THE Caterans were definitely not very nice. A marauding bunch of cattle thieves, they went round the country between the Middle Ages and the 17th century, terrorising everyone who got in their way – particularly in the glens between Blairgowrie and the Spittal of Glenshee.
Nowadays the word has much more genteel connotations, being associated with a 64-mile trail. Between 30 June and 1 July Alliance Trust Cateran Yomp will take place to raise money for the Soldiers’ Charity.
There are three routes for teams of three to six – the bronze (22 miles), silver (36 miles) or gold (52 miles). For more information, visit www.soldierscharity.org/yomp, contact email@example.com.
Above the Spittal of Glenshee is the Corbett Ben Gulabin, standing sentinel over the glens and a great viewpoint across high mountain country, and the route taken by the Caterans and today’s yompers. n
DISTANCE 3½ miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 1,500ft.
TIME 2½ to 3 hours.
MAP OS Landranger 43.
PARK About half a mile from the snow gates at the north of Spittal of Glenshee, on the A93, there is space to park cars on the left.
IN SUMMARY Follow a track beyond the metal gate about half a mile north of the snow gates. The track is fairly unremitting, however, the views to the Munros surrounding Glenshee make up for the toil.
After fording a burn (Allt a’Charnaich) the track bears left towards a bealach between Ben Gulabin and Creagan Bheithe. To the right are the remains of an old ski tow and the now derelict Gulabin Hut, set up in the 1940s by Dundee Ski Club but the larger Glenshee development eventually saw them fall into obscurity.
Just before you reach the bealach go left on a grass track across boggy ground that becomes stonier and takes a fairly straight line up the slopes of Ben Gulabin.
As the track nears the top it veers right to become a path that continues, bearing left to reach the summit cairn with views across to the Beinn a’Ghlo range (to the north of west) and the Cairngorms (further north).
Before returning the same way take time to walk beyond the summit cairn to peer into the glens to the west and south. Also, it is worth following a faint path to the twin southern tops with their elaborate stone shelter. You can descend to the west of Carn Dubh but the exertion on sttep slopes far outweighs any benefits.
REFRESH Spittal Hotel, down the A93. Or the café at Glenshee ski centre for high level refreshments.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Visit Balmoral (www.balmoralcastle.com), open from April to July.