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Stuchd on an incredible landscape

Stuchd on an incredible landscape


Postby Sabbathstevie » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:04 pm

Route description: Stuchd an Lochain

Munros included on this walk: Stuchd an Lochain

Date walked: 02/06/2013

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 8.5 km

Ascent: 726m

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Last year, I’d enjoyed a couple of my most memorable days hillwalking atop Mayar and Mount Keen with my dad, who’d been intrigued by my new found love of Scotland’s high places. We hadn’t yet got out in 2013 owing to the late winter but now that the sun was finally emerging from hibernation, a weekend visit to my parents made for the perfect opportunity for the pair of us to get back out into the mountains. As an added bonus, my uncle Ian was also keen to join us, having had his curiosity piqued by some of the enthusiastic recollections of our previous outings.

The choice of hill was proving problematic – my dad has long been suffering from a foot injury which makes prolonged routes quite uncomfortable, ruling out multi-top routes and leaving me with the challenge of finding something a little shorter but that worked with what the weatherman was predicting. The forecast was looking better in the East but having already seen some of Angus’s best, I was keen to get a little further into Perthshire’s western fringes, with Glen Lyon looking like providing the quietest walking of a weekend, away from the likely busier slopes of the mighty Lawers range. :wink:

We finally settled on Stuchd An Lochain – a hill which promised much in the way stunning views based on its position on the map. My only outstanding concern was the weather – my usually reliable Met Office app was predicting very poor visibility and the kind of thick haze that would rob this hill of its finest asset – the vistas. Despite preparing an alternative excursion around Ben Tirran and the Clova corrie lochs, we decided to stick to our original plan with the four of us (her fans will be pleased to hear that Maggie the mad mountain Jack Russell was joining us for her 11th munro!) setting off from a suspiciously sunny Coupar Angus just after 08:00.

Even more suspiciously, the sun stayed with us as we made the drive deeper into Perthshire and finally along the beautiful but long and winding single track road into the uppermost reaches of Glen Lyon – and I had thought Glen Esk was long! We pulled up into the small car park at the Dam a little after 10, and were delighted to spot only two other cars. A note to anyone wanting to get to this car park – don’t be put off by the closed gate over the tiny road to the Giorra dam; the driver of the Google street view car clearly was! The sun was starting to beat down through the patchwork of fluffy cloud with a little more strength as we started along the track, but hadn’t yet impetus to fight off the slight chill in the wind, but that was soon to be welcomed as the steepness of the northern flank of the Stuchd became apparent on the south side of the dam.

Glen Lyon view.JPG
back to Glen Lyon


The recent dry spell meant that what would probably normally be a boggy ascent was surprisingly dry, though the “path” is quite eroded and rocky in places and, with such a steep gradient, we found often it easier to climb the struggling grass either side. Progress was slow and steady but then, this wasn’t about racing up the hill just to run down again and tackle Meall Buidhe (which frankly didn’t look particularly exciting from this side – though I’m sure I’ll be tempted to come back for it someday!) on the opposite side – we only ever had the Stuchd as our target and were content to enjoy everything about the day at an easier pace. As the WH route guide notes, the views back down Glen Lyon and over to the massive bulk of Ben Lawers (with the steep scramble up An Stuc looking particularly exciting from this angle) improve with every step, but especially so once the broad ridge and fenceposts on Coire Ban are reached.

Glen Lyon.JPG
Glen Lyon & the Lawers Ridge


The welcome easier section at the head of Coire An Duich afforded some excellent views across to the broad peak of Meall Ghaordiadh and its craggy extensions. Other, far more spectacular views of distant peaks were also becoming available thanks to the incredibly clear air – an epic fail on the part of the Met Office. For the moment however, all eyes were drawn to the steep sided bowl of Coire An Lochain and the almost circular, incredibly dark lochan nan cat that nestled at its base, the summit rising in fine cone of rock and grass above.

Looking West.JPG
Looking to the West


Meall Ghaordaidh.JPG
Meall Ghaordaidh


Stuchd An Lochain Corrie.JPG
The Corrie


Stuchd Ridge.JPG
Stuchd Ridge


Final Ascent.JPG
The final climb


Back along Ridge.JPG
Back along the ridge


The sun was now becoming incredibly warm, necessitating a hydration stop/chance to savour the view (delete as appropriate) as we made the last 60m or so before arriving on the surprisingly wide summit. The chill wind which had battered us on the wander round the corrie was now completely absent as we hit the top in glorious sunshine. The closer attractions Loch Lyon and the southern end of Loch An Daimh both looked good from the top, however the views from here of other mountains far and wide were among the finest I’ve ever witnessed – on no other hill have I at once been able to survey a wider selection of Scotland’s most celebrated peaks. :clap:

Maggie at Summit.JPG
Maggie the mountain Jack


Loch An Daimh.JPG
Loch An Daimh


The south was dominated by the towering duo of Ben More and Stob Binnein, with the other Crianlarich and further Loch Lomond hills appearing alongside. I couldn’t quite see or distinguish Ben Lui, but Ben Challum looked much more interesting from this side than it did from the south when I visited a snowier iteration back at Easter. Immediately west, an unfamiliar aspect of the Bridge of Orchy munros presented itself, though sadly obscuring any views of the Black Mount – though there was something which looked incredibly conical and spiky in this direction but many, many miles west. North west, the panorama dramatically extended across the Rannoch moor with Creise and the iconic stab of Buachaille Etive Mor marking the beginning of Glencoe, before drawing your eyes slightly further north past the towering mamores to the dominating sight of the Ben and the other great mountains of the Nevis range. Following north east along the line of the Grey Corries and the other Loch Laggan area munros, I had my first view of the remote Ben Alder massif which loomed large on the horizon. Behind us to the east, the views were similarly outstanding. The fine ridge of Schiehallion could be seen peeping just beyond the peaks of the four west Glen Lyon Munros. To the left was the obvious and stunning bulk of the three Beinn A’ Ghlo hills and just to right of them, a glimpse of something snowier and higher in the far east – Lochnagar perhaps? Further still on the left, the view stretched up the great range of the Cairngorms, distant and massive, still appearing to bear much more snow than the hills closer to us. Truly, on a day as clear as this, these must be some of the most expansive views to be had anywhere in the highlands.

Ben More.JPG
Towards Ben More


Glencoe across Rannoch.JPG
Distant Glencoe across Rannoch Moor


Towards Might Ben Alder.JPG
Looking to Ben Alder group


With the exception of the tedious descent of the steep flanks back at the start of the walk, the remainder of the descent was straightforward and pleasant in the sunshine – a steady stream of other walkers were now making the journey in the opposite direction. Another blue flag gained, but the combination of the crystal like clarity of the views and the exceptionally good company, made this one of my best walks to date. :D
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Sabbathstevie
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Re: Stuchd on an incredible landscape

Postby ScottishLeaf » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:54 pm

Nice wee report of a hill I still have to do, enjoyed reading this.
Well done to your Auld Man for making it too!
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ScottishLeaf
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Re: Stuchd on an incredible landscape

Postby Sabbathstevie » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:34 pm

Thanks SL, turned out to be much better than I had expected but then isn't that always the case when the sun shines? :D
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Sabbathstevie
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Location: Edinburgh

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