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Two and a bonus from Glen Dochart

PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:55 pm
by Driftwood
I had considered this against the Glen Lochay approach (which involves a river crossing, but is then usually less boggy). With good dry conditions, I decided to take my chances with Glen Dochart, especially since this offered the chance of adding a "bonus" Corbett if the walk went well.

The weather looked reasonable, with cloud above the tops and showers unlikely; it was warm down in the glens, but not too hot and the likelihood of a breeze further up. I made a very leisurely start from Killin, parking beside the A85 to set off at about 11 am.

The first part of the walk follows a track to Auchessan farm (and a few other houses), where there is some information about conservation and regeneration work, including the planting of native trees on the lower slopes behind the farm. There are two recommended routes up onto the hill and I followed the eastern option, heading along a track then alongside a burn before the path turned uphill.

This section was a little boggy, even in dry conditions, with well-trodden patches. These were fine at the time, but I can see how this could turn into a quagmire after a wet spell. I felt warm, with hazy sunshine and sheltered by the planted slopes to my left, but the burn and falls were splashing away so I persevered uphill.

After about a mile, the route passes the re-forested area and continues climbing gradually over open moorland. I crossed the burn easily a little below a small dam, where I took a break to survey the hills ahead.
Sgiath Chuil and Sgiath Chrom

Meall Glas and Beinn Cheathaich

Beinn nan Imirean

There were also views back to Ben More, though at this point its looming bulk blocked out some of the other hills across the glen. But snacks and snaps don't get you any further, so I persevered up the southwest of Sgiath Chuil, then followed the hints of a path around the last few metres to the top. Clouds gathered, shading my ascent though also darkening some of the views.

I decided to head along the north ridge to visit the top Meall a Churain, though there's very little to distinguish it. The ground drops much more steeply to the west, towards my next target, so I cautiously descended southwards, aiming to avoid some almost-crags. Fortunately my boots were finding good purchase in the rough grass over the slope, since it's steeper than I'd have wanted to descend in slippery conditions.

There's a flatter bealach, with its fair share of peat hags, to cross between the two Munros, low enough that it's called a pass:
Lairig a Churain

After the steep descent, this was easy going - but with several hundred metres to slog up on the far side. That started out well enough, though I soon paused in curiosity at what looked like a strawberry plant with rougher leaves; I've since identified it more accurately.
Flowering Cloudberry

I tended to the my right, so reached the north ridge of Beinn Cheathaich to avoid some rockier outcrops below the top. Though only a Munro top, this is distinguished by its own trig point, and what hill walker can resist one of those?
Sgiath Chuil from Beinn Cheathaich

From here, a path leads around the flank of another gentle lump, then across to the slightly steeper last stretch up Meall Glas, with Beinn Challuim showing beyond.
Path to Meall Glas

Beinn Challuim from Meall Glas

This was just after 3pm, so I decided to add the Corbett Beinn nan Imirean rather than descend directly. This is only a mile or so distant as the raven glides, but I needed to start by heading south and slightly east onto Meall Glas Beag in order to avoid some crags on its parent hill. From there, the bealach was easily reached, but proved a lumpy slog over peat hags and around some tiny lochans. I imagine this could be an ordeal in the wet, since it felt slow enough going in fine weather.
The crossing

What with this and the slopes beyond, it was the best part of an hour before I reached the cluster of rocks topping Beinn nan Imirean. The clouds were looming by now; they held back from a shower, but hung overhead for much of the descent across Meall Garbh.
View back over the walk

Eventually rejoining the farm track, the clouds had passed and the air was humid and warm again as the afternoon and walk came to an end.
The map is, as usual, a mixture of guesswork and (hazy) memory:

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Re: Two and a bonus from Glen Dochart

PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:37 pm
by Graeme D
Nice summer pics of what I have always considered "winter hills". :D