Mayar - 928m
Driesh - 947m

Sunday 29th March 2015

Weather/Conditions: Nice afternoon - the snowfields (what was left) were all thawing, very much like spring time. Sunny on the walk into Coire Fee then a snow shower came in when I reached Mayar, and continued almost to Dreish. Sunnier descent of Dreish to the car.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 13.1km / 900m / 3h 46m
Accompanying: Alone

For me being Glasgow-based, the Munros Mayar and Driesh are somewhat... isolated, at least when it comes to petrol expended to get there. I was playing a gig in Aberdeen (StillMarillion at the Moorings - first time!) and took the opportunity to get some Munros done that were as yet outstanding on my 2nd round.

It was a great day. Down the road at a lick, off to Kirriemuir for snacks and petrol - then up towards the glens. I didn't especially know this area. The sole time I've been to Glen Doll was when I did the Munros in 2013. As a result I've forgotten some of the road and landscapes. There is also a darkersadder association with Mick getting killed in 2010, but I happily don't make that connection any more.

Glen Doll is a superb place for the walker and climber. It's completely isolated from the Highlands, owing to the way it gouges into the Mounth plateau then reaches a dead end. But within this small area there is walking all around, multiple hills, bouldering and trad climbing at Red Craigs and winter climbing in the higher coires.

I set off around lunchtime, bound for Coire Fee, a place that has a good reputation and a place I have never been. I took the opportunity to practice navigation legs through the forest - I'd measure the distance to a particular junction or path then estimate the paces taken to get there. I was usually pretty spot on, gladly. I always feel like I forget how to nav, then the moment I get back out there, it all clicks into place and I get so much joy from being utterly precise.

In time, Coire Fee appeared. What a great moment! The heights really close in all around, and you end up looking up around at towering cliffs, and then get sucked in by it all as you walk into the heart of the coire. It's a funny place in that it's not as big as it appears. I've heard several people say this, too. You can walk from one end to the other in maybe ten minutes. Before long I was on the coire headwall, gaining altitude and soon to find myself on the plateau.

Up here was a different world. I'd had good weather but the forecast of occasional showers and cloud was about to live up to it's name. I raced the approaching snow showers to the top. I was busted by the time I got to Mayar's summit, and beat the snow shower by a matter of minutes. I got my summit panorama, but most of the scene was blotted out by a wall of white anyway...

More than anything, it felt great to be pushing the body hard and getting results. I moved onto Driesh in a newly-sprung snow shower, keeping one eye across the nav and enjoying the thrill of being on the plateau in the conditions.

I arrived at Driesh with more bang-on navigation, and found it easier than the first time I was here. Then, visibility had been 5 or 10 metres and locating the summit trig of Driesh had had a moment of challenge. Now the mist was thin and skimming the summit dome. I had no issues, and hung around to see if things would clear up.

In the end, it never cleared, but I took a break, got some food and marvelled at progress. It felt great to do some hills at a lick again. I descended northward down the spur leading into Glen Doll. Views opened up and Glen Doll lay at my feet, sun-spattered and spring-like. A wonderful place to be. I wondered when I would be back. It's easy to underestimate the motivational effects of ticking the Munros off, and I made a pact with myself to come back.

Down the spur in quick time, I walked along the tracks back to the car and thought about how damn good it felt to be up the Munros again. It's real incentive to go and get that second round done.

I headed home in the sun, through Kirriemuir and Perth, home tired and happy, a great weekend away, both with the band and up the hills.

360° Panorama

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 1.57pm Parking, Acharn
(1.33) 3.30pm Mayar
(2.28) 4.25pm Driesh
(2.53) 4.50pm Driesh (left)
(3.46) 5.43pm Parking, Acharn
Written: 2015-04-05