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Creag Uchdag from the Lednock Dam - a game of 3 halves

Creag Uchdag from the Lednock Dam - a game of 3 halves

Postby Graeme D » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:18 pm

Route description: Creag Uchdag from Glen Lednock

Corbetts included on this walk: Creag Uchdag

Date walked: 16/07/2010

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 9 km

Ascent: 540m

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We were looking after a friends dog for a week while she was on holiday in Switzerland. You may recall Rosie the Boxer from a previous report on Auchnafree Hill back in February. To say she's a bit unhinged is like saying that Pol Pot was quite a bad man :lol: . She has a history of volatile aggressive behaviour, especially towards men she doesn't know who are walking towards her. In other words, certainly not the sort of dog you want to be accompanying you on the so called "honey pot routes" - Lochnagar on the Summer Solstice, The Cobbler during the Glasgow Fair (or any time for that matter), Nevis on a Bank Holiday Monday - all BIG NO-NOS with Rosie in tow. :?

Lucy and I picked her up at 9.30am from a friend of the friend who had been looking after her for the first couple of weeks and decided to head straight for the hills. I had identified the Corbett Creag Uchdag as a suitable target, being pretty sure that I'd have the hill to myself today.

We headed once again out of Perth along the A85 towards Crieff and Comrie - I'm sure if I just took my feet off the pedals and my hands off the wheel, the old Astra could manage this road on auto pilot! The weather again looked unsettled at best, with prolonged sunny spells but the distinct hint of menace lurking in the clouds. I'd been lucky yesterday on Ben Gulabin when the rain had more or less stayed away although it had been a largely dull and uninspring day as far as the weather was concerned. Today looked more promising, but between Crieff and Comrie we were hit by an almighty downpour that had the wipers going full speed to cope. :(

Fortunately the downpour proved short-lived and by the time we reached the end of the minor road at the Lednock Dam, the sun was out again and things looked promising once more. I was travelling light again with a small pack - bottle of water, pack of sandwiches, chunky Kit-Kat bar, some dog biscuits, map and compass, first aid kit and waterproofs. In fact, nearly all of the bulk in the pack was in the assortment of waterproofs of varying levels of bulletproofness. Despite the weather looking like it was shaping up, I'd seen too much in the way of torrential downpours over the last few days to be taking any chances.

I was parked by the corner of the dam wall and walking by 10.30 on the dot. The first few river crossings showed that there was quite a bit of water coming down off the hills, although as with Loch Lyon a couple of weeks ago, the water level of the reservoir was still very low.

Loch Lednock from the corner of the dam

Lots of water coming off the hills but still low levels in the loch

Where the track turned right up the hill at 727294, I decided to stay low and stick close to the shore for the walk in, possibly coming back out the high way. Alternatively, there was also the option of doing a full circuit of the loch. Just after leaving the track, there is a series of back-to-back enclosures, clearly for keeping sheep in but they are empty and don't look like they've been much in use recently.

Fenced enclosures


The dam from beyond the enclosures

Beyond these, a narrow, undulating and eroded footpath snakes through the ferns a short distance above the loch. In places, it is quite overgrown, and with one or two sheep kicking about, I've got Rosie on the lead and her antics aren't doing much for my balance in the tricky, eroded downhill sections.

Footpath through the ferns

After a couple of hundred yards there is a clearing in the ferns to my left, giving a clear route down to the shore. I head down there and continue on the bouldery, exposed shoreline of the loch. There are no sheep down here and I can let the two dogs can run about without any worries about legal action. Typically, Lucy spends more time out in the loch than actually walking on dry land, although Rosie is clearly not such a fan of the water, refusing to do any more than splashing at the very edge.

Better going on the exposed shoreline

Lucy is hardcore, Rosie is a big girl

Rosie and myself - guess where Lucy is!

This is an excellent part of the walk, with the sun out and me in shorts and short sleeves, and a decent breeze stirring the surface of the loch and causing the waves to lap against the shore. It would probably be an excellent way to spend a couple of hours just to do a circuit of the loch like this without even doing any ascent.

As we near the far end of the loch, Lucy gets the nose down and heads off at pace, refusing to obey my calls to come back. I recognise this sign - there is undoubtedly a dead and decomposing beast of some description up ahead. I swear that dog can sniff out carrion from miles away! Fortunately, my sense of smell is not quite so developed - either that or as it looks like it was quite a recent drowning, the beast has not yet reached an advanced stage of decomposition. It's still quite disturbing though when Lucy tries to have a cheeky little gnaw on one of the hind legs! :shock:

Shake a leg sheep!

We soon reach the end of the loch and the circular stone enclosure to which Canisp referred in his 2008 report on this hill. I stop for a swig of water and to do a quick check on the map. I take a bearing for the summit which confirms that it's just a case of taking a straight line more or less over the middle of the craggy escarpment up ahead.

Circular stone enclosure near the far end of the loch

The girls contemplate the crags

The trek up to the crags it quite hard going, with patches of thick ferns and heather, a few boggy areas and a couple of fairly steep little ravines to cross. Once onto the crags, the going is not any easier. It had looked like there were various obvious routes up, but at closer inspection, these are somewhat less obvious. A number of streams are cascading down the face of the escarpment and the rocks are quite slippery and mossy. At one point as I am pulling myself up a steep rocky section, I slip back and end up scraping the inside of my right index finger, which needs an elastoplast to stem the bleeding and save my shorts from further staining.

View of the loch from just below the crags

Eventually we reach the top of the crags and emerge onto a bumpy, peat hag littered high moorland. We are also now into a swirling mist and light drizzle - quite a contrast to conditions down by the loch an hour or so earlier - so I put on my light waterproof trousers and pullover waterproof top. These are soon off ....then back on .....then off again.... and finally back on as we emerge onto what looks like the ridge that leads to the summit.

Once more into the clag....

By now it's really closed in and I've kind of taken my eye of the bearing a little. I suspect I'm on the ridge of the hill but am not sure which direction the actual summit trig point is in. I have a quick look at the map again but with zero visibility to the loch below, I have no real point of reference. I decide to head to the right but after a short while I change my mind. This just doesn't feel right somehow, so I retrace my steps. Initially this does not look too promising either, but then I catch a glimpse of the end of the loch and the pipeline way below to my left, and looking at the map, this is enough for me to work out that the summit is up ahead and off to my right.

I drop into a little dip and as I begin to climb out of it, the shape of what looks like a summit cone begins to loom out of the clag ahead. About ten minutes of steep climb up grassy slopes on a narrow sheep path leads to the summit trig point with zero views in any direction. I consider sitting on the trig point to eat my sandwiches and maybe as I do so, things will clear up, but the wind is quite fierce up here and I much prefer the idea of dropping down a little to try and find some shelter before breaking lunch out.

Two halfwits and a trig point

No place for lunch!

Rosie and myself posing at the summit - Lucy trying to hide

I wait for about 10 minutes but there is little sign of the clag lifting much, so after a few pictures of the trig point but not much else, I take a bearing on the top of the track by the Allt Mor above the far end of the loch and begin to drop down onto the grassy flanks of Meall Dubh Mor.

As good as it's going to get?

The wind drops almost immediately and after about 10 minutes or so the mist clears to reveal views down to the loch below. I turn to look back to the summit, which isn't yet clear of cloud but looks like it is clearing, and true enough, a few minutes later it looks like it might have cleared up there. Oh well, too late - I'm not going back up now. I find a large boulder in a sheltered spot where I can sit out of the wind and above the unwanted attention of the two dogs to eat my sandwiches in peace. 8)

Back towards the summit

The loch reappears

Sandwiches eaten, it is sufficiently nice again to dispense with the waterproofs and revert back to shorts and short sleeves for the final few kilometres. We drop down further to pick up the line of a fence which we follow until the top of the track comes into view.

Along the fence

There is a collapsed bridge over the burn just at the point where the track starts, and we have to detour about a hundred metres or so upstream to get across. Although it didn't look like the burn would pose any problems to get across, it is just too high at the first couple of possible crossing points and I have to walk on a bit further. After my adventures recently near Loch Lyon with fast rising river levels I can't quite decide whether I am now totally unfazed by these sort of situations or whether they spook the living daylights out of me!

Bridge debris

Once across, the only obstacle between me and the car is a padlocked gate just on the other side of the fallen bridge. I search for any gaps that the dogs could get through but the gate and the fence on either side look bulletproof, so we walk down the fence towards the loch. I know that eventually there will be an opportunity to get across and after a hundred metres or so I am proved right. There is just enough of a gap below the fence to do a bit of pulling and pushing of wires to allow the dogs through before I clamber over. Oh well, if landowners will insist on going around padlocking gates, what else can they expect?

Last stretch

I arrive back at the car at exactly 2.30 - four hours on the nose and at the end of a highly enjoyable little walk. :D

There'll be no nonsense from these two tonight!

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Graeme D
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Re: Creag Uchdag from the Lednock Dam - a game of 3 halves

Postby Alan S » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:42 pm

Nice report Graeme, I see you are enjoying your time off :D
Lots of water coming off the hills but still low levels in the loch

Ive notice this a lot recently, the loch where i fish is the lowest ive seen it in 10 years but with all this rain its hard to see why :)
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Re: Creag Uchdag from the Lednock Dam - a game of 3 halves

Postby Jock McJock » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:29 pm

Agree with Alan S, getting quite jealous of your time off :D Not managed to get out now for a few weeks due to work etc so reading all your posts lately is getting me down, so stop it! Only joking :D Nice report again, looks like a nice wee walk that. :D
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Re: Creag Uchdag from the Lednock Dam - a game of 3 halves

Postby Paul Webster » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:00 pm

Excellent detailed report as ever :D .

Padlocked gates... broken bridges... swollen burns. I think I'll put doing a route for this one off for a bit.
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Re: Creag Uchdag from the Lednock Dam - a game of 3 halves

Postby mountain coward » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:18 am

It's only just started with the heavy rain so I would think the lochs and reservoirs will be quite some time filling back up - after all, must have been quite a few months where they got virtually nothing after the snow melted!

Another good report - there's quite some white water in those burns isn't there! The waterfall shot looks like it was positively raging!
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Re: Creag Uchdag from the Lednock Dam - a game of 3 halves

Postby gaffr » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:27 pm

For a while I thought that I had missed out on a wee ronnie, along with a few others scattered all over the shop......but of course there are many directions from which to approach a hill :) the southern way to this hill had me baffled for a while. Was surprised about you dicing with the torrents again :lol: but during this summer there is not much choice.
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Re: Creag Uchdag from the Lednock Dam - a game of 3 halves

Postby kevsbald » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:36 pm

Do you think the sheep drownded? How odd.
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Re: Creag Uchdag from the Lednock Dam - a game of 3 halves

Postby Graeme D » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:13 pm

kevsbald wrote:Do you think the sheep drownded? How odd.

Maybe it was murdered! A hit by a rival sheep gang..... Concrete shoes sheep-style! :lol: :lol:
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Re: Creag Uchdag from the Lednock Dam - a game of 3 halves

Postby mountain coward » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:40 am

kevsbald wrote:Do you think the sheep drownded? How odd.

They don't usually drown for no reason - more like it would have dropped dead (which they often do for no apparent reason - I think it's depression when the weather gets bad) and either the water level came up round it or it happened to drop dead while having a drink...
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Re: Creag Uchdag from the Lednock Dam - a game of 3 halves

Postby monty » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:34 pm

Excellent report Graeme,
Love the pictures showing the raging torrents coming off the hills after all the weather we have been having. Must have brought back recent memories :lol: I take it there were no humans around for Rosie to devour :lol: Dead sheep, broken bridge, locked gates. Bad omens :D

Re: Creag Uchdag from the Lednock Dam - a game of 3 halves

Postby BertvdBeu » Sat Jul 31, 2010 9:07 am

Nice report Graeme
What an adventure: broken bridges, swollen burns. The girls did well walking the crags.
They look exhausted lying on the pillows.
My daughter has a boxer too, lovely dogs ! :D

greetings Bert
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