Thursday, 30 March 2017

First day of Spring above the Angus Glens

The first day of Spring this year found Joan, Duncan and I meeting up in the the town of Kirriemuir for coffee; our plan was to climb Cat Law from the lower reaches of Glen Prosen.  The first day of Spring it might have been, but the forecast didn't promise much in the way of Spring-like weather; we expected a strong wind and cold temperatures - but hopefully some sunshine too.

We started out from near Easter Lednathie, there are a couple of spaces to park on the roadside just north of a stone bridge but south of the farm and houses.  A track climbs steadily up through woodland, then alongside a plantation of spruces to reach a gate and fenceline on the Peat Shank.

The climb up towards Cat Law goes through some boggy ground initially but the going underfoot gets better as height is gained. We followed animal tracks to skirt the wet ground, but in poor visibility the fence would provide a good handrail up to the summit area.

The final fifty metres of ascent brought us into a different world - even at this modest altitude it was most definitely Winter rather than Spring.  We'd enjoyed a degree of shelter from the northwesterly wind until this point, but now we were exposed to a chill blast.

At 671m/2201ft, Cat Law is a "Graham" (a Scottish hill between 2000 and 2500 feet with at least 150m of descent on all sides).  This classification of hills may lack the height of the Munros, but more often than not give good days on quiet routes - and there are 219 of them to go at.

Cat Law is prominent from the A90 Dundee-Aberdeen road and sits right on the edge of the Highlands.  Our view was huge, stretching from the Tolmount hills in the north west around the plateaux above the Angus glens to the North Sea in the east.  What was also in our view was an approaching snow shower, so we hunkered down in the lee of a stone shelter wall constructed of stones from a much older cairn which stood here.  The summit marks the meeting point of three parishes and it's likely that the parishes themselves followed a much older land ownership pattern.

Once the worst of the stinging snow shower had passed we headed back down to the head of the ascent track and on to the subsidiary domed summit of Long Goat, between Cats and Goats, this walk has a distinct animal theme!

The wind was pushing through snow showers with increasing frequency, towering coud racing past trailing veils of snow and creating a wonderful variety of changing light.  On the summit of Long Goat we were being snowed upon in whilst bathed in bright sunshine - some would say typical Scottish spring weather!

Our descent took us eastwards down a small path whch meets a track at a prominent orange painted gate, then down to the road 2 kilometres from the starting point.  As we headed downhill the showers of snow passed through and we once again entered more spring-like conditions in Glen Prosen, the 6 degrees Celsius glen temperature felt pleasantly warm in comparison with the minus 2 degrees of the summit!


  1. Not done that hill yet but I like the Angus Glens. I've been busy basking in warmth and sunshine at lower levels recently in heatwave conditions so snow and cold have been banished in my world until next year.

  2. It's a great viewpoint Bob - especially if the snow isn't stinging the eyes!