Blair Atholl, gateway to the lesser hills. 14/06/2002
On foot - 23.7 km - 1340m - 8.5h By bike - 13.2km - 480m - 2.5h
I`m here for two Corbetts - Beinn Mheadhonach and the remote Beinn Bhreac. The weather is dry and clear with little wind; still I anticipate a long day.
Slept in the old Glen Tilt cp. An early start, bike the road to Blairuachdar woods. L another route heads towards Glen Bruar, but not today. Pass the farm to enter a fenced area of trees, then a clearing for the rifle range. Path rises, more trees – I have to push the bike, until reaching an exit gate in the fence. Leave the wood behind for an uphill ride beside the Allt Slanaidh and reach an unlocked hut. The broad glen has a thick featureless covering of heather, a proper grouse moor, with very few trees in it.
Stash the bike and rest. Turf built shoots abounds here as I follow the track and where it crosses the burn, for a stalkers path that skirts the shoulder of Elrig. An easy 100m climbs the col then drops into the Gleann Diridh. The path cuts thro deep heather down to a burn. I’m relived to see it also angles back up the far slope of Mheadhonach . So down and up and soon I’m on the ridge for a steady climb to a long narrow plateau. Good views of Beinn a Glo, Beinn Dearg and the southern Cairngorms. Easy walking, past a minor top to the slab built cairn of Beinn Mheadhonach @901m. To my R lies the munro of Carn a`Chlamain. Done during a winter gale with Darren and Andy, the wind so strong, we couldn’t stand up. Those were the days when one could drive up the glen to the Gamie`s house @ Forest lodge and leave your car. Times change.
I walk out the leg to Carn a` Cuiaraid @ 860m. Below, loch Mhairc sparkles in the wan sunshine. Drop to a col @ 736m then cut the shoulder of Elrig a`Toisich, to enter a low tussocky basin with an infant Tarf river. Its tough going but once I cross hags then river, it becomes two climbs of 100m to reach the rounded top of Beinn Bhreac @ 912m. Nigh ten miles from here to the nearest road, awesome. I sit and eat, thinking I should be able to see the “Tarf hotel “bothy, but after a map check find it somewhat 4miles SE distance from me.
A return route over Toistich loses out as the white top of Beinn Dearg draws me. I`ve bin here twice, from different glens but being unlikely to return here again, I head for the Munro. The going seems easier or maybe just because I’m on the way back. A return to the stones of Beinn Dearg@1008m, the cairn, the wall and trig point for a break. As the surrounding hills begin to merge I say goodbye to the stones and drop SE after the 931m cairn for Carn bfieth nan Sac @781m. Continue up onto Beinn a`Chait@ 899m for a look into the glen where I can see a distant Elric. The walk down passes more grouse butts, the makings of a new track and the Slanaidh burn again. On to the hut, pick up the bike and its all down hill, nearly forgot about the gate. But the brakes work fine. Reach the car, stow the gear then up for the club meet at Mill cottage.
Good day. Saw no one on the hills, evidence of traffic on Dearg (I brought their litter back with me). Birds deer and a fat mouse, I nearly stood on.
Roll on tomorrow.
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