Return to Whittle Wanderer

Spittal of Glenshee, dismantled railway, Glenlochsie Lodge, Glas Tulaichean, Loch nan Eun, Scotland.
[25.5 km]  Wed 30 Mar 2016

OS Grid ref: NO 10889 70140
Lat/Long: 56.814194, -03.461271

Because I was staying in my car I was able to be away early. It was still below freezing when I set off and the gritter waggon had just gone though. I walked the mile long drive to Dalmunzie House and had to be careful of ice patches on the drive. Just after the hotel grounds I left the road and turned left through a gate into a field where a signpost said “railway”. The path followed the line of the abandoned railway past Glenlochsie Farm. The sky was now clear but the Glenlochsie valley ahead was still in shade.

Glenlochsie & section of rail

The old Glenlochsie railway bridge

The railway bridge in use
According to Roderick Dingwall – who wrote a book called Dalmunzie Railway – the railway was built in 1920 by Sir Archibald Birkmyre, who owned the Dalmunzie estate in the early-20th century. It was two-and-a-half miles in length, was built on a narrow gauge, and had an oil-driven engine. It’s intended purpose was to take shooters up to Glenlochsie Lodge so they could shoot.

Terminus platform at Glenlochsie

The railway shown on the 1955 - 1961 map
It was enjoyable walking up the railway line and it wasn’t wet as the last time I was here. The ruined Glenlochsie Lodge building appeared ahead and soon I was at the terminus of the railway route. There was a short raised platform area which was long enough to take two small carriages.

Glenlochsie Lodge

Glenlochsie Lodge when in use
I crossed the small footbridge across the stream and reached the building ruins in sunshine. Even with sun the temperature was below freezing and felt cold. I good vehicle track continued steeply up to the NW heading for Tulaichean summit. Around 800m the track was covered in snow and the higher I climbed the deeper and harder the snow. I stopped to fit my ice studs and swap my walking pole for ice axe.
Cairn near the summit
I continued and found the going much easier. Although it had been clear as I reached the final summit climb I was in cloud. On the summit plateau was a snow covered stone cairn then the Ordnance Survey trig post ahead. It was quite windy and with no views I didn’t hang around and continued over the top to start my descent to the NE.
Tulaichean summit trig post

Loch nan Eun (loch of the birds)
I soon left the cloud and saw a fairly steep descent ahead. I wasn’t too bothered as I had ice studs on but soon had to modify my route and the hard snow was turning to sheet ice. I preferred a longer and safer route is softer snow. I had to do this a few times to get to the bottom of the ridge. Across a rough area of snow and bog I reached Loch nan Eun (loch of the birds). The whole loch was frozen and mostly covered in snow. At the outlet I found a faint path in the snow and started the descent to the SE. It was steep at first but the snow soon dissipated.
Descending the glen
It was a pleasant walk as the sun was out and I was out of the wind. It was nice to reach a vehicle track and walk the last few miles on the flat glen floor. I took the path to Dalmunzie Hotel and decided to try and find the whereabouts of the old diesel rail engine and carriages. I asked a man at the hotel and he said the engine was in a barn by the estate buildings at Glenlochsie Farm. I walked back up the track to the farm and spoke to a man on a quad bike. He told me where to look and I found them in an open barn round the back. It was good to see the Dalmunzie Diesel Engine and two carriages. They were all rust and dilapidated wood but being sheltered from the rain it could have been worse. I returned back along the access road and back to my car at the Military Bridge. It had been a long 25.5km. 
Dalmunzie Diesel Engine

Dalmunzie Engine & carriages

Dalmunzie carriages