How to see the Scottish Highlands on a student budget:
Join the University of Dundee Rucksack Club
Last Wednesday night we met in a bar behind the university. The Rucksack team looking up the weather forecast and deciding on the best hiking location for the weekend.
The decision: Glenclova.
After heading to Edinburgh for the Day on Saturday, I didn't have much time to plan a hike or research the trails around Glenclova. Downloading the ViewRange app and looking through a few hiking options, I decided Mayar and Driesh; a 14.5km track.
Meeting 7am outside the Student Union, we all piled into mini vans, admired the scenic highlands and gripped tightly to the hand holders as we went around the corners.
Safe to say we where relieved to arrive on solid ground.
We started along and wide road through forests and over rivers; the mountains around Glendoll towering above us.
The morning dew and the cloud-like rain glittered in the early morning sun. The highland scene seemed it couldn't get more Scottish, with ruins of old stone walls and the sounds of rushing rivers.
After what I discovered to be only moderate walking, we broke through the trees to an engulfing sight before us.
The mountain range completely surrounded us, the ruggedness of the landscape exciting.
What I was about to find out was the track lead us directly up the centre of the mountain range.
And there was some very steep climbing ahead.
And this was only the beginning...
Man-made steps out of natural and local rock both helped and hindered the ascent. The uneven footing at times and varying step size made this walk a physical and mental task.
My favourite New Zealander and flatmate taking in the view.
Also waiting for me to catch up.
Approaching the summit of Mayar, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped.
We hurried to the peak before the cloud consumed us and blocked out the breathtaking view.
Sophie, from France, an excellent walking buddy, pictured here admiring the view and swimming in a sea of fluffy clouds.
The path then lead us along the relatively flat ridge line... Until we reached Little Driesh.
A climb to the peak of Little Driesh.
Then another to Driesh itself.
We waited a little for the cloud to move on, but it seemed to be having a lovely time enjoying the view- and blocking ours. We did, however make it right to the top.
What goes up, must come down.
Our finishing point is just past the base of the rainbow.
Forest conservation observation point; Encouraging visitors to take photos and share them to record the rehabilitation of the Glen.
This magical little forest trail I'm sure hid faeries, playing by the stream and napping on the mossy rocks.
The hike contained a little of everything (except climbing, there was a lot of that!).
And the relief of returning to the meet point and the van may have been overshadowed by the stomach turning drive ahead.