939 m. |
Translation: Gaelic monadh, meaning hill
Pronuncation: mount keen
One of those hills that do not conjure up the idea of adventure when climbing it. But special it is, nonetheless, due to the fact that it is the most easterly Munro of all. The approach Alex, Frank and I took was via Glen Tanar, starting the walk at Glen Tanar House.
From the house we followed the landrover track through beautiful forrest. Soon the track joined the Water of Tanar which was to be our faithful companion for much of the way. On the tarmac we made very good progress and soon reached the Half Way Hut. A few minutes later the track leaves the forrest and the hills and their mostly grassy slopes came into view. Close to Etnach we crossed the river by a bridge and continued our tramp on the right-hand side of the Water of Tanar. At the next bridge where the track changes back to the other side of the Water we paused for a while. The weather, which had been quite nice until then, seemed to have some surprises in store for us when looking up the glen. Nonetheless we continued our little expedition and finally reached the spot where the drove road starts climbing up Mount Keen. We plodded on and gained height quite quickly. With a few short stops to catch our breath strewn in we steadily climbed until we reached the shoulder of the hill at 700 m. On the left hand side the outcops of the Corrach in the corrie below us attracted our attention. Then things became foggy, wet and cold. We continued uphill on a well-worn path which levels off soon before the summit cairn and trig point is reached. Our stop in the summit shelter was long enough to eat a few cookies and drink some very welcome cups of hot tea. But with rain, clouds and strong wind this was no place to stay for long and we embarked on the home leg of the hike. Back on the Mounth road we met a party of five or six riders on horseback who fought their way up the hill. Then, back in the glen we paused by a ruin and took off our protective clothing. The day now developed into a sunny afternoon with very comfortable temperatures. We hiked back through Glen Tanar, first through open country then through the forrest. There we stumbled upon two adders lying on the track who basked in the sunshine it seemed. Apart form seeing the two snakes nothing remarkable happened but the beautiful glen assured us of a pleasant stroll home. When we reached the car we had bagged the most easterly Munro, walked a lot of kilometres on landrover track and had seen a lovely glen. A good day on the hills!
Description Mount Keen is the most easterly of the Munros, and also one of the most solitary as it lies 17 kilometres from its nearest neighbour, Lochnagar. Its pointed summit is on the spine of the Mounth between the River Dee and Strathmore, and it is the highest hill east of Loch Muick, rising high enough above its surroundings to be easily recognisable in views from afar.There are two commonly used approaches to Mount Keen, one from Glen Esk to the south, and the other from Glen Tanar to the north. The Glen Esk route is the shorter one. It starts from the carpark near the point where the glen divides into its two upper reaches - Glen Lee and Glen Mark. Walk along the private road in Glen Mark past the Queen's Well and on up the track in the narrow glen of the Ladder Burn to reach the open hillside at the Knowe of Crippley. The traditional Mounth Road, a one-time drovers' route which is now a right of way, continues north on the west side of Mount Keen, but the route to the summit of the hill follows a diverging path a little further east.