Walk of the week: Glas Tulaichean to Carn an Righ

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MANY hillwalkers, averse to the initial walk, are happy to pay the £2.50 road maintenance/parking charge by the petrol pump at the side of the hotel. There is, however, a small free parking area a short distance up the Glen Lochsie road, for those of a more principled, or more impecunious, nature

Just beyond the hotel, note the sign to the left to avoid Glenlochsie Farm and follow the dismantled railway track bed for the two miles to the ruins of Glenlochsie Lodge, sad, forlorn and now almost roofless.

Linking hotel and lodge, the railway was built for deer-stalking purposes, transporting shooting guests and it includes one sharp Z-bend. Overall it gives a charming walk, albeit the track bed is nowadays deteriorating in places.

Cross a side-stream by footbridge to reach the hillside track that climbs Glas Tulaichean’s southern ridge, making light work of the overall ascent – 550m over 2½ miles. Posing atop the summit trig point was Bertie, a must-photograph Bichon Frise, a small breed less than 12 inches high and nobody’s idea of a hill dog. Well, what a surprise… for Bertie, completely unaided, has climbed more than 60 Munros. We were later to meet him and his owners on Carn an Righ. On a day of excellent weather it was hardly surprising that there were more than 20 hillwalkers at the summit.

Keeping clear of the easterly crags, descend the northern ridge to around 850m, then curve to the left to reach the stalkers’ path and so to the 770m bealach between Carn an Righ and Mam nan Carn. Climb west on grassy slopes on the well-worn path, initially now badly eroded, to reach the stony summit plateau, from where we had super views north to the Cairngorms. The 900m Stac na h-Iolair, eagle’s point, at the west end of the plateau is one of those must-visit places.

Return to the bealach – and decision time. Despite the 300m re-ascent, the quickest and easiest way to return is back over Glas Tulaichean.

However, we just had to go back via Glen Taitneach and the bridge over the Allt Ghlinn Thaitneich, one mile north of the hotel. It was a long, cold walk down the sunless glen.

Jimbo’s target, a fifth round of Munros south-east of the Great Glen, only 18 to go, included the remote Carn an Righ, seldom climbed on its own and surprisingly awkward to reach. The nearest road-end is six miles distant at Spittal of Glenshee. We planned to cycle up Glen Taitneach, then west to the hill, only to discover that between us we had two bike frames, but only three wheels.

Recovering from the embarrassment over superb scones and coffee at Dalmunzie House Hotel, a change of plan was agreed. Carn an Righ is usually tackled by first traversing neighbouring Glas Tulaichean; two hills of contrasting features commonly approached from Glen Lochsie, initially using the private road from Spittal of Glenshee to the hotel.

Glas Tulaichean means the grey/green hills, from glas-thulchan, an apt description of the four sprawling, grassy ridges that radiate from the 1051m/3448ft summit. It was the scene of my one and only hill race in 1996. With almost all the other runners young and fit like racing whippets, I just avoided ignominy by finishing fourth last in a field of 50. A miniature treasure, a superb viewpoint, yet at 1029m/3376ft an underrated hill, Carn an Righ is peak of the king, perhaps a reference to Malcolm Canmore who hunted at Braemar but resided at Blair Atholl, or to James VI, for whom it was a hunting ground.


Map Ordnance Survey map 43, Braemar & Blair Atholl

Distance 15 miles

Height 1200m

Terrain Track, grassy slopes and path

Start point Dalmunzie House Hotel, map ref 091712

Time 7 to 9 hours

Nearest hamlet Spittal of Glenshee

Recommended refreshment spot Dalmunzie House Hotel