To Glenesk to ascend Mt. Battock. We started from Millden car park in cloudy cool conditions and took a couple of hours to get to the summit, where it was very windy. the views weren’t great from the top, but the sun came out as we descended past the inevitable excavator and dumper truck ( Who pays for all the new tracks in Glenesk? ) Wildlife included a group of fifteen mountain hares galloping across the hill, plus buzzard, golden plover, red grouse, swallow, house martin, moorhen, tufted duck, lapwing, curlew, oystercatcher, linnet, grey heron and starling.
Having attempted Battock back in February from Peters Hill but had to turn back with the weather, and Marie passing round but not to the top of Clachnaben at the race, we decided to opt for the full traverse to claim these cps.
We started at the Clachnaben car park taking the normal route up to the top and then along the track to Mount Battock. With a couple of MTBers (Gary and Scott) ahead we used them as targets to try and beat to the top but were just pipped to the post. Took the runners direct route off Battock to Dave’s aptly named “Motorway” traversing Hill of Cammie and then Mudlee Bracks before following the fence line to the Fungle track. Found our direct routes had succeeded in getting us in front of before named bikers but were eventually passed en route to Ballochan, where we had parked a second car.
Sat 6th June
Parked up at Burnfoot, just 1k before the chapel at end of Forest of Birse road. Car rocking in the gale, is it sensible to go up high? Well I reckoned if I wasn’t put off running in to the headwind along the Fungle, then I’d be ok with the wind in my back to Mudlee Bracks. So off I headed, via Auchabrack to The Fungle, and sure enough, it was one heck of a push up to the high point against the wind. Turned up towards Mudlee Bracks at the gate, following the single track beside the fence line; some soft running over the dried turf mounds.
Then onto the ‘roadway’ over Hill of Cammie and on up to Mount Battock, where the wind was really howling. Much appreciated the stone shelters at the top for a few minutes snack before heading out to Clacknaben. Wind died down in the lee of Battock, but picked up to full force again on the Tor. Then down the hill race descent route, – what a descent! – past race finish point to the road.
29k, with 1050m climb (according to iPhone app, not sure about that, closer to 800m I think), in 3 hrs 37’.
Back to the car by bike, retrieved from its hiding spot, depositted earlier. A very slow cycle, into the headwind again – Just 13k, not saying how long it took, but it was a good workout!
We read DaveH account of taking these two cps plus 81 Baudnacauner and decided that there was just going to be too much heather and hard going for us to try the circular route so we would just go for Mudlee Bracks and Mount Battock as an In-Out.
Followed DaveH route up Fungle and through heather from high point to Mudlee Bracks and then via the new motorway to Mount Battock. Enroute we saw lots of black grouse, a herd of about twenty deer and lots of white hare. Followed the road a fair way around towards Wester Cairn to gain height before cutting onto the heather and back up to Mount Battock. Coming down we were able to make a direct descent and cut off some of the corner.
Although the new road makes for easy going, there is still a lot of climbing both going and coming back. In hindsight we might have been as well to follow the circular route as we were fairly shattered by the time we got back to the Fungle.
We did stop at the Laird’s Burn ford on way home though.
pictures: stile at top of Mudlee Bracks and brief pause at Mount Battock before turning for home.
Started from the end of the road near Birse Castle and ran up the Fungle to the fence at the high point. From here there is a trod on the north side which makes it quite easy to get to the first point of the day (Mudlee Bracks). From here you will see that on the other side of the fence is a major road. Not sure where it comes from, but it leads all the way to half way up Mount Battock, where it turns off to Wester Cairn. Makes the running a lot easier, but isn’t exactly pretty. From Mount Battock took Donald’s advice and a more or less direct route to Baudnacauner, which is very good running all the way to the end of the track on Cock Hill, then there is a mown track past some shooting butts which takes you most of the way down to the burn. From there to the top of the hill is not so good, and the first part of the descent to the Laird’s Burn is horrible. Gets much better when you reach the track. Forded the Feugh near the challenge point and had a 4km run back to the car, the less said about which the better. Very tired by the end. Took 3.08, 24km, 1000m climbing. Mostly very good running, but the bits that weren’t, really weren’t.
From Spital via Char on the bike. Then used the stalkers highways until too much snow to cycle. Had an extended encounter with a friendly grouse whilst I restored my chain to its rightful status. Changed into running shoes near the posh stalkers cabin and walked most of the rest…all in the interests of successful calf rehab.
Almost warm in the sun today. Not another soul about. Had planned on completing the loop with Clachnaben but ran out of time so same way back unfortunately.