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Soaked in Southern Scotland

Soaked in Southern Scotland

Postby BlackPanther » Thu May 10, 2018 5:57 pm

Route description: Meall Buidhe and Sron a' Choire Chnapanich, Glen Lyon

Corbetts included on this walk: Meall Buidhe, Sron a'Choire Chnapanich

Date walked: 20/04/2018

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 1027m

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It was going to be a wonderful day. Or at least we convinced ourselves it would stay nice and bright... After the disappointment of cloudy Beinn Eunaich we hoped for a day with nice views. Well, we got some, but later in the day, weather turned sour. Typical Scotland for you - ha ha no surprise.

The hills we planned were situated at the very head of Glen Lyon, quite remote location but the route itself starts from a tiny village called Pubil and follows mostly grassy slopes. On a sunny day in summer time this circular walk would be a delight. We still enjoyed it despite the company of cloud and rain :lol:
There is plenty of space to park on the grass verge of the road through Pubil. We parked up and got ready: weather was nice at the moment but we knew it might break later on. Yet the urge to bag a couple of new Corbetts was strong enough to make us go and we didn't really care about the prospect of getting wet. We had waterproof jackets and trousers packed in our rucksacks :D
WH route goes clockwise but we preferred to go anti-clock, up Sron a'Choire Chnapanich first then traverse to Meall Buidhe. Overall, it's easy going. Most slopes are covered in soft grass and moss. The col between the two is wet and peat haggy but the final climb to Meall Buidhe presents no challenge. The descent back to the road by the dam is steep in places and can be very slippery when wet, but we found a good line of descent on grippy underfoot (grass, heather).

Track_GLEN LYON CORBETS 20-04-18.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Glen Lyon and River Lyon in the morning:
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 001.JPG

We walked a short distance on the tarmac road to a metal gate decorated with two sculpted eagles. Past the gate, we followed a track heading for a small hydro dam:
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 007.JPG

As we gained height, we could see Lubreoch Dam in the distance... And a large bulk of a mountain across the glen, which made me think - is it a Corbett, too? Later at home I checked, that it is indeed another hill from C-list, Meall nan Subh (seen here to the left). Just above the dam, to the right side in photo below, Beinn Sheasgarnaich, one of our 60 as yet unclimbed Munros:
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 019.JPG

The track makes for easy going, but it ends by the hydro dam at the height of 500m:
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 024.JPG

The remaining climb to Sron a'Choire Chnapanich was pathless but not as boggy as we were afraid, quite the opposite. I found walking on grassy surface very pleasant.
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 025.JPG

At some point I looked behind and noticed that weather was beginning to change. The forecast nasty front was coming in from the south-west:
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 026.JPG

We picked up pace, to reach the first summit before the bad front caught up with us. Wind was strengthening now so we stopped at some point to put on extra layers and looking down, I saw the peat-hag haven on Bealach a'Mhaim. Somehow, we managed to avoid all that!
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 034.JPG

About 100m below the summit, we were close enough to the eastern, steep side of Sron a'Choire Chnapanich to see the views down to Loch an Daimh:
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 037.JPG

Panoramic view of Meallan Odhar and Stuc an Lochain:
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 039.JPG

The final climb is excellent going on soft moss, easy navigation, too: just follow the rusty old fence!
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 040.JPG

We reached the summit before the rain arrived and hurried up to take some photos & videos. These turned out to be the only views from higher ground we managed to record. I must admit, this Corbett is a great viewpoint and on a better day it would be a superb place to linger, admiring the views down to Loch an Daimh... But not this time, sadly.
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 053.JPG

Corbett no. 136!
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 061.JPG

A couple of panos:
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 045.JPG

2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 046.JPG

Beinn Sheasgarnaich now in cloud:
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 050.JPG

As we were packing up cameras, the rain arrived. We were prepared for the washout but thankfully, it turned out to be just a shower and it lasted maybe 15 minutes. We decided there was no point waiting by the cairn, just as well we'd continue to Meall Buidhe now.
The bealach between the two Corbetts drops to 616m and is quite peat haggy:

After a very comfortable descent from Sron a'Choire Chnapanich, crossing the wet peat hags was a reminder that Scotland is not all about soft moss and green grass!

Feith Thalain was in spate so we didn't consider crossing it now, just contoured the slopes on the left hand side, slowly gaining height. Going was not as easy now, we had to cross a few melting snow patches and streams rushing down the steep slopes. Kevin was leading the way, finding the least slippery path:
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 064.JPG

Panther prepared to cross another slushy snow patch:
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 070.JPG

We met another walker, a single bloke doing the circuit clockwise, we exchanged a few pleasantries and the usual info "How wet is it further on? How boggy? how many peat hags?" :lol: :lol: Seems these are the most often asked questions in Scotland :wink:
Shortly before reaching the next col, we took a shortcut and crossed the stream (it was small enough to jump over now), to climb the grassy slopes of Meall Buidhe. The cloud lifted for a short time and we could even see some views south to Loch Lyon, but it wasn't going to last long...
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 072.JPG

The final meters of ascent follow another rusty old fence:
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 074.JPG

The summit now in sight. Shortly after this picture was taken, the rain came back and with more strength this time...
2018-04-20 glen lyon corbets 076.JPG

We climbed up to the summit ridge in pouring rain then followed a well-worn path to the top itself. My gloves were soaked and my hands felt cold, but thankfully, my boots stood up to the wet weather and kept my feet dry. Many thanks, Karrimor! :lol:
When we reached the summit, we discovered three separate cairns, each one loooking the same height. We checked all three, walking around like a pair of wet ghosts, eventually our GPS said that the highest cairn was the southernmost one. I posed for a quick summit snap (Corbett no. 137 but no celebrations):

It was still raining cats and dogs, so we only spent a minute or two by the cairn and quickly began to descend the southern shoulder of Meall Buidhe, back to the col at 709m. When we returned to the col, the rain eased off for a few minutes so we took a short break for a hot cuppa. Kevin squeezed about 5 liters of water out of our gloves... I tried to walk without them but the wind had a chilly edge and I found out, after ten minutes, that wet gloves are better than bare hands.
We continued to descend the waterlogged slopes. It was relatively easy down to about 600m, where the ground became much steeper. We were no longer in cloud but the rain returned once again. We followed a stream downhill, but soon we found out that the ground below us was far too steep to risk a slip, and we had to re-climb a little before crossing the stream above a deep gorge. The second line we picked turned out much less steep and we could carefully make our way down. We could see the track below us:

Soaked (but still smiling) Black Panther and Loch Lyon in the background:

One of many gorges to avoid:

It was a relief to reach the track. The rain turned to a drizzle but when we stopped for a 5 minutes rest, we discovered that despite rain covers, our rucksacks were getting wet. Kevin then went on to make a speech about how rucksacks should be waterproof themselves rather than just provided with rain covers :lol: :lol: I was more concerned about Lucy the Lamb, she spent most of the day inside my sack yet she got soaked!
We walked past Lubreoch Dam:

Just as we were about to reach the car, the rain became heavy once again. We sprinted the last 100m or so and took shelter inside Black Arrow, happy to be somewhere dry and warm for a change!
It was a different kind of adventure: not a dangerous scramble, not a big distance walk, but a weather challenge :D Kevin said he'd like to come back here one day and repeat this route as we didn't really do justice to Meall Buidhe and Sron a'Choire Chnapanich. Well, when it rains, it pours. Second day in a row of not-so-good conditions on the hills and we felt we needed a sunny outing just to cheer us up again...
We got what we wanted on Saturday. It was still windy but the rain went away and clag lifted, so we visited a couple of super-duper Subs in Torridon. TR in progress :D
Last edited by BlackPanther on Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Soaked in Southern Scotland

Postby iangpark » Thu May 10, 2018 8:59 pm

You call that Southern! Looked a great walk despite hags and weather :D
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Re: Soaked in Southern Scotland

Postby BlackPanther » Thu May 10, 2018 10:50 pm

iangpark wrote:You call that Southern! Looked a great walk despite hags and weather :D

For me, anything south of Fort William and Drumochter Pass is southern :lol:

It is a good route indeed, shame we didn't get the chance to give it justice... Meall Buidhe is said to be a good viewpoint, too, especially to Glen Coe/Glen Etive hills... Well worth a second visit :D
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Re: Soaked in Southern Scotland

Postby Jim777 » Fri May 11, 2018 5:27 pm

Sorry about the weather but another great walk and pics :D :D Did this walk in July 1998. Followed the track along the side of Loch Lyon for about 3km until bridge over the Allt Eoghannan and then followed it up the hill until where it splits. then just headed straight up the hill. Your so right in your description of the soft but springy turf and moss as you head up to the summit of Sron a Choire Chnapanich it's something I always remember about the walk. Loch an Daimh was originally two lochs until they built the Giorra Dam. Your reports are always spot on :clap: :clap:
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Re: Soaked in Southern Scotland

Postby Mal Grey » Fri May 11, 2018 5:33 pm

Lovely, despite the rain! Still never made it into Glen Lyon.

Southern my ar** ;) To you, maybe, to most its at best Central and to me its virtually the arctic :lol:

Keep hitting those hills, need my weekly, or more often, report reading!
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