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Auchnafree Hill

Auchnafree Hill

Postby quagga64 » Wed Jan 19, 2022 5:43 pm

Route description: Auchnafree Hill from Loch Turret

Corbetts included on this walk: Auchnafree Hill

Date walked: 19/01/2022

Time taken: 5.47 hours

Distance: 20.14 km

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Left the house at 8 and drove the 50 miles to Loch Turret Reservoir going up the M9 then A9 before cutting off on the A822 through Braco and Muthill to Crieff, from here its up a minor road past the Glenturret Distillery then onto a single track road which is very potholed in places for the last 2 or 3 miles to a car park at Loch Turret Dam arriving here at 9 o'clock. The original dam was built in the early 1800,s and since then it has been rebuilt and enlarged several times with the current dam having been built in 1963, Loch Turret Reservoir is two and a half miles long and sits in an ice carved glacial trench, the dam holds back 18,000 megalitres of water which travels underground to a water treatment works a mile below the dam and from there it flows by gravity to areas of rural Perthshire, towns around Stirling and even as far as Grangemouth. Put my boots on and set off walking at 9:10, this would be my 31st Corbett and my first big hike of the year. Followed the Walkhighlands route up the Eastern side of the loch, after 2.8 miles just beyond the Northern tip of the loch the track turns sharp right and cuts back across the hillside curving round the Southern slopes of Auchnafree Hill. The whole walk is on excellent tracks apart from the final few hundred yards to the summit which is basically the high point of a large sprawling moorland. The weather was dry with blue skies for most of the day though it did cloud over from time to time and there was a light 10 minute snow shower as I neared the top. It was very windy at the summit and my hands were freezing trying to take a selfie with my gloves off, it had taken 2 hours. Visibility was excellent, Ben Chonzie was just across the other side of the reservoir and to the Northwest were Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas, to the West I could see Ben Vorlich with Ben More and Stob Binnein visible 24 miles away on the Western horizon, also the Lomond Hills 27 miles away in Fife on the Southern horizon. Sat in a grouse butt just off the summit and had something to eat before descending back down to the track and continuing on Southwards up and over Ton Eich before dipping down again then up onto Choinneachain Hill where there is a large prominent well built cairn on the Western edge of the plateau, a few hundred yards to the East of this beside the Blue Craigs at the head of Corrie Barvick was a much more interesting cairn called King Kenneths Cairn, a huge tumbledown ancient cairn 59 feet in diameter and though now only standing a few feet high would once have been much higher, it was built to commemorate King Kenneth III who ruled Scotland from 997 to 1005 when he was killed along with his son Giric in the battle of Monzievaird near to where Glenturret Distillery now stands, while fighting against the forces of his cousin Malcolm in a battle for the crown, after his victory Malcolm went on to rule Scotland as King Malcolm II from 1005 to 1034. Hardly surprising then that the cairn is in such a state considering it is over a thousand years old ! I also noticed what looked like a small burial kist next to the cairn. Climbed on top of the cairn and posed for a photo on this great piece of Scotlands ancient history 🙂. Scattered a few pieces of my sandwich here as there was a red kite which had been flying overhead hunting all the while I had been crossing the plateau and I hoped it would spot them and drop down for a feed after I,d left. From King Kenneths Cairn I rejoined the main track and continued in a Southerly direction gradually descending then curving round the end of the range of hills and back up to the dam arriving back at the car at 2:55, so a walk time of 5 hours 45 minutes and a distance of 12.52 miles. Drove home the same way and was home for 4:15 just before it started to get dark.
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Joined: May 15, 2011

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