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Summers almost gone:Creag Mac Ranaich & Meall an t-Seallaidh

Summers almost gone:Creag Mac Ranaich & Meall an t-Seallaidh


Postby JWCW2014 » Wed Sep 06, 2023 11:38 pm

Route description: Creag Mac Ranaich and Meall an t-Seallaidh

Corbetts included on this walk: Creag Mac Ranaich, Meall an t-Seallaidh

Date walked: 02/09/2023

Time taken: 6.8 hours

Distance: 21.92 km

Ascent: 1105m

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I’d gone to bed later than planned (attempting to catch an errant mouse that had found its way into the house) and on waking, also later than planned, I wasn’t feeling full of energy and enthusiasm. I had half thought of doing Bidean from the Glen Etive side starting at Dalness but in the end something with a much shorter drive seemed much more appealing.

Parking up in Lochearnhead just after 8 it was certainly starting to feel….cold….and though not quite time for gloves, it was proof that seasons are definitely a’ changing. The light was taking on an orange early autumnal hue as I followed the road after the turn off from the A84 and started to rise up above Loch Earn.

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The path is luxuriously surfaced, being I think part of the national cycle network. After zig zagging up for some time, the temperature now moving into a milder and muggier territory,I turned left and onto the estate track. The walk here is again straightforward, through pleasant woodland. I noted an older sign with an EU funding logo - which reminded me of the much older and abandoned signs I found once half buried in a less frequented part of the Lammermuir hills - and spent some time musing on what the people of the future would make of all of our odd logo ridden detritus and how it fitted with whatever their historiographical assessment of our times was.

The path leads to an old railway bridge curving to the left and then over. It’s then an easy though long stroll up the estate track. Before long, despite the proximity to Lochearnhead, Glen Kendrum takes on a quiet and lonely mood. Other than sheep, the only other sound was the occasional threat from crows overhead.

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As the track climbed up towards my objectives I grew sweatier and sweatier, the distorted white oval, heavy behind mist and clag, threatening to burnt though. The views back to Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin were a welcome excuse for the occasional breather.

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Creag Mac Ranaich, slightly obscured by the remains of fog, appeared ahead, the winding estate track I was following visible below it as a tiny distant string slung over the heather and rock.

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The sun was now illuminating the soft edges of the cloud cover and the high hills nearby were turning to silhouette in against the increasing brightness.

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I wound my way up under the steep flanks of the hill to a sensible place to start the steeper ascent. Two guys on bikes passed me, mixing pushing with cycling. The cycle up must’ve been torture with a long uphill slog but the 6km walk out would have been a little more efficient with two wheels to freewheel down.

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The sun was now fully ablaze and the small crags of Cam Chreag contrasting with the brighter green grassy slopes.

I started the ascent and whilst there were hints of path on the way up, it was easier to pick a line and aim straight upwards. It is steep and pathless but there’s nothing difficult, other than on the legs.

At around 700m the incline levels a little, heading up and over the unnamed pt808 on the map. After a brief drop down and up again I reached the top and found a comfortable slab to perch on.

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With the sun having broken through views opened out in all directions, back to Ben More and Stob Binnein looking vast, and over to the Lawers hills and the Tarmachan Ridge.

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As I sat and ate and early lunch - a very average petrol station meal deal - I could see the track winding back down the glen. It looked a long way indeed, back to the turning before heading back down to Lochearnhead.

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Meall Nan Tarmachan and the ridge stood out on the horizon, fading in and out of view as small pockets of cloud passed by. After far too long a stop I followed my route back along the top and down the steep slope, heading further right on descent.

After a bit of knee grinding steepness I reached the track, crossed over and searched for something of a path. This was mostly lost in heather and with dry conditions underfoot a bit of heather bashing was simpler.

The WH route for these hills heads straight up a grassy incline behind Cam Chreag and from afar the less steep route climbing diagonally over a large boulderfield under the crags looked more interesting.

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Whilst the route under the crags was probably marginally more interesting, the vegetation that had grown round many of the boulders hides some fairly deep holes - walking poles to test footing recommended. After a little ungraceful clambering up large boulders and only scraping my shins once or twice I emerged on the side of the plateau.

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I caught up with the path and followed it along, now being slightly cooked despite the fresh breeze.

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I stopped at the unnamed Lochan just by pt794 realising I was quite dehydrated but not noticing with the cooling wind. I soon reached the top of Meall an t-Seallaidh and met two women and their dog. After a quick chat and me noticing the time I got moving fairly quickly.

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Heading fairly straight off the top, avoiding the small crags right by the summit, it’s a steep bit easy zig zag down grassy slopes. Bits of path come and go where others have walked but on a dry day progress can be made quickly heading straight down.

I looked at the map and was heading for the bend in the track that had been my outward route.

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The head of loch earn looked far away and as I descended it was warmer and warmer. After crossing undulating sections of benign heather and crossing the Allt Creag Mac Ranaich I was back on the track. On descent it was a motorway, an easy downhill gradient and good surface.

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The heat increased the further I went and passing large sections of bracken brought that medicinal smell of hot vegetation. Oh summer, better late than never.

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I made good progress, with Creag Mac Ranaich getting smaller and smaller as the path led further downhill. The loch Earn munros were disappearing behind smaller hills as the angle hid them from view.

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I reached the railway bridge and turned back along through trees and woodland, the shade now bringing some respite from the direct sun. On reaching the cycle track gaps in the trees gave views down to the boats on Loch Earn.

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Closer now to the A84 the anti-social roaring of motorbikes disturbed the previously stillness and soft whistle of wind - a short sweaty walk back to the car and I was back down the road for the relatively short drive. With the sun gleaming on the water of the loch, I didn’t really want to head for home.
User avatar
JWCW2014
Walker
 
Posts: 429
Munros:98   Corbetts:5
Fionas:1   Donalds:1+0
Sub 2000:12   
Islands:11
Joined: May 31, 2022

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