WILDERNESS is a funny, elusive thing that is given many definitions. For me, though, and for many others, it is actually quite simple to define – it is a landscape that has been unaffected by human beings.
This definition means Scotland has no true wild land, except a few islands and pockets of the mainland in the far north. But that doesn’t matter; some tracks lead up to wonderful mountain vistas, albeit including the sight of muirburn or roads in the glens, and some sea lochs stretch right into the heart of mountains, although they have little cottages nestled below them.
Because man’s intrusion is already evident, it doesn’t mean we should not consider carefully any new developments, rather that we should accept what we have – one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
The line of a man-made railway near the Spittal of Glenshee leads to a man-made track, which leads to the top of a huge Munro with a man-made trig point on it. On a clear day, the views will make you want to sit here for ages, surrounded by some the highest land in Scotland – and you’ll probably hardly notice man’s contribution.
DISTANCE 11 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 2,290ft.
TIME 4½ to 5½ hours.
MAP OS Landranger 43.
PARKING Turn off the A93 at Spittal of Glenshee, and after 200 yards you reach a gatehouse entrance. Beyond is a mile and a half drive to the Dalmunzie House Hotel. You can park here, but must pay a £2.50 charge at the hotel reception.
IN SUMMARY Continue up the track/road from the hotel and once past some trees go through a gate on the left, following a sign for Glas Tulaichean. Cross a field via marker posts, then go through a gate to follow a muddy and grassy track until it joins a more defined one to the right.
When the track crosses the river, the water level may be too high for travellers on foot. If so, you can follow an awkward and faint path through bog and heather on the right bank.
Or, despite the initial exertion, it is easier to clamber up a faint path to the right to reach a good path higher up – the line of a former railway that carried quarried stone and shooting parties until the late 1970s. All routes meet further up Glen Lochsie, above the ruins of Glenlochsie Lodge.
If you have taken the bed of the old railway, leave it when level with the lodge to drop down to a burn, crossed via a small bridge next to a larch tree. Bear left after the bridge to reach the main track up Breac-reidh. Although a bit of a slog, the track leads nearly all the way to the top of Glas Tuliahan, with views opening up west to the Beinn a‘Ghlo range.
At the highest point of the track, go right to follow fenceposts up, then bear left to reach the trig point at the 3,448ft summit.
You can descend via Loch nan Eun and Gleann Taitneach, or include the Munro of Carn an Righ. Alternatively, linger on the summit to enjoy the views and return the way you came – this is the safest descent in bad weather.
Note that until the end of October there may be deer stalking in the area (though not every day and not on Sundays), which means the route may not be passable – ring 01250 885226 to check before travelling.
REFRESHMENTS Look no further than Dalmunzie House Hotel. It is walker-friendly and happy to serve booted types with refreshments – it is advisable to book if you want a meal.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Put your swing to the test on the nine- hole golf course at Dalmunzie House Hotel.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North east