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Views in every direction from hill we'd put off doing

Views in every direction from hill we'd put off doing


Postby dogplodder » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:54 pm

Route description: Meall Glas and Sgiath Chuil from Glen Dochart

Munros included on this walk: Meall Glas

Date walked: 21/05/2019

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A few days holiday in Arrochar and we had climbed the Cobbler. So what next? I'd previously done the four Arrochar Munros and fancied something new. A Munro neither of us had done was Meall Glas because when we did Sgiath Chuil in 2013 it was such a driech wet day we decided before we set off we were only doing the one and Meall Glas could wait for another day.

On descent of Sgiath Chuil, a moment when the rain stopped
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It had floated back on to our 'list of possible options' on a few occasions but had always lost out to a more attractive contender. If hills had feelings Meall Glas would be feeling overlooked and struggling with insecurity issues by now. Why so unloved? Maybe something to do with rumours of peat hags and pathless terrain which we'd have to do twice... but there was to be no more avoidance. It was time to visit Sgiath Chuil's significant other in a simple out and back from Auchessan.

We parked behind another car at same spot we parked for Sgiath Chuil and crossed the bridge. It was a beautiful morning, colours vibrant with the bright freshness of leaves at their newest and greenest.

River Dochart
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Auchessan Farm - our target hill is rounded top left of centre
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At the wooden sign marked 'Hill path' we took the left fork which sent us round the farmhouse. It feels an intrusion walking so close to where folk live and since it was early we kept our voices low, although, as Moira said, most farming folk would be up and on the go long before hill walkers are passing.

We followed the track past the old dog kennels until it ended by a sheep fold. From the end of the track a narrow path leads uphill beside a deer fence.

Start of path up side of deer fence
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Path clings to hillside above small tributary of the Allt Essan
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Ben More was a presence for much of the walk
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The path leads to a stile which on crossing reveals a small dam.

Small dam near access road we used on return
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We were aware of the access road between the dam and the HEP generating building we had passed lower down and reckoned it would be a useful return route. More of that later. Upstream from the dam the path continues up the side of the burn, which was quite attractive with mini waterfalls, which would have been more spectacular if it wasn't after such a long dry spell.

Following the burn
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Meall Glas across the peat hags
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We continued a bit of the way up the ridge leading to Beinn Imirean, before taking the plunge and crossing the sea of peat hags between us and our target hill. The line we took wasn't too bad with just a little back-tracking to avoid ditches of wet peat. We headed for a grassy ridge leading to a fairly obvious way up to the bealach between Meall Glas and Meall Glas Beag. It was then we met the first person we'd seen all day, on his way down, and had a wee chat with him.

Peat hags crossed, skirted via the ridge behind then across
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My feet were wet due to old boots no longer being waterproof and I could feel a blister developing. I sat down to put on a plaster and two more guys appeared, also on the descent. They had done Sgiath Chuil previously so were doing the same as us, climbing Meall Glas only, but they hadn't come by our route.They joked that they never walked on paths, even when they wanted to! They had a bonny fox red labrador so the chat moved quickly on to dogs.

Start of climb to bealach with Beinn nan Imirean and Ben Challum behind
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One of two lochans at bealach - the other was dried up
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Sgiath Chuil from lochan
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South to Ben More and Glen Dochart
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Beinn nan Imirean
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SE to Sgiath Chuil, Ben Vorlich & Stuc a'Chroin
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Rock feature on the way up
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The ascent from the bealach was grassy and quite steep until it levelled off with a final gentle climb to the summit cairn.

Meall Glas summit
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From the summit there were mountains in every direction. For an undistinguished hill Meall Glas is an excellent viewpoint and from what I remember of it a better hill than its neighbour Sgiath Chuil.

South from summit
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Zoomed to Ben Lui
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West from summit
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North to Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich, Ben Nevis visible
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East to Beinn Cheathaich, Meall Ghaordaidh and Lawers group
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The descent was straightforward and we had a good look at the moat of peat hags to plan a sensible line across.

Ben Challum from descent from bealach
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The crossing was fine and we headed up a grassy rake on to the higher ground on the other side and could see fresh boot prints which was reassuring that this was an okay way to go. But it's a confusing area of lumpy ground with no landmarks and we weren't sure if we were always on the right line to meet up with where the path had ended on the way up.

Ben More and water feature on way down
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In the end we overshot the start of the path and picked it up a bit further down. When we reached the dam we crossed over to the access track thinking for the last stretch we could relax and not think about where we were putting our feet. For a short distance the road was tarmac but it quickly turned to rubble which even on a slight gradient felt like scree. That didn't seem quite fair when Meall Glas had been pleasantly scree-free! We wished we'd stayed on the path we used on the ascent, which was easier on the feet.

As we reached the car we met another walker and his dog just starting out. From the size of his pack he was camping so we asked where he was heading. It always strikes me as funny that we Brits do this. We wouldn't dream of asking a stranger in town where they were heading but we have no problem asking a stranger we meet on the hill where they're heading - well we don't anyway.

It turned out we did him a good turn. He was heading for Beinn Imirean but couldn't remember its name and went to look at his phone so he could tell us and discovered he'd left it in his car. He said he would have had to turn back for it whenever he discovered he'd left it, so thanked us for saving him the trouble!
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dogplodder
 
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Re: Views in every direction from hill we'd put off doing

Postby dogplodder » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:58 pm

Should have said thanks to steverabone for his report which was helpful - especially his coordinates for locating the path again on the way back! :thumbup:
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Re: Views in every direction from hill we'd put off doing

Postby steverabone » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:59 pm

dogplodder wrote:Should have said thanks to steverabone for his report which was helpful - especially his coordinates for locating the path again on the way back! :thumbup:


Well you definitely had a better day than I did when I climbed this hill. A good report and nice to see the views I should have had!

As the exam question asks "compare and contrast"!

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=80839
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Re: Views in every direction from hill we'd put off doing

Postby dogplodder » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:59 am

steverabone wrote:Well you definitely had a better day than I did when I climbed this hill. A good report and nice to see the views I should have had!

As the exam question asks "compare and contrast"!

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=80839


That's Scottish weather - no hill the same on any given day and all part of the fun! :lol:
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Re: Views in every direction from hill we'd put off doing

Postby gammy leg walker » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:57 pm

Very nice indeed,it get a lot of bad press this one with peat hags,and extremely wet lower done. A better way is from Glen Lochay IMO,where a very nice track easies you up to over 600 meters before turning into a path that goes to the summit.
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Re: Views in every direction from hill we'd put off doing

Postby dogplodder » Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:07 pm

gammy leg walker wrote:Very nice indeed,it get a lot of bad press this one with peat hags,and extremely wet lower done. A better way is from Glen Lochay IMO,where a very nice track easies you up to over 600 meters before turning into a path that goes to the summit.


We did consider the Glen Lochay approach on a previous occasion but with it being a longer drive didn't this time. On looking at it again I'm sure you're right - always provided the river isn't in spate! :-o
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Re: Views in every direction from hill we'd put off doing

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:56 pm

dogplodder wrote:
gammy leg walker wrote:Very nice indeed,it get a lot of bad press this one with peat hags,and extremely wet lower done. A better way is from Glen Lochay IMO,where a very nice track easies you up to over 600 meters before turning into a path that goes to the summit.


We did consider the Glen Lochay approach on a previous occasion but with it being a longer drive didn't this time. On looking at it again I'm sure you're right - always provided the river isn't in spate! :-o


It's a wide river but very shallow and slow moving,was in spate when I went this way and I managed to cross dry shod.
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Re: Views in every direction from hill we'd put off doing

Postby Jaxter » Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:01 am

These hills have a bad reputation but I also enjoyed them - cracking viewpoint as your photos prove :clap:
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Re: Views in every direction from hill we'd put off doing

Postby dogplodder » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:53 pm

Jaxter wrote:These hills have a bad reputation but I also enjoyed them - cracking viewpoint as your photos prove :clap:


Thanks! :D
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