Monday, February 12, 2018

Ben Gulabin

Ben Gulabin is a great little hill, a charming Perthshire Corbett. It does look enormous and rather daunting when it fills the horizon for Northbound drivers on the Perth-to-Braemar A93. In fact, the high starting point, a mile or so beyond the snow-gates at the Spittal of Glenshee, and its relatively low height, make it a pretty straightforward outing - even in Winter conditions. 

The starting point is at an obvious gate, where a track forks away from the main road, and ascends the a little of the lower slopes of Ben Gulabin, while curving between the main mountain and the adjacent Creagan Bheithe. 

The track continues between the two hills and out towards Carn a Gheoidh, and the route to the summit involves a 90' turn to the left from the track, and into the hill. Without snow, there is probably a path; today under snow cover there was just the feint clue of some faded boot prints to indicate the best route up. The OS map has a ruin by the path marked, which would give a clue as to where to turn, but as this ruin is now flat with the ground, it is not actually visible from the track. The key thing is to ensure that you walk beyond the steep gully in the hillside before starting the ascent. 

The ascent up the side of the hill is a bit steep, and in snow and ice crampons were a necessity. The track seems to terminate at the low point on the ridge between the two tops. The lower one to the left, would have been worth visiting on a clear day - however as I had walked up into the clouds I turned right along the broad ridge, and picked my way over some bouldery outcrops, trying to avoid the worst depths of the snow, to the summit. The only other walkers I saw all day, on the lower reaches of the track, were in snow-shoes, and there were times when I envied their ability to stay on top of the soggy stuff! My only other company was a series of enormous mountain hares, leaping about on the hillside, in their white fur.

I took the opportunity to try out my new Winter jacket, (which my family had bought be for my birthday last week). It was SO good that on the climb I cooked inside its thermal layers! It was only when I stopped on the top that I realised just how cold the air temperature actually was, and layered up for the descent  - following my footsteps back down the mountain to the waiting car - and home.

iPhone photos!

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