 'some time' to collect it.
At last I set off again for the Glendoll car park, reaching there around 12 noon I changed boots quickly, got my rucksack together and got moving, with no time to drop into the smart little visitor centre today.
I soon began to feel better when faced with the first few hundred yards of track
Its great easy going with excellent views all around as you head out along 'jocks road'
At the next junction I took the left hand turn toward the bridge over the river, I said a quiet hello to the gent sitting at the junction looking up at Craig Mellon, it seemed almost wrong to break his upward gaze; a man of mature years he looked content with his lot and I moved swiftly on
Some clouds form and bubble by, but they don't look threatening and I am already fully 'unwound' following this mornings delay
The track twists and turns, sometimes opening out into wider areas, sometimes tree lined with adjacent babbling burns
My first view of Glendoll is from within the tree line and yet its beauty is already apparent, hidden away behind the trees is an oasis of calm sheltered on all side by enormous steep sided cliffs
Once out into the clearing the view causes you to stand a moment involuntarily and take in the serenity of this beautiful glen
Walking across the glen is easy with a good firm track never far from a twisting burn and the distance across the glen is covered in no time at all
I began my ascent up Corrie Fee I looked back across the glen for the first time, back to the Glendoll forest already some distance away. Rising steeply Corrie Fee demands that I stop and take in the views once or twice as I ascend....well that's my excuse anyway.
The waterfall also provides an opportunity for a hiking pose (otherwise known as a reason to stand a while and take a breath
The views along Erne Craigs making up the northern edge of Corrie Fee are fantastic, still in the dour winter colours they epitomise the beauty of these Scottish hills
The path gets progressively steeper and provides ever changing perspectives across the glen 3/4 of the way up is a flat plateau with an overlook pointing directly down the middle of the glen, once you stand there it is very difficult to turn away and keep going
The waterfall is a permanent companion and provides musical accompaniment for the duration of the ascent toward the top of Corrie Fee
Soon after this the track becomes much less identifiable so I take a last look back at Corrie Fee and move on, picking my way around a boggy area toward Mayar which is now visible on the horizon, but I still take a last look down the glen
Looking north as I rise above the Corrie the winter snow is almost all gone and the sky is clearing to a beautiful blue
The summit cairn on Mayar is a modest affair but looks spectacular today and worthy of a celebration I think....
The view south is as fantastic as the view north and I sit myself down for a cuppa and a wee rest, had to get the jacket out as it was a little cool up top too
Looking across to Driesh I am ready for number 2 of the day but stay a while on top and talk to a friendly bunch of fellow walkers who have arrived at the summit, I discuss the walk to Driesh but they say they are only doing this one (they came up Corrie Fee)
One of the group that I met on the summit of Mayar provides great perspective in this shot
I take a last look around at the beauty of the Cairngorms before I bid my farewell to the group and head off to Driesh, my second target for the day
The path descends just over 100 metres quite steeply then widens out considerably across the saddle en route toward Driesh, It's a very comfortable wander across the saddle with the sun shining and blue skies it is a spectacular day and I am in my element
Driesh soon comes into view rising above Corrie Kilbo protected by its smaller namesake 'little Driesh'
As I heaved myself up the steep front of little Driesh I came across a father and son pairing on the way down, "am I almost there" I spluttered as I found another excuse to stand a while, "you've almost broken the back of it" was the welcome response from the father and I set off again with new found vigour, looking back the father and son team add great perspective to the shot. Mayer is the tallest hill on the left of the shot below.
Again, the path across the saddle is very wide and well worn but provides tremendous views along the last push for the summit of Driesh
The mist is forming across the tops and the scene is truly spectacular, 360 degree views as far as you want to see with slate blue skies and just enough fluffy white clouds. The trig point is surrounded by a very comfortable cairn shelter, though shelter is not really required as the wind has now dropped considerably, its a cheery celebration for completion of my first 'double' and what a beautiful day I chose to do it. In a very short time 3 of the walkers I met on top of Mayar turn up "couldn't resist eh" I say and we share a few more minutes discussion all things walking.
A walk to the northern edge of the summit gives breathtaking views in all directions, here Mayar on the left across lochnagar in the centre and down Corrie Kilbo to the Glendoll forest on the right of the shot. The descent route can be seen from here, look to the line of snow pointing outward at its tip is a line that runs left to right and descends across the hill in the centre of the frame.
This shot just provides some scale to the subject, the red circles show people beginning their descent along the route described above.........seems I have a way to go yet and the late start means I need to get going.
On the way back toward the track that descends the Shank of Drumfollow the Glendoll lodge is just visible (with the naked eye) far away in the distance (the white blur in the trees toward the middle of the frame below)
The track is steep, narrow and very rocky with 'ankle snappers' everywhere; care is needed in several sections and I make a mental note that this would be a nightmare trail to walk using a head-torch.
A glance across to the route in via Corrie Fee as I descend and I find myself wishing I had returned that way as this one is...well.....less spectacular
It's back through the forest now still steeply falling toward Glendoll Lodge
I love the strange snaking cloud that has hung above me for so much of this descent, it seems to follow the glen as it twist and turns.
Soon I find myself on the logging trail that passes by Glendoll lodge and leads me back to the car park
The car park is far less busy now as I make the last few steps with purpose, I exchanged pleasantries with a fellow walker for a few minutes and then finally arrived back at my car, the ugly black 'space saving' wheel reminded me of the earlier incident but it really didn't matter now, it had been another wonderful day in the hills and I felt fortunate to be there.
I made it back to Stonehaven with minutes to spare before closing time and shelled out £150 for my new tyre which was fitted in seconds......£75 per hill today, a little expensive but worth every penny.