Mount Keen - 939m
Thursday 6th June 2013

Weather/Conditions: Stunning summer day
Distance/Ascent/Time: 17.7km / 700m / 3h 10m
Accompanying: Alone

More blue skies, more sun. I was staying once again at Jac Johnson's flat and had Mount Keen planned, the most easterly of the Munros.

It's a good feeling to have made it all the way east. I've now made a huge arc from Ben More on Mull in the west, to Mount Keen in the east, even if that route has been very circuitous! The weather was great today from start until end; just heat and sun, but occasionally some heavier clouds

I had the strange feeling today of not really being in the Highlands. The area around Mount Keen is complete Southern Upland/Peak/Dartmoor scenery (take your pick), it's miles of rolling moorland without any real distinct summits. It hasn't the majestic flutings of the White Mounth, nor the colour of rural Aberdeenshire. Not even the intense isolation of the Tarf Basin in Atholl. Just miles of brown moor scored by tracks, and a dome of pink granite that rises from the wastes, called Mount Keen.

I was using mum's car for this area, so parked at the Glen Esk road end and biked up Glen Mark to beyond the Queen's Well. This Munro is certainly one of the easiest in that a good track climbs all the way to the top. Folk take their bikes over the top if it routinely. I walk much better than I cycle, so I dumped the bike when the gradient became too much, and went up on foot.

Within an hour of starting out, I'd gained a lot of height. Lochnagar pulled into view, an immense mountain. I had context again, I felt I was back in the Highlands.

I followed a good path all the way to the top, some folk were around sitting in the sun. To the east the Cairngorms remained covered in snow - although noticeably thawing now. I spent some time on top on the phone to dad, plans are changing - yet again!

The phone call on the summit was because mum wanted the car back; I'd had it nearly a week. So I came home this evening and I'm heading up to Lochnagar in the morning with dad. I'll be self-sufficient with help from him for the next 5 days, until I'm through to Strath Spey.

So it was another easy day today. I was up and down in just over three hours, and headed back to Kirriemuir, and subsequently Glasgow (for one night!). I continue to feel as if things are falling into place:

- I've passed a third of the Round in terms of time and Munro count.
- I've been doing a rough measurement of my heart rate as I walk uphill at speed, based on my pulse and a watch. I seem to be holding around 70bpm, which is great.
- Tonight I calculated I've passed 700km since I began, just over a month ago. That's just under 20km per day. Hard to believe; where did all those km's go?
- I sat on Munro #50, Meall nan Tarmachan, feeling tired, thinking how hard that first 50 had been and wondering how hard the rest of the the Round would be. Tomorrow I'll climb Munro #100 on the Lochnagar circuit. The second set of 50 has gone by in a flash; slipped through almost unnoticed.

All is going well at the moment and I'm quite content. For now I can't really see further than getting the Grampians finished and getting over the Cairngorms, and into Laggan. I'm glad to have made it to Mount Keen and now I'm moving back west, ultimately to Sgurr na Banachdich on the Cuillin (most westerly Munro), in a month's time. Superb.


Mount Keen - 180° North

Mount Keen - 180° South
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 12.50pm Glen Mark
(1.30) 2.20pm Mount Keen
(3.10) 4.00pm Glen Mark
Uploaded: 2018-10-23