Glen Esk – Craig Maskeldie. July 2014

Date: Saturday 12th July 2014
Distance: 16.9km
Ascent: 700m

After about 4 days of wall-to-wall weekday sunshine we all knew there would be a rain band crossing the country at the weekend. Best bet for Saturday looked like the Angus Glens in the early morning.

Initially planned to go up Glen Clova, but missed the exit on the A90 and thought, let’s go back to Glen Esk instead.

Parked up at Auchronie at 0620 – a bit of overhead cloud with blue sky to the east. Set off along Loch Lee to revisit the Hunt Hill area.

It’s a noticeable feature of the march through summer that the prolific birdsong of April to June falls quiet. Little to hear other than the scolding of juvenile wheatears and the odd lapwing alarm.

Spotted a Burnet Moth on the track and stopped to look. It’s always amazing how much you walk past as when you stop you notice the further moths in the grass and the subcentimetre fox moth caterpillars. There’s a whole world of interest in most few square metres of summer heath.

Emerging Burnett Moth:

Mating Burnett Moths:

Left the moths and caterpillars to head on along the track round to the falls of Unich – this passes under Craig Maskeldie, a most impressive prow of a hill.

Craig Maskeldie:

A slow worm curled into an S trying to appear dead, this one had dropped its tail at some point. It also looked quite broad in the beam, perhaps a pregnant female. Lovely little lizards.

Slow worm:

Across the bridge at NO 395 805 and off the track to follow a path to the Falls of Unich. The heather bloom season later in the year is a sight to see. Lovely falls even in the drier season.

Falls of Unich:

Falls of Unich and Craig Maskeldie:

Carried on uphill to the Falls of Damff.

Toad:

H and ascent from Falls of Unich:

Yellow Saxifrage:

The track climbs up what is a rough cliff-lined glen, near the top we cut back to climb Hunt Hill last time. This time we didn’t climb the Graham, Craig Maskeldie is the better viewpoint and the day was due to deteriorate.

Hunt Hill:

Another fine waterfall the Falls of Damff are at the top of the glen.

Falls of Damff:

There is a bridge at about NO 385 790 – crossed this and then headed uphill for the summit of Craig Maskeldie.

Falls of Damff from Craig Maskeldie ascent:

Up to the summit for lunch. Lochnagar and the higher ground SW towards Ben Tirran already had hats on.

Loch Lee from Craig Maskeldie:

Hunt Hill from Craig Maskeldie:

Watched a kestrel swooping around the cliff line, ate lunch and relaxed for 40 minutes before heading towards Cairn Lick and the Shank of Invergrundle.

A few hares around including some leverets, always more prone to try freezing as a defence.

Craig Maskeldie leveret:

Another leveret:

Cottongrass:

There’s a decent track down the Shank to Loch Lee with nice views over to Craig Maskeldie.

Craig Maskeldie from Shank of Inchgrundle:

The clouds built as we walked back, getting a bit gloomy as we passed the end of Loch Lee.

Loch Lee clouding in:

Lovely area – you’d expect a few eagles around those cliffs but it’s said to be a dangerous neck of the woods for the Iolaire.

Well worth a visit though.

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