Ben Chonzie from Glen Turret, Totesamazeballs!!!
by GillC » Wed May 08, 2013 8:32 pm
Munros included on this walk: Ben Chonzie
Date walked: 07/05/2013
Time taken: 7 hours
Distance: 17 km
Ascent: 1007m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Passing through Crieff, the sign off to the right for the Famous Grouse distillery is easy to spot. Not so easy is the next turn off. Just past the distillery, the narrow road takes a right hand bend, past some old farm outbuildings and up a small hill, passing a big house on the right. You reach a fork in the road at Hosh Farmhouse, which sits in the middle of the fork. Here, take the left hand road, 10mph limit signs clearly visible. This is a single track road with passing places and heads up to the Scottish Water workings and dam. Pretty bad condition, badly pot holed and muck covered, highland cows much in evidence. A few cattle grids and a gate to get out and open/close to proceed.
On reaching the dam, there's a smashing big car park with fantastic views of our entire route for the day. Suddenly, our outward route over the ridge to the west of the loch, on up to Chonzie with the drop down and round the east shore looked VERY long
2 gents with 2 dogs left the car park just before us but went off up the East shore of the Loch. We crossed over the dam wall to the west side and the views just kept opening up. Clearer to the North,
with a hazy outlook to the south, giving no clear views of Crieff at this point.
The track leads around the foot of an unnamed top and as you reach the end of the path, Ben Laith is up to your right, this actually looks like it could be an alternative route up, possibly taking away a bit of the steepness leading up through to the shoulder which leads up to Carn Chois. We opted to carry on up the boggy, wet route which had various worn tracks, possibly man made, more likely to be sheep paths or even water courses judging by the amount of squelching we were doing.
I'd invested in new leather boots yesterday,,my old faithfuls from Millets, some 18 yrs old or so and with plenty mileage, really are the comfiest but lost their waterproof 'ness' some time back, so I was monitoring my footfall, potential blister hot spots and of course dampness of socks. So far, so good.
The track gains height quickly here but its a real slog and as we were probably experiencing the hottest day of the year so far, we just panted and gasped our way up to the top fenceline. You reach a great big marker rock, ideal height for resting yer laurels, so would have been rude not to. Theres still a climb up to the top by following the fence posts, pretty soon though,,you reach the cairn at the top (786mtrs) and the conditions could not have been better. Amazing.
Worth noting, on the subject of fences. This whole walk, right to the start of our descent was plagued by old, rusty fence wire, appearing out of the ground, hard to see but easy to trip over and could give a serious injury,, be warned
From Chois, the route across to Meall na Seide was clearly visible. After a wee fuel stop for some fruit and nuts (not the chocolate variety) and some fluids, we headed off. Dropping down off Chrois, the ground soon becomes a mix of heather, bog, bog, heather,,then theres some heather and bog. Its a direct route, but due to the conditions, especially at the lowest point of the path, you have to either have long legs, a cast iron nerve or just a general disregard for sinking in the boggy holes.
We on the other hand,, mucked around and just each made our own way, through, over and round. This probably added a bit of time to our progress but with weather and views like this, who's hurrying.
The top of Meall na Seide at 757mtrs, is marked by a small flat pile of stones, not really a cairn. Being the central peak of the day, it gave fantastic views back down our route of ascent, on to our target and most of the return route by the Loch too.
We passed the 2 with 2 dogs who'd headed off in the opposite direction, so glad on looking back that we had already done the other 2 hills.
The hills around, including Chonzie, had patches of snow around, in full sun and with recent rains, it was a surprise to see. I think we only had to cross one of these patches all day, the rest were off the beaten path but the melt was adding to the water covered grasslands we crossed up to Ben Chonzie. On following the fenceline, we saw someone coming up from the direction of Glen Lednock and further on, a couple came up by an apparently different route. Their point of joining the shoulder was our cue to turn North East and on to the main drag up to the top of Chonzie. Around here, you see some well constructed cairns leading up the hill. These would be invaluable in poorer conditions/snow etc. Although they indicated the route, we could clearly see the top from this point. Its a constant climb up then, over rocky terrain, by no means steep and lots to see in all directions. Its a bit late for the arctic hares reportedly seen and so far the only wildlife was a grouse we scared (honest,,we didnt mean to) which flew up out of the undergrowth to our left and flew back from the direction we had come, squawking as it went.
Another note, at this time of year, ground nesting birds are in season, so worth avoiding the scrubby, heathery areas (apologies for our way down,,see later)
We reached the top of Ben Chonzie just after the couple coming up from Lednock. Asked them to take some pics, found out it was her first Munro (round of applause followed ) had a chat about their route, versus our route, the surrounding hills etc and were soon joined by the single chap, and his wee dog.
Although a lovely day, and not a particulary cold wind, as we cooled, need to get an extra layer or so on and cooried doon in the purpose built shelter on some strategically placed rocks for a spot of lunch.
We met the other couple again before heading off,,they had been off exploring the ridge and plateau. Worth noting here that the WH route indicates following the fenceline off, there are two clearly visible fences behind the shelter, at right angles to each other. Dont follow either of these, the one you want is just below the top of the hill, in front of the shelter and heads off to the North East, luckily, todays visibility helped here,,if thats poor though, do check your compass.
This route again takes you past some snow fields and down into Bealach na Gaoith.
There's a small top in front of you as you reach the Bealach, with a clear path up and a cairn at the top, this is Biorach a' Mheannain. Fancied adding this wee one to our day.
Following one of the many sheep tracks, we made our way back to the Bealach and straight off down the running stream towards Lochain Uaine. The initial part of the drop is rocky, gravelly, watery and straight down with some scrambling over rocks but it doesnt last long. There were some muddy marks way over to the left on the grassy slopes which may again have been footfall, sheep trails or water,, we chose again to just make our own way down as best we could, through heather, over bog, jumping streams or even just crossing where we could hear but not actually see water. I had no poles with me today and crossing this terrain, they would have come in very handy.
Reaching Uaine, theres a visible track now which leads down hill towards the eastern shore of Loch Turret. You get fantastic views back up at the craggy, open rock on Chonzies south face, some huge seams of quartz travelling some distance across the face. Hard to get pictures here as the sun was directly over the hill and made everything look very dark.
As you drop to the bottom of the burn nearer to where the loch starts, there are some heather covered mounds, described as moraines, drumlins, whatever, probably glacial deposits and they are very visible against the green grassy ground between them. Bit like Tellytubby land.
The track continues until you reach a fork in the path. From here, the higher route looks as though it marries up with the track you can see further down the route but,,it doesn't. This quickly ascends up between Ton Eich and Choinneachain Hill. Instead, take the low road down past the drumlins and quickly descend to the Loch. Although fairly high up above the water at this time, the track would still throw up some steep wee inclines and our wee tired legs were beginning to complain a little more loudly. My new boots were bedding in well,,still no problems other than the normal hot spot under my right big toe (think thats caused when I walk on a downward slope and in a clockwise direction )
On the way up the first peak, on the west side of the loch, I'd spotted a wee spur of land sticking out into the loch, with a beach, (honest) and had decided that on the way down,,this was my progress marker. So, with this in view, just kept plodding, crossing several fords where lovely clear water was rolling off the hills, across the road and down. (took a sip from one,,then realised there was a complete sheeps leg under the water about 3-4feet ahead of me (only consolation was it wasnt upstream, mind you ,,where were the other 3 and the body???) YUK!
The track drops down to almost the same level as the loch and by now,,we had passed the beach on the other side and the dam was well in view.
A gorgeous late afternoon, the haze had cleared from the views south and the sun was still high in the sky.
A lone walker passed us on the last few hundred yards, heading up the track and a canoeist appeared on the loch. There was a warm breeze blowing which, on the upper loch made tiny white breakers but in the shelter of the dam wall, the canoeist had a calm peaceful paddle. Looked cracking.
For both of us by now,,our legs were developing a mind of their own. Margaret had run out of water on the way down the loch and we shared the last of my squash for the remainder of the walk down. Margaret commented that within sight of the car, things just start to shut down, speech fragmenting and wobbly knees lol think chocolate was called for. The car park and surrounding area were still quite busy, mountain bikers etc. We got ourselves out of our boots and off down the single track road. The gate we had to open/close earlier, was open with a herd of highland cows and calfs on the southern side. Unfortunately, they were on the road, not beside it. A car coming up the hill was stuck, I was stuck too. Inching forward and hoping they would take the hint, didn't work. Had a calf up at the car window having a look. The car at the other side gave up and reversed, turned and headed off down the hill. Eventually (5 mins or so) the cattle moved far enough off the road to allow me to squeeze past, dont think wee Percy Puma (my car) would have taken much of a battering by those horns!
Chocolate?? nooooooo, parked up in Crieff, fish supper from a friendly wee place down the hill from James Square. Lovely evening, so ate this in the square before jumping back in the car and heading for home.
We had both put some sun cream on at the start of our walk, this didnt make a lot of difference, I have wonderful white stripes from my sunglasses and both sides of my neck are burned, nice and white in the middle with my head being down for so much of the climb, scalp burned also, Ouch! Margaret got an all over facial tan too, browning nicely lol (I just burn, develop freckles, peel then go back to white!)
Could not have been luckier with the conditions today, Margarets last minute suggestion of the circular route was inspired. Ive seen other reports of this in an anti clockwise direction, but by far, this has to be the better route, going clockwise. Utterly amazing day. This is what days off work are for.
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by scooby0511 » Wed May 08, 2013 10:29 pm
by dogplodder » Thu May 09, 2013 4:27 pm
by GillC » Thu May 09, 2013 4:44 pm
by Graeme D » Fri May 10, 2013 6:15 am
by The Rodmiester » Sat May 11, 2013 5:12 pm
by PeteR » Sat May 11, 2013 5:30 pm
I really enjoyed Chonzie when I did it, despite it supposedly being considered a boring hill.
by GillC » Tue May 14, 2013 5:45 pm
by Sarah86 » Wed May 15, 2013 8:17 pm
Oh and those new little cornettos are very nice
by GillC » Fri May 17, 2013 4:07 pm
by wilkiemurray » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:39 am
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