Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Monday 1 July - A wander from Kenmore to Remony, Acharn and back.

A late start but there was still plenty of parking space in Kenmore at the entrance to Taymouth Castle or, as a German motorcyclist parked beside us said, 'Taymooth Chateau'!

At Remony we left the south Loch Tay road for the path to Balmacnaughton and gave a wave to a chap relaxing by his summer house where woodcarvings of rabbits adorned the decking. Beyond the stone circle was a stand of beautiful Scots pines, the sound of the wind blowing through them reminding me of the Cairngorms. 'If I close my eyes we could be at.." But I didn't get to finish the sentence. "Derry Lodge", said Lynne. Exactly so. This spot was a haven in what was now fairly bleak country, though I suspect in brighter weather, which seemed to be everywhere but here, it would be pleasant enough. Not often I feel like this about hill country.

Our plan had been to follow the track until it crossed the Acharn Burn and then decide what to do at the small wooden hut, visible from the track. However, neither of us was particularly enjoying the walking so after a bit of indecision we abandoned the route and retraced our steps to find a spot in the sun for tea and biscuits, just beyond the bridge over the Remony Burn.

Descending by the way we'd come would have meant too short a day so back over the bridge we went to take the lovely route to the Acharn Falls and so to the road. Signs proclaim speed limits (40mph mostly, in places 20mph) and the road is 'walker and cycle friendly' but, as usual, only the odd driver pays much attention to it.

We stopped on the beach at the head of the loch , finished our tea and watched the boats bobbing about on the choppy water, trying to remember the name of the nearby island. I've brought 'Swallows and Amazons' with me to re-read and the scene put me in just the right mood for it.

Note: The island has several alternative names: Spry Island, Spries Island, Spray Island and Spar Island.

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Monday, 1 July 2019

Sunday 30 June - By way of a record

With terrific thunder and lightning storms in the area yesterday (29th) we weren't about to venture onto a hill, even though that day marked another anniversary - twenty eight years since we completed the Munros. We had a hill earmarked but it will keep until later this week.

There has been a dramatic change in the weather overnight with the temperature today around 14°C some 10°C lower than on our Ben Lawers day. Winds gusting to 42mph this afternoon, and obviously much higher speeds at altitude. A good day to read and plan what to do next and for brief visit to Kenmore.

Photo: Fortingall Yew

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Friday 28 June - A short day out on Meall Buidhe 932m. A 45th Wedding Anniversary Munro

Meall Buidhe to the north of Loch an Daimh is often climbed along with Stuchd an Lochain but this involves returning to the dam after doing whichever one is done first. We did them separately rather than rush.

It's probably not a hill to do after very wet weather if you plan to go via the peat bog that is Coire nan Miseach, but we had it dry fortunately and I doubt that it was in such a state back in 1983. However, the name of the 878m hill, Meall a' Phuill gives the game away, the rough translation being 'The Round Hill of the Peat Bank/hag'.

Today, it took us only an hour and a half to the top where the wind was unexpectedly quite ferocious and almost blew us off our feet. Luckily it wasn't too cold, but we did need to dig out windproof jackets from the sacks before taking some photographs. The jackets would have been gone forever had we lost hold of them.

The hill is often unfavourably compared to Stuchd an Lochain which is undoubtedly the finer hill, but the final level ridge above Glas Choire to the large summit cairn on Meall Buidhe is over far too soon.

Photos -  ridge to summit
               struggling with camera case in the wind.
               Orchid but not sure of name despite Lynne
               studying our wild flower book

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Thursday 27 June - Beinn Ghlas 1103m and Ben Lawers 1214m

We were at the carpark early given the popularity of these hills and previous parking difficulties, and were well up Beinn Ghlas before we spotted two figures far below. The light breeze was a blessing after the delightful but hot, windless approach through the birch trees beside the Burn of Edramucky. Beinn Ghlas at 1103m is a substantial Munro, its small cairn perched at the edge of its north face which falls steeply into Coire Odhar. Often regarded as a mere point on the way to its more lofty neighbour Ben Lawers and its 4000ft magic contour, Beinn Ghlas is a very fine hill in its own right.

A lengthy break by the cairn to take in the view allowed the two figures to catch up and we enjoyed a pleasant fifteen minutes or so in their company. They were from Crieff, a mere forty minute drive away, and were in training for their planned fourteen day walking trip to the Pyrenees in September.

The Lawers range was very much part of my early hill days, courtesy of the newly formed school climbing and walking club - a winter ascent of Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers around 1966 or '67 which today, sadly, would probably never get off the ground once the 'risk assessment' had been completed. I don't have a date for when Lynne and I climbed them so that suggests 1976 or 1977, since for some reason we only started dating ascents from 1978. Much later on I was persuaded to 'lead' a party from work up Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers which was a real pain in the neck, particularly since all but one of them had never been on a hill. This nascent company walking club didn't develop any further, thankfully.

With a 'see you on the summit' we left our fellow walkers from Crieff and departed down to the bealach. So far my concerns about the crowds likely to be encountered were unfounded and there appeared to be only one or two people at the trig point on Ben Lawers. Indeed by the time we'd made the fairly steep and enjoyable ascent those figures had gone.

We had lunch just below the summit, overlooking beautiful Lochan nan Cat lying below An Stuc's south-east face and enclosed by three Munros.

Back at the bealach we took the path which skirts the north face of Beinn Ghlas and descends to the lovely and very hot Coire Odhar, which at one time was popular with skiers.

The National Trust for Scotland has done an excellent job on this and the main path up these hills. Often constructed paths are badly done and don't sit well in the landscape, but this is not the case here. Even the relocation of the carpark has been done with care, being reasonably well hidden from the summits and from the road. Well done NTS. No-one could grudge the £2 parking fee.

Another memorable day, both of us savouring our return to the fine hills in this area. Life well spent.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Wednesday 26 June - Stuchd an Lochain 960m

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 the ascent of any 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.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019


With three good days forecasted we've returned to the Killin area to re-visit some Munros and enjoy the peace and quiet of some other hills and places.

We're not exactly sure which Munros to choose - we are spoilt from choice - but if you watch this space you might find out.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Friday 31 May - Home

A very wet cloudy morning and an indifferent weather outlook sealed the decision to come home, regroup and prepare for another trip.

During our (almost) three week holiday I have, for the first time in recent years, posted on most days. I rather enjoyed it, although no matter how often I read the draft the outcome was never quite right. Never mind, the posts provide a good enough record of the days for my purposes. Comments from Sir Hugh, AlanR, Dave and Gayle were most welcome.

Posting to Blogger on my iPhone using a BT email address was very easy on 4G, including uploading up to four photographs. Occasionally after publishing I was able to upload an additional photograph via Blogger itself, though the photo appeared smaller than when added to an email. Ironically, last September using Gmail I found posting with photographs a nightmare.

I'm about to sign up for a Flickr account and I'll provide a link when this is done.

Photo: Croft Moraig, Double Stone Circle

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Tuesday 28 May -Meall Mor 819m L51

We progressed quickly up the track from the parking place then onto easy slopes of rough grass, blaeberry bushes and bog cotton. Luckily, there was no bog to go with the cotton today. We arrived at the obvious dip between Tullich Hill and the long escarpment of Creag Gharbh with relative ease. As readers will know we climbed Tullich Hill last Friday intending to continue on today's route, but my left Achilles pain foiled that plan. No such problem this time.

An ATV track led out of the dip and we then alternated between using the sheep trods by the edge and the broader grassy expanses. The views ahead were good, but the scene across Loch Tay and to Ben More etc were incomparably better. We did most of these hills in winter, a long, long time ago, when doing the Munros, and haven't been on some of them in summer. So, Lynne suggested revisiting if we're back here in the next few weeks. They would feel like new hills I expect. Cruach Ardrain, Beinn Tullaichean, An Caisteal, Beinn a' Chroin, Beinn Chabhair to name a few. What a great idea.

The fine 819m top of Meall Mor was a tad too windy a place to halt for a much needed bite to eat so we said our goodbyes and retraced our steps, more or less. The Corbett Top, Meall nan Oighread was tantalisingly close, but we passed by. A reason to come back.

A kilometre or so from the car a ewe and her lamb got separated as we approached, the lamb squeezing under a gate, and we spent some time playing collie and shepherd trying to get it to go back through the gate, which I held open. All to no avail. I hope they were reunited.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Sunday 26 May - an encounter

Another very wet day so coffee and cake at The Paper Boat sounded like a good option. But first, we walked to the Crannog Centre in the hope that they had a book or two on standing stones and related matters. Yes, but not any that interested us.

As we returned to Kenmore along the stony beach, a swimmer, whom we'd noticed well out in the loch earlier in the morning, was emerging from the water. We engaged her in conversation making the obvious comments about it being cold etc (like the TV and radio reporters I criticise for asking the most stupid questions) and eventually she modestly told us that she was the first person to to swim 27 miles across the North Minch from the Western Isles to the Scottish mainland, taking under 19 hours. She only wore a swimsuit, hat and goggles in accordance with the rules of the British Long Distance Swimming Association and was stung many times by Lion Mane's jellyfish. Her many other achievements are online but she didn't mention them - like swimming the Pentland Firth when she was nineteen for example.

Modest and delightful. Unusual these days where celebrity rules i.e. "those known for being well-known".

The Paper Boat did not have any of their warmed banana loaf served with a pat of butter, but their coffee and walnut cake was not a poor substitute. Excellent.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Saturday 25 May - a visit to two stones

On this, possibly the wettest day of the holiday so far, Lynne suggested another visit to the stone circle by taking the track from Remony, just before Acharn.

At Balmacnaughton swifts were tearing through the air feasting no doubt on the abundant insects around the house and trees beyond. Always a wonderful spectacle.

A group of walkers approached from the other direction, the first of them greeting me with a 'Bonjour'. I replied likewise, hoping that he didn't continue the conversation in French. Probably not much danger given my pronunciation.

From the bridge over the Remony Burn, the Allt Mhucaidh, the track goes uphill to the stone circle which sits on a small grassy mound at 378m, its position giving magnificent views of Loch Tay, Ben Lawers and Schiehallion. Of the original nine, there are six stones remaining of which four are still standing and two lying down, with the remaining three thought to lie among the remains of a dyke built straight through the circle perhaps a hundred years ago. The rain stopped for us thankfully.

There's a circuit to be made from this point on good tracks, and 697m Creag an Sgliata can easily be included. We will no doubt get round to that sometime, but today we were off in search of the Cup and Ring Marked Stone. We found it roughly half a kilometre east of Balmacnaughton
and took lots of photographs. Some clearer than others it must be said. 

"This cup and ring marked stone is recorded as Canmore ID 25010, an extract of which reads: " 'On the top of an outcropping rock are nineteen cups, two cups each with a single ring and two each with double rings. The cups vary from 40-75 cms in diameter x 6-12 cms deep while the rings are very faint." The Canmore record also contains a drawing of the motifs' Courtesy

Another enjoyable and interesting day finishing with a walk back in heavy rain.

Crannog on Loch Tay
Standing Stones near Acharn

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