Hadnt been planning a walk this weekend but Stephen was going and asked me along, so, not one to miss out on an opperchancity of a day in the hills,,packed up me old kit bag and prepared to head for Perthshire.
The weather in Glasgow the previous evening was horrible,,driving rain until the early hours so wasnt sure if we would actually make it, several of the write ups say this a boggy climb at the best of times. But, dry start to the day and the threat of only showers through the day so headed off around 8:10am.
2 hr drive to our destination, stopping to check out a large cairn/memorial thing set just up off the road at the outer edge of the Ben Lawers Nature Reserve, no marking, plaque etc, so possibly just related to the park itself. When we crossed the river at Bridge of Balgie,,there was a warning of Red Squirrels for 11 miles , didnt go 11 yards before one jumped off the bridge into a nearby tree!
We parked up just before the trees, about half a mile before the Giorra dam, giving us a slightly longer walk in/warm up. Our original plan was to venture along the North shore of Loch an Daimh and ascend up over Meall nan Aighean before heading back North/East to Buidhe. For some reason, Stephen took a look at the distance and immediately and irreversibly, changed his mind and decided we should just head straight up to Buidhe. He was not for turning. (Suppose we did have some business in Aberfeldy later so time was an issue)
There was a brief smirry shower on the road to the dam, enough to have me pulling on the waterproof trousers but it was so shortlived that it wasnt really worth it so they were off again pretty soon afterwards.
By now the weather was clearing up, cloud getting higher and more and more blue sky. The ground here is pretty boggy,,lots of running water down the hillside but managed to stick to the clumps of grass to minimise the wetting of feet. You have no sight of your goal at this point as you come quite steeply up to Meall a'Phuill but once you get there, a cracking ridge opens out and the views here were amazing. We met up with a couple of returning walkers who had reported seeing right up past the Buachaille Etive Mor through Glencoe so I was looking forward to that. We moved quickly across the expansive ridge which arcs left then round to the right before a short dip and rise up to the top of Meall Buidhe, marked by a small cairn. (there are a couple of cairns along the ridgeline which would be very handy in winter conditions) A bit of low cloud was blowing in from the West at this point and brought another smirry shower,,enough for jackets but didnt warrant full waterproofs, sun was still shining.
We reached the top, and could certainly see where Glencoe was,,but it had its own cloud cover at this point, but I kept looking, waiting for the wind to lift it, just a bit,,only want a peek, plleeeeeaaaasssseee
We walked off the top and down into the Coire nan Cnamh, before climbing the short ascent to the top of Garbh Meall at 912mtrs. Views from here were great, Glencoe was showing its foothills in the distance, the Black Corries, Rannoch Moor, Loch Rannoch, and Schiehallion just at the angle where it loses the conical shape and you see more of the side on view like a huge humpback whale.
We had been taking our time and it was now about 1pm, so we decided to head back along the ridge and to continue on for a circular route back to the car. We passed back along the ridge, sun shining. Instead of dropping down off Meall a'Phuill to the South, we carried on round and down to the ground between Meall nan Each (North) and the Coire Beithe (South) Stopped for some more munchies and a coffee, just off the top so, no breeze, just lovely views across grouse lands and the surrounding hills. Perthshire isnt what you would call rugged but its certainly glorious, the Autumn colours starting to show and the sun picking out the browns and greens, lochs and lochans.
We were trying to pick up a marked landrover track to descend by but it wasn't visible on the ground so we just decided to head straight down. Navigating pretty boggy, undulating ground,,few twists of the ankles and muddly slips but what the heck,,homeward bound by now. Weather had been very kind to us and it was jackets off and a the sun screen that I left at home would have been pretty useful at this point. We kept slightly West of the Coire and got back to the road at the opposite end of the tree plantation from the car, so a pleasant 5 mins on the road back to our starting point.
Then on to Aberfeldy for coffee and a bun at the Watermill! A lovely ending to a fantastic hill day. Thanks Stephen .
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.