Travel and Coronavirus
Please check current coronavirus restrictions before travelling within or to Scotland.
Click for details
Meall Na Fearna - A failed attempt to walk Ben Vorlich
by Bustanut91 » Sat Oct 10, 2015 4:40 pm
Route description: Meall na Fearna, from Loch Earn
Corbetts included on this walk: Meall na Fearna
Date walked: 26/09/2015
Time taken: 3 hours
Distance: 12.25 km
Ascent: 809m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Joe, who was driving had his sat nav and he entered the post code and we were away. An hour or so later we were nearing our destination and starting to rely on the sat nav to finalise our starting location.
As we drove into increasingly isolated roads which were covered in pheasants and dotted with other wild life like stags we started to question our driver’s navigation. Turned out he had just stuck "Ben Vorlich" into the sat nav and the thing was trying to put us as close to the peak as an actual road would allow us.
Back to the main roads and we eventually found the shoreline of the loch. There were virtually no sign posts anywhere and when we eventually stopped to ask, we had luckily stopped next to a father sun combo who were doing the same thing and we just parked up behind them while they set off.
Once we were ready we set off behind the two guys and followed their general direction, as I said it was very poorly sign posted. 500 yards later the guys were running towards us saying they had gone the wrong way and it was through the gateway with the urn like features on top. (Something I had suspected was the initial way) This was still on the loch shore by the way! We hadn't even started yet and it was from this point we should have learned to not trust the guys in front.
So onto the start of the course and it involves walking through a bit of farmland, gates to keep the animals in and a few you had to climb, easy enough but they were all 8 feet high. The incline at this point is only slight and there is a path which is easy to follow, as you walk through (or over) the gates the cows in the field stare blankly, unaware they will be a hamburger soon.
As the path gets slightly steeper you come to a forked part, now due to our poor investigation and lack of research (we were all reasonably busy and seemed to have left it to each other) we were none the wiser as to which was the correct way. Our luck was in though as the afore mention gentlemen were returning from the right hand side of the fork saying they had once again went the wrong way. How fortunate we were to have these beacons guiding our every step, we would have surely taken the wrong path if it were not for this Homer and Bart Simpson type combo.
We continued to twag onwards being overtaken again by the father son team, they were eager beavers! we were walking along the path with the Ardvorlich burn to our side, Rivers and streams coming from the hills always intrigue me, so I was enjoy the chat with my mates and the lovely surroundings. While talking to Joe and Reg, Joe mentioned the path we were on and how it was a great wee path when suddenly... BOOM! No more paths! It was fields of heather with a vehicle like track in them, it was also getting steeper.
Traipsing through the heathery path was steady enough, still with the guys with all their walking gear, newly purchased from the local outdoor type shop, in front of us; they seemed to fluctuate from about 100ft to about 150 yards in front of us.
As the hill got steeper we seemed to be veering to the left while the highest peak was clearly on the right. I suppose in the back of my mind I must have been thinking we were heading the wrong way but it was now getting difficult to concentrate on anything but where you were stepping as there was no longer a path, the hill was rather steep and there was sheep dropping around.
Higgy started to fall back a bit, Reg was pulling away in front Joe and I were in the middle relatively close to one another. The hill was now a soggy bog. Squelching as you stepped it seemed as though the water that created the streams and burns around was slowly trickling down the hill in all directions (or at least where we were walking) and with this added to the previously mention conditions it just seemed like the heather was trying to pull your feet down any time you lifted them.
We powered on though and as we got about 70 yards from the top of this hill, with the other bigger hill still on the right looming over us, we noticed to the right of this peak, the father son team had started to descend in a different direction and were waiving at us. Joe started waiving back thinking they wanted some sort of congratulations for their achievement! It was only then we heard them shout, I can’t even mind who was responding or what the exact words were, but it went a little like this....
"It's over there" (points)
"This is the wrong one, it's that one!" (Points to the one I suspect we all knew it was but at halfway yer not gonna mention it)
"That's Ben Vorlich?!?"
"Yes, we are goin down then climbing up that bit." (Points to a nearly vertical cliff face).
At this moment we just looked at each other and the looks on our faces all said the same thing, "F*** that!"
"Ach we'll just do this one for today"
At the top we stopped for our pieces and whatever else we brought, a mini picnic was had and we rested for a while. The view was amazing. We were pretty high up (809m it turned out) and there were no clouds about. Chats were had and photos were taken so we started our trek down.
We opted to go as the crow flies to where the last part of the path was making a beeline straight for it. It was simple enough, being a bit boggy and wet made parts of it slippy. The heather was also thicker on these parts so it was a bit of a pain. It took us no time at all to get back on the path, checking out the burn and the small dam on a part of it and before we knew it we were back at the motor!
There was no signal for any of us up there so we couldn't use our phones to check locations or routes and as I said, it was poor preparation on our part anyway. We did have a great day and climbed a hill only 200 meters or so shy of the one we aimed for. Turns out it was "Meall na Fearna". It was good to twag up there and feel like we were "off road" as there wasn't really a path. It was a good day, we made good time and had a good laugh. We have saved Ben Vorlich for another day.
Although why we followed the chuckle brothers I don't know!
by tanner1 » Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:41 pm
Mountain rescue are going to love you one day.
by Graeme D » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:29 pm
by Mal Grey » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:55 pm
Assuming this whole report isn't a wind up....learn how to map read and navigate or you'll end up in trouble sooner rather than later.
by Bustanut91 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:18 am
by Bustanut91 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:19 am
Mountain rescue are going to love you one day.
Hiya Homer! Hiya pal!
by Sunset tripper » Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:02 am
- Posts: 2151
- Joined: Nov 3, 2013
- Location: Inverness
by kevsbald » Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:33 am
The lunatics are on the grass.....
by basscadet » Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:25 pm
I would keep your navigation techniques for fine sunny days, with good visibility though