Walk: Ben Gulabin winter wonderland

[View south from Ben Gulabin's east top]

Heather-clad Ben Gulabin (Hill of the curlew) seems to loom large above the main road as you drive past the Spittal of Glenshee. Actually, at 806 metres above sea level it's a mere cub in comparison to the main bulk of the Cairngorms just to the north. A high start point on the approach to the Cairnwell Pass and good tracks almost to the summit make its ascent a straightforward, half-day walk in good conditions, though when blanketed in white it's a more serious affair. Detour to the lower, eastern summit for the best views, and look out for wildlife throughout; huge numbers of grouse, red deer and mountain hare on our chilly trip made for an entertaining outing.

[The first section is on a gentle track with good views of Gleann Beag]

Name: Ben Gulabin winter wonderland ★★★☆☆
Length: 6 km / 4 miles
Ascent: 450 metres
Main summits: Ben Gulabin (806 metres, Corbett)
Start / finish: Space for a few cars at track junction (don't block gate) on A93, a mile north of Spittal of Glenshee, G.R.: NO 114714 ///later.gaps.riverside

Route: Start - track junction near (destroyed) Gulabin Hut - Ben Gulabin plateau between east & west tops - east top - west (higher) top - return to start by outward route
Terrain: Good track to Gulabin Hut, then a steeper and slightly rougher one to near the top. Summit area has paths in places.
Wildlife today: Scores of red deer on Creagan Bheithe, hundreds of grouse, several mountain hare, various other tracks in the snow. Several birds of prey on the drive through Glen Shee.
Weather today: Often sunny with occasional snow flurries. Snow cover at all levels: windblown powder, ranging from a dusting in places to deep drifts. Strong wind at times high up with spindrift. Just above freezing at the base, a few degrees below at the top.

[Looking back down the track from near the summit]

Route credit: Walkhighlands (modified)

[View from the start]

[Track ascent]

[Spot the tracks!]

[View up Gleann Beag towards Glenshee Ski Centre]

[Red deer by the old ski lift pylon on Creagan Bheithe]

[Zoomed shot]

[View across Gleann Beag as the track bends west]

[Creag Leacach's south ridge across the glen]

[The track to the summit from 600 metres is much more direct]

[Icicles on the north slope of Ben Gulabin]

[Coire Shith]

[The Cairnwell (centre-left) and upper Gleann Beag from near the summit]

[Spindrift]

[Upper Glen Shee from the summit plateau]

[Grouse feather]

[View north from the east top]

[View east from the east top]

[View south from the east top]

[Mountain hare - halfway between its summer and winter coat]

[Looking across to the higher west summit from the east top]

[Ben Gulabin (west) summit]

[Mountain hare - winter coat this time!]

[Grouse on the descent]

[Ice sculptures]

[View of the hill from the Spittal of Glenshee]

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