Around two years ago I climbed my first Munro, Mount Keen, and since then I haven’t been able to stop. For those who don’t know, a Munro in Scotland is a mountain that is 3,000 feet above sea level. There are 282 of them, and those who decide to tackle these beats call themselves Munro Baggers. They range in all kinds of difficulty, from the mighty Ben Nevis to the infamous black Cuillin Ridge in Skye. I’ve bagged 16 of these mountains now, so I’ve got a long way to go!

An Socach is small by Munro standards, definitely not the tallest one I’ve managed to bag (that would be Lochnagar), measuring at 944m and can roughly translate to The Projecting Place in Gaelic. It’s located in Glenshee, on the Braemar side of the ski centre and can be done either on its own or with one of the other Munros nearby.

We parked our car in a layby on the side of the road and set off at 9.30. We couldn’t see An Socach yet as the glen was covered in mist that hid the beautiful mountains. However, this mist cleared pretty quickly and was replaced by glorious sunshine. We followed the path past a small cottage and past a heard of sheep that seemed unfazed by our presence. As we crossed a stream and started our ascent, the sun had properly come out and the heat was intense. I was regretting my decision to wear black leggings already.

Looking towards Lochnagar in the distance

We soon reached a small cairn where we stopped for a much-needed water break and were treated to a stunning view over the glen. We could now see An Socach and braced ourselves for the steep climb to reach the plateau.

We tackled the rocky ascent, which was made worse by the heat, and reached a storm shelter on the plateau. Storm shelters are great, they serve all kinds of purposes not just for sheltering from a battering by the Scottish elements! They also offer well-needed shade which today we desperately needed to cool off in. When we got to the storm shelter we could see out to the summit of the mountain, across the plateau. I love walking along plateaus, once you reach them they are a nice change from climbing and you can often bag multiple Munros on them.

After another half an hour of walking along the plateau, we reached the summit of An Socach, just in time for lunch. As always, the views from the top were breath-taking. On one side we could see just about every Munro we had bagged, including Lochnagar, Glas Maol, The Cairnwell trio, and Mount Keen. On the other, we could see the mighty and imposing Munros heading north.

Me at the summit

We retraced our steps on the return, however we decided to stop next to a stream where we cooled off our feet before continuing. We passed the sheep, who still looked unbothered, as well as some gorgeous ponies. By the time we reached the car the whole walk had taken us about 5 hours.

Getting home, I was relieved to change out of my sweaty clothes and then realised how bad the burn on my back had gotten from being in the sun all day. I’m blonde so I’ve also burnt easily, even though I had been continually applying sun cream all day. It isn’t the first time I’ve been sunburnt on the hills, when I tackled the Glas Maol circuit, next to the Glenshee Ski Centre, my face got burnt! Its taken me a few days for the burn to stop hurting, and next time I will make sure to not wear black leggings!

Looking North

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