Although close to midsummer, I found considerable snow patches on Ben Chonzie, our local Munro, when I climbed it recently. Cuckoos were calling and chasing each other through the still and brilliantly clear air below Glenturret Dam. At least two males were vying for the attention of a female and seemed less wary of us than normal. Their whooping calls (they “change their turn in June”) echoed around the amphitheatre.
I had asked Andrew to drop me off with our dog so that I could walk up the track beside Glenturret Reservoir, climb the hill then return along the ridge and over Carn Chois before dropping down by a different route to Comrie Croft.The day proved very hot and sunny, so visiting the snow patches provided a valuable way of keeping Braan cool. She loves catching snowballs and digging into snow banks.
We saw plenty of birdlife along the way, with a ring ouzel and wheatears in rocky areas along the track. Red grouse and meadow pipits were mainly in the heathery areas and a highlight was a plaintively calling golden plover near the top of Carn Chois. Sadly, I only spotted two mountain hares. They used to be very common on Ben Chonzie’s summit plateau, but I suspect – as elsewhere – that gamekeepers have been slaughtering them.
The temperature had soared by the time I crossed the grassy plain around Braefordie and I was glad to reach the shade of the woods on the way down to Comrie Croft. Here coffee and cake in the Tea Garden was the perfect end to a superb walk.
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