GLAS TULAICHEAN is one of those Munros that is often labelled as being at the duller end of the scale.
There’s a Land Rover track leading virtually all the way to the summit and its translation, ‘green hillocks’, hardly conjures up the image of a thrilling mountain experience.
A closer look tells a different story - this is a mountain with hidden depths. So here’s the case for the defence.
For a start, there were once trains running on the lower slopes in Glen Lochsie. The old track bed is now mainly grassed over but you can still use it as a better approach to the hill.
The narrow gauge private railway was opened in 1920 by the industrialist owner of Dalmunzie House, Sir Archibald Birkmyre. He was involved in jute and rope companies in Gourock, Greenock, Port Glasgow and New Lanark.
The line was originally opened to carry quarried stone for building works at Dalmunzie House. It was two and a half miles long and ascended 500 feet. Eventually it became mainly used for carrying shooting parties up the hill.
A stalker’s pony would walk ahead of the train as it trundled uphill - ScotRail please note, this may speed things up - to the small station beside the now ruined Glenlochsie Lodge. The line was shut in 1978 as new safety rules governing railways meant it would need some £60,000 improvements.
There are remnants of old sleepers and metalwork on the track bed and a small bridge is still intact. This route means you avoid a double river crossing on the new track.
Glas Tulaichean is also more than a trig point summit on the top of a rounded hillock. It covers a massive area stretching over three big glens.
The usual circuit takes you up Glen Lochsie and then back down Gleann Taitneach, but to the west there’s a ridge which runs for around 18 kilometres, all the way from below the Spittal of Glenshee, through Gleann Fearnach and into Glen Loch. This is the site of the curiously named Loch Loch.
Sitting on this ridgeline is the peak of Meall a’ Choire Bhuidhe. It’s almost six kilometres from the main summit of Tulaichean and at 868 metres, it easily reaches Corbett height. But because of the strict rules pertaining to this class of hill, it fails to make the grade.
Despite the distance and the accumulative metres of ascent and re-ascent between the intervening summits, at no point does it reach a drop of 150 metres, the magic clearance line for it to be recognised as a separate hill. Corbett baggers should do the decent thing and climb it - it deserves to be recognised as an honorary member.
Furthest to the north lies the rarely climbed Meall na Spionaig. A long trek up lonely Glen Loch may be the best approach but only Corbett Top baggers and lovers of solitude will likely be interested. A sweep of all the tops along this ridge would be an immense task and I have yet to meet anyone who has done this. It would be a real labour of love, a gruelling day out in a truly remote landscape.
On the eastern side of the scalloped skyline of Glas Tulaichean lies the imposing Glas Choire Mor, a wonderful, wild, spacious bowl which can be used as an ascent route from Gleann Taitneach.
Finally, at the top of this glen, above a series of tumbling waterfalls, lies the aptly named Loch nan Eun, ‘the loch of the birds’.
On a cold winter’s day, with the icy mist hanging around your shoulders like a drunken best mate, the piercing cries of the gulls echoing around this body of water make it sound as though you have been transported to some kind of underworld, Scotland’s own Hades.
It can be a haunting landscape, but a far cry from tedium.