Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Wednesday 26 June - Stuchd an Lochain 960m

Loch an Daimh
Lochan nan Cat and Stuchd an Lochain
Loch an Daimh and Gleann Daimh
This Munro, first climbed in August 1982, was not our intended hill for the day but parking space, or rather the lack of it, forced a change of plan. We weren't late in setting out but others were earlier so Meall Corranaich and Meall a' Choire Léith will have to wait for a second visit. Fortunately, I'd anticipated this sorry state of affairs so had The Stuchd in mind or its neighbour across Loch an Daimh, Meall Buidhe.

So, onwards we drove down to Bridge of Balgie and along Glen Lyon to the Giorra Dam where, surprisingly on such a fabulous June day, only one car was parked.

When, in the early 1960s, I think, the Giorra Dam was built and Glen Daimh flooded, Loch Giorra, Loch Daimh, the land in between the two lochs and Lochs Farm were covered and Loch an Daimh, part of the Breadalbane Hydroelectric Scheme, was formed. I can't say that I find hydro schemes such as this a blot on the landscape but I suppose that's because they've been a feature of the hills since I started climbing and walking. The recent Run-of-the-River schemes seem to me to scar the hills in a much more brutal way with their horrendous access roads and so on.

Anyway, to the hill. It seems that the first recorded ascent was made in 1590 by Colin Campbell who built the first tower of Meggernie Castle. Apparently, 'On the brow of the hill, Stuic-an-Lochain - a huge rock beetling over a deep circular mountain tarn - they encountered a flock of goats'. It is one of the first accounts of an ascent of any Scottish mountain (D. Bennet).

A short distance past the dam we took the path which, after traversing the hillside for a time, climbed quite steeply until a line of old fence posts lead west along the ridge to the fine 887m summit of Creag an Fheadain, a Corbett Top, though we didn't know that at the time. The weather forecast of 'sunny intervals' was well wide of the mark - not a cloud in the sky - and we were very glad of the breeze at the cairn.

To the west was Stuchd an Lochain and, some 215 m below its steep, broken headwall in the floor of its northern corrie, the as yet unseen, Lochan nan Cat.

Across a dip to the south-west of the 887m point was the Munro Top of Sron Chona Choirein but having done it first time round we bypassed and savoured the high airy stroll towards the final rise to the top. We stopped often to look down on and photograph the blackness of Lochan nan Cat. A gem.

The small summit cairn sits on the edge of the previously mentioned headwall and is an excellent viewpoint: down the whole length of Glen Lyon, Ben Nevis, the Mamores and Grey Corries, the Buachaille, the Achaladair group.

A grassy spot just below the cairn was a perfect place for lunch in the light breeze and we lazed about there for a while, reluctant to leave. Eventually we tore ourselves away, not having seen a single goat, never mind a 'flock'.

The final descent was rough on the badly eroded path and it seemed to take ages before the small orange boat moored by the loch side got close enough to answer the question 'a RIB or simply and inflatable?' Neither. It was a GRP tender-type (nautical authorities, feel free to correct the terminology).

It was stiffingly hot back at the car.


afootinthehills said...

I can’t edit the superfluous ‘of any ascent’.

Sir Hugh said...

My ascent was on 23rd August 2004 with my friend Pete. We met a guy in a Land Rover with guns in the back, I can't remember exactly where - he was not pleasant. The weather was poor and we didn't see the lochan - glad you had better weather.

afootinthehills said...

I’m not surprised you encountered hostility during the shooting season (cull) Conrad. We also climbed it in August but chose a Sunday. Glen Lyon is notoriously unfriendly to walkers but the guy we met recently was very friendly and gave us a wave. Why do I always find errors in a post immediately after it’s published?

Dave said...

First time I set out to climb Stuchd an Lochain we were staying in Dunkeld and it had rained all the way to the road by the Dam. I persuaded myself that it would pass and, sure enough, it didn't and I ended up huddled under the edge of a clump of conifers with a cup of coffee and whatever it was I had to eat. I made it to the top, could see next to nothing, and returned to the car in a mood to match the weather.

Second time could scarcely have been more different weatherwise: glorious day; views all the way across to the big hills of the west. I believe there's also an unnamed Corbett somewhere along that ridge and the water levels were low enough for me to descend and cross to the path on the opposite side. My recollection is of it being very sandy as I crossed the little rivulets, but that might be the result of inaccurate memory. Once thing I do remember is being glad I'd gone back.

On the return route I found some clips of unused ammunition (high velocity, not shotgun cartridges) and handed them in at Aberfeldy police station. The officer I gave them to reckoned that in direct sunlight they could be a fire risk; I have to confess to knowing nothing about guns or shooting, something I'm glad about.

afootinthehills said...

Hi Dave. Glad you got it in good weather second time round. It’s a Corbett Top not a Corbett Dave, and is the 887m top I mention now named Creag an Fheadain after the ridge of that name running north-west which as I understand you descended. I wish we’d thought of doing that!

Do you mean you were able to cross Lochan nan Daimh?

Dave said...

I crossed the inflow, Gibson, and some distance from the loch itself. It was down to a series of trickles at the time, although I was a bit nervous about how secure the sand might be. When I got down close enough to inspect I could see that there were lots of animal tracks (deer mostly) so I made a few tentative tests and then managed to cross.

On reflection it probably wasn't the brightest thing I've ever done; one of those where you look back and wonder at your own judgement.

Dave said...

I should also say that the level of the loch itself was low, so I'm guessing there had been a spell of dry weather leading up to the day.

afootinthehills said...

I can remember a few years ago Upper Glendevon Reservoir was so low that we could have walked across the inflow but we decided not to. We were even a bit worried about standing beside an exposed sheep fold down by edge of the water. I note for some reason I’ve been inserting ‘nan’ in Lochan Daimh. It’s impossible to scroll through the post and edit errors on the phone.

afootinthehills said...

Predictive text has now entered Lochan Daimh in my last comment. One last try: Loch an Daimh. Thanks for NOT picking me up on these mistakes Dave!