The large layby on the A93 just south of Glen Shee ski resort (Photo: James Kemp)

Glas Maol sits close to several other Munros in the southern part of the Cairngorms National Park. Alexander and I parked in the layby just south of the Glen Shee ski resort and walked over Meall Odhar to the summit of Glas Maol and then down the back to the associated Munro top of Little Glas Maol. Including stops for lunch and to chat to a couple of students about what we could see from the top of Little Glas Maol (the North Sea amongst other things) it took us just over five hours from setting off to being back at the car.

Planning for Glas Maol

Planning on this one was straightforward, I’d been looking at all the Munros, tops, Corbetts and Grahams on OL53 and OL52 so that I could plan walks for explorer scouts. My permit conditions mean I need to walk them first, so I had several routes planned. The latest update to OS Maps on snap to path speeded up the mapping side. It only needed a little tidying where the path didn’t go exactly to the summit.

We did have a last minute shortening of the route. I’d originally planned also taking in Creag Leacach and its associated SW top. However the weather forecast was the same place (I’d focussed on Glad Maol as the higher of the two).


The forecast was dry and sunny with light wind (force 3, gusting to 4). On the summit it was forecast to be about 9°C. As it turned out the forecast was bang on. The only thing we didn’t quite allow for was getting sunburn!

The glorious weather meant that visibility was excellent. We had some spectacular views of mountains 360°. When we got to the top of Little Glas Maol we met two students. They weren’t local and were uncertain what the sights were. On closer looking I pointed out Dundee, Arbroath and Montrose on the coast. The straight line horizon of the North Sea was distinguishable in the haze.

The Walk up Glas Maol

The car park is quite high, so the overall climb was pretty modest. We did 606m to the top of Glas Maol. That said the part from the car park is very steep, the ski run on our left is classed as a black run. Once on the top there’s a half kilometre or so plateau which is slightly convex but nothing taxing. The path to the top of Meall Odhar is a vehicle track, with lots of gravel/stones in the bottom. This proved quite hard to walk on and we rapidly dispersed onto the vegetation either side. It was even more treacherous on the way down.

The convex nature of Glas Maol means that you can’t quite see the cairn on the top until you hit the plateau. A factor in this is that the official cairn is on the back end of the plateau next to the trig point. On the way up there were a few cairns built to mark the otherwise indistinct path. These give the false impression that you must be nearly there!

The actual cairn is a large horseshoe shaped shelter big enough to sit inside and shelter from the wind while you eat your sandwich. While I was doing exactly that Alex noticed movement around me. I turned slowly and saw two mice in the rocks, presumably hoping that I’d leave some crumbs for them. The mice were not the only wildlife in evidence. We saw a number of ravens on the thermals just south of the summit. There were sheep, and signs of deer (but we didn’t see the deer). Most impressively though we spent several minutes watching an eagle soaring and swooping over Caenlochan Glen while we stood just above the Craigie Doubs (NO172765).

Other than skirting north round the summit of Glas Maol we went back the same way we went up. Overall we covered 10.1km and 606m ascent in 5 hours and 5 minutes. It was a nice walk.