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Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:50 am
by fingeez
With the MWIS predicting some pretty good weather, which was just too good to resist for the weekend, the plan was set into motion and a good look over route choices, Sgiath Chuil and Meall Glas were decided upon.

Maybe if I had read a few reports like the one from Stretch, I would have reconsidered my choice, considering the bog trotting that most people seem to experience doing this circuit. All I can say is I’m very glad I didn’t read those reports and change my mind, as my walk turned into one of my favourite to date.

So up at 6.30 in the am lol and got myself ready to leave. First stop was good old McDonalds for a sausage and egg mcmuffin and cappuccino to get me going. Then I was off up the Crieff road and made my way quickly through Crieff, Comrie and Lochearnhead. I had a little trouble finding the turn off for Auchessan, mainly as its not signposted, there’s loads of little turnoffs on the road and my rubbish phone GPS has trouble finding a signal anywhere. I eventually spotted a little campervan parked in what looked like a lay-by I investigated and found a sign saying hill path to Sgiath Chuil and Meall Glas a short ways down the turnoff. So parked up hard on the left as the route suggests and I was ready to go by 9.15am.

On the drive I had been keeping my eyes on the sky and was getting a little dismayed at all the low lying grey cloud I was seeing. Anyway I made my way down the path past the farmhouses and chose to go anti clockwise as the route suggests warming the legs up nicely. The path goes through a field and then heads off the track where a small bridge turns right and follows the Allt Riobain and a fence on the left. This path is fairly easy going and introduces the slope nicely and has some nice scenery with many small waterfalls along the way.

The way back

As the route says the path pretty much disappears as you reach the end of the plantation to the left so I decided to make my own route and followed the burn northwards, reaffirming to myself that I enjoy the rough pathless terrain over well worn paths by leaps and bounds. I reached the sleeper bridge and could see a rough path leading to it from the south that I must have missed, it looked fairly wet, muddy and boggy so I was glad I missed it. From here it was only a short distance to the dam where I crossed the Allt Riobain and made my way up onto the land rover track and stopped to take my jacket off.

I took a few minutes here to check my map and compass for a bearing towards the summit. The low lying cloud was still around and I couldn’t even see the mountain ahead. It was at this point I started getting nagging doubts at why I really came out to climb the hills, it was maybe my frustration coming through at getting my hopes really up for clear blue skies or the nuisance I was having with my right boot. I must have retied the boot about 4 times by now and no matter what I did it was only comfy for about 15 minutes at a time and felt like it was really putting pressure on my instep. My left boot I only tied once all day and was like a slipper, it may have been I strained the tendon on my 26km forest walk with Paul and Mband in Aviemore a few weeks back, which I done in my Scarpa SLM3’s and they definitely are not suited to flat level walking. I think in total I retied the right boot about 10-15 times throughout the walk.

Gloomy mountain ahead

Gloomy still

After checking my bearing and adjusting my boot I thought I’m here anyway so may as well make the most of it and carried onwards. Back on pathless moor land I started making decent progress whilst keeping my eye on the clouds. It was during this section I got distracted by the wildlife I was noticing, fresh frogspawn, butterflies and birds soaring and singing all around me, so when I looked up at Sgiath Chuil to see blue sky above with waves of clouds rolling over the side of the mountain, my eyes almost popped out of my head and my smile nigh on engulfed the world. My enthusiasm returned en masse and I realised why I was here, specifically for moments like this, the sights, sounds and atmosphere were astounding and I basked in it all. Little did I know the best was yet to come.

Looking back to the sleeper bridge

Starting to look better

WOW the clouds are like water rolling over a pebble

So spirits soaring I was off once again heading direct for the summit, the slope looked steep but was easy enough going and I made quick progress upwards. About 3 quarters of the way up I stopped to take a few pictures, I turned around and stood slack jawed at the view, the cloud was still fairly thick back the way I’d come but I was getting fleeting glimpses of a sea of low lying cloud with Ben More to the South sticking majestically up out of it, could it be, was I going to witness the grandeur of the cloud inversion?!

The valley below

Could it be?!!!!

Things are looking good :)

Last section is still looking cloudy

Not far to the summit I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much, but practically sprinted the last 100 metres or so to the top. I reached the rocky summit at around 11.15am and quickly stood atop it next to the cairn trying to take in the view around me. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, off to the east the cloud was still fairly high and occasionally floating past to obscure the view for a few seconds. To the north , west and south though the cloud was far below like a sea of cotton wool, with only the tallest peaks around reaching to touch the sky. Even if I never see a sight like that again, I think I will be happy as it will be a memory that will live with me forever.

Sgiath Chuil summit and Ben More

Do I have to leave?!!

After spending around 20 minutes here I had to tear myself away as I still had a long way to go. It was here that I seen the first of other walkers out and about. A quick nod and hello as we passed by was all that was had. I headed a short ways north, then headed north west down the very steep slope. I reached the bealach some 300 metres lower down in short order and was pleasantly surprised at how dry the ground was, as it looked like a marsh from on high. I made quick progress across and up to the ridge leading up to Beinn Cheathaich and seen my first patch of snow of the day, which was easily avoided.

Looking back to Sgiath Chuil

The skies had cleared as I descended from Sgiath Chuil and the sun was beating down on me for a time earning me my first red nose of the year. Just shortly before reaching the summit of Meall Glas the cloud came back and a spot of mild wind whipped in, it was still plenty warm for just a t shirt while walking though and I only popped my jacket back on once stopped at the summit for lunch.

I was a little disappointed to not get any views from the summit, but given the view I had atop Sgiath Chuil I thought it more than a fair compromise.

Meall Glas summit in cloud

Not wanting this to take as long as the walk took to read I’ll keep the rest brief. I left the summit and never found the faint boggy path that leads across the moor back to the farm. So settled myself more than happily to wandering across the moor blazing my own trail, loving every minute. I also missed the stile over the fence and used the vehicle gate instead and had to cross the burn further down the field, which was no trouble at all. Back along the track all the way to the farm and the car, stopping for 5 minutes on the bridge to watch the white water and contemplate what I can only describe as a fine walk I’d recommend to anyone and would happily come back to do again.

Warefall on way back down

I was back at the car around 4pm, taking me around 7 hours for the walk altogether. Got myself changed into fresh clothes and made my way back to Perth in glorious sunshine.

Had myself an absolute blast on this walk and looking forward to some great days ahead out on the hills. Bring on my holiday from work at the end of the month and some camping trips planned.

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:47 pm
by fingeez
Link to a video as i cant get it to work on here lol

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:59 pm
by gammy leg walker
Cracking report there fingeez,still got these two on my to do list and when I read the report by stretch it sort of put me off,but reading yours I now am more happy too get them done sometime this year

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:59 pm
by Stretch
Oh man I'm having flashbacks to my wretched day on these two :lol: I think had I had McDonalds to start my day Ross I would have found these more enjoyable! Glad you got that inversion and had a good day out!

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:13 pm
by fingeez
Cheers gammy :)
I think stretch's report would have put me off aswell

ahhh that must have been where you erred then Stretch, the mcds in the morning makes the difference haha :)

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:20 pm
by rockhopper
Nice report Ross - it's a great walk for getting views back to Ben More. :D

Recollect I went a similar route and. like you, didn't really find it all that boggy either.......despite not having had a McDs for breakfast. :lol:

Looks like you had plenty of could've added Beinn nan Imirean on at the end....... 8) :lol:

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:14 pm
by fingeez
Hey Rockhopper

didnt have the nice views on the way up but coming back, Ben More was cracking looking :)

haha you must have had yer porridge then :)

ahh yeah i never done my research proper before going out so never noticed a nice wee corbett was that close by, ahh well gives me an excuse to come back and do it all again :lol:

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:43 pm
by ChrisW
fantastic report, really get a feel for the emotion of the day - great inversion - great pics.... really looked a great walk overall :D

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:28 pm
by Graeme D
Great stuff Ross. Isn't it fantastic when it all comes good like that after a less than promising start? 8) And I reckon you're trying to outdo Kev when it comes to wacky TR titles! :lol:

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:13 pm
by smirnie71
Fingeez, what a wonderful report! Your description of the weather causing disappointment turning to elation strikes a cord together with your fabulous description of the views... well done you! Oh and the fab photos helpd too! More of the same please! :lol: :D 8)

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:29 pm
by fingeez
Hey Chris cheers for the comment :)

haha yeah definately is good when it all comes together :) gets me begging for more of the same.
lol i do try :) got bored of just using the names of the hills :lol:

Hey Smirnie71 Cheers for the comment, i'll try my best, cant make any promises with the pics though :)

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:51 pm
by kinley
Inversions eh?

Tis a great feeling when the blue sky starts to open above you isn't it.

Looks a great walk 8)

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:09 pm
by monty
Great report Ross,
Inversion eh, you lucky man. Shame about the clag but nice waterfall. Good walk too. :D Are you following the big man :lol:

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:01 pm
by morag1
It was the catchy title that caught my eye but I'm glad I read this report, sounds like a great day out that will stay with you for a long time :D

Really love the photo of the waterfall :thumbup:

I'd love to enter heaven one day but I fear I am headed in the other direction !!

Re: Application accepted, you may enter heaven!!

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:43 pm
by mband
Great to hear your day turned out to be so special. I hope your tendon sorts itself out ok. :)