Mount Keen (The Grand Old Duke of York March)

A return to Mount Keen for Ian and Grant – this time accompanied by Doug and Steve – but without the pecorino cheese.

By Ian
29th March 2022

Four musketeers headed to Invermark at the end of Glenesk. The weather was overcast and a cold breeze was in our faces as we prepared to leave the car park. It was hats, gloves and fleeces on before we departed.

A two mile moorland walk along a well made Land Rover track took us to, and past, Queen Victoria’s well. However it was less than a mile until we stopped for a drink and to remove our outer layer.

Shortly after “The Well”, before we crossed the Easter and Ladder Burns, we stopped again for another drink.

eBoots still not working going uphill?

Then it was a relentless three and a half mile ascent to the summit.

Still no eBoots?

Just as we stopped to eat lunch at the top, the cloud engulfed us and light snow began to fall. The temperature was near zero so we didn’t tarry long over our meal.

It was then a case of retracing of steps as fast as we could comfortably walk. The breeze was driving snow and rain onto our backs as we descended. We didn’t take any further photographs as we were “keen” (Ed: OK, OK) to get back down.

Spot the Looney *

There wasn’t much wildlife up here today; a couple of black grouse, some dried frogs, 3 other walkers and a Labrador. The last of those walkers was bounding up the hill in trainers and t-shirt despite heading into the sub zero clouds. He asked “How long to the top?”, which indicated he hadn’t been here before. That’s a risky approach with no fall-back position.

A cake stop was taken at the cottage just past the burns. We were treated so some chocolate cake and a very creditable orange, pistachio and almond sponge. This was washed down with the remains of our hot coffee.

Grant and Doug shot off to the car at breakneck pace leaving Steve and I to bring up the rear.

Mount Keen track
Mount Keen elevation

With an elapsed walking time of just over 5 hours, this week’s walk was slightly further than last week’s trek to The Bomber, but didn’t seem to create the same exhaustion levels. Maybe we are getting fitter?

* The original Monty Python sketch featured a “looney” on Ben Macdui. Who’d have imagined they’d still be around on Mount Keen 50 years later, unlike the Kamikaze Highlanders and Unexploded Scotsmen. (Season 3, Episode 12, if anybody’s interested.)