Date Walked: 10th May 2011
Distance: 13 miles (21km)
Actual Ascent: 3471 ft (1058m)
Time Taken: 7 hours
Had my eye on Hunt hill for a while now, with showers threatening for later in the day I thought I'd get this done and avoid making a bigger climb only to be clagged in when I got there....where's the fun in that?
So bags packed and down to the car park at Invermark wondering what the day might deliver. I change into my boots and have a quick chat with a hill runner before setting off into beautiful blue skies.
I keep left at the junction (its right for Mount Keen) and head off down the black top
in a very short time I come to Invermark Castle and try to get a look in, turns out it is closed up securely
the road continues past the castle and into a short section beside the river with dappled shade provided by the trees lining the road.
then I get my first view of Glen Lee and am overtaken by a pair of walkers as I click away with the camera
a little further now and I can look across loch Lee at a panorama of the beautiful glen
the ruins of the old church must be one of the most beautiful burial locations I have ever seen
there is a nice breeze blowing across the loch providing a continuous flow of cool fresh air
further on I almost walk by the small boathouse without seeing it, tucked away as it is into the banking
then it is decision time as I reach the junction that takes you south, to ascend via the Shank of Inchgrundle but looking ahead I suspect some great views are lurking around the corner so continue west alongside the water of lee
around the corner Craig Maskeldie dominates the skyline to the south of the track, but directly ahead is my point of interest, if I can get up onto that ridge I could get some great shots down the glen.....
as I make my way along adjacent to Craig Maskeldie a hint of dark sky blows over, now I'm thinking I need to get a move on before it blows my chances of a good pic or two
there is a small footbridge to take you over the water of lee and round toward the Falls of Damff but I elect to take the track north in order to ascend the ridge from the far end
Craig Maskeldie looks stunning across the glen with the water of lee bouncing through the rocks beneath my feet
further north I can see the lee plantation marked on the map and that is where I intend to cross and make my ascent
once at the plantation there are plenty of stepping stones to go at and even with a reasonable amount of water due to recent rains the crossing is easy and I stay dry
It is a steep ascent with no path and really works the legs as I scramble around to 'Dog Hillocks'
from here the teasing view of Craig Maskeldie is almost enough to make me run over there before the dark clouds kill it but the effort needed to ascend has reduced the likelihood of a run from very unlikely to absolutely no chance
so I walk up to 'Bruntwood Crag' and look over, and even with the cloud it was really worth it
I sit a while having a drink and a snack watching the clouds roll overhead and stealing a few more pics
once I could bring myself to move away from that stunning spot I hugged the edge of the ridge round to 'Earn Craig' where I could see all the way down the glen to Loch Lee
eventually I had to pull myself away from the ridge and head inward toward the summit, there were a few hags to hop but nothing too serious, away in the distance Mount Keen is still clag free as are all the summits visible across the horizon
once I do reach the summit it is not the most impressive cairn I have ever seen, but took the obligatory 'evidence' shot, the long sleeves are there because on my epic coastal wander last week I got sunburned on my arms that has never happened to me before and I'm still paying the price
looking north to mount keen
looking south to.....oh my god...
to the west - it would appear I am surrounded
I spend no time at all at the summit, I don the waterproof gear, and head east toward ridge hoping to spot a shorter descent, there isn't one (unless falling a long way is your thing) so I opt for the southerly trek toward the foot bridge shown on the map just south of the falls
I get a nice cooling shower en route to the bridge but get there pretty quick due to the head down / downhill combination
with a small break in the cloud I take the opportunity to sit and have a bite to eat and a lovely hot cuppa at the bridge, then the heavens opened again and I packed the bag and headed across the bridge and up toward Craig Maskeldie. The rain hammered down for the entire ascent and gusts almost took me off my feet. I spotted some cover in Smiths Gutter beneath a perfect overhang and crossed over there and tucked myself in, so much so that I could undo the wet gear and have a cuppa in peace out of the cold rain. I stayed about 20 minutes before the rain stopped and I headed off toward the Shank of Inchgrundle via Cairn Lick....I'm so glad I sat under cover for a while or I would have missed this...
as I reach the top of the shank and a track (the first I've seen since my ascent from the plantation) I am treated to a spectacular view across the entire glen including a distant rainbow.
A last look across the glen over carlochy before starting the decent
behind me I see another belt of black approaching, I grab a last shot to show the final part of the route - the track (bottom left) leads from the Shank of Inchgrundle back across the western end of Loch Lee and returns you to the original 'walk in' route which is retraced back to the car park.
The walk back from here was a long one on a hard road, after 12.5 miles and an ascent of 1058 metres my feet were feeling it and I was glad when I finally reached the car,but I'll be back, as this is a beautiful spot and I like the look of the hills west of the loch for a short wander with Sarah.