From the Cairn Ban Archives... 

Killer ants and Spittal Burgers

Ian Collinson, 6 July 2003

With weather too good to hang about a late night decision on the Friday saw us head north early on Saturday morning to take in Beinn Iutharn Mhor and Carn an Righ from Spittal of Glenshee.

Key to Midge Alert Status (on an increasing scale):

L = Low

M = Medium

H = High

GA = Glen Affric ...and ultimately...

FF = Fisherfield

Clear blue skies, trusty bikes ready disaster struck early as the Quick Release Seat post clamp broke as Douglas adjusted his saddle height at the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel car park. However we managed to sort this out and head off up Gleann Teatnich, which is on the opposite side of the river from Dalmunzie and the reference books only ever mention this route as a return route.

Midge Alert @ Car park = M

100 yards up the road is spotted an ominous sign ‘Beware Of The Bull’

Fortunately no beast was noted but the livery on my bright red bike did give me a moment or two's thought...

A pair of Eagles circled above us as we trundled up the Glen on a track which is perfectly cyclable and 50 minutes covers more than 7km up this Glen to the point where the road ends and a further 3 Eagles are noted soaring amidst the crags above.

This is a great way to get in towards pretty remote hills.

Midge Alert in Glen = M

Having phoned the Hill Phone and the Stalker the night before and been given the all clear for our route it was surprising to hear what sounded like gunfire somewhere out there.

An hour’s hike took us up to Lochan Eun nestled in below Mam Nan Carn and Glas Tulliachan and the echos of Gunshot reverberated nuch more loudly along this Glen. Looking south down the Glen flashing lights attracted the eye to what appeared to be gun barrels glistening in the sun.

Dashing across the coll and up the flank of Mam Nan Carn we looked down and back to see a party of 12 strung out along the hillside walking in our direction shooting merrily at the Grouse they flushed out.

Needless to say that having walked up into the firing line of a party of gun-toting Italian ‘customers’ gave us decent cause for concern and the notion to re-phone the Hillphone and Stalker looking for an explanation.

No explanation was required though as a lady we met had spoken to the shooting party who had also phoned the stalker hillphone etc. but was told by the party ‘…well, it is our land, tell your friends not to come...’

Midge Alert = L

Meanwhile on the Mam Nan Carn ridge and a mere 30 feet above us another Eagle and an Osprey circled closely around each other, shots echoed and the pair went their separate ways. My first sighting of an Osprey in the UK.

Tiffin at the top prior to strolling up Beinn Iutharn Mhor and the clear views to the Cairngorms were majestic with May's bags of Cairn Toul etc. clearly visible, this time with no snow, rain, clagg or...punctures!

Back over Mam Carn and down to the coll at the foot of Carn an Righ - the reascent looks much larger in real life than the map suggests!

Meanwhile the Italian Hit Mob were tucking into lunch, wine and uisge beatha at the foot of Carn An Righ and I managed to prevent myself from entering a discussion I knew there could be no winning.....

Many peaks have a sting in the tail but Car An Righ had a sting in the summit as dozens upon dozens of wasps were swarming around the cairn. Whether a transient bunch or whatever... a discrete distance was kept from the cairn but close views of Bhienn a Ghlo / Beinn Dearg were excellent.

Back to Lochan Eun where we stopped to watch the many fish rise...


Midge Alert = GA!!!

Back down Gleann Teatnich...


Flying Red Ant Alert!!

Seeing the bikes still there on your return is always a comforting sight and after suffering an attack of the Killer Flying Ants a mere 35 minutes took us back to the hotel where a pleasing libation was well earned and enjoyed outside in the heat of the afternoon.

The Spittal of Glenshee Hotel does all the usual bar food including its own Burger which the blackboard invited you to ‘Try one of our Spittal Burgers!’.

I don't think so… perhaps some marketing skills retraining requirements here.

Start 10am. Return 5.30pm

Two more ticks in the book and a great track to use the bike on.