I was out with the Moray Mountaineering Club to Glen Clova na old haunt of mine when I was with RAF Leuchars Mountain Rescue (LMRT). It was a short drive in these days and a magic Glen approach to Clova. We used to climb here in the summer on the crags and get the magic of winter in the wild Corries with some incredible ice routes usually away from the crowds. It also had a superb pub and was a great social scene and we had many great nights in the past and also a few call -outs. We had a few family days with my step kids enjoying some great days on the two Munros Mayar and Dreish and so many great hills about. It is near Dundee and can get busy with the easy access in the summer. In winter this is a wild part of Scotland and sadly the high passes Jock’s road that take you to Breamar have taken a toll over the years.
The book the Black Cloud by I.D.S Thomson has a chapter on ” the loss of 5 men on Jock’s Road in 1959 it is a sad reminder how wild this area can be and is worth a read?
I had heard how it had changed with the Glen Clova Hotel now refurbished. It was no longer a quick drive to Glen Clova living in the far North Of Scotland I decided to leave early I had my last injection at the doctors on Friday so picked up my two pals Derek and Babs. The weather forecast was still some blocked roads on the East so we drove via the A9. It was a long drive via the A9 but it was clear and then through Blairgowrie to Clova a bit of snow had fallen but the roads were clear.The drive along the Glen to Clova was stunning with the hills clear and in winter with the snow it is a special place. It always reminds me of the Lake District as the roadside crags are so similar as are the stunning peaks!
We arrived at Bunkhouse at Clova Hotel and it is sadly due renovation being run down -It was very tight accommodation the 10 man dorm in a small room with toilets but it was warm and good showers. The kitchen was also running down with one kettle 6 cups and a few bowls but again warm ! There have been massive changes since I had been here with LMRT over the years. The Hotel was packed with Grouse shooters and was a big change from the past! Meals were being served all the time and this is now fairly upmarket!
We unpacked and had an hour of daylight and managed a short walk and checking the road to the main car park was clear. Again it has all changed with a new build information Centre there! Wandered up the track for an hour past the old Youth Hostel with its classic Squash Court where we used to stay with the Mountain Rescue and had a wander just as darkness was falling about 1630. The track was icy and there were a few cars in the car park and at least we had arrived no rush unlike the others that were driving after work a good 3 hour drive!
We made tea and had a few pints in a very busy bar with food looking great and at a fair price. It was full of the hunting shooting fraternity as their was a big shoot on and the Hotel was busy with a huge business in meals all evening. The poor pheasants were jumping out all the way up the road to Clova you did not need a gun! The other members of the group about 12 arrived with Joe one of the club walking over from Auchallater and 3 – 4 Munros down of Mayar with his gear for the weekend! Oh to be young Crazy man.
I had a few pints of Guinness then back for an awful night in the Bothy with the bunks crammed in and with 10 people maybe I am too old for this ! The heat was incredible and few slept that night!
In winter especially early December you have to be away early I had planned the two Munros Mayar and Driesh in the morning trying to be away for 0800.
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