Walk of the week: Mayar and Driesh

Glen Clova, Angus. Picture: Contributed

Glen Clova, Angus. Picture: Contributed

Share this article
0
Have your say

HEMMED in between Glen Doll and upper Glen Prosen, and somewhat adrift from neighbouring Munros, the easy pair of Angus hills, Mayar and Driesh (it sounds better and arguably best approached in that order) lie just two miles apart.

The midway 800m dip between the hills leaves a gentle ascent of less than 150m in either direction. A line of fence posts and a worn path for most of the traverse make for easy navigation, even on a misty day. Consequently, unless in the event of sudden adverse weather, they are invariably climbed on the same day. With both hills just making the 3,000ft mark, not surprisingly there are no subsidiary Tops.

The popular route, as described below, starts from Glen Doll, but there are other approaches from Glen Prosen. The Shank of Driesh path gives direct easy access to that hill and to the west the Kilbo path, a right-of-way by the Shank of Drumwhallo, leads to the mid-point of the plateau. Further west the White Glen gives a circuitous approach to Mayar via the 835m spot-height by South Craig.

The 250m high Forestry Commission Glen Doll car park (fee £2) by Acharn was as busy as ever on my visit with Jimbo and Lindsay. Head west on the Glen Doll track and cross the White Water by a concrete bridge at map ref 267758. Continue south-west to the track-end, then by path to emerge from the forest and the sudden exhilarating sight of Corrie Fee; one of nine National Nature Reserves within the Cairngorms and accurately depicted as “...a wild amphitheatre of rocky landscape sculpted by the power of ice and water.” The corrie crags give winter climbing.

Poorish visibility might prompt doubts as to this being a sensible route via the corrie rim to the plateau, but on the south side of the Fee Burn there is a superb path, stepped where required, which leads to a gully and so through the crags. Once clear of the crags, head south over easy ground to the 928m/3045ft summit. Mayar’s name possibly comes from magh ard meaning high plain, an accurate description. Some older sources call it The Mayar.

The two-mile stroll from Mayar, on a more than ever eroded path, boggy at times, easily leads to the 800m dip just below a prominent boulder. We encountered many other hillwalkers, and their dogs, on the traverse, enjoying the warm, breezy day.

On the easy climb to the 947m/3107ft summit of Driesh, we had one shower and, looking north over the Burn of Kilbo to the Glendoll Forest, the brief sight of a rainbow, albeit not so dramatic as the one so expertly photographed by Brian Lobodzinski on a previous visit.

Driesh’s name comes from dris, meaning bramble, not that there are any at the summit. However, on the cairn surrounding the trig point was something I had not seen before - a small swarm of wasps. Perhaps some reader can offer an explanation.

How best to return? The long undulating south-east ridge that extends above Glen Clova, leads via Hill of Strone to a 550m dip between Cairn Inks and Cairn of Barns. From there an easy descent leads to the front door of the Glen Clova Hotel, but some three miles distant from the car park. A descent by The Scorrie, with good views of Winter Corrie, is steep and stony. The popular and safest way is to return to the prominent boulder then by the Shank of Drumfollow path, albeit sometimes awkward if iced up. Many however prefer to lope down the high ground of the Shank; an airy route with spectacular views into Corrie Sharroch and Corrie Fee. Despite the ever present tree roots, the path through the Glendoll Forest is much improved. The path cuts across a bend in the forestry track, later followed east and north to another White Water bridge, map ref 278762.

The Route

The 250m high Forestry Commission Glen Doll car park (fee £2) by Acharn was as busy as ever on my visit with Jimbo and Lindsay. Head west on the Glen Doll track and cross the White Water by a concrete bridge at map ref 267758. Continue south-west to the track-end, then by path to emerge from the forest and the sudden exhilarating sight of Corrie Fee; one of nine National Nature Reserves within the Cairngorms and accurately depicted as “...a wild amphitheatre of rocky landscape sculpted by the power of ice and water.”

Poorish visibility might prompt doubts as to this being a sensible route via the corrie rim to the plateau, but on the south side of the Fee Burn there is a superb path, stepped where required, which leads to a gully and so through the crags. Once clear of the crags, head south over easy ground to the 928m/3045ft summit. Mayar’s name possibly comes from magh ard meaning high plain, an accurate description.

The two-mile stroll from Mayar, on a more than ever eroded path, boggy at times, easily leads to the 800m dip just below a prominent boulder. On the easy climb to the 947m/3107ft summit of Driesh, we had one shower and, looking north over the Burn of Kilbo to the Glendoll Forest, the brief sight of a rainbow.

Driesh’s name comes from dris, meaning bramble, not that there are any at the summit. However, on the cairn surrounding the trig point was something I had not seen before – a small swarm of wasps. Perhaps some reader can offer an explanation.

How best to return? The long undulating south-east ridge that extends above Glen Clova, leads via Hill of Strone to a 550m dip between Cairn Inks and Cairn of Barns. From there an easy descent leads to the front door of the Glen Clova Hotel, but some three miles distant from the car park. A descent by The Scorrie, with good views of Winter Corrie, is steep and stony. The popular and safest way is to return to the prominent boulder then by the Shank of Drumfollow path, albeit sometimes awkward if iced up.

Many, however, prefer to lope down the high ground of the Shank; an airy route with spectacular views into Corrie Sharroch and Corrie Fee. Despite the ever present tree roots, the path through the Glendoll Forest is much improved. The path cuts across a bend in the forestry track, later followed east and north to another White Water bridge, map ref 278762.

FACTFILE

Map Ordnance Survey map 44, Ballater & Glen Clova

Distance 9 miles

Height 850m

Terrain Good paths and grassy plateau

Start point Glen Doll car park, map ref 284761

Time 5 hours

Nearest town Kirriemuir

Refreshment spot The Glen Clova Hotel

Back to the top of the page